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Have you decided to head for the slopes for the very first time this winter? Here’s our guide to the best ski gear for beginners!
Is this the year you decide to try skiing?
Maybe you’re an outdoor adventurer who hasn’t fully made the leap to snow sports yet. Or maybe you (like me) have a family member who just can’t get enough of the slopes, and who wants you to come along with them. (Hello, Perfect North!)
First, you could read up on the things I’ve learned as a new skier that might be helpful as you make plans for your first day out.
Whatever level of skiing you aspire to, it all starts with some basic equipment.
Here are my top picks for the best ski gear for beginners!
Should I Rent or Buy Ski Gear as a Beginner?
The answer is, possibly, a little bit of both.
If you’re just starting out, especially if you aren’t sure how much you’ll ski in the future, you may want to rent the more expensive parts of your gear. This includes skis, ski poles and ski boots.
Other gear and accessories may be available for rental or purchase at the ski lodge, but it might be easiest (and more affordable over time) to bring your own.
If you have wide calves, it may be tricky to rent boots. Check out our tips for shopping for and modifying ski boots if that’s the case.
Tips for Buying Ski Gear
Skiing is an expensive sport. In addition to the lift ticket, the gear itself is often pricey.
Also, ski gear is often released yearly, with new gear for each season. It’s common to see a year listed next to gear, either for the current or previous ski season.
Skis, Ski Poles and Boots
This is the gear that new skiers typically rent.
Skis, poles and boots are typically all rented in one bundle, so once you purchase any of them, you may want to get the rest at the same time. Typically there’s no discount for renting only skis or only boots.
The type of skis you want will depend on your skill level, the type of skiing you’re doing, and your height. I’m currently using Rossignol skis, and my husband uses Salomon skis.
Ski poles are typically a fixed height, and should be purchased according to the skier’s height. (See this ski pole height chart.)
If you’re hunting for a bargain, you can often find used skis and poles for sale.
Keep in mind that if you purchase skis, you’ll need to wax them periodically. A wax iron kit is helpful for that.
Other Essential Ski Gear for Beginners
Other ski gear that you may want to purchase includes protective gear such as a helmet and goggles.
We like this Smith women’s helmet and this Giro men’s helmet.
Snow goggles will help protect your eyes. You may want two pairs (or goggles with interchangeable lenses) one for daylight skiing and one for night skiing.
We like these Smith goggles and these day/night goggles.
Ski Base Layer Clothing
Start with an under layer that’s appropriate for the weather. I’m a fan of merino wool under layers, but synthetic athletic wear and sweatpants also make great layering options.
Next, make sure you get some ski socks that will keep your legs warm and help keep the ski boots from irritating your skin.
I like Smartwool ski socks.
The Smartwool balaclava keeps your neck and face warm, making the cold much easier to bear.
You’ll likely want a pair of snow pants. Buy these a little baggy so that you can fit a variety of layers underneath.
I like these North Face snow pants, and I use a kavu belt to keep them in place.
A warm, water resistant jacket like the North Face Triclimate Jacket is essential.
Finally, remember to bring some warm, water resistant gloves or mittens. North Face makes ski gloves and ski mitts that work nicely.
Ski Gear Extras for Beginners
I recommend a ski bag, which will make storing and traveling with skis and poles less unwieldy.
And while you’re taking a coffee break (hopefully putting your feet up by a nice warm fireplace!), a cable password lock will keep your skis secure.
That’s it for my suggestions on basic gear! Are there other accessories you’ve found helpful as a beginning skier? Let me know in the comments.
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