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Good base layers

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Off to Are (pronounced Oar-ah or sum'at like that) in Sweden next month. Recent temps have been as low as -23C so I feel I should get at least one decent base layer (my current lot having been bought from C&A - they are of that vintage if they weren't from C&A). Anyone got any recommendations for a reasonably-priced base layer?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yeah, i'm not sure we have the sound in English, I've never mastered in anyhow!

Helly Hansen make some merino wool base layers, they brand them as "warm" or "freeze". I normally pick them up from discount online sports shops like Sports Direct (more morally acceptable retailers sell them too, I'm sure) for 15-20, though you might not have to be too fussy about the colour.

My local TkMaxx has a load of merino base layers delivered just before Christmas for a similar price too, though they weren't a brand I'd heard of.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
HH Warm Freeze /the merino-synthetic hybrid) FTW

I've probably posted this too much now, but my thoughts on base layers: http://www.luex.com/magazine/2014/11/18/base-layer-101/
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@dobby, I have some from Embers Merino and Finisterre that i'm happy with, you might want to opt for Embers as they do two weights and the heavier one might be better for you, got a bargain one from Tog24 but they seem to have stopped doing pure Merino


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Fri 8-01-16 16:01; edited 1 time in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If Aldi have any merino base layers left they are great, and cheap. balaclava under helmet and, in that sort of cold, neoprene face mask.

And short ski, long lunch! Have a great holiday. snowHead
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TKMAXX XTM merino wool. Nicer and thick and nice and warm.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@pam w, got the balaclava and the neoprene face mask - for Norway last year and it was spring conditions! I think one or two of our crowd will be keeping warm indoors it if gets really cold. The elder daughter will be dragging me up and down anything and everything. I only get taken with her because she cannot find her way anywhere......
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Did someone mention merino wool? Wink Yep, that's your best bet.

FYI, the in re is pronounced like the "awe/aw" in "awesome/awful". (Without an American accent!) The "re" is like the "re" in "wreck" or "trek". Short and with a rolling R.
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@SkiingDad, cheers. I now know how the Angstrom is supposed to sound.....hurray!
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@dobby, it's the little things that count Wink
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Temperatures in the past few days have been quite extreme. Was skiing in Trysil, Norway this week in -20C. I don't have any heating system in my boots and made the mistake of staying out too long in the morning. Took my boots off at lunch and my toes were totally numb. Thirty minutes later and some considerable pain, they were better with no lasting damage thankfully.

Otherwise I wore merino long johns under insulted trousers (never normally need the long johns), merino base layer long sleeve shirt, hoodie, insulated ski jacket. Body was fine.

I have a fairly thick micro fleece balaclava, and a buff. Think buff froze after a short period from breath/wet air. So I rotated damp part around, and alternated with thicker buff. I also wear a helmet which keeps me warm.

Finally hestra mitts are brilliant and kept my hands warm, but thumbs got a tad cold.

Be careful if it is that temperature, frostbite is no joke. Hopefully it will have warmed up a bit by then.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
One woman had some heated socks, and I asked her if they were any good? She said bought them that day, as the day before she was actually crying from the pain of her frozen feet. She said her toes were still cold but it felt like skiing in -5C rather than -20C...
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@altis, having done a PhD in x-ray diffraction, I must have written the Angstrom thousands of times.....@Themasterpiece, thanks for the tips. I haven't experienced that temperature before and really don't want to. Hopefully it will have warmed up a little by next month. How was the skiing in Trysil? Doesn't appear to be much snow in that part of Norway (only reporting 15cm depth on Skistar website)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@dobby,
When I skied in Canada at -30 I grew a beard & bought a new jacket. I'd never been cold when skiing before. My hands & feet were OK, but my body & head felt cold especially on the chair lifts. Even with the beard I could have done with something warmer than my beanie (pre helmet days). I suspect that with a helmet I might have been alright.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@dobby, it wasn't great in Trysil. Very icy, and just a dusting of snow on top. I was only there for a couple of days on the back of a business trip. There was more snow in Kvitfjell, Lillehammer the week before.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Themasterpiece, I'm wondering why your trousers were insulted. Did someone with a more upmarket pair laugh at them?

I do have heated socks but I don't think I could enjoy skiing in minus 30. Call me a wimp, but.......
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I've bought base layers in uniglo. They are a lot cheaper than the official ski stuff and don't appear that much different.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Don't know if they still do them but M&S did some good wool rich base layers a few years back which I still use.
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Another vote for uniglow, great value for money. Otherwise icebreaker or falke, more expensive but worth getting in the sales.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
By far the most impressive garment I've ever owned is a base layer top & trousers I bought in Canada made by Hot Chillys called either Second Skin or Power Skin (the label has worn off). They don't make that exact model any more but when it finally wears out I'll email them and ask for the current equivalent.

It's a tight fit but not compression, so no draughts but maximum comfort. It's thick but flexible - fleecy inside and shiny outside - and synthetic so it wicks sweat away fantastically well.

I wear it cycling, skiing, hiking and even running in cold weather. It's kept me warm in a -20C blizzard but never gets uncomfortably sweaty. I've been drenched to the skin on the bike and it still keeps me warm. After 10 years it never smells of sweat, even after a week skiing with no rinsing.

I've tried merino and many other big brands. Nothing comes close. If you can get one in the UK, snap it up.
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@dobby, I was hoping that you'd get the joke but I never could have imagined you'd so get it.

Personally, I like to have something soft, fluffy and clingy next to my skin. I find the Aldi bamboo base layers great. I add various different insulation layers on top of this. A thin fleece, a fat fleece or both copes with most situations but if it's extremely cold I'll get out the Polartec Powerstretch stuff. And when that's not enough, Mrs A has a Primaloft gillet to add over the top of everything.

I've also skied in my Montane Extreme smock and salopettes when it was pretty cold but I find it a bit bulky and, if it's too warm, all you can do is open zips and that gets draughty.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
pam w wrote:
@Themasterpiece, I'm wondering why your trousers were insulted. Did someone with a more upmarket pair laugh at them?


They have a filling (rather than being only a shell) something like this http://www.stadium.se/klader/byxor/221599102/everest.m-adv-alpine-pant.turquise. Not the most upmarket trouser, but work well
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Good job you didn't get insulted. Dat's swede Very Happy
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@altis, Bamboo is super soft but I thought it was just for us southerners Toofy Grin
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@pam w, @lmu2002, now I actually read what I wrote Embarassed Laughing
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Arcteryx gear is good, not cheap but does the job very well.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I can't see that buying anything expensive has any merit. I use Decathlon/Quechua fleece longjohns and rarely have an issue.

Occasionally an extra layer.

Mind you, my principle upper body warmth comes from an Arc'teryx atom jacket which is honestly amazing in its range of useful temperatures.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I've been really impressed with the icebreaker merino wool base-layer that I've got. I also grabbed a discount (cheap because it had a small hole in it) polyester t-shirt to pull on over that if a little extra is needed. Because I was paranoid about being cold I also bought some proper mid-layers from MEC (Canadian outdoors shop). These are pretty good as they sit on top of the next-to-skin layer which also does the wicking, but are textured to hold little pockets of warm air.

All of these seem to work pretty well but, to be honest, with the warm winters I've been in recently there hasn't been much weather near me that has been cold enough to test how they perform in the temps you are talking about. If anything a high quality, durable, and totally waterproof shell has been the biggest factor; heavy rain has been a bigger feature on each holiday in recent years with much more risk of cutting the ski day short than extreme cold!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@dobby, I'm sure you are keeping an eye on it, but the extreme cold seems to have gone away for now. Have fun!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
with a good layering system you really don't need to spend a fortune on a base layer as long as it is sweat wicking it will do the job
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Themasterpiece, yep. Warming up nicely. Right after I've bought some half decent base layers. Still, I'd rather not have to use them......
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mr jocrad is a bit of an ultra running/endurance nutter. He got merino wool base layers from Decathlon and swears by them. Very reasonably priced too from memory.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm fairly new to skiing and feel the cold. Val and Tignes I've seen nearly -30 already Shock My layering has worked really well:
* SKINS 3/4 length thermal leggings + ski trousers
* face mask with a neck warmer, or a buff (my nose went white in 10 minutes when I forgot to cover it up Shock )
* Burton vest to wick away sweat + icebreaker merino + mid weight fleece + ski jacket (two icebreakers if really chilly)

I've been really impressed - maybe a little chilly sitting on the lift for a long time, but otherwise snug
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I will back up what Jo says above(as i reccomended the skins to her)

-30 in the usa over christmas and skins a200 compression series was excellent even for my wife who often complains of the cold .

Then layer up on that we have various brand merino options.

For feet , when that cold boot gloves do seem to make a difference and a lot of the locals had them on their boots on the coldest days .
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Got some Aldi base layers this year.....very small fitting, like a compression top. We rode in -20 in America and just with them, a mid layer and outer shell was toasty warm.

Amazing value.
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I think that the 'optimal' combo for very cold is the Norwegian Brynge string vest with a good weight merino (at least 190g) on top then you can use intermediate layers depending on how hot you run. This avoids the dampness you can get with wool next to the skin, and the Norwegians know something about kit for cold climates. BTW I skied in Are with my son a few years ago, at one point it was so cold (and windy) that the upper lifts were closed - this limited the available ski area dramatically, but was very beautiful and only bearable a run at a time before having a coffee, but be careful about the throughput of said coffee 'cos you do not want to do outdoor peeing in those temps. Laughing
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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@Ian Kenvyn, thanks for that. We are aware of the lift closures, especially in the main resort (seems to be a problem in lots of Scandinavian resorts). We have a car and intend to spend quite a bit of time in Duved which seems to be less vulnerable to wind closure.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
If you can get your hands on Rewoolution base layers (often on Sportpursuit) they're excellent - good range of 190g and 280g merino base/mid layers in variety of styles.
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