Which ski gear is best?

Skiing is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and get a rigorous workout during the winter months. But choosing the right gear can be a challenge. With so many different products to choose from, finding the gear that you need at your budget can be more time-consuming than getting to the mountain itself. If you’re shopping for a new pair of skis, we recommend checking out the Blizzard ‘Bonafide 97’ skis

What to know before you buy ski gear 

Common conditions 

Whether you’re buying a new pair of skis or just a jacket, purchasing something that matches the conditions you normally ski in is essential to enjoying your new gear. If you normally ski in warmer conditions, don’t invest in a jacket designed for the extreme cold, as it will likely hinder your mobility and leave you feeling hot and sweaty. On the other hand, if you’re often skiing in deep snow, you should consider a pair of wider skis that provide more float. 

Current set-up

Ski gear isn’t cheap, and taking stock of your current set-up will help you discover where you can get the most value for your money. For instance, if you’re new to the sport but already have a warm winter coat and snow pants, you’re better off investing in a pair of boots rather than spending on ski-specific outerwear. Generally speaking, your boots are the most important single piece of gear in terms of comfort and enjoyment. 

What to look for in quality ski gear 

Materials 

Whether you’re buying hard gear like boots or apparel, quality ski gear will be made from durable, high-performance materials. When shopping for apparel, keep an eye out for Gore-Tex and rip-stop nylon. If you’re in the market for a new pair of skis, look out for hybrid wood cores and carbon inserts. 

Warranty 

Because ski gear is often subjected to adverse conditions, high-quality companies will provide generous warranties that cover accidental damage. Even the best jackets can rip on an unexpected branch, and you should consider the warranty when purchasing new ski gear. 

Safety features 

Although this applies to apparel more than hard gear, you should always be on the lookout for gear that offers advanced safety features. For example, you may consider a jacket with an integrated recco reflector, a helmet with the latest MIPS technology. Skiing can be dangerous, and extra protection is always a good thing to have. 

How much you can expect to spend on ski gear

Entry-level gear costs between $15-$30, while mid-level gear such as jackets and pants usually costs between $100-$300. Higher-end apparel and gear, like skis and boots, may cost upwards of $600. 

Ski gear FAQ

What gear can I rent? 

A. Although it seems like there’s a mountain of gear you need to buy before heading to the slopes, you can rent your skis, boots, poles and a helmet. Renting is a great way to try new gear without breaking the bank. 

Do I need to buy poles before hitting the slopes? 

A. Contrary to what you may think, using poles while you ski is totally optional. In fact, many beginner skiers choose to ditch the poles while they learn. However, once you advance your skills, a good pair of poles can be quite useful as an additional contact point with the snow. 

What’s the best ski gear to buy?

Top ski gear 

Blizzard 'Bonafide 97' Skis

Blizzard ‘Bonafide 97’ Skis

What you need to know: Packed with premium technology, these all-mountain skis are ideal for anyone in the market for a durable, high-performance pair of skis that can take on intense terrain. 

What you’ll love: Known for being easy to maneuver, but wide enough to handle deep snow, the Bonafide 97 skis are as versatile as they come. They feature a hybrid profile with rockered tips and a steep camber directly underfoot. The rockered tips enhance float in powder and the cambered base increases pop and the efficiency of power transfer. Plus, these skis have a core made of hard and softwood species, lending them a balanced level of flex. 

What you should consider: These skis contain carbon and titanal inserts, which make them stiffer than beginner-level models. 

Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry and Amazon

Top ski gear for the money

Buff Lightweight Merino Wool Multifunctional Headwear

Buff Lightweight Merino Wool Multifunctional Headwear

What you need to know: With the ability to be worn as a hat, headband, neck warmer or even balaclava, this provides versatile warmth and an incredible value for the money. 

What you’ll love: It’s hard to describe a Buff because it can be worn in so many different ways. The bottom line is that a Buff is a stretchy tube of merino wool that won’t fall off your face or head while in use. This Buff gently hugs your face or head and is ideal for windy days on the mountain. Whether you wear it below your helmet for extra head warmth or over your cheeks to protect your skin, you can count on it to perform season after season. 

What you should consider: Although it’s 100% genuine merino wool, some wearers report that this is too thin for extreme cold. 

Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry and Amazon

Worth checking out

Backcountry 'Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro' Jacket

Backcountry ‘Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro’ Jacket

What you need to know: If you’re looking for a jacket that can handle the harshest winter conditions, look no further than the Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro from Backcountry. 

What you’ll love: This jacket is brimming with premium features, including multiple layers of stretch Gore-Tex, a unique waterproof coating and integrated wrist and waist gaiters. This jacket also has extra-large chest pockets. To top it all off, it is equipped with numerous pockets, fully taped seams, a robust ventilation system and a large helmet-compatible hood. 

What you should consider: Although this jacket is cheaper than comparable models with the same features, it’s still quite expensive. 

Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry

 

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William Briskin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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