As we get closer to the mountains reopening, it is a good time to revisit our friend the Ski and Snowboard/ Snow Packing List. This list is important so that you can plan ahead and be sure to pack the essentials you need to have the best adventures on the mountain. The last thing you want to do is to forget something, only to find out right before you head out for the day.
This year, we decided to do this a bit differently. In conjunction with our packing list, we have enlisted the help from some of our ski and snowboard experts to help you make sure you have the right gear. Even for you beginners, this series will show you what you need to be looking for when packing for your next trip.
The outer layer of defense is the parka/ shell. This waterproof layer has many useful benefits. Most importantly, this layer helps to block the wind and keep moisture from the snow and slush out. At the same time, the parka and shell help keep the heat generated by your body trapped close to the body. What’s the difference between the two?
- Parkas – While both are coats that go over your other layers, parkas generally focus more on warmth. They also tend to be a bit longer than a jacket. There are many parkas that are also water-resistant instead of waterproof. Either way, be sure to check the features of the parka before buying.
- Shells – Shell jackets tend to be waterproof and more form-fitting than parkas. While parkas tend to focus on warmth, it doesn’t mean that shell jackets are any less warm. In fact, many shell jackets utilize the latest technology such as Gore-Tex to help keep moisture out and keep heat in.
Ski/ Snowboard Pants
The next part of the snow packing list is your ski or snowboard pants. These are similar to the parka and shell jackets where they are your outer layer of defense against moisture, wind, and also help retain heat. You’ll have plenty of options with both ski and snowboard pants. Traditionally, many people wore ski bibs as their pants of choice. However, the latest in material technology has people favoring pants compared to the bibs.
- Bibs – Nowadays, bibs have the same technology compared to the pants. The main difference is the suspenders that help keep the pants up. Many bibs stretch up to the chest area and offer another layer to keep the heat closer to your body. The drawback is that some bibs are more difficult to remove, especially when you need to take a quick trip to the bathroom.
- Pants – Currently, pants are the go-to for many skiers and snowboarders. While they only go up to the waist, they are far easier to remove. As long as you layer up appropriately above the waist, pants are a good option. Make sure that your pants are waterproof! If you sit down in the snow, you don’t want a cold and soggy behind to ruin your day.
Mid Layer/ Base Layer
Next on the snow packing list is your mid and base layers. These go under your outer parka/ shell and bibs/ pants. A common misconception is that mid and base layers are the same. However, there are distinct difference between the two. What are the differences?
- Mid Layers – A mid layer is designed to retain heat close to the body.
- Base Layer – A base layer is designed to wick sweat away from the body.
Knowing the difference between the two is important for proper layering. By not having the right base layer, you could actually sweat enough to get yourself too cold to do any more activities on the mountain. As you warm up, your body naturally sweats to cool down. The issue is that if you don’t have a layer to wick the sweat off your body, the sweat will accumulate and soak into the layer. This will bring down the overall body temperature. At the same time, depending on the weather, you may need a mid-layer to trap that body heat and keep yourself warm.
Well, that’s it for part one of the snow packing list. We’ve covered the basics in layering, and how to choose your parka/ shell, pants/ bibs, and your mid/ base layers. If you want a more in-depth guide on how to layer, our guide on How to Properly Layer for Your Next Ski or Snowboard Adventure is a good place to start. If you have any questions, please reach out to us either in-store or online at your local Sun & Ski Sports.