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Newby winter clothing guide (for the tight-fisted)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I did a quickie the other day about ski clothing on a budget, re-reading it I realised that it was a bit thin, so here's a second go. There are some areas where I'm a bit short on experience . . . looking after kids in particular, so if anyone has a problem with anything here DO NOT hesitate to beat me over the head with a . . . preferably soft . . . blunt instrument and I'll add or edit as needed. . . just send me a PM, especially if you have a hot tip for a supplier . . . but it has to be from experience . . . no pimping allowed.

First, a bit of (very) simple physiology
. . . your core temperature is or is very close to 36.8 ∞C (98.2 ∞F) and your body will go through remarkable efforts to maintain it, even to the point of virtually closing down circulation to your extremities and in the long term changing your body fat distribution . . but in the short term, like 10 minutes on a chair lift your skin will sense the cold from the wind or a cold seat on your bum on the will close down circulation to your fingers and toes making them a dam sight colder than your butt really is 'cos that's protected by a nice layer of fat on most of us, your task is maintain an even temperature over your body and that only works if you can maintain a dry atmosphere around your skin. wet clothes form a thermal conduit that will kill or debilitate you in extraordinary short time . . . a matter of minutes. Try digging a small hole in the snow, then sit in it and pack snow around you and measure how long it takes you to get uncomfortably cold.

Your Head MUST HAVE A HAT OR HELMET: It deserves a note of its own as it's the biggest radiator of heat on your body, about 30% of your body heat can be lost through the head. Also about 13-16% of the body's blood volume is in the head at any given time, It's not just there to help keep you cool, It's also there to keep your brain at the right temperature to function . . . let alone properly. While you're sweating your socks off concentrating on staying upright, by all means take off your hat or open your helmet vents. But the moment you stop for more than a minute or two get that hat back on and if it's soaked in sweat dig your spare one (knitted beanies will not break the bank) out of your pack or pocket, a cold wet head can KILL you.

Sweating: Is an essential part of your body's heat regulation process and as a beginner you're going to sweat . . . A LOT. . . especially if you're learning to board. You will sweat in unusual places, hands, forearms, back even knees and this will be made worse if you use an antiperspirant on your normally damp places. Time and experience have shown that in the semi-closed environment of ski clothing it's better to kill or stop the proliferation of bacteria and fungi than to try and stop yourself sweating or attempt to mask the odour created by your body flora. The best I've found so far is a simple, refillable product from http://www.bionsen.com/main_bionsen.html it works, is environmentally friendly, small package, completely stain and odour free and can be used over the entire body. Anyone who suffers from fungal nail infection which can really make boots and gloves reek should buy a tub of coconut oil (extra-virgin is best) and rub a little in and around the nail, nail-bed and between the toes . . . It'll take many months but it will cure the problem and keep your boots and gloves fresher. Smells quite nice too.

The environment we play in: For the vast majority of us we visit resorts where the ambient temperature hovers between 0 and -10∫C (ignore wind-chill for the moment) and is usually at low or very low humidity. In those conditions it's quite surprising how little protection you need as your natural body fat is an excellent insulator and as long as you stay dry and protected from the wind you can wander around in quite light clothing. People with low body-fat percentages will feel the cold more and will lose heat faster than the lardies. People who ski in more extreme conditions will have a good idea of where they're going and what they need to survive, this guide is not aimed at them.
However, the weather on a mountain can change very rapidly, becoming deeply unpleasant and even deadly in a matter of minutes so unless you want to become a victim or spent a week in a bar . . . which my liver vaguely recalls was a feature of my one adult visit to Austria . . . you need to take clothing that must be able to protect you if the conditions turn poor or dangerous. This doesn't mean that these garments are just for ski holiday use or are not suitable for other activities.

As I said before, there is a huge industry selling us technical clothing for our sports. Extraordinary materials that will protect and keep us safe in conditions that would keep a polar bear sheltering in its snow-hole. Anti abrasion etc., breathable to to more than a hydrostatic head rating of 45,000mm . . . like that means a lot to Joe Punter! Some of this stuff is virtually space-suit material and manufacturers are using it for mountain wear for us simple skiers. Sorry, but many of us could quite easily survive a week's ski holiday with a waxed cotton cagoule, a fair-isle sweater, a pair of pre-war army breeks and yer Grandad's woollen longjohns. You might not be comfortable in today's terms, but you would be safe and warm . . . just like the generations of skiers that came before you. This does mean that there is a range of materials and products that perform well, can be obtained at reasonable cost and can have more use than just a week in La Rosiere. Much of that clothing is made from a quite limited range of materials and in many cases it's the way that these materials are manufactured or put together that determines their qualities in use and their price, both are important parts of our purchasing decision process, particularly if you're holidaying on a budget.

Natural materials and synthetics: An accepted rule of thumb (though this is certainly not an absolute) is that synthetic fibres are hydrophobic in that they don't bond to or retain water molecules to the fibre and that natural fibres have the opposite property. This is not totally clear cut as the way the fibre is woven or combined into a fabric is just as important. Though there is one rule that seems to be agreed . . . Cotton and/or cotton blends are not suitable for snowsports activities that involve sweating . . . BHS cotton nighties are the subject of another thread. Wool on the other hand is still one of natures gifts, the Marino variety in particular. But you do have to be a bit careful, it's treatment in processing and weaving into a garment can make it just as absorbent and water retentive as cotton, this can also happen with synthetic fibres. It's always a good idea to wear, wash and test under a tap, any inner garment you are planning to ski in. It sounds a bit daft but any wet garment you can pick up, spin round your head and have it end up feeling just damp to the touch is probably ok . . try it with a cotton t-shirt and a light fleece to feel the difference.

Breathability in fabrics, a bit of rough science: It's not quite as simple as being waterproof on one side and letting water vapour through on the other. This is usually achieved by applying or bonding a membrane to the backside of a carrier fabric. This membrane is porous with holes just the right size to allow free water vapour molecules to pass through yet is hydrophobic and impermeable to liquid water. This is where the waterproof to xxxxx mm comes in, basically you can have fabrics that are waterproof to nearly 50 metres of submersion pressure . . . funny that, I thought we were up a mountain not swimming in the Arctic Ocean, but anytthing more than 10,000mm (10m) will survive general use and abrasion from a light day pack . There are EU regulation that encompass this, EN343 (protection against foul weather) is one good measure to base a purchase decision on, but again we're recreational users and not mountain rescue team members, so do we need buy the sporting equivalent of 'Cloth of Gold? Especially when the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center has tested a lot of them and found that, with three or four exceptions, all commercial 'breathable fabric systems perform very well and within quite a close (in relative terms) range of measurement. www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/gear/breathability.pdf
(a small note, many of these fabrics are 'directional' they do not work if they are worn inside-out)

What is more important to the beginner is the way that your base and mid layers perform in keeping the air around your skin still and dry. This where 'Breathability' is more about taking up, holding and/or moving liquid away from your skin to the outer surface layer as body heat evaporates sweat being held in the fabric and keeping those evaporated water molecules moving through the permeable outer clothing layer to be taken away by the dry air around you. It's not rare to see people leave a trail of steam as the cold dry air condenses the warm water vapour after exiting your clothing after a hard run.
Best at doing this is Marino wool, followed by a range of synthetic fibres, but again it's the way that all of these fibres are woven or combined that marks their efficiency and cost. All of these will keep you very warm while you're dry, it's only if you are indulging in heavy exercise like learning, ski-touring or ski mountaineering do you have to consider that you may be more comfortable in a 'performance' product from an established manufacturer.

Technical development in fabrics is progressing at an astonishing pace. Some that will pass water like a seive in one direction but not the other. Fabrics that can take up excess body heat, feeling cool to the touch, yet release that heat when the skin temperature falls. The benefit of continued development is that many technical properties that were once the sole use of premier priced manufacturing have percolated down to the mass market.

Layering : Where you add or discard multiple items of clothing to suit the prevailing conditions has become the standard way to dress for the casual skier and this is commonly . . .

Underwear
Base layer
Mid layer (s)
Outer

Underwear Layer 1: Some people consider 'underwear' and 'base-layer' to be interchangeable. This is a personal preference and will depend on your need for 'support' and your personal hygiene regime/phobias. But whatever your choice, any material you place next to your skin must be one that 'wicks', moving moisture away from the body to the next layer and allow air to reach you skin to minimise the condensation and collection of liquid sweat.

Personally I like normal styled wear underwear as my base layer and I've found that a new(ish) fabric made from wood cellulose and called 'Modal' in its micro-weave is an excellent material and is available in briefs, boxer trunks, t-shirts and sports bras from a number of normal high street retail outlets. The advantage is that these pants aren't just for Xmas skiing and are priced like normal cotton pants etc. You can buy specialist sports underwear from Patagonia and many other activity retailers and there's no doubting its quality, but that does come at a price and perhaps some limited usability . . . BUT it's ALWAYS worth keeping a eye on their web sites for off-season sales and discounts.

Base Layer 2: Most people call these 'thermals'. Again their primary purpose must be to keep your skin dry. This will keep you warm and comfortable while you're resting and also assist in stopping you from overheating during exercise as clammy, wet, cold materials can trigger a response that even though you are working hard and sweating, an autonomic body mechanism will shut down capillary blood flow to your extremities, raising core temperature and blood pressure . . . a truly wicked headache will be the least of your worries.
This is one type of clothing that you really have to get right as you can buy 'thermal' clothing from a huge number of manufacturers and resellers and a lot of it is cotton based and just designed to keep you warm as you wait for a bus or head down to the shops on your mobility scooter . . . you'll find their ads in the back of the daily Mail etc. However there are some very good products at price-points to suit the real scrooges amongst us.
But it's not just the snowsports that have the goods that we need. Climbing, cycling, sailing and motorcycling are all resources we can tap into.

1: Matelan have a range of micro-fleece thermals, technically they are just competent but if you're not a Sweaty Betty they will do the job at just 6£ each item. Ugly as sin, but Hell they're 6£.
2: Damart ( http://www.damart.co.uk ) Once the bastion of your Granny's winter bloomers has stepped out into performance wear . . . though whoever came up with the 'thermal thong' obviously had their mind on other things. Their Windstopper top is very good but the Thermolactyl material does not seem to wick as well as more technical fibres or Merino wool.
3: Aldi/Lidl/Tchibo: I've lumped them together since they're all seasonal, very eclectic and non-ski specialty retailers, but they do sell thermal underwear that is perfectly adequate to our needs and at prices to suit a shallow pocket . . . but you have to keep monitoring their web-sites for availability. In terms of quality it's Tchibo, Aldi then Lidl and all have excellent return policies . . . just keep the receipt.
http://www.tchibo.co.uk
http://uk.aldi.com/
http://www.lidl.co.uk
4: Hein Gericke motorcycle gear( http://www.hein-gericke-store.co.uk/ ) go to their underwear section.
5: M&S, I've not got any of their kit, so someone else will need to pm me their experiences

After that you have all the big boys of the industry, again with great products but with retail prices ranging from 30 to 90£, you do need to buy at sales and discount time for them to make any economic sense for the recreational skier.
Common trade names in the higher-end base layer market: Polartec 100 , Polartec Powerstretch, CoolMax Alta, Aleutian Micro Grid, Dryflo.


One tip that really does make life more comfortable is that if you're going to wear 'long-johns' buy the "Capri" length, or cut them off just under the knees. Otherwise they bunch up at the knees or fight with your socks in your boots and generally just make your life Hell.

Mid Layer(s): This is a tough one, there is just so much on the market in a price range from 5£ to near 100£ and there is a lot of branding bling rather than quality to a big proportion of it. It has to be said that the real big names do use good fabrics so unless you're buying brand names off eBay or the local market you should be getting a quality garment. Where it becomes really difficult is at the lower price-point. Unless, you're going for Merino wool, the majority of these garments tend to be fleece type

We can split Mid-Layers into three main groups, light, heavy and windproof.

Lightweight: Lighter fleeces tend to be single layer construction and not bonded to either a breathable or windproof membrane. The exceptions to this are garments designed for running and cycling which often have windproof panels to the front torso and front of the arms. Nothing wrong with that feature for skiing in.

Heavyweight: There's just too much choice out there to recommend anything other than read the labels, buy from a reputable retailer and figure that you may well be better served with three lightweight garments than one gonzo fleece.
Common technical fleeces: Polartec 200, Polartec 300, Aleutian (Waffle, Cord & Marl)

Windproof (and waterproof): These are much more technical garments that can be used as an outer garment in bright weather skiing. They are fully wind proof, have a vapour/water barrier system and may have three or more layers of material in their construction . . . they're not cheap, but they do perform well and if combined with a simple 'shell' outer layer can be your primary ski garment, These are common wind proof fleeces : Polartec Windpro
, Polartec Windbloc
, Gore-Tex Windstopper
, Windstopper
, Craghoppers Windshield

Again, for the short of pocket, see the usual suspect web sites above (I'll list them all again at the end)

Outer Layers:
We're again in the realm of TOO MUCH information, especially when there are jackets out there with a rack price over £500!!!. But if you spend well and wisely on your base and mid layers, your outers only have to be breathable, waterproof to an acceptable standard and a colour and style you like . . . basically something that you'll have a week on the piste wearing, then spend the rest of the year walking the dog in . . . and if it's quality, another week on the snow. It is difficult to advise on any specific product and again the usual suspects are here along with TKMaxx ( http://www.tkmaxx.com ) who specialises in selling the prior season's remainders and can have some stunning bargains. You can also hit the manufacturer direct like Keela who are Snowhead members and offer a sH discount ( http://www.keela.co.uk ) good kit by all accounts, but still outside the cheapskate pocket.

Again, have a look outside skiing, the Hein Gericke Toronto Jacket http://www.hein-gericke.com/uk/product_info.php/cPath/1_15_7/products_id/2822 at £70 is sweet.

Outer layers also include trews . . . or salopettes: People seem to put the selection of these rather secondary to the rest of their gear, which is odd considering the functions they have to provide.
They encapsulate the most moisture producing part of the body, they have to provide quick easy access to perform a variety of functions as well as keep your backside warm while sitting on a frozen plastic lift chair or in the case of boarders, a lump of snow. They also suffer the most abrasion from lifts and other equipment . . . It's a wonder they last a week.
Lined or unlined is a real question and that depends on your perspiration level, again if you're learning you are going to be far better off with light or unlined trousers and wear more easily washed base layers to keep you warm and bacteria free. Boarders will need to ensure there is enough 'bag in the butt' to wear protection and keep at bay the dreaded Haemorrhoids problem . . . it's not a myth!
Pockets, like jackets need to be closed with robust, preferably waterproof zips, including wallet and key clips to keep your crud from falling out if you forget to close your zips are real practical bonus features. As are ventilation openings, it can get VERY clammy down under.

Materials to look out for at the high end outer layers: GORE-TEX∆ XCR 2-layer fabric, GORE-TEX∆ XCR 3-layer fabric, GORE-TEX∆ Classic Fabric, Conduit 3 Layer: Waterproof,

Conduit 2 Layer, Conduit? SL fabric, HyVent Fabric∆, APEX fabrics . . .

Kids: I've got to confess that I know boogerall about taking an infant or toddler onto the snow other than they lose heat very quickly and will need to be better insulated than you are, especially from the Sun on their eyes. These retailers regularly have children's snow gear, but again they are very seasonal stockists and you have to keep an eye on their websites for the specials http://www.tchibo.co.uk http://uk.aldi.com/ http://www.lidl.co.uk

Adolescents up to puberty, do not have a fully developed body heat regulation system and do not sweat in the same copious manner as adults, but can use the same clothing model as the rest of us, just be willing to listen and adapt to what they are experiencing re. feeling hot or cold. They may need to adjust their layers more frequently to stay comfortable, so be patient.

Peripherals: Gloves, Goggles and socks . . .


Gloves: this really is down to how hot or cold your hands are and this one area where if you need warmth you are best advised to buy a quality product that is wicking and breathable. Many people find the combination of a wind proof inner fleece glove like a winter cycling glove perfect for general use and have over-gloves or mitts for when the conditions worsen. It's also a lot easier to wash the inner gloves. Boarders can use the armour protection of motorcycle gloves.

ALWAYS carry a spare pair in your pack, in an emergency your hands need to be warm and dry.

Goggles: Hands down, there is one winner in the budget category and anyone who has bought the £10 Tchibo goggles have a great product that's the equal of kit at five times that price, mid amber, double lens, helmet compatible and well made. Close behind are the Lidl and Aldi offerings, not quite up there in quality but still have double lenses in a variety of tints and also have the benefit of being available in smaller frame sizes for younger heads. All of them meet the Eu EN standards for eye protection.
After that it's down to bling per Buck as the prices stretch past the £100 mark. As for sunglasses, take them and wear them but do NOT rely on them to be suitable if the weather turns bad.

Goggles for eyeglass wearers are available as Over The Glasses varieties and with Prescription lens inserts. There are a couple of Good threads about experiences here:
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=20578&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=otg
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=18140&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=otg


Socks: It's a lot easier if you have your own boots that can be fitted professionally to your feet but that's probably a non-starter for the newbie beginner, but the following advice should help you when trying on and renting boots.
Wearing two pairs is NOT advised as is having half a dozen pairs that are all different styles, construction and thickness. Socks have a major impact on boot fit, foot pressure, comfort and warmth. If your socks are too thick, they will compress inside your boot cutting circulation and also removing their insulation properties. With socks on and feet in boots you should be able to adjust your boots so that you feel no more than an even light to moderate touch all round your feet and ankles. Thick socks don't give you that level of control and comfort as your feet will move around more inside your sock and as a learner you will have a stronger propensity to squeeze your toes and slide your feet around in your boots causing cramp and blisters

So, this is where spending good money on a set of light or mid-weight, branded Merino wool ski socks really will pay dividends. They should not bunch up or sag to ridged lumps in your boots, will be virtually seamless and are reinforced and designed to help protect you against blistering. You need a minimum of three pairs . . . some people like a fresh pair every day . . . that's your choice.

Protection: Learner boarders NEED a butt pad as a MINIMUM, I used to recommend the Slampad http://www.alibaba.com/catalog/10868755/The_Freestance_Slampad_Snowboard_Protector.html as a cheap very basic starting point, but I'm not sure where it's available now.
Another source for protection is Bargain Boards http://www.bargainboards.co.uk/.
Second and equal to saving your bum is a helmet, it's only second because your head starts hitting the piste when you start sliding . . . your bum will have made a number of visits long before you start moving.

Wrist, elbow, knee guards are additional but not essential for the beginner, but since you will be doing a lot of sitting and kneeling around in class etc. knee pads make life and the learning experience much more comfortable.

Useful Sources:


http://www.tchibo.co.uk
http://uk.aldi.com/
http://www.lidl.co.uk
http://www.hein-gericke-store.co.uk/
http://www.bargainboards.co.uk/.
http://www.tkmaxx.com
http://www.keela.co.uk
http://www.damart.co.uk
http://www.patagonia.com
http://www.facewest.co.uk
www.ellis-brigham.com
www.snowandrock.com
http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/Product_arborescence/mountain/ski-snowboard/index.htm

Hope this helps the newcomers to our sports and If anyone has any suggestions to add to this, PM me and I'll add to the resource.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 9-01-07 13:03; edited 2 times in total
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Masque, thanks for you work !
snow report     
 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?
Masque, this is spot on for new comers like myself! Thanks for the work Very Happy
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
Nice one Masque, although you could add in the introduction how most of the body's heat is lost through the head, so a helmet (or, if you must, a hat) is essential to keep the rest of your body warm.
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wear The Fox Hat, DuH! I had it in the first post, thanks I'll add it Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Masque, want me to edit my last post so that it doesn't look like you missed it out? Laughing
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Masque, Excellent, good to see that you had time to yourself to put it together. Very Happy
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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!
How about adding this link?:

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/Product_arborescence/mountain/ski-snowboard/index.html Laughing
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Wear The Fox Hat, Na I seem to survive ok looking stupid, cheers though Twisted Evil
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
boredsurfin, I've been spending a lot of time picking my nose in hospital waiting areas . . . it seemed the right sort of thing to spend time on
bh1, at your command wink
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
This is good stuff....got to be worth making it a sticky at the top so all the newbies can find it??
snow report     
 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.
Masque, great write-up, especially for the noob confronted with a SnR salesman telling him/her he'll get frostbite unless s(he) buys this lovely Kjus jacket for £600. the massive over-specification of a lot of ski kit is a bit of a bug-bear of mine

there's an interesting debate on the merits of wicking for really sweaty so-and-sos in "Extreme Alpinism" by Mark Twight. He advovates a vapour blocking layer which actually keeps the sweat next to your skin and acts a bit like a wetsuit. ugh! probably not for the newbie though
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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
Masque, Awesome write-up, great work.
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Masque, Who's been a busy boy then? wink

My son has been suffering with cheap salopettes which aren't breathable ! Skullie
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Another good online gear retailer is Go Outdoors: http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/
They have branches in Sheffield etc, too which tend to have a lot more stuff in. It can vary from week to week. The Roadmap stuff is pretty good for the price.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Masque, Sorry, forgot to thanks for the great thread! Take a bow! snowHead snowHead snowHead snowHead snowHead
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
IncogSkiSno,
Quote:

My son has been suffering with cheap salopettes which aren't breathable

Poor lad, I blame his Mother, she should be reported to the appropriate authority, being sent out to ski in that sort of kit is inexcusable Very Happy wink
ski holidays     
 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?
Masque, Stonking post! Thanks for the hard work and brilliant info. Very Happy snowHead
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
When I started ice climbing I did it in a £25 wax jacket with a cheap non breathable kagool over the top of it. I must admit though that I am a lot more comfy these days with hi tech kit, and also carry a lot less weight in clothing.
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Just a heads-up:

TKMaxx have a load of Trespass thermals in stock at silly prices and some very nice lightweight Polatec fleeces.
Tchibo have Ski gear including KIDS stuff coming into stock on the 24th
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You'll need to Register first of course.
skibum2807, Welcome to snowHead , but afraid folks who put adverts in their first post tend to get flamed, however well-meaning -- think you need to need to put a disclaimer into your posts that you have nothing to do with that company/site -- otherwise their sales will undoubtedly suffer as well as their name. snowHead
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Agenterre, Damn !! Talking to myself !! Laughing Laughing Laughing Shocked
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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!
No need to have more than one decent pair of thermals and socks if you wash them every day. If they are well wrung, they will dry overnight without problems. Long thermal bottoms + uninsulated salopettes work for me in all conditions.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Agenterre wrote:
Agenterre, Damn !! Talking to myself !! Laughing Laughing Laughing Shocked


at least that way you get the answers you want to hear Laughing
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
boredsurfin wrote:
at least that way you get the answers you want to hear Laughing


Apparently not, the other bit of myself that I talk to is female rolling eyes wink

BTW - Great post Masque
ski holidays     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I'm nothing to do with that site, just spreading the good word to people that are looking to buy decent gear for cheap prices
ski holidays     
 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.
great article, which high street outlets sell Modal stuff? My missus is after some base layers, a few T shirts etc
latest report     
 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
Masque,
Excellent post.

To update on the M&S stuff, I have used their merino containing thermals for a couple of years and found them excellent. They contain only 32% wool so I decided to check them out again this year before posting. I used them last week in France when the temperature was being quoted as -16 and a lot of people were finding it pretty cold. I had my M&S stuff as a base layer then a shirt and then a shell I had no problems with the cold so am pretty convinced by them. I think they cost around £17 for the top so not the cheapest but excellent value if you need warm stuff.
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Masque,

great post

a couple of things:

1. it's kind of obvious but small kids dont get much use out of skiwear before they grow out of them. This means second hand (Ebay) offers really good value.

2. Is merino realy the optimum wicking material? I find that my icebreaker 100% merino top gets damper than HH lifa (and is obviously not as warm when this happens). It is more attractive and smells WAY better at the end of the day. Do you have access to any data comparing wicking properties?

J
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jedster wrote:
Masque,



2. Is merino realy the optimum wicking material? I find that my icebreaker 100% merino top gets damper than HH lifa (and is obviously not as warm when this happens). It is more attractive and smells WAY better at the end of the day. Do you have access to any data comparing wicking properties?

J



no my understanding is that certain synthetics wick better than wool.... the main benefit of wool is that even while wet it is still warm.... and it does not burn (important when your fuel stove explodes in some remote location I believe)

and of course you can wear wool thermals for 24hours a day 7 days in a row and still not get told to strip OUTSIDE the house on your return (my friends wife thinks this is a HUGE benefit as he works back country guiding and regularly spends at least a week in his clothes... and when you are xc-skiing with a 30kg pack attached...you sweat... or so they tell me)
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Quote:

and it does not burn (important when your fuel stove explodes in some remote location I believe)


Sad

given that your tent, sleeping bag outer, shell jacket and fleeces are all likely to be pretty flammable, I'd have thought this was little consolation!
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Awesome!!! Thank you very very much.
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Got my kids helmets from TK Maxx for about a tenner each this year.
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Just visited a branch of the Decathlon sports superstore in Northern Spain. Amazed at reasonable prices on their own kit and branded gear. Got decent kids goggles for 5 euros and backup pair of adult gloves for 9 euros. Prices on boards and skis also looked very good
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jedster wrote:
Quote:

and it does not burn (important when your fuel stove explodes in some remote location I believe)


Sad

given that your tent, sleeping bag outer, shell jacket and fleeces are all likely to be pretty flammable, I'd have thought this was little consolation!


I have seen photos of a girl without a mark where her wool thermal protected her skin from melting plastic crap... but with scars to remaining skin on same area... fuel stove accident....

I'd prefer wool (ex was a trainer of oxygen breathing teams for fire brigades in major city and also trained and provided safety plans for refineries... He did not wear wool thermals for the extra warmth.... He has had folks whose nylon underwear melted onto skin - or started to... they leave fast I'm told Shocked )
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5 months later I've stumbled on this rolling eyes. Excellent work Masque!
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Masque, good work again, top advice.

Anyone who wants to look outside of traditional brands, check out the HFG gear from Shimano. I ripped my Trespass pants on my last holiday and had to use the blue Winter pants as a back up - they were better than my Trespass ones!! Shocked Think they're about £50 and are plenty roomy because they're designed for fatty anglers Very Happy Very Happy

http://fish.shimano-eu.com/catalog/fish/products/accessories/accessory_group_detail.jsp

Shimano also does snowboard bindings and boots - it's awesome stufff. Saw it went I went to Shimano HQ on a press trip. Shame you can't get it over here Sad Sad

Also, check out www.gooutdoors.co.uk for good deals on clothing.

Very Happy Very Happy
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nice post dude. just a couple of minor points:

Masque wrote:
breathable to to more than a hydrostatic head rating of 45,000mm

For breathability, you want the hydrostatic head rating to be as low as possible, meaning the moisture can get out easily. So the emphasis is more on how low it is, not how high it is. Minor point i know.

Masque wrote:
fabrics that are waterproof to nearly 50 metres of submersion pressure

If something is waterproof to a hydrostatic head of xxxxx mm , it means that it is waterproof up to the equivalent pressure that a column of water of that height with an area of one inch squared would exert upon the fabric. Like if you got a really long pipe and glued the fabric onto one end of the pipe, before holding the pipe vertical with the fabric at the bottom and filling the pipe with water. The hydrostatic head refers to the height reached before water gets through. Obviously they test this using some sort of proxy rather than actually doing it.

this isn't the same thing as submersion pressure (how deep underwater it can go). Again, a very minor point.

Masque wrote:
anytthing more than 10,000mm (10m) will survive general use and abrasion from a light day pack

The waterproof rating has nothing to do with the durability of the fabric at all. Most waterproof fabrics are made by attaching a thin waterproof membrane (that is what the waterproofing rating refers to) to an outer face fabric. It is this outer face fabric that protects the membrane and determines how durable the garment is.

I do agree with your point though, once you get above 10,000mm in a jacket you're paying for what you really don't need unless you're going to stand in front of a fire hydrant. Pants are another story though, as when kneeling etc in snow you exert a lot more pressure on a small area that can force water through. In overtrousers I'd therefore look for at least 15,000mm of waterproofness.

Goretex are about to release a new fabric called proshell that will be even more breathable than their current top of the range XCR. Not really relevant to a thread about cheap gear, but thought I'd mention it.

Goggles: you should mention that it is important to check the quality of your lenses in terms of blocking UV light. Perhaps it is more relevant to us in New Zealand with our great big ozone hole, but dark glasses that don't block UV can in fact cause harm as your eyes think it's darker so open up more, letting in more UV light.

Sorry to be picky Neh Neh. good post though.
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nzbassist, Thanks for the input it's very appreciated, I was trying to be as simplistic as possible for the newbies. I understand that the price for the membrane goes up as its performance increases and from apocryphal comment it's about the 10,000mm mark that most manufacturers start to use outer materials that are suitable for reasonably robust use. I used this post to argue against buying hugely technical and expensive clothing and as I'm someone who gets VERY sweaty, the more moisture I can shift the better.

I've witnessed fabric tests and they do use real samples in real-time with a hydraulic ram to apply the column test. Some of the high-end stuff could be used as a wet/dry-suit. Cool

I'll have to check, but I don't think it's possible under EU regs. to buy goggles or sunnies that are not UV blocking.
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oh okay that's good about the sunnies, just thought it was worth a mention.

Yeah true bout the face fabrics generally getting stronger and lighter as you pay more, and generally the waterproof rating will go up with price in a similar way. Some manufacturers will put a really terrible face fabric on a good membrane though, to get those people who see the rating (or the gore-tex label) and think it must be a great jacket (jackets branded and sold by a certain unmentioned company consisting of "48 stores spread across Australia, New Zealand & the United Kingdom" is a good example of this. So yeah just thought it's worth noting that the two don't necessarily go together.

Yeah so you know bout how they get the waterproof rating, kewl. that's what i meant by "equivalent", they don't actually get a 10m long pipe and stick a bit of fabric on the end hehe

chur
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