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Ski jackets - soft shell ok for Europe?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi looking for a ski jacket for my partner, she's never skied before. I've always used insulated jackets on top of a base layer, but as far as I can tell the trend these days is for an uninsulated soft shell on top of a wicking base layer and warm mid layer. For skiing mostly in Europe in the Alps and Dolomites.

She likes this one from Haglofs but we have no idea as to whether it will be warm enough:

https://www.sportpursuit.com/catalog/product/view/id/2424759

Her second choice was this one which has more features:

https://www.sportpursuit.com/catalog/product/view/id/2424682

To be worn on top of a merino base layer and this mid layer from Mountain Force that she picked up from sport pursuit:

https://mountainforce.com/eu-en/women-ilva-jacket-mf20w6006?color=lemon-offwhite

They have a really nice insulated jacket on their website but sadly no shipping to the UK.

Would appreciate any guidance anyone more knowledgable about outdoor gear could give us, thanks.
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@menatarms, Both the Haglofs are super jackets but as a non-skier she's likely to spend a lot of time moving very slowly and standing around in resorts (at least at first). You also may not know how she's going to deal with altitude and cold. So an insulated outer layer would be my recommendation. Meine Frau mixes layers for Touring/Freeride but sticks to an insulated outer when pottering around on Piste, so I'd save your money and go for something from Decathlon, like a Dare2B Woman's Ski Jacket. They're around £50 and will be fine for your first couple of trips. Play around with layers while she's out there and then take the plunge on something a bit more upmarket.
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Either of those will be fine unless you are out in proper bad weather. As in very heavy snow and rain. So I would see either of those as being fine for most skiing, most of the time. As I anticipate being out in all weathers I almost always wear a goretex hardshell and layer appropriately.

With a jacket like that I would usually wear a couple of base layers and a synthetic puffy jacket underneath. I'd probably carry a spare puffy jacket - either down or synthetic in case I got cold. I run quite warm and will be out in all weathers.
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I can't seem to see the Haglofs jackets without giving Sport Pursuit my email address. I have tried on some super Haglofs jackets, but found them very skinny round the arms. As @gorilla says, she might need several layers under that. A merino base layer and light jacket would only be OK for warmish days, not being on a long cold windy chairlift. I like Haglofs things and was very disappointed to have to return one I bought, but it was just too tight under the arms with anything other than a very light fleece underneath. And I am quite a scrawny size 10.
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Thanks I'll have a look on decathalon. She's very keen that the jacket be yellow which is proving a bit of a limiting factor, but oh well I've long since learnt not to argue over such things.

If I can't find an insulated jacket that tip of a synthetic puffy jacket underneath is great, the mid layer she got is pretty thin so might be the ideal solution, then as she progresses and becomes more active she can leave it behind. She was very keen on this one before but I managed to convince her it would be useless as a ski jacket lol:

https://www.sweatybetty.com/pro-light-ski-jacket-5059121323241.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw06OTBhC_ARIsAAU1yOVw0F8pm6xMpM9GGngEPUnFAS3hp5GIsOuRifGjPTZpdh8ENk2DfZ8aAntTEALw_wcB&oldpid=5059121323241

pam w wrote:
I can't seem to see the Haglofs jackets without giving Sport Pursuit my email address. I have tried on some super Haglofs jackets, but found them very skinny round the arms. As @gorilla says, she might need several layers under that. A merino base layer and light jacket would only be OK for warmish days, not being on a long cold windy chairlift. I like Haglofs things and was very disappointed to have to return one I bought, but it was just too tight under the arms with anything other than a very light fleece underneath. And I am quite a scrawny size 10.


https://www.haglofs.com/gb/en-gb/touring-infinium-jacket-women/p/605026-4R6.html?size=020&gclid=Cj0KCQjw06OTBhC_ARIsAAU1yOXJIZ_DokwSVbZFJSLvFPgpLyj7BhSRjbKY_4NjzUMVZAnf4gqU_McaAhh9EALw_wcB

Half price on sport pursuit thankfully.

Thanks that's good info about the arms. I'll see if I can find anything else for her. Found this cheap padded jacket on decathlon:

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/women-s-synthetic-mountain-trekking-padded-jacket-mt-50-0-c/_/R-p-138625?mc=8357148&c=BLUE

Maybe if it fits underneath the haglof, and on top of the base layer (which is really thin), and the mid layer fleece (also quite thin), it could be a good solution.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Wed 27-04-22 18:06; edited 1 time in total
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@menatarms, I got convinced by the shell with layers argument a couple of seasons back. The reality has been that unless I’m touring or it’s April, I’m just not warm enough, even with additional layers (I’ve tried 5, which is the most that fit). I’ll be going back to insulated next season because I’m just fed up of being freezing most of the time. I agree with others that cheap insulated is the way to go for a first timer. I also note that the yellow jacket is explicitly marketed as a touring jacket, which I’m sure it’s fine for.
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Gämsbock wrote:
@menatarms, I got convinced by the shell with layers argument a couple of seasons back. The reality has been that unless I’m touring or it’s April, I’m just not warm enough, even with additional layers (I’ve tried 5, which is the most that fit). I’ll be going back to insulated next season because I’m just fed up of being freezing most of the time. I agree with others that cheap insulated is the way to go for a first timer. I also note that the yellow jacket is explicitly marketed as a touring jacket, which I’m sure it’s fine for.


That's interesting, I had a fairly cheap insulated jacket for a long time and tbh it always did the job, upgraded to a nice spyder one recently and while it's a huge improvement, my body was never really cold even before even in a white out, for me the issue was always the extremities (thankfully down & goretex gloves and merino socks have solved that!). Seem to be far fewer insulated jackets on the market these days compared to the shell ones.

Also just thinking really don't want her first impression of skiing to be ruined by feeling cold.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Wed 27-04-22 18:17; edited 1 time in total
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Just be aware those jackets are "water resistant" rather than "waterproof".

Layering up allows for much better temperature control Vs a big insulated jacket, although this does take a bit of trial and error at first. Also shell is much more versatile - I can use one jacket for skiing, hiking, or even just walking into town to pick up some shopping.

Hard shell Vs soft. Soft tends to be more breathable and more stretchy. Hard tends to be more more weather resistant and a bit lighter.

The suggestion of something cheap for first couple of trips is definitely a good one. For example this decathlon jacket is £35, waterproof enough for all but terrible weather (10k mm rating), has some nice ski features (sleeve pocket for lift pass, snow skirt), is not heavily insulted or garishly coloured meaning it can also be used in UK as a regular jacket rather than stuck up a loft for all but 1 week a year. https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/women-s-winter-ski-jacket-100-black/_/R-p-328197

For mid layers any cheap fleece jacket/sweatshirt works fine. Doesn't have to be merino or have a Patagonia or other fancy logo on it. Feel free to add extra layers if cold, even a regular long sleeve cotton (God forbid!) top is ok, on very cold days I've even used an old hoody for an extra layer. Remember it's a ski holiday not an artic expedition!
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Gämsbock wrote:
@menatarms, I got convinced by the shell with layers argument a couple of seasons back. The reality has been that unless I’m touring or it’s April, I’m just not warm enough, even with additional layers (I’ve tried 5, which is the most that fit). I’ll be going back to insulated next season because I’m just fed up of being freezing most of the time. I agree with others that cheap insulated is the way to go for a first timer. I also note that the yellow jacket is explicitly marketed as a touring jacket, which I’m sure it’s fine for.


What are you wearing for your layers? Even when it hits -20 in Canada most people don't have 5 layers under their shell!
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@menatarms, what time of year do you ski? I’d be worried about a soft shell in mid winter in snow/rain damp conditions, depending on what it is.

I’ve a very old archteryx soft shell (stingray) but it’s really a waterproof hard shell with a brushed inner so has done me fine from -20 to +15. There is loads of marketing around soft shells etc so look closely into what you get. I’ve a soft shell which I’d never ski in

https://www.activegearreview.com/snowsports/winter-apparel/arcteryx-stingray-jacket-review/amp/
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boarder2020 wrote:
Just be aware those jackets are "water resistant" rather than "waterproof".
The suggestion of something cheap for first couple of trips is definitely a good one. For example this decathlon jacket is £35, waterproof enough for all but terrible weather (10k mm rating), has some nice ski features (sleeve pocket for lift pass, snow skirt), is not heavily insulted or garishly coloured meaning it can also be used in UK as a regular jacket rather than stuck up a loft for all but 1 week a year. https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/women-s-winter-ski-jacket-100-black/_/R-p-328197


Wow that's amazing for £35! Sadly not in her size.

kitenski wrote:
@menatarms, what time of year do you ski? I’d be worried about a soft shell in mid winter in snow/rain damp conditions, depending on what it is.

I’ve a very old archteryx soft shell (stingray) but it’s really a waterproof hard shell with a brushed inner so has done me fine from -20 to +15. There is loads of marketing around soft shells etc so look closely into what you get. I’ve a soft shell which I’d never ski in

https://www.activegearreview.com/snowsports/winter-apparel/arcteryx-stingray-jacket-review/amp/


Sigh unfortunately Arc'teryx is out of our price range, their stuff is amazing though so maybe one day.

We'll be skiing mainly around February and March, but possibly some weekends in November - January too. Also, depending on travel restrictions changing, some skiing in China in the Hengduan Mountains at some small resorts which I'm very excited about.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Wed 27-04-22 18:35; edited 1 time in total
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Quote:

There is loads of marketing around soft shells etc so look closely into what you get.


I'm always suspicious when a jacket doesn't list its waterproof rating. Brands are very clever in their marketing using the term "water resistant" (like in the ops first link) when a jacket doesn't meet requirements for being waterproof. 10,000mm waterproof rating should be fairly standard requirement for a ski jacket, and needn't cost the earth (see £35 decathlon example). Gore Tex is great, although overkill for most that just want lift served skiing.
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@menatarms, is your partner a warm person or a cold one? And how sporty/active is she? IIRC from your thread about skis, you like going fast, skiing hard - do you have any indication of how she'll be?

If she is generally an active, throw herself into everything type of person, then a shell jacket with layers could work. Whilst she may stand around quite a lot, beginners also work harder when they're skiing can get relatively hot. Haglöfs tends to have a typical Scandi fit, i.e. tall and slim, so worth trying on some of their kit before shelling out too much cash.

If on the other hand, she's not so active or a bit nervous, then I'd opt for an insulated jacket. As others have said, Decathlon and brands like Dare2B are your friends here.

Personally I'd avoid anything that is marketed as a touring jacket because these have to cope with extremes of effort and be very light, and anyone touring is likely to carry a lightweight puffy in their pack to throw on when they stop moving. That doesn't work so well for piste skiing.
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mgrolf wrote:
@menatarms, is your partner a warm person or a cold one? And how sporty/active is she? IIRC from your thread about skis, you like going fast, skiing hard - do you have any indication of how she'll be?

If she is generally an active, throw herself into everything type of person, then a shell jacket with layers could work. Whilst she may stand around quite a lot, beginners also work harder when they're skiing can get relatively hot. Haglöfs tends to have a typical Scandi fit, i.e. tall and slim, so worth trying on some of their kit before shelling out too much cash.

If on the other hand, she's not so active or a bit nervous, then I'd opt for an insulated jacket. As others have said, Decathlon and brands like Dare2B are your friends here.

Personally I'd avoid anything that is marketed as a touring jacket because these have to cope with extremes of effort and be very light, and anyone touring is likely to carry a lightweight puffy in their pack to throw on when they stop moving. That doesn't work so well for piste skiing.



Some very good questions...

Well, I once (accidently) jumped the car on a country road at 70mph (got some decent air too!) and she thought that was great fun Laughing so I'm hopeful she'll be quite keen to go fast when she gets the skills. She's quite slim and petite (size 6), is a fairly active person, I wouldn't say she's athletic but she is reasonably fit, we go hiking up hills in the summer and wild camping around Scotland and she's never struggled, even carrying heavy packs (we've been too cheap to get ultra light gear...). I hope she won't get nervous but doesn't everyone when they're a beginner? Generally I'd say she's a slighlty warm person.

Good advice regarding the touring gear, I haven't tried touring but skinning up hills looks like hard work, and personally I never carry a pack at resorts so I doubt she would either.

I know it's a bit vain but we'll be skiing with a big group of family and friends for probably 1 or 2 weeks a year, all long term skiers with fancy gear, most of whom she doesn't know well yet. I'm keen she feels at home and not too self conscious, hence I don't mind us spending a bit more than normal for beginner stuff.

Will keep searching for this mythical yellow insulated ski jacket (the only one I found doesn't ship to the UK annoyingly).
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@menatarms, for the avoidance of doubt, I’m female, and to generalize, women seem to get colder on the mountain than men. Almost all the people I know who struggle with the cold skiing are female. My partner (male) rarely feels the cold even wearing significantly less than me. I’m not a particularly slow skier and nor do I spend much time standing around. If I could ski all the time I’d probably manage until it gets sub -15. But I also have to sit on lifts and this is where I start to really get cold.

The advantage of a shell is that you probably repurpose it for hiking or biking if skiing doesn’t work out!
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boarder2020 wrote:
Gämsbock wrote:
@menatarms, I got convinced by the shell with layers argument a couple of seasons back. The reality has been that unless I’m touring or it’s April, I’m just not warm enough, even with additional layers (I’ve tried 5, which is the most that fit). I’ll be going back to insulated next season because I’m just fed up of being freezing most of the time. I agree with others that cheap insulated is the way to go for a first timer. I also note that the yellow jacket is explicitly marketed as a touring jacket, which I’m sure it’s fine for.


What are you wearing for your layers? Even when it hits -20 in Canada most people don't have 5 layers under their shell!


5 including the shell - merino baselayer, merino mid-layer, heavyweight softshell, belay jacket, shell. And two pairs of merino long johns under the shell pants.
I’m not an especially cold person most of the time but when I get cold on the mountain I get really cold. I rarely had a problem (or at least a big problem) until I switched to shell 2 seasons ago. It was -18 in Tignes last December and I was miserably-struggling-to-function cold.
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@menatarms, I’d also ask about how good skiers you are. I’m a good skier (Basi l2) so find skiing doesn’t raise my HR at all so get cold skiing with standard uk skiers. Skiing pistes is Less hr than an easy walk on my HR
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Quote:

I don't mind us spending a bit more than normal for beginner stuff.

Make sure you also spend a bit more than normal on really good lessons for her!
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Gämsbock wrote:
@menatarms, for the avoidance of doubt, I’m female, and to generalize, women seem to get colder on the mountain than men. Almost all the people I know who struggle with the cold skiing are female. My partner (male) rarely feels the cold even wearing significantly less than me. I’m not a particularly slow skier and nor do I spend much time standing around. If I could ski all the time I’d probably manage until it gets sub -15. But I also have to sit on lifts and this is where I start to really get cold.

The advantage of a shell is that you probably repurpose it for hiking or biking if skiing doesn’t work out!


Thanks I'll bear that in mind. It's been a long time since I've seen properly cold conditions, worst I've seen skiing was around -20 and this poor girl got frostbite on her nose, wasn't pleasant. Yes I agree lifts are always where you really feel it, thankfully the technology seems to have improved so much these days it's much easier to deal with, my new gloves even have pockets for hand warmers!

pam w wrote:
Quote:

I don't mind us spending a bit more than normal for beginner stuff.

Make sure you also spend a bit more than normal on really good lessons for her!


Will do! It's going to be 1 on 1 classes and maybe even a summer training camp, none of this ski school group of 20 with an instructor who doesn't speak English I endured haha.
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I’d say, No
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If it has to be yellow that's very limiting and of course it will look dirty fairly quickly, but you could do a lot worse than this:

https://www.hellyhansen.com/en_gb/garibaldi-20-jacket-65747?color=595284
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It's a bit Captain Birdseye. But then all yellow jackets have a CB tendency..... wink
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ousekjarr wrote:
If it has to be yellow that's very limiting and of course it will look dirty fairly quickly, but you could do a lot worse than this:

https://www.hellyhansen.com/en_gb/garibaldi-20-jacket-65747?color=595284


Well I'll run it by her but given it's price hoping she passes Laughing


Found this which seems to tick all the right boxes:

https://www.roxy-uk.co.uk/presence-snow-jacket-for-women-3613375521437.html#cgid=snow_snowshop&camp=ppc_rx_gb-en_e_google_ongoing_ppctxt_ctxt_snow-all_-_brand&gclid=Cj0KCQjw06OTBhC_ARIsAAU1yOWSd1jldymP_3nmQ18HDxyxd3oZwTSChzWTod3EibNzL3xd6aYeaHoaAgpfEALw_wcB&start=5&hitcount=85

No idea about the quality? Seems to tick all the right boxes otherwise, 10k waterproofed, insulated, yellow. No goretex though.

There's also this which looks great....but the price!

https://www.mammut.com/uk/en/products/1010-28220-1242/la-liste-hs-thermo-hooded-jacket-women

This O'Neil one but not sure if it's insulated:

https://uk.oneill.com/products/zeolite-snow-jacket-chrome-yellow
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pam w wrote:
It's a bit Captain Birdseye. But then all yellow jackets have a CB tendency..... wink


haha indeed!
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There was some lovely yellow Phenix "Team Norway" jackets in TK Maxx this season.....maybe a bit much with all those logos on a Beginner, though. Madeye-Smiley

If your decision can wait, TK Maxx usually has some great bargains from late September.
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If you can afford it, a decent shell and puffer combo. Apart from skiing, both are useful in everyday life.

I carry/wear a shell when out riding, hiking, etc and there is the possibility of rain, or just to cut out the wind. The puffer is great on dry, cold days in town.
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ulmerhutte wrote:
If you can afford it, a decent shell and puffer combo. Apart from skiing, both are useful in everyday life.

I carry/wear a shell when out riding, hiking, etc and there is the possibility of rain, or just to cut out the wind. The puffer is great on dry, cold days in town.


I'm leaning that way, any puffers you'd recommend? Most seem too puffy to fit underneath a shell. My Rab down puffer is so warm, I can't imagine ever being cold in that thing.
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A shell with a puffy underneath (make sure there’s plenty of space) is far more versatile than an insulated jacket. Generally, in the Alps it doesn’t get *that* cold, though you could be unlucky with an extreme week, but then, more layers.

Soft shells are fine unless it’s very wet. If it’s snowing hard, they’re not that great, and I think they suit spring skiing better, when it’s warmer. And bear in mind that yellow will get filthy, but at least she’ll be easy to see Toofy Grin
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Old Fartbag wrote:
There was some lovely yellow Phenix "Team Norway" jackets in TK Maxx this season.....maybe a bit much with all those logos on a Beginner, though. Madeye-Smiley

If your decision can wait, TK Maxx usually has some great bargains from late September.



We have a bit of a family philosophy of buy once and buy high quality (within reason), also in the past had some bad experiences with stuff from TK Maxx, realised quite a bit of their stuff is fake.
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menatarms wrote:
I'm leaning that way, any puffers you'd recommend? Most seem too puffy to fit underneath a shell. My Rab down puffer is so warm, I can't imagine ever being cold in that thing.

Any thin, insulating jacket will be fine. Synthetic is fine. Doesn’t need to be technical either – I use a Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer, but my mum has something very similar from M&S which would work ok too. My first ski jacket was a 3 in 1 shell with zip-out puffy from TK Maxx, and would be ideal for your needs.
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Ok. Have a mix of all sorts for her to look at, will leave to her from here, thanks everyone!
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menatarms wrote:
Old Fartbag wrote:
There was some lovely yellow Phenix "Team Norway" jackets in TK Maxx this season.....maybe a bit much with all those logos on a Beginner, though. Madeye-Smiley

If your decision can wait, TK Maxx usually has some great bargains from late September.



We have a bit of a family philosophy of buy once and buy high quality (within reason), also in the past had some bad experiences with stuff from TK Maxx, realised quite a bit of their stuff is fake.


A lot of stuff in Tkmaxx is rubbish with a badge buy.some are good. I got a phenix Jacket for £128 that is this season and £600 on the phenix site.

It is insulated and I found it great on the BB this year and also in the fridge.
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menatarms wrote:
ulmerhutte wrote:
If you can afford it, a decent shell and puffer combo. Apart from skiing, both are useful in everyday life.

I carry/wear a shell when out riding, hiking, etc and there is the possibility of rain, or just to cut out the wind. The puffer is great on dry, cold days in town.


I'm leaning that way, any puffers you'd recommend? Most seem too puffy to fit underneath a shell. My Rab down puffer is so warm, I can't imagine ever being cold in that thing.


I have an Arc’teryx Cerium. They are however expensive, as is the case with all their products, but the quality is there. It is warm without being bulky and it packs down into a very small bundle. My Wife has a Patagonia puffer which she rates highly. I also have a Patagonia puffer vest. It is a go-to bit of kit for layering on warmer ski days and on cooler days around town.
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menatarms wrote:
also in the past had some bad experiences with stuff from TK Maxx, realised quite a bit of their stuff is fake.

That would surprise me - as I wouldn't expect a company of their size, to risk selling fake stuff, which is illegal and thus be unnecessarily risking their business and reputation. Certainly, I've had no problem with the quality of brands like Killy, Spyder and Mountain Force....though they can get the sizing wrongly labelled.
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@Old Fartbag, I am not sure they are fakes but some of the discount outlets sell so much some of the brands actually make stock at lower spec specifically for them.
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Old Fartbag wrote:
menatarms wrote:
also in the past had some bad experiences with stuff from TK Maxx, realised quite a bit of their stuff is fake.

That would surprise me - as I wouldn't expect a company of their size, to risk selling fake stuff, which is illegal and thus be unnecessarily risking their business and reputation. Certainly, I've had no problem with the quality of brands like Killy, Spyder and Mountain Force....though they can get the sizing wrongly labelled.


I'll give them another look, the stuff I suspected was fake was cookware so clothing may be completely fine.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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I am not sure they are fakes but some of the discount outlets sell so much some of the brands actually make stock at lower spec specifically for them.


Do you have any evidence for this, as I'd be a little surprised if true. The more common practice is buying the brand itself e.g. sports direct buying the likes of karrimor, Slazenger, Lonsdale etc. Then potentially making a much inferior cheaper product to sell off the old branding.

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I'm leaning that way, any puffers you'd recommend?


Problem with puffers is they become useless when wet, and also you need quite a baggy shell that doesn't compress the down. Baggy shell makes it potentially less wearable for non-skiing activities.

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We have a bit of a family philosophy of buy once and buy high quality (within reason)


There is some tat out there that will likely fall apart/not do the job. But you certainly don't need to spend a lot. For example the decathlon light down jacket 2 years ago, had pretty much exactly the same specs as the Rab equivalent, the only difference was the Rab costing 3x more. There are definitely cases like that where you are just paying for the logo.

You also need to ask if you really need "high quality". A few people have mentioned arcteryx and I think their jackets are as good as anything available. But unless you are hanging off the side of a mountain for a couple of weeks at a time somewhere really remote it's probably complete overkill. For a normal lift served ski holiday you really don't need gortex, 10,000mm waterproof is plenty.
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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!
Circling back to the above jackets, goretex infinium is great. I love my infinium gloves, which get used for touring and when it is well above freezing. They are windproof and regulate temperature well. But nothing made out of this stuff is going to keep you dry if it is very wet.

Yes, something like goretex pro shell is overkill for 95 per cent of days on the mountain. For the remaining 5 per cent it will make your life a lot more comfortable than it otherwise would be.

It really depends whether you see a situation when you might be out in very bad weather.
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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.
There are a few factors in play - function, fashion, price/value and where and when you are going to ski. Personally I think nothing looks more tragic than an all the gear no idea beginner struggling to stand upright but kitted out in spangly new Norrona and on the other hand plenty of Euros look well kitted out in Decathlon kit. Skiing is different in waterproofing requirements to say hiking in Scotland ( unless you are storm skiing in the PNW) but you may want pit zips and thigh zips to alternately dump heat and keep out wind.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
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Personally I think nothing looks more tragic than an all the gear no idea beginner …


Crying or Very sad

What about a North Face ski jacket on the 7.36 to Waterloo?
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