If you’ve ever been intimidated by the pro skiers on the slopes, you’re not alone. Even looking from afar, they seem super cool swerving and sliding down the slopes with ease. Going up close, they also look stunning decked out in their own personal gear — goggles, skis, jackets, and the rest of the package.
Well, if you’re set on becoming an avid skier yourself, personal gear is a must. Not only does it help you avoid rental lines at resorts, but there’s just something about having your own personal equipment that makes the skiing experience more complete.
For those of you bursting with excitement to get started, look no further. Here’s an all-in guide to what gear you need and how to choose the best fit for you.
To start off, let’s consider the most important piece of equipment you need — the skis. To get the perfect pair, you first need to consider what length of skis you should get. How most people measure is to base it on their height. When upright, the skis should reach the top half of your face, just about eye level.
In addition, the more confident you are at skiing, the longer your skis can afford to be. For example, if you’re a beginner who is six feet in height, you would go for a 168CM pair of skis. However, if you’re more experienced, you may opt for skis between 170 to 185CM. Reference ski sizing charts are available in stores and online, so be sure to check them out!
Apart from ski length, you should also consider the type of skis to get. There are three main kinds, and you should choose based on the type of snow slope you’ll frequent. For park skiing, skiers usually go for twin tip skis that allow for both forward and backward movement. Length-wise, park skis also tend to be shorter.
Next, we have powder skis for skiing on powder slopes. These slopes tend to have fresh, uncompacted snow that is light and dry. Now these tend to be relatively longer than park skis, just about as tall as you are.
And last but not least are carving skis which is a more versatile option. Also known as all-mountain skis, they are a popular option for beginners that can take on fresh snow in almost all kinds of conditions. They work well on most trails, so you can go back and forth between slopes with no worries.
2. Ski Boots
Ski boots are another non-negotiable to get right. If you size down, they might hurt your feet and be a pain to put on. On the other hand, having too much free space for your toes might cause you to have less control on your skis.
Ski boots are sized on something known as a Mondopoint Scale, which is a universal scale for ski boots. Simply measure the length of your foot, and then use the chart to get your shoe size. Remember that your ski boots should not be too loose, so if you find that you’re in between sizes, get the smaller one and request for ski boot fitters to help stretch the boot.
3. Ski Goggles
When you’re zipping around the slopes, you need to shield your eyes from the wind and glare with a good pair of ski goggles. The first kind is known as spherical lenses, which are curved both horizontally and vertically. From the large frames, you can tell that the surface area of the lens is quite big. The size helps you with peripheral vision and minimises the glare from the sun and the snow.
However, those tend to be more pricey, so consider cylindrical lenses if you’re on a tight budget. These are flatter and only curve vertically, so the view is slightly more distorted when you put them on. That said, it’s perfectly suitable for beginners, and the retro look and feel makes it a popular option for those concerned about style.
Other qualities to look out for are if the ski goggles are anti-fog or polarised. Polarised goggles have a filter that gives added protection from glare, keeping your eyes safe and sound on the slopes.
4. Ski Jacket
For most people, this is the most fun part of choosing ski equipment. Ski jackets come in all sorts of fits, colours and brands to choose from. It’s really up to you, but what you do need to look out for is length and durability.
For length, most skiers choose hip length as it provides great coverage, but at the same time allows your legs to move freely. However, you can also go for a waist-length jacket for a slimmer silhouette, or a thigh-length one if you’re concerned about coverage. As for durability, make sure that your ski jacket is insulated to protect you from the cold. For maximum protection, it’s also recommended to pick something windproof and waterproof as well.
5. Ski Poles
No skier silhouette would be complete without a pair of ski poles in hand. These help you balance, turn, and create momentum as needed, so it’s important you get the right fit. The perfect pole height should allow your arm to sit nicely at a 90 degree angle when you’re standing straight. The right base depends on the type of skiing you want to do — poles for powder skiing tend to have a larger base, while poles for packed snow have a smaller base.
6. Ski Helmet
You’re almost all ready to get skiing, save for the last and most important piece which is the ski helmet. Falling is part and parcel of skiing, and that’s fine, as long as you’re well protected. A well-fitted and durable helmet is essential to protect your head and prevent serious injuries, especially if you’re going at high speeds.
To determine your helmet size, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head, going just around your eyebrows. When trying on the helmet, make sure it feels secure enough such that it won’t budge even if you shake your head or move around.
With these six pieces of equipment, you’re all ready to hit the slopes. There are tons of choices out there, so come back to this guide anytime you need help on choosing the right equipment for you. All in all, always remember that having the right gear is not just about looking good, but also being protected for an enjoyable and safe ski!