Several elements will determine your choice of outerwear, namely waterproofing, breathability, ventilation and insulation. Whether you are skiing or snowboarding you should choose a product that offers the highest possible breathability and waterproofness that your budget will allow. Love and Piste offer a range of garments for cold mountain conditions.
Having selected breathable outerwear it must be used in conjunction with a moisture wicking thermal base layer and mid layer. Moisture (perspiration) must be transported away from your skin by your base and mid layers in order to keep you dry and warm. Love and Piste have an extensive range of base layer thermals, mid layer fleeces and insulation layers to help you build a versatile layering system.
There are varying levels of "waterproof" fabrics available. The industry standard for Measuring the fabric's water permeability is to place a column of water on the fabric and the water level is increased to build up the pressure to find the point at which the water starts to permeate the fabric. The column of water is measured to give the fabric's waterproof rating in mm. e.g. 10,000mm. The higher the figure, the better the waterproofing level of the garments. Whilst the fabric might be waterproof, a garment also requires that all seams are taped, to prevent water seeping through the stitching.
"Sealed Critical Seams" means the outside seams, i.e. shoulders, hood and arms are taped.
For a garment to keep you dry on the inside, the outer fabric and lining must be breathable. Even in cold conditions you will perspire during activity and a garment without sufficient breathability will allow moisture, i.e. perspiration, to build up as condensation inside the jacket. This moisture will then quickly cool down when you stop, leaving you uncomfortably cold.
Jackets and pants often feature venting (eg: underarm venting or outer-leg venting) to allow the rapid escape of excess body heat.
The level of insulation will vary but most outerwear will offer some form of insulation. Most garments are padded, albeit lightly, and constructed of varying insulated fabrics. Shell jackets are lightweight, but they will not have any insulating property, so insulation must come from layers being worn underneath. A 3-in-1 jacket offers a versatile choice, as it consists of an outer jacket and a zip-out insulation layer. The outer jacket may be worn on its own as a "shell jacket" or with the inner as a warm alternative. The inner jacket may often be worn alone as an apres-ski or spring skiing garment.
It is essential to keep your outerwear clean of dirt and grease in order to retain the waterproof and breathable performance of your garment. If the pores of the fabric get blocked the water molecules are allowed to seep through the dirt and through the fabric. Similarly, breathability may be compromised. We offer various Nikwax garment-care products which have been specially developed to clean and rejuvenate the waterproofing and breathability of your outerwear. For further detailed information on garment care visit www.nikwax.com.
Having selected your outerwear, based on your personal choice and budget, it is important to ensure that your mid and base-layers are also made of a moisture wicking thermal material. Moisture (perspiration) must be transported away from your skin by your base and mid layers in order to keep you dry and warm.
The mid-layer is versatile, allowing you to add or remove extra insulation as weather conditions demand, to maintain a comfortable body temperature. However, it must be highly breathable to allow moisture to pass from your base layer through to the outer layer. Wearing multiple thin layers is less bulky and more versatile than wearing one single thick layer.
Getting this layer right is crucial as it sits closest to the skin. It allows perspiration from activity to be transported away from the skin and out through each layer of your snow sports clothing. The thermal base layer must be close fit to maximise the fabric's moisture wicking capabilities. Cotton is not a suitable baselayer choice as it absorbs moisture and holds it next to your skin, which makes you feel damp and, during periods of inactivity, your body will be cooled down dramatically.
Protect and insulate your extremities!
A warm, waterproof pair of gloves or mittens is essential. Do make sure the gloves cover the wrist, as you will feel cold if they're exposed. Mitts can often be warmer than gloves, particularly for children as they are also easier to put on. A second pair of gloves is a good idea so that you always have a dry pair.
Gloves should be snug but not tight. If there is too much space in your gloves they will take longer for your body to warm the air around the hand and will lose heat more rapidly. However, if they are too tight they will constrict circulation and cause the hands to become colder. Gripping a ski pole comfortably is a good indication of fit. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wristguards, which are excellent for novice snowboarders.
Goggles and shades are vital for protecting your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet rays and damaging radiation, whilst on the mountain slopes. When it is snowing, and in flat light conditions, visibility is often difficult so goggles are a better option than shades. The lenses in your goggles should provide both protection and contrast to allow better visibility.
For children, goggles will crucially stay in place and also create a complete snowproof seal around the eyes. Even babies who are not skiing must have protection from the sun's glare.
Sunglasses or shades, in a wrap-around design, provide protection against wind and glare in good snow conditions but do not offer the same protection as goggle.
Snowboots keep feet warm, dry and safe when walking on slippery snow covered surfaces around the resort.
Be it tube socks or technical socks we have a variety of colours and designs to keep feet warm and secure in ski or snowboard boots.
Up to 60 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat, headband or helmet is essential when it's cold. A fleece neckwarmer or face mask is a must on cold days.
Always use a high factor cream as even in heavy cloud you could still burn, because the sun's rays are more intense in the mountains with the reflection from the snow.
Wearing safety gear, such as helmets and body protectors is a personal choice. They have become increasingly popular during the last five years, particularly in the USA. In Italy, it is now compulsory for all children under 14 to wear helmets while skiing or boarding. In many US resorts children under 13 must wear helmets on the slopes.Others recommend helmet wearing but ultimately leave it to the parents' discretion. All ski schools in US resorts insist that under 13's wear helmets in their lessons.
New technology has given helmets better ventilation and made them lighter and more comfortable. The designs are now much funkier, and with nearly 40% of all skiers and boarders now wearing helmets, they have much greater "slope cred".
In order to fit a helmet first, establish the helmet size ie: the circumference of your head just above your eyebrows. When putting the helmet on to your head align the front of the helmet with your eyebrows and pull down on both straps until it is comfortable. There should be no gaps between the lining of the helmet and your head. The back of the helmet should not touch the back of your neck. Choose a helmet that is goggles compatible.
Helmets need to comply with one of three standard systems: