Clothing for snow sports typically costs a pretty penny, so it’s best to do your research before investing in new gear. Be sure to take size measurements before you go shopping and have a general idea of the clothing best suited for the environment in which you plan to ski.
JacketsA waterproof breathable ski jacket is the most essential piece of outerwear — and where you should consider investing most of your budget. Depending on the temperature, plan to wear your jacket on top of other layers. These can include soft-shell midlayers, insulated midlayers, and/or long underwear.
Buying a jacket that fits comfortably over layers is essential to staying warm and comfortable out on the slopes. When shopping for a ski jacket, make sure you size up enough that the jacket won’t restrict your range of motion or compress the insulation you’ll be wearing for warmth underneath. Whether you choose a hardshell or an insulated ski jacket will depend on the temperatures in which you’ll primarily be skiing, in addition to the number of layers you choose to wear underneath. No matter which type of jacket you pick, there are three crucial features to make sure it includes: a helmet-compatible hood, wrist gaiters, and a powder skirt. A helmet-compatible hood will keep your head and neck dry when snow falls and should fit snugly around your helmet without feeling restrictive. Wrist gaiters ensure that when you wipe out (and you will, at one point or another) you won’t end up with sleeves full of snow. A powder skirt serves a similar purpose, but for your torso instead of your arms.
Pants or BibsYour ski pants or bibs should be waterproof to keep you dry in unexpected precipitation. Like your jacket, you can choose between an insulated or hardshell type. As far as fit goes, size up in expectation of wearing your pants over a layer or two, but not as much as you would your jacket. Because the sport of skiing and snowboarding requires so much lower torso movement, you want to be sure that your pants or bibs aren’t too restrictive. Look for options that offer 4-way stretch or a relaxed fit.
For features, you’ll want to choose ski pants or bibs with vents to allow for air circulation and ventilation and snow gaiters, designed to keep snow out of your boots. Also, if you’re primarily a skier, you’ll want to pick out pants with reinforced cuffs so that the edges of your skis don’t wear out the bottom fabric of your pants.