Choosing your ski clothes
“Let’s work our way up, starting with the socks. A single pair (never two!) is enough, but they need to be good quality. Acrylic is better than wool, and avoid cotton at all costs, as it retains humidity. Make sure you get the right size, to avoid folds, which can increase the sensation of cold. Some socks are made with gold thread, which can generate warmth—ideal if you’re sensitive to cold, but they cost twice as much as traditional socks, which are usually around €20-25.
Ski suits are less practical and versatile than ensembles, but it all depends on your preference. Go for “2 in 1” (i.e. with removable lining), for your jacket definitely, but also possibly for your trousers. The outer layer should be water-proof (gore-tex or a similarly water-resistant material), even if you are wearing a goose down jacket (still the best option). Be careful though as waterproof clothes can be affected by washing. Dry cleaning can retreat your clothes and there are certain commercially available sprays that you can apply yourself. For the inner layer, you need warmth: fleece or PrimaLoft, a very soft new material. Budget €200 for a suit and €300-€400 for a good quality ensemble.
Under your jacket, (and under your trousers if you don’t like the cold), wear an insulating but breathable undergarment. Top of the range is merino wool, but acrylic can be just fine too. Between €20 and €50.
Always go for “2 in 1” gloves, which contain a layer of air, providing insulation from the cold: waterproof on the outside and very warm on the inside, still in PrimaLoft. You can wear silk under-gloves if you have very sensitive hands, in which case, mittens are more suitable. Reckon with €90.
When it comes to hats, it’s mostly about looks. But besides keeping warm, your head needs protection. Accidents, particularly blows to the head, are becoming more common at ski resorts, and helmets, adopted by skiers from the North and certain monitors, are no longer just for children. More and more adults are wearing them, and rightly so. You can get one from €65.
The only other thing you need is goggles, with minimum category 3 sun lenses, and a clear ski mask for bad weather. Between €50 and €100, maybe more.
We won’t tot all that up, but getting your ski gear together is clearly a costly business. Still, no worries, there are affordable brands out there with excellent kit. Just pay attention to quality when purchasing, rather than just looks and label! And if you simply must buy from a well-known brand, wait until the end-of-season sales (mid-April) to get kitted up, ready for the following season!”