Equipment

Basic Equipment

Your basic equipment will be your skis, boots and poles.

Start by renting Skis, Poles and Boots

Your will have a better skiing experience if you rent skis and boots instead of borrowing a friend's old pair of dated skis or boots. Even if you have a pair of old skis or boots, learning to ski on a modern pair of skis is not only safer than skiing on old skis, but, it will help you progress faster.

When you know you love this sport go to a reputable ski shop and tell them your goals as a new skier and let the experts help you select the right equipment. A day on the slopes with ski boots that don’t feel comfortable can ruin your day or your ski trip. Skis that are too long for your ability can do the same. This is a sport where equipment is important to enjoying and advancing in the sport. Even if you decide to purchase on-line either try the items on at a local dealer first or when you get your boots on-line make sure they are a “GOOD FIT” or exchange them for a pair that are.

Skis

Selecting the right skis is important. Your height, weight, experience, type of skiing and even the terrain are all factored in choosing the right pair of skis. So as you can see finding a reliable and knowledgeable source to purchase your skis is very important. Be honest about your abilities and goals and you will be more likely to get the skis that will best suit your skiing needs.

Types of Downhill Skis

There are three basic types of downhill skis all-mountain, carvers, powder, twin tip/freestyle. There are a few other variations of skis like Mono skis, Telemark skis, Snowblades.

This design style covers All-Mountain, Carvers and Twin Tip Skis

All Mountain

Best choice for a versatile all snow conditions and all terrains skiing. Sometimes referred to as carvers, all-mountain skis are suited for all age groups, all experience levels and both genders. These come with narrow waists, deep side cuts, and rockered tips make them easier to turn. They hold an edge on groomed runs and hard pack snow, and high-end models can satisfy performance expectations of expert skiers. These aren’t necessarily the best at any one terrain or snow type but if only want to buy one ski this is the one you want.

Carvers

Best for those that like the feeling of laying a ski on edge and arcing a perfect turn, carving skis are what you want. These skis have narrower waists and shorter turn radius for edge to edge quickness and responsive turning. Suited best on groomed runs and hard pack. The beginner-intermediate skis in this category are designed to make learning how to turn as easy as possible.

Twin Tip

Best choice for tricks with the ability to ski backwards. These are a versatile and fun choice for terrain parks as well as groomed trails. New designs have made these a versatile ski with the ability to jump on your turns and have some fun in light powder.

This design style covers Powder and Alpine Touring Skis

Best for deep powder and backcountry skiing. These skis are sometimes referred to as fats or super fats. These skis have very wide waists. The wide waists increase flotation in soft powder snow without sacrificing too much agility on groomed slopes. They efficiently cut through sloppy snow and provide stability in crusty, variable snow. These skis are not built for precise turns on groomed runs, but they are the best choice for a day when the powder is knee to waist deep. These are also suited well for backcountry untracked areas of a mountain. With the use of climbing skins, you can track uphill to reach fresh, fresh snow.

Bindings

Your bindings are the equipment that hold your boots to the skis. Some of the new skis come already matched with bindings integrated to work best with the ski. If your skis do not already have bindings it would be best to have the ski retailer that you purchase your skis from match the best bindings for your ski choice and experience. You will need your boots to be available when mounting or setting your bindings for them to lock your boots properly.

Boots

Once again the right boot and a comfortable fit are the keys to not only enjoying the sport but your performance as well. Try to think of it like this. If your skis where the tires on your car then your boots would be the steering wheel doing the driving. Yes, they are that important. Today’s boots are not only designed for comfort but many of them have customizable features. A bad fit or boots that exceeds your performance level can ruin your day on the slopes. Explain your skiing habits and your abilities to your boot fitter and let them assist you with the boot options available. You may want to consider custom footbeds if your boots don’t already have them. They can improve both your comfort as well as your performance. Boots are one of the most important component of your ski setup, and it’s worth spending extra time, effort and even a little more money to get the right boots. Ski boot shells are made of hard plastic, so any conflicts between the shape of your feet and the shape of your boots can cause fitting problems. The goal in ski boot fitting is to find a size and shape that you’ll be comfortable in without compromising too much performance. Everyone’s foot is unique, and regardless of what some boot fitters will tell you there is no one “right” way to fit boots. The size, shape, flex and features of your ideal boot will vary depending on ability level, aspirations, height and weight, frequency of days on the hill, and other factors. Because of their construction and the job they have to perform, ski boots will never be as comfortable as street shoes and you shouldn’t try to fit them the same way. Here are some things you’ll want to consider when choosing a boot:

  • Skier Type
  • Size
  • Last
  • Flex
  • Cuff Shape
  • Features

Poles Poles will become an important part of your skiing and even help you negotiate lift lines but the size and type won’t be as critical as your selection of your skis and boots. These are held in both hands and are used to assist with turning. They can also assist in pushing on flat terrain or uphill slopes as well as used to assist in standing after a fall.

Gear

Ski HelmetSki Helmet

A ski helmet is a necessary component of your ski wardrobe. Ski helmets are proven to reduce injury, and there's no reason not to wear one, as ski helmets are more affordable than ever and easy to find at any ski shop. It is always a good idea to protect you head. Just like many other sports it is the safest option no matter your skill level. Yes, your skiing on snow but snow can run from soft new powder to as hard as ice. Snow isn’t the only thing to be concerned about as there are trees, poles, rocks and probably more importantly other skiers and boarders. Skiing is relatively a safe sport but a little extra insurance by wearing a helmet is worth serious consideration. If you find that your head gets chilly under your helmet, consider wearing a helmet liner or skull cap as an extra insulating layer.

Eye Protection Ski Goggles or Sun Glasses

Bright snow reflects the sunlight, and the higher altitudes means the sun's UV rays are much more powerful. Protect your eyes and increase your visibility by wearing ski goggles. Polarized lenses are especially helpful in reducing glare. Goggles have a few advantages over sunglasses. Goggles have a strap that helps hold them in place as well as preventing wind and snow from entering the eye area. They are also less likely to get lost or broken. You may not realize it due to the altitude and cold temperatures; the sun is extremely strong on the mountain. Snow reflects the sunlight, and higher altitudes means the sun's UV rays are even stronger. Protect your eyes and increase your visibility by wearing eye protection. Polarized lenses are especially helpful in reducing glare.

Apparel

Base Layer

For your base layer, you should invest in long underwear designed for winter sports. The woolen or cotton-thermal long underwear of your grandparents' generation is no longer your best bet. It's important to wear long underwear that is wicking, breathable, and fast drying, so if you work up a sweat you won't find yourself shivering. Also, your base layer should be form fitting and contoured so it fits smoothly under your ski clothes.

Mid-Layer

Your mid-layer is worn over your long underwear, and under your ski jacket and ski pants. Although you may shed your mid-layer on warmer days, you'll find that in colder temperatures, wearing a fleece layer really cuts the chill and prevents the wind from reaching you. Another option is a ski vest, which keeps your core warm without bulkiness.

Ski Jacket

Your ski jacket is key in keeping you warm, comfortable, and dry. Invest in a well-fitting ski jacket that is waterproof or at least water-resistant, insulated, and breathable. Make sure your ski jacket allows mobility, as you don't want to feel constricted when making your turns, and also check that it's long enough on your torso and arms to keep you protected from the elements. Once you've got the essentials down, have some fun with ski fashion and choose a jacket that appeals to you!

Ski Pants

Also imperative to any ski wardrobe is your ski pants. Ski pants should be waterproof, insulated, and long enough to be pulled down over your ski boots. Ski pants should also have a contoured, comfortable fit - you want your pants loose enough to allow your hips and knees to bend, but you shouldn't have to be pulling your pants up after every run. Ski pants should also be durable enough to resist wear and tear if you take a tumble.

Ski Socks

A good pair of ski socks ensures an optimal fit for your ski boots. Any old pair of cotton socks won't cut it - in order to keep your feet warm and dry, you need a pair of socks that is slim-fitting under your ski boots, wicking, breathable, and fast drying. Essentially, your ski socks are like long underwear for your feet.

Ski Gloves

You'll save a lot of money on hand warmers if you buy a pair of quality ski gloves. The phrase "you get what you pay for" really rings true when it comes to ski gloves. A pair of $15 gloves from the local department store aren't likely to hold their own on the top of a mountain, especially if your hands are sensitive to the cold. Instead, look for a pair of quality gloves designed for skiing. Although ski gloves offer the most dexterity, ski mittens are the warmest choice. However, if you do prefer gloves, wearing glove liners can add an extra layer of warmth.

Ski Gaiter

A gaiter, or neck warmer, keeps your face and neck protected from the wind. Although considered an "accessory," you'll find that gaiters are actually essential in keeping you warm on chilly days. Ski one run without one, and you'll definitely feel the difference. Not only do gaiters protect you from the harsh elements, but a neck warmer is a much safer option than a scarf, which can be hazardous if it becomes tangled on the ski lift or unravels on the slopes.

Buying Guide

Ski Packages (Include Skis and Bindings) $150.00 and up with top models costing as much as $1200.00+

Skis $100.00 and up with top models costing as much as $2000.00+

Bindings $80.00 and up with the top models costing $1000.00+

Poles $20.00 and up with the top models costing $180.00+

Helmets $30.00 and up with top models costing $280.00+

Goggles $25.00 and up with top models costing $300.00+

Jackets $35.00 and up with top models costing $800.00+

Pants $35.00 and up with top models costing $750.00

Gloves $20.00 and up with top models costing $400.00+