If you’ve ever sat in wet ski gear or gone out on a sunny day only to end up soaked to the skin, then read on, as we talk about the technicalities of ski gear and how to pick the right clothing.

Maybe you think expensive ski gear has the price tag just for its label? In fact these companies invest millions in developing and improving the quality of their products. In particular much R&D (Research & Development) goes into improving waterproof quality and breathability.

So how waterproof is my skiwear?

Unless you want to wear a macintosh and galoshes, you need to understand that you will never be completely waterproof. Brands like Gore-Tex provide a level of water repellent but if you are caught in a snow storm or it’s only snowing up high and you have to travel in the rain you are probably going to get wet. It’s just a fact. Your clothing and their hydrostatic head value will determine whether you remain moderately dry at your core.

When clothing is being tested for its hydrostatic head value the technologists will lay a piece of the fabric out and place a tube marked with numbers over the top. Water is poured into the top of the tube and the number the water reaches and the fabric begins to let through water is your hydrostatic head value. The lower the value the quicker you are going to let in water and pressure will speed up that process, so if you are sat on your bottom, knees or a strap is pressing against your shoulder. Here are four manufacturers of salopettes and their values on products available in store.

Trespass – 2,000-10,000mm

Burton – 10,000mm

Eider – 20,000mm

Degree 7 – 15,000-20,000mm

Anything made with Gore-Tex – 30,000mm

In the UK, the lowest number that a brand can use the description waterproof is 1500mm so as you can see there’s a huge variety of waterproof clothing to be found.

Generally, the cheaper the product the lower the hydrostatic head value will be, so it really is a weigh up between what you can afford and how dry you wish to remain. When sitting on your bum on the snow, chairlifts or outdoor seating I would recommend investing in the best salopettes you can buy, focusing on insulating properties for your jacket.

Taped Seams

Really essential that you look for clothing with taped seams as this will ensure no moisture from rain or snow will penetrate through the stitching. Most ski gear nowadays will have this but always best to include it on your checklist.


Not all jackets contain these but it’s jolly handy if you enjoy powder in particular as it will clip to your salopettes and stop any stray snow from disappearing up inside your jacket.


Insulating fibres inside your clothing are essential to keep the sub zero temperature from chilling you to the bone. Natural fibres such as down are by far the best but the most expensive – however cutting edge brands are bringing ultra light yet extra warm technology such as Primaloft to the market.

If you want to invest in some quality ski gear – visit your nearest snowsports store for further advice as to where to spend your budget

Ellis Brigham

Snow & Rock

If you are on a super strict budget then you could visit Mountain Warehouse or Trespass who make snowsports gear at an affordable price.