There are many different levels of waterproof materials available in our ski clothing ranges. The industry standard for measuring a fabric’s water permeability is to place a column of water on the fabric and increase the length of the column of water, thus increasing the water pressure, to find the point at which the water starts to permeate the fabric. The column of water is then measured to give the fabric’s waterproof rating in mm, eg 8000mm. Therefore, the higher the figure, the better the waterproofing level of the jacket.
Waterproof Rating (mm) Resistance provided What it can withstand
0mm None Not a drop
0-5,000mm No resistance to some resistance to moisture Light rain, dry snow
6,000-10,000mm Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure Light rain, average snow
11,000-15,000mm Rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure Moderate rain, average snow
16,000-20,000mm Rainproof and waterproof under high pressure Heavy rain, wet snow
20,000mm+ Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure Heavy rain, wet snow
Some people believe that an item of clothing can only be deemed waterproof if all the seams are taped, thereby preventing water seeping through the stitching. However as you will read below there may be other reasons why an item may not be entirely taped. Some garments only have taped seams in critical areas, such as the shoulder, hood and chest seams on a jacket. If you are on a tight budget these may be the ones to look for, as clothing with critically-taped seams will cost less then its fully-taped counterparts.
Waterproof Rating (mm) Where you see it
0-5,000mm Casual wear, laminated softshells, low-end ski and snowboard outerwear
5,000-15,000mm Quality ski and snowboard outerwear, most have proprietary coatings (generally liquid polyurethane)
20,000mm+ High-end proprietary PU laminates and PTFE membranes such as eVent® and GORE-TEX®
35,000mm+ Solid vessels and non-porous materials such as Nalgene®
Whilst resting, a person will lose more than half a litre in fluids through their skin everyday. While performing an activity such as skiing, the amount of liquids one loses increases dramatically. To release the moisture, a ski garment needs to be able to ventilate or breathe, not through holes but through the fabric itself, and some products even offer ventilation zips to aid the process in extreme situations. Allowing materials to breathe is not very difficult, as cotton and nylon are already breathable fabrics. The difficulty arises in making the fabric both waterproof and breathable. Temperature and humidity are both higher inside the garment than outside it. This creates pressure, which pushes the moisture outwards. The better the breathability of the fabric, the easier and faster this moisture will escape.
For ski clothing to do its job and keep you dry on the inside, the outer fabric and lining must be breathable. Breathable garments allow the moisture from your body perspiration to exit through the material itself. Even in cold conditions you will perspire while skiing or snow boarding, and if the clothing does not have sufficient breathability moisture will build up as condensation on the inside. This moisture will then dramatically cool you down when you stop, giving the illusion that the item has let water in when in fact the opposite is true.
It is important to note that you will only benefit from the full breathability of your garment if it is used in conjunction with a moisture-wicking thermal base layer and mid layer. Perspiration must be transported away from your skin by the base layer and mid layer in order to keep you dry and, ultimately, warm. We offer an extensive range of base layer thermals, mid layer fleeces and insulation layers to help you build a versatile layering system that will allow you to enjoy your time in the mountains, no matter what the weather throws at you.
Arguably the most important part of your ski wear is your ski jacket. If you choose the wrong ski jacket your winter sports holiday will be less enjoyable, as you could end up cold and soggy on the slopes.
At Snowbiz there are a large number of ski jackets for you to choose from. These come in a wide variety of styles and colours to suit all tastes, and all your winter sport needs. All of the jackets available are specially made with skiing and winter sports in mind, and incorporate specialist technology to ensure the wearer stays warm and keeps dry.
After your jacket, your next most vital purchase will be your trousers. As the other half of your ‘uniform’ for your time on the slopes, your trousers need to be comfortable, practical, warm and waterproof. And, of course, something you’ll be happy to be seen in every day!
As with jackets, we have a wide selection of ski trousers to choose from, with styles and colours to suit all tastes. All of the trousers Snowbiz stocks are made specifically for skiing and winter sports, using specialist technology to ensure the wearer stays warm and keeps dry.
The base layer is designed to sit directly in contact with your skin in order to release sweat and moisture created during activity. Base layers differ from T-shirts as they are specifically designed to move moisture away from your skin.
Any layer that is placed next to the skin and made from a non-synthetic fabric will simply soak up moisture, keeping it on the garment where bacteria can form, causing odours and stains, whilst the moisture quickly becomes cold, leaving you chilled.
Base layers work by releasing this excess sweat into the fibres of your base layer. The base layer, if it is wicking, then draws this moisture away from your skin, where it is evaporated. This process ensures you maintain an optimum body temperature and stay cool and dry.
Fleeces provide the mid-layer between your base layer and your outer jacket. A fleece has the dual benefit that it can be used for apres ski as well, helping you reduce your pack weight.
In cold weather a hat can keep you warm more than any other garment as it will ensure that produced body heat isn’t wasted. As heat rises, the right hat will trap essential heat lost through your head, helping to regulate your whole body temperature.
Warming fabrics are used to make winter suitable hats, so typically wool, fleece, pile or knitted acrylic are used.
Some hats also come with reflective piping or in a luminous fluorescent colouring for increased safety on the slopes.
Ski helmets are essential for anyone headed out to the slopes, as they will protect you from falls and hard ice, obstacles such as trees, and other skiers. As well as being protective, modern ski and snowboarding helmets are lightweight and warming too.
Ski helmets are designed from a rigid and hardwearing outer shell with an inner foam liner, usually made from EPS (Expanded polystyrene). Whilst the outer takes impact and knocks, the inner foam protects your head by absorbing the shocks from the impact.
You should always make sure that the helmet you pick meets Central European (CE) standard EN1077, an industry guide that assures you that your helmet is suitable for making it onto the slopes. All Snowbiz helmets meet this standard.
In-mold v injection-mold
In-mold helmets are ski helmets that are made in a one mold process for a tough, almost unbreakable design. Just like in a shoe where the compartments are molded together, in-mold helmets have a secure fit where the outer shell and inner foam are built as one component. In-mold helmets are the lightest style of ski helmets but can be less durable than injection molded styles.
Injection-molded helmets are built with the foam attaching to a plastic shell. These have the benefits as in-mold of EPS foam, whilst the plastic shell (usually a hard, ABS style – Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) offers plenty of protection from multiple knocks. Injection-molded helmets are durable in comparison to in-mold helmets, as they can withstand multiple hits.
Fitting your helmet
Sizing: To determine the correct size, wrap tape around head, just above eyebrows. Note your size at point of overlap. This is your helmet size.
It is VERY important to keep in mind that not all helmets fit the same. Head shape is a factor in your helmet selection as well. In most cases, your helmet will fit if you get the right size, but there are circumstances where the helmet will not fit due to the shape of the helmet and the shape of your head.
For kids it is very important to not add too much room to allow for growth. A helmet that is too loose is not going to be safe and can actually be dangerous. Kids' heads grow relatively slowly so get one that fits. The only time you may want to bump up a size is if their head is right in-between sizes. Then you can select the larger size.
Putting your helmet on: Align the front rim of the helmet above your eyebrows. Hold the straps on both sides and roll the helmet over the back of your head. It should sit squarely on the head, with the front of the helmet low on the brow to protect the forehead. Make sure your goggles fit your face while wearing the helmet.
Check for gaps: Pads should be flush against your cheeks and forehead. The back of your helmet should not touch the nape of your neck. The padding exerts firm, uniform pressure all around the head so that the skin on the forehead moves as the helmet is rotated from left to right and from front to back. If the harness isn’t correctly adjusted, it’s possible for the helmet to be knocked off or out of place.
Roll test: With the chin strap fastened your helmet should be snug and comfortable. Try to roll your helmet off your head. If the skin on your forehead moves, you have a good fit. Buckle the chin strap securely at the throat. Connect the buckle according to the instructions provided with your helmet, and pull on the strap until it is snug against your throat. This ensures that your helmet will not come off at high-impact.
The right ski gloves should keep your hands warm all day but still allow you maximum flexibility for holding ski poles.
Protecting your eyes is a primary consideration on the slopes. Ice, snow and wind will all dry your eyes, while the snow’s brightness and reflection, and high altitudes with thinner atmospheric levels, means that UV rays are strong. For these reasons you must invest in a pair of ski goggles or glasses that have been specially created for winter conditions.
Created to ergonomically fit your head and sit in line perfectly, goggles and ski glasses can offer more than just a great view from the mountain top. With UVA sun protection and other features that protect you, Ski goggles keep your vision protected for years to come.
Complete UV protection is classed as 100% and this protects you from all three types of UV rays, UVA, UVB and UVC. 100% UV protective ski goggles and glasses keep eye and sun damage to an absolute minimum.
Double lenses: More expensive than single-layered lenses, these are sealed during construction to put a barrier on internal fogging.
Single lenses: Less commonly found, these are lighter than double lenses by a small amount and cheaper. Single lenses fog up quicker than double lenses, so need to be coated with a fog-resistant layer.
Flat lenses: The surface of the lens is flat. Lower priced, these are better for budget buys. Flat lenses offer the peripheral vision.
Spherical lenses: The surface of the lens has a vertical curve. These cost more than flat lenses. They give better peripheral vision. Spherical lenses tilt away the sun’s glare for less distortion.
Choosing eye wear with the correct lenses will allow better protection and improved vision in a variety of lights. Different tints allow you to get a better view to suit your surroundings. The amount of light that reaches your eyes through the ski goggles and glasses is important, and is measured in as VLT, or visible light transmission.
0-20% LIGHT TRANSMISSION
Lenses are either transparent or slightly tinted – suitable for night wear.
20-60% LIGHT TRANSMISSION
Lenses are slightly tinted – recommended for overcast/flat light conditions.
60-80% LIGHT TRANSMISSION
Lenses are moderately tinted – suitable for overcast/flat light conditions.
80-90% LIGHT TRANSMISSION
Lenses are darkly tinted – recommended for bright light conditions.
92-97% LIGHT TRANSMISSION
Lenses are very darkly tinted – recommended for extremely bright light conditions but not suitable for driving.
If you’re heading out on the slopes for any length of time you’ll need to wear specialist ski socks, as these will keep your feet nice and toasty in sub-zero temperatures. Men and women can choose pairs from the same adult ski socks range, as they come in a large variety of sizes and styles to suit all tastes. But when it comes to children, you’ll need to buy from the children’s ski socks range. Little ones will soon get sick of the slopes if their toes are too cold, so make sure you remember to pack plenty of pairs of ski socks for the whole family!
Neck gaiters are lightweight strips of fabric that protect you from the wind and cold. They are popular on the slopes as they are multi-functional, working to cool and wick sweat, and to insulate and protect your skin from wind chills.
Pull the gaiter up to protect your lips, down to protect your neck. The gaiter can also be worn as both a hat and a headband, and can also keep hair, sweat and any other debris away from the eyes.
Suited to serious snowy conditions with extreme cold and plenty of spray, balaclavas work when wind or snow is in the air, keeping your whole face protected from the cold.
Snow boots are also key apres ski wear. Usually warming and sometimes water repelling, these can get you across the snow to the chalet or a restaurant without your feet freezing or getting soaked.
Thick and rugged soles are the most important part of your snow boots in order to give you excellent traction on uneven surfaces and to provide a controlled grip on snow. Typically snow boot soles are made from rubber. Snow boots soles should feel more flexible than a hiking boot, and should offer enough flexibility in the fit so your feet can circulate warmth without restriction. Snow boots should fit to the ankle, or to the calf or higher for maximum insulation and maximum levels of warmth.
Snow boots are closed at the cuff with laces, toggles or Velcro. Velcro is easier to fit with speed, while laces offer more support to the foot. Similarly some après ski snow boots are designed to be pulled on and use no external fastenings. These are ideal for putting on with speed, but offer less support.
A 3D hood is a great feature to have on windy days up on the hill. With its three points of adjustment you can custom-fit the hood to prevent cool air and snow from getting in. Lowering the volume of the hood via the adjuster at the back also keeps it secure when the wind picks ups or if you’re a bit of a speed demon coming down the slopes.
3-in-1 systems consist of an outer shell to protect you from rain and snow, a removable inner layer for added warmth and insulation, and a removable hood. This gives great versatility and provides you with a jacket suited to all conditions. The outer shell can be worn alone during warmer weather and the inner layer can even be used for just wearing around town.
Getting your trousers over the top of your boots can be a bit of a pain from time to time. With adjustable ankle systems it becomes really simple. Using either poppers or velcro, the ankle is widened so it is easily pulled over the top of the boot, saving you time and effort.
If you are a keen skier or even new to skiing then you may find that the inside of your ankles come in contact with each other quite a lot. To protect your newly bought trousers from getting damaged, a more durable section of fabric is used in these areas. This can help them to last a lot longer.
One of the best ways to avoid getting unwanted snow down your sleeves is with adjustable cuffs. A good adjustable cuff normally uses an elasticated section, making it easy to pull over the top of your glove, and then a velcro patch so you can get the tight fit necessary to prevent any snow from getting in.
Detachable braces give great versatility to your trousers. Easily and quickly removed or added, you can give your trousers extra support while out on the slope and have a more comfortable fit while in the town, getting the best of both worlds.
Goggle pockets keep your goggles safe and out of the way when they are not in use. They normally have large openings and are either elasticated or zipped, making them easy to access. Some jackets also include goggle wipes to help clear off the snow or rain.
This is a great added barrier between you and the snow. Zips or poppered tabs are used to connect the jacket (usually from the snow skirt) to a corresponding pant, providing you with 360° protection from the snow. Only some jackets and pants have this feature and some companies have their own system, so look out for compatible items.
Lift pass pocket
Having to take off your glove, unzip your pocket, get out your lift pass and then put everything back the way you like it, all just to get though the gates at the lifts, is a real pain. That’s why having dedicated lift pass pockets on jackets makes life so much easier. Located on the cuff, arm or on the waist, getting through the gates is a breeze with these pockets.
If you are the type that likes a soundtrack to their session on the slopes then a media pocket is a must. Usually located in easy-to-reach or protected areas on the jacket, the media pocket houses your MP3 or music player right where you need it. Sometimes coupled with headphone ports and clips to help make life tangle-free.
RECCO® is an avalanche rescue system utilised by more than 600 rescue organisations worldwide to assist in the efficient location of you if you get caught in an avalanche. RECCO technology enables rapid directional pinpointing of your precise location using harmonic radar. This is a great safety feature to have if you’re into big mountain or off-piste skiing.
Strategic wear points on the shoulders and side panels often have extra reinforcement to protect against abrasion from your backpack straps, ice and ski/snowboard edges.
Removable hoods give you great versatility and are fantastic for all weather conditions, making them an ideal feature to have on your jacket. Normally attached to the jacket via a concealed zip, they are easily removed for when the weather is warmer but also quickly reattached for those colder, windier days.
This is a special waterproof tape that is added to the underside of the seam on the jacket in all the critical areas only, such as the top of the arms and back. The waterproof tape then helps to prevent water or snow getting into the jacket via the stitching. These jackets will not offer the same high level of protection as jackets with fully-taped seams but are a solid choice for those on a budget.
This is a special waterproof tape that is added to the underside of all the seams on the jacket. The waterproof tape then helps prevent water or snow getting into the jacket via the stitching. With all of the seams protected by this tape you can ensure it will keep you fully dry.
Getting snow up the back of your jacket is the last thing you want on a cold day. Snow skirts use an elasticated waistband and separate section of water-resistant material (or skirt) sewn into the inside of the jacket to stop snow from getting in. You may also find some that attach to ski pants or trousers, increasing the protection against the snow.
Ventilation zips are added to some jackets/trousers to help cool you down if you get a little too warm while carving up the slopes. On jackets these are usually found underneath the arm (hence they are sometimes referred to as ‘pit zips’), while on trousers they are normally found on the inside leg. Undo the ventilation zips to allow cool air cool air in and let warm air out. They can be done up if you decide you want to keep all your heat in, thus providing you with great versatility.
A good adjustable waist will keep most of the snow out of your jacket and is also a good way to keep the heat in. Some jackets have single-hand waist adjustment in the pockets or around the waist, making them really easy to use, even when you have your gloves on.
Wrist gaiters are added to some ski jackets to prevent snow from entering via the cuffs. They are normally made from Lycra and are sewn into the lining on the cuff to stop the snow getting in. They slip over the hand and are held in place with a thumb loop. As they are thin and lightweight they easily fit underneath your glove.