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Starting from scratch

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
OK welcome to you all, I have just whizzed over from the resort forum to discuss the kit with you guys.

So for those who have not spotted me on the resort forum heres the deal.

There are four of us doing Tremblant in Feb 2005 ( possible ) non of us have skied before we are in 2 couples.

So can anyone help with all the stuff we need to wear and buy, we really have not got a clue. We see terms and slang names everywhere, the last thing we want to do is get fleeced Shocked

Should we just walk into a high street shop or designer ski wear place and give them our credit card Sad or can you recomend the best places with good advice etc etc

We really are totally clueless regarding all this Embarassed

Many thanks again peeps

Fur
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
OK 'peeps',
this is the sort of thing we should have a feature on for people to refer to. But, for now, I'll get the ball rolling with a few items.

Basic clothing.
Feet: ski socks tend to be fairly thick but, importantly, unribbed.
Ski boots (which you'll hire in resort) are meant to fit tightly and ribbed socks will mutate your feet over the course of the day. Take at least 1pair/2days skiing unless you hate your room-mate bigtime Twisted Evil

Legs: Salopettes, are snowproof (some even waterproof) fairly padded, trousers with front and back bib and shoulder straps. As a beginner, they provide u the required luxury of being able to fall over and roll around in soft snow without the fear of it creeping into your more sensitive crevasses Shocked
Some thermal leggings in case of blizzard.

Don't forget your underpants Confused

Top: three layers. This is the sensible way to dress in the mountains!
Base Layer: synthetic (not cotton as it gets soaking).
Mid layer: fleece: u might want to take a light one and a thicker one in case of harsh conditions.
Top layer: (ideally) breathable jacket. This is where things can get a bit pricey.

I recommend 'Keela' of Scotland. Hardly anyone seems to have heard of them but I have it on good hearsay that the guy running the co. had something to do with the invention of GoreTex but had to 're-invent' it for his own kit as the patents were held by the co. he used to work for (I think that was it anyway).

Anyway, they do a wikid, breathable, double seemed, snowskirted jacket called the 'Munro' which retails for around the £150 mark. I got one mail order from the seconds shop at their factory for under £100. I think it compares well performance-wise with Goretex kit at > twice the price (or >3xwhat I paid).

U will also need: SKi gloves, Hat, shades and goggles ideally with a yellow/gold or orange lens for flat light (it really helps u know).

VERY IMPORTANT: SPF30+ sun cream. Must be water/sweat/snot resistant or the underside of your nose will suffer. Even in Jan, in supposedly un-sunny conditions, it's possible to get very burnt at altitude. Also Lip salve with a similar SPF.

Decathalon sports are pretty cheap for beginners' stuff. Not sure if there are any branches on the south coast, we go to the one in Docklands.

Also note the Ellis Brigham kit sale in the news
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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?
Well done, admin. I will address my comments to Furbag's specific concern of Quebec in January or February.

Furbag, Montreal now has a MEC store. If you lack for anything once you get to Canada, I strongly recommend you stop there as well as in the resort village. The MEC labeled goods are very well crafted (clothing for the most part) and well adapted to the conditions.

For a week, I pack 4 base layers (4 tops and 4 leggings), 3 fleece mid-layers, 6 pairs ski socks, and assorted underpants. This is not too much.

Goggles are essential, yes. A helmet is warmer than a hat.

Comments as to jackets: Breathable is good. Windproof and well-insulated is essential. Longer-skirted models are much better- you will be sitting on a cold chairlift.

Ski masks are more trouble than they're worth in those conditions, because any fogging of the goggles will ice up. Quebeckers invented something called a Pinch that lets warm exhaled air escape whilst protecting your nose.

Why I avoid ski masks: the neoprene ones tend to be clammy and oversize which means hard to adjust underneath goggles (fogging and icing). The 'fleece' ones are slightly better fitted but the warm exhaled air condenses at the mouthhole, and if you chip the ice out you'll also take fleece away with it, leaving something very ragged indeed.

Do not buy thicker ski socks thinking they'll be warmer! Buy thicker underpants and a better hat instead. Allow me to emphasise admin's point: more socks! Freshly laundered socks ARE warmer.

Make sure of a warm hat, even if you have a helmet. It is much colder in the evenings. Snow-capable boots you wouldn't mind walking through 20cm of snow with are very useful as well.

Gloves: Mittens are warmer. I also pack a thinner set (steering wheels are very cold for the first half hour).

Lip salve: use more than you think you need.
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admin, what's the UK for US 'gaiter', i.e. fleece neck band that can extend to cover chin and lower ears?

Furbag, get 2 for each person.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Second everything admin , comprex say above. Not relevant in this case, but for anyone with young kids where it's very cold, mittens are usually better than gloves for keeping children's fingers warm. Same applies to adults of course! And whether gloves or mittens, make sure they're not too tight. Some people use silk 'undergloves' (that'll be "des sous-gants" in Quebec!).

The quality of the gear, particularly the top layer of jacket/salopette, is important. Not only for weatherproofing, but there's little worse than dodgy zips when you're up on the slopes... lost keys, pockets full of snow.... You need plenty of storage, though some prefer a small rucksack.

Comprex's comments ref not using too thick socks is very important! And don't wear more than one pair. Anything that might restrict circulation is counter-productive.

If you are not going to use a helmet Confused make sure your hat is not only a warm one, but covers your ears easily.

comprex, think it's called a neck gaiter, or neck warmer, in the UK. In French I've heard it called a "cache-cou"... (could be handy to know in Quebec!)

Polo neck sweaters are good as well.

Get properly fitting boots! If you're hiring, the slightest discomfort when trying them on in the shop can develop into major pain. Make them do their job properly, try several pairs if you have to. The service in many rental places is pretty appalling. Too tight, too loose, too narrow, and you'll suffer.

Furbag, very sensible to sort this out before you go. We were up at Les Arcs when it touched -30°C a couple of times last winter and there were plenty of people around in extreme discomfort while we had a great time. Cleared the pistes effectively too!


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 13-09-04 6:53; edited 1 time in total
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Furbag, I'd put in a word for Columbia jackets and salopettes. A Canadian company so designed with the conditions in mind. Used them last year in La Plagne when it was just as cold as PG had next door in Les Arcs. Comfortable except on one fast, exposed chairlift where absolutely everybody froze. If they still do the Titanium Omnitec jacket (can't find that name on the web now) it has a super removable fleece liner which can be worn separately (when you're not skiing) and a removable hood (great for bad weather) plus loads of clever pockets and pouches. Snow skirt for when you fall in deep stuff. Pit vents for the warm days. Not too expensive as ski gear goes. Snow & Rock have Columbia stuff on sale on the web site - roughly half normal prices. If you're looking at other manufacturers check for some of these features I've listed.
Thermal underwear (Damart or M&S) can be a good idea for really cold areas. Don't laugh at long johns.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Furbag, I think there is a snowshow somewhere in Southampton at the beginning of October where you can get some good prices on kit. There are a couple of decent clothing shops in Brighton if you're in that area of the south coast.

You could wait until you go out there as prices in Canada are much better than any sale price you'll find over here!! Will just mean shopping on the first morning of your trip.

oh and P.S. no matter what price you find for them or someone will lend you one...............DO NOT BUY AN ALL IN ONE - unless you want to look like a tit NehNeh Embarassed Laughing

snowHead
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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!
kuwait_ian wrote:
Furbag, I'd put in a word for Columbia jackets and salopettes. A Canadian company so designed with the conditions in mind.


Columbia are a US company, from Portland, OR.

Anyway a good place to get gear cheap in the UK is in TK Maxx (if you have one close to you). They generally sell off last seasons gear very cheaply. They didn't have anything in the Soton store at the weekend but as the season gets closer you generally get quite a good selection at very cheap prices.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Lager, thanks for the correction. Apologies.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Would second the comment about TKmax.Have found loads of cheap gear at our local store(Tamworth)One thing I've noticed,you have to keep calling in to look.Stock seems to come and go weekly.Call in each time you are near,you will find some real bargains if you are patient.
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Right, I'm going to throw a slightly differing opinion in for the sake of a good argument!! Twisted Evil

Having skied in a good range of conditions from +25C (really!) to -25C, sunny, rainy, snowy, foggy etc, and also a few bizzare jacket destruction incidents, I've given my gear quite a testing....

- Either buy decent stuff or don't bother buying it at all - rent it, there are loads of places that do it, then you can see for yourself why you want to buy decent gear for next year without having to blow loads of money up front. (Probably not too much of an issue if you just do 1 nice sunny week a year in France, but you'll know what I mean after a few days in Canada!!).
My Jacket and pants are made by Arcteryx - extremely good, but you'll need to be in a torrential rainstorm in Whistler to make you get over the price!! Shocked

- Buy decent goggles (ie Oakley, Smith, Spy, etc). Cheap goggles are worth what you paid for them, I found this out the hard way in Banff (v. cold!). Get ones with double lenses, good vents and a fairly light colour (orange/persimon/rose/etc). I have Oakley A-frames with a high intensity persimon lens and they are great (though a touch pricy)

- Boots. If you've done a few lessons (maybe give the snowdome a visit) and you're pretty sure your into the skiing thing - buy your own boots, get footbeds fitted and visit a local dry slope to make sure they fit absolutely properly (otherwise get the shop to sort them out).

- I must have super honky feet because I wouldn't wear my socks more than one day!! Embarassed snowHead

- Gloves; ones with seperate liners are a good thing (though I still don't have a pair with seperate liners!) - my Salomon gloves (that I don't use anymore!) have an irritating liner that is only stitched in at the top and it pulls out if you're not careful and is a real b**ch to get back in
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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.
Furbag for your middle layers, try to them to fit well underneath the jacket you choose.
Very loose armpit/sleeve/chest areas tend to present problems, and who can find the pit zips in the third layer down whilst wearing gloves anyway?

Cinch-down bomber-jacket style waistbands or hems are great on garments designed for use on their own. When worn as a layering system they tend to make everything underneath ride up or bunch up, and kidney frostbite is terrifically embarassing. I like a loose waistband that can be tucked into the salopettes.

stuarth, he and his friends have to get to the third day in Canada! Laughing 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
Furbag,

Admin's post is on the money in terms of gear.

As you've never been skiing before: either scrounge or hire any gear you can apart from the stuff you wouldn't want to: base layers and socks.

Then, when you're out there and decide that skiing is the nuts, go to MEC as suggested by comprex, because they are fantastic value. You used to have to pay a nominal joining fee but more than offset by prices.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I would definately recommned the ski show in southampton. Last year at the same show (but at NEC) there were loads of bargains to be had. Ellis Brigham were there and they were selling all there jackets at 50% off. They were last years stock and wanting to sell before the new stuff came in.

http://www.globalsnowshows.co.uk
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Wow thanks for all the advice peeps, Glad I found you lot. Very Happy

Sorry i have not replied recently but have been digesting all the info in order to sort out what we are all going to do/buy/beg/borrow.

Many thanks admin and certainly a beginers guide would be a very good idea as currently we have not found anything on the net at all. And if you go into a shop in the UK ( as we have a few weeks ago ) all we got was some 12yr old sales bloke throwing masses of techy terms about that we really hadnt got a clue about. Shocked took us a while to work out what sallopettes where Embarassed he also wanted to remove hundereds of UK pounds from my beer wallet. What sort of money is this lot likely to cost, just a rough guide would do i.e. should we allow £1000/person or £750 etc etc .????

We currently having a bigger problem as we dont seem to be able to get a booking on the dates required, but I have mentioned this on the resorts forum so wont repeat it here.

One other question regarding lessons/ski lift passes etc :- should we book ie a ski pack thingy the brochures go on about or wait until we get out there and then track it all down Puzzled

Cheers people once again.

Fur
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There's a nice ladies jacket for sale on ebay Furbag Wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Furbag, can you get to the Southern Ski show (first weekend in october) near Southampton, A few years ago I got my friends well equiped for a very reasonable price there

Ooops just noticed Chris Downeys post, but he's quite correct

I'd allow up to a couple of hundred pounds for a really good jacket but you may find one on sale in last years colours for under £100

Then ski pants or sallopettes as you desire plus thermals, good ski socks, a decent pair of goggles and a set of sunglasses plus hats and so on, I'd allow an absolute maximum of £500 for kit. You won't need skis, boots poles etc as you will be hiring them to start off with.

If you can get down to the ski show send me a PM and I'll try to meet up with you there and offer a little advice on kit if you'd like that.
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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?
Furbag,

As Nick W says, hire!

If you're in the 'middle-ish' Confused of the south coast, then a pretty good bet is Edge 2 Edge ( www.edge2edge.co.uk/rent.html ) in Crawley. Also use them for boot hire... it saves the massive queues in resort and you can spend more time over the fitting - also you can leave them at the airport on your return!
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D G Orf, don't let him buy a soft shell for Tremblant. Sometimes they stop the lift under a snow cannon. Shocked

Furbag, I'd take D G up on that offer (look under the top-right Snowheads logo)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Furbag, re pre-booking the ski pass as a general rule you won't lose or gain very much by doing that. Unless the currency exchange rate swings a long way between the time of booking and the holiday. It is however more money up front. Some places the Tour Ops can get them ready in advance so it can save you hassle on your exciting 1st day.

Don't know about Tremblant (if you are still hooked on there ?) but in some places you might not even need a lift pass as an absolute beginner if the nursery slopes have free lifts. The T.O. brochures should make that clear if it is available in your chosen resort. Only fair to warn you that you are not likely to be zooming around all over the place in your 1st week. But enjoy, anyway. snowHead
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Just though I'd add something to this:

Quote:
- Buy decent goggles (ie Oakley, Smith, Spy, etc). Cheap goggles are worth what you paid for them, I found this out the hard way in Banff (v. cold!). Get ones with double lenses, good vents and a fairly light colour (orange/persimon/rose/etc). I have Oakley A-frames with a high intensity persimon lens and they are great (though a touch pricy)


When I was in NZ last year I had a little accident that required 7 stitches on the head. When I was in getting them done one of the doctors told me about another case that was in there that day. He said some girl had cut all across her forehead. She had face planted while wearing a pair of oakleys. According to him most "cheap" goggles whould have broken but the sturdy oakleys didnt and impaled themselves in her forehead. Confused

Having said that it's imperative to get goggles that dont fog up easily. However I've never had problems with el cheapo brands for around 35Euro

BTW The medical cover in NZ is amazing

My $.02
D
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Yeah but she could've worn the goggles again Wink
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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!
The only thing I'd add to this on the subject of keeping your feet as comfortable (or as least uncomfortable) as possible is:

Cut your toenails before the holiday!

This may sound daft, but I know someone who lost both big toenails because the tight-fitting ski boots didn't get on well with the overly long nails. And they'll wreck your nice new ski socks!
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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.
Furbag, (one of the names of our cat by the way - she likes to coat most ski gear!) It is a delight to have you. We love to give advice to newbies!.

I want to emphasise the sun protection. Use at least factor 30 even on cloudy days.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I recommend a camelbak thingey - theyre sooo great!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Diarmuid wrote:
Just though I'd add something to this:

Quote:
- Buy decent goggles (ie Oakley, Smith, Spy, etc). Cheap goggles are worth what you paid for them.....

When I was in NZ last year I had a little accident that required 7 stitches on the head. When I was in getting them done one of the doctors told me about another case that was in there that day. He said some girl had cut all across her forehead. She had face planted while wearing a pair of oakleys. According to him most "cheap" goggles whould have broken but the sturdy oakleys didnt and impaled themselves in her forehead. Confused

Having said that it's imperative to get goggles that dont fog up easily. However I've never had problems with el cheapo brands for around 35Euro

I saw a similar injury where a fall resulted in top of the range Uvex goggles cutting into the skin over the cheekbone. But then, the main purpose is to protect the eyes, isn't it? How safe would your eyes be with a cheap pair that smashed easily?
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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.
Furbag, this may seem a strange thing for a skiier to advocate, but if I were starting from scratch as of now - I'd board rather than ski.

To paraphrase an American ski instructor I was talking to a few years ago, after a few weeks on ski's you're an intermediate blue run skiier, after a few weeks on a board you're off piste and look like an expert.
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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
marc gledhill wrote:
Furbag, this may seem a strange thing for a skiier to advocate, but if I were starting from scratch as of now - I'd board rather than ski.

To paraphrase an American ski instructor I was talking to a few years ago, after a few weeks on ski's you're an intermediate blue run skiier, after a few weeks on a board you're off piste and look like an expert.


I think if you read between the lines and eavesdrop you'll find a lot of skiers reckon they're an expert after a couple of weeks as well Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I board and ski i did find boarding easier to learn but found it harder than skiing to get good at much prefer skiing over all just too much hassle getting around on a board for me especially if you have to go on a drag lift
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

I recommend 'Keela' of Scotland. Hardly anyone seems to have heard of them but I have it on good hearsay that the guy running the co. had something to do with the invention of GoreTex but had to 're-invent' it for his own kit as the patents were held by the co. he used to work for (I think that was it anyway).
OK, I've since found out that the guy didn't invent Goretex but does make the waterproofing seem strips and machine for sealing almost all waterproofs everywhere (apparently).

Much more importantly though, U can now buy these jackets in snowHeads snowShops.
(really, I didn't have this sorted out when I recommended it in the first place Little Angel )
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Love it, click on the colour option links and there's a snowhead wearing a jacket!!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just thought I'd add a 'budget' option on ski gear- I know there is a lot of truth in the saying 'You get what you pay for' but I have a real aversion to paying vast amounts of money for stuff if I can get something cheap!

I hired stuff for my first trip, and then i bought ski kit from the high street- trousers from Top shop and a jacket from H&M, both around £50. They are fine but the jacket is lightweight, so I went to a retail outlet centre (Mc Arthur Glen) and got a really good, cheap gillet fleece (Helly Hansen) I think, that I can put on if it's freezing. I agree that good quality socks and hat are a must, but for base layer I wear lycra leggings and short sleeved t-shirts (the breathable type) that you can get again from retail outlet, (North face etc) pretty reasonably. The next layer I wear is a fleece zip roll neck. You can pick these up fairly cheaply from most high street stores. Last year ALDI did a really good ski top selection that did the job and cost very little.

I have spent a lot (£50) and very little (£6) on sunglasses and actually found the cheap ones better as the expensive ones mist up when ever you stop moving. Goggles I have spent about £20 and never been happy with them.

Aldi did some excellent neck gaiters last year- bought them for the whole family and they were much better than the expensive one from Millets which made my glasses steam up even more as it was too tight.

Gloves are my biggest problem. I bought a cheap pair from H&M kids range which were fantastic for keeping my hands warm but split along the thumbs from carrying my skis. My second pair from Millets cost £25 and were crap! I wore them for a few hours and my hands were soaking with sweat. Had to buy a pair in resort which seem Ok but not as good as H&M.

Last season i started using a small rucksack which was a god send as you can pack your goggles, hat , a bottle of water, suncream and most importantly CHOCOLATE!!

Have a good trip!
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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?
Quote:

most importantly CHOCOLATE!!

Laughing Typical woman Laughing
You forgot to mention Vodka or similar alcholic refreshment
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Helena wrote:
Just thought I'd add a 'budget' option on ski gear- I know there is a lot of truth in the saying 'You get what you pay for' but I have a real aversion to paying vast amounts of money for stuff if I can get something cheap!



Except Furbag is going to Tremblant = v.cold!!

Having actually tried this on my very first ski outing (to banff = v.cold) Try skiing with sunnies in the very cold or a bit of snow, then change to your cheap goggles, then realise you wasted £20 on your cheap goggles, go to the nearest ski shop and get some decent ones.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
On the Gloves issue I bought some superb "Level X-Multi Plus" gloves last year, when I bought them I just tried them on and got the most comfortable pair but they were expensive at about £40-£60 (cant remember exactly how much) however it wasn't till I got them home that I realsied they are actually an inner and an outer glove, the inner is a thinly lined Goretex Windstoper glove with a leather palm that is great for skiing in on hot days, the outer is a breatheable insulated fleece lined glove with preshaped fingers and a leather palm which could be worn with or without the inner, as a guess I'd say that they are ideal for all but arctic conditions up to summer skiing, mind you for that price they need to be, Oh build quality also looks to be pretty good as well
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Quote:
Gloves are my biggest problem. I bought a cheap pair from H&M kids range which were fantastic for keeping my hands warm but split along the thumbs from carrying my skis. My second pair from Millets cost £25 and were crap! I wore them for a few hours and my hands were soaking with sweat. Had to buy a pair in resort which seem Ok but not as good as H&M.


I know some people diss them, but since I got ski carriers, my gloves have never cut up (the same would go for jacket shoulders, but I never had a problem with those). As the carriers were half the cost of the gloves, they've already saved me. Other than that, I got some fleece inners and warm and waterproof outers (separate makes, just checked the fit and bought to requirements and cost) and they've coped with all conditions so far.

If going to an area that's that cold, it's worth taking some of those teabag like handwarmers, to get you through the worst days (in case you discover your gloves aren't as warm as you thought). After discussion on this site we reckoned that fixing them to the underside of your wrist was a good idea as it warms the blood that's flowing into your fingers (though I haven't had to try this yet). you could try and get some sweat-bands and make a small hole to insert the warmer inside. Otherwise, putting them between inner & outer gloves, at the palm does a reasonable job without making the hands too warm (you can pull the fingers out of the outer glove and grip the warmer trough the inner.

They do do feet ones (but you do well to not have uncomfortable lump in your boot) which go hotter and these worl even better between the inner & outer if it's very cold (first two days in Cervinia in 2003 were the coldest I've experienced but the fingers were toasty).
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