Use our buying guide to help answer all your skiwear questions. We have advice on best buys as well as a Ski Trip Checklist to help you prepare for your ski vacation.
To be chosen as a "Best Buy", an item must be the best item at a particular price point. Put simply, they are the most for your money. The question we get most is "What would you recommend?" The items on this page are our favorite products to recommend. They are all quality products from proven brands that offer fashion and function without breaking your bank account. You can find better performing and more expensive items on our site. You can also find less expensive items than these. This page is dedicate to those who are asking what do I need for my trip and what gives me the most for my money.
Ski Trip Checklist
Print-out our Ski Trip Checklist to make sure you have everything you need for the mountain.
Ski Jackets: Shells vs Parkas
Parkas have insulation in the form of a fleece or quilted liner or polyfill fibers. In many parkas, the liner will zip out and can be worn as a separate layering piece. These jackets are referred to as 3-in-1 or Triclimate.
Advantage - You get three jackets that match, usually cheaper than separate purchases.
Shells do not include insulation or liner jackets. However, they are usually still waterproof and wind resistant. Many shells are made to accept a liner jacket made by the same brand. However, liner jackets do not have to zip-in to be comfortable. Many advanced jacket combos do not zip-in. Advantage - Allows you to pick your on color combo and choose exactly how you layer for the slopes. Tip: We've found it to be more comfortable to wear the "Shell" and "Liner" without zipping them together. This allows the liner jacket to move with your body without having to move the shell. This translates to less work for you when twisting and turning and a less bulky, constricting feel.
Waterproof Explained - Best - Waterproof/Breathable - This is the best because of the comfort level it provides. The garment keeps water out while allowing your own body's moisture to escape. This keeps you dryer and more comfortable. - Better - Waterproof - This is good because it can offer a high level of waterproofness while keeping the cost down. A great idea for beginners or people on a budget. - Good - WaterResistant - These items are very good at shedding water, and for most purposes work very well in wet conditions. They simply allow more water to pass through the fabric than a comparable item labeled as waterproof.
Sealed Seams Explained
When materials are sewn together, holes are created that can potentially allow water to pass through them. - Best - Seam Sealed - All stitched seams are sealed. - Better - Critically/Strategically Seam Sealed - Saves money because only the most susceptible seams are sealed - Good - Not Seam Sealed - Some jackets lower the cost by including waterproof material but not sealed seams.
- Most heat loss on the slopes occurs through the neck and head. Adding or removing a hat or neck gaiter can make a huge difference in comfort. Even cold toe and fingers can be fixed by adding a hat.
- Extremities are the most vulnerable while on the slopes. I've never heard anyone say their stomach is cold. If your willing to shell out hundreds for a jacket, why not buy better socks and gloves. Fingers, toes and ears are the most common source of misery in the cold. The right gloves and socks can be the difference between loving and hating skiing.
- Cotton is just about the worst material you can wear in the cold. **Especially Socks** Cotton's thermal properties are limited and it will hold water that freezes and will in turn freeze you. You will notice that most socks and hats are made of acrylic, wool or similar materials.