The Ultimate Skiing Gear Guide For Beginners
Trust me, as a person who is in love with this sport and was a beginner not so long ago, there are some pearls of wisdom to share when choosing ski gear for beginners. As a beginner, you’re likely worried about how your first ski lesson and ride down the mountain will go.
It’s true that after your first chairlift up a mountain, your life changes forever but being prepared for that journey makes it even more enjoyable. Practicing this sport safely depends mainly on your gear. You must respect the mountain and its circumstances by using the right gear.
So, let’s make your first experience unforgettable by discovering what to wear when skiing as a beginner.
The first thing you should know about being a newbie skier is that falling is a big part of the learning curve. You’ll probably fall because your body will tell you that the movement is unnatural and unfamiliar. Protecting your head while you’re learning to fall correctly will provide you with the necessary protection and a sense of assurance and courage you’ll need up there.
Unlike Biking, Climbing, or any other type of helmet, ski helmets are designed to protect the most vital area of your body from the impact caused by a wider, sturdier surface like snow, ice, and trees. Plus, most ski helmets have reinforced earpieces to keep you toasty warm, which comes in handy, especially if there’s wind and heavy snowfall.
Long story short, get yourself a helmet before hitting the slopes for the first time.
The Glade Boundary Helmet is perfect for beginners.
Goggles are the part of your protective gear that ensures comfort and clear visuals on the mountain. As a beginner skier, your sight and eye comfort become another element to make sure you’re comfortable on your feet. Ski goggles have various traits to help you adjust to different weather conditions.
Foggy, sunny, snowy, and windy conditions require a different types of lenses. The insulation of your goggles prevents foggy glasses and discomfort around your eyes so that you don’t have to stop cleaning your goggles when concentrating on learning.
You may consider renting goggles but getting a pair of yours might make you feel safer after all the COVID-19 madness.
Check out the Glade Optics Challenger
You cannot function when your hands are cold. As a beginner, it is important you are prepared for anything the mountain has in store for you. Don’t compromise on your performance, pole grip, and the function of your hands. Get a warm pair of ski gloves to stay comfy on your first trip.
Highest Quality: Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Sensor
Best Value: Arc’teryx Fission SV Gloves
Most Available Option: Black Diamond Guide
#4 Warming Base Layers
The base layers of your ski outfit are greatly responsible for managing your temperature on the mountain. They maintain your warmth, provide proper ventilation between garments, and offer essential comfort for a beginner skier.
Unless you protect it which a thermal and breathable layer, your body works overtime to regulate your core temperature. This will result in you getting overtired. You might even decide that skiing is not worth it and miss out on the unique joy of improving your skiing and having fun on the mountain for the rest of your life.
#5 Ski Socks
Whether you’re a beginner or not, the comfort of your feet should always be a priority when you’re skiing. Ski socks are one of the most essential gears for you to have. They keep your feet warm and cozy in your boot. They are generally made from wool or synthetic material to help your feet breathe and fit snugly with just enough thickness to create a warming layer without severing the connection between you and your boots.
Highest Quality & Best Value: Smart Wool PhD Light Elite
Optimal for Beginners: EURO Socks Ski Zone
Most Available Option: Fox River Snow Pack Socks
#6 Ski Jacket
Your ski jacket is the final layer to keep your upper body warm. If you’re thinking of layering your garments with a sweatshirt, a ski fleece, and a thin winter coat under your jacket, you may wear a soft-shell jacket and spare some bucks. Still, you should know that an insulated or 3-in-1 jacket is the most recommended type of skiing jacket. As warmth, temperature regulation, and a waterproof layer is of utmost importance, especially for a beginner, a ski jacket is essential to this list.
Most Available Option: Picture Organic Haakon Jacket
#7 Ski Pants
Ski pants are designed with waterproof fabric to avoid getting wet. For a beginner skier falling and sitting on the snow for a while is a part of the gig. When buying your ski pants, you should take extra care of the fit. Most ski pants have adjustable waists and a higher waistband in the back to have a more ergonomic fit to support your lower back. So, buy your ski pants in a size that will fit your body well. Do not buy if it feels tight even the slightest. Size up and opt for one with an adjustable waist.
The altitude and air pressure can cause slight edema as you’re getting used to the weather, and tightness can severely limit your movement. Arc'teryx Sabre AR Pants are rated to be the best ski pants among most critics, and the fact that they’re out of stock everywhere seems to be a testament to their fame.
Highest Quality: Helly Hansen Legendary Pants
Best Value & Most Available Option: The North Face Freedom Insulated Ski Pants
#8 A Ski Backpack
Unlike a regular backpack, ski backpacks are designed with waterproof fabric, hydration packs, and an ergonomic fit to carry anything you may need without throwing you off balance. You may come across different models for backcountry skiing, but for a beginner, you’re most likely to ski at the resort so go with the one that can carry your load without unnecessary features. Osprey Glade 12 Hydration Pack recommended below comes with a hydration pack, but you can always opt for a backpack with an ergonomic fit, like the Dakine Mission Pro, and place your water bottle in it.
Best Value: Osprey Glade 12 Hydration Pack
Most Available Option: Dakine Mission Pro 18L Backpack
Bonus tip: Always have water and some healthy snacks to munch on in your backpack. This helps to avoid becoming overtired and helps with the jitters you may have switching slopes. It’s always a good idea to listen to your body and replenish it when needed.
#9 Neck Warmer
A neck warmer is a layer that shields your neck and face from any surge of cold weather. Especially for windy and icy weather, neck warmers play a big role in keeping you protected from the cold. For a beginner skier, neck warmers will allow you to gain speed and feel comfortable with that speed without the discouragement of an ice-cold wind.
A simple Polar Fleece neck warmer will be sufficient as beginner skiing gear, but as you develop your skills and move towards slopes with higher altitudes, you may want to use a windproof balaclava. Lately, neck warmers come with fun colors and designs that reflect your style. You can check out Evo’s site for lots of fun options.
Best Value: Burton Midweight Neck Warmer
Most Available Option: Polar Fleece Neck Warmer
UV rays can do more damage in a high-altitude area where the weather is harsher. Your comfort, well-being, and warmth make an already good time on the mountain a great time. So, to enjoy yourself fully without worrying about dryness or sunburns, bring high SPF sunscreen with you. While you’re at it, add sunscreen to your lips as well.
Highest Quality: Dr. Barbara Sturm Ski Cream
Most Available Option: Bioderma Photoderm Ski SPF50
#11 Personal Recovery Kit
As a beginner skier, you will most likely feel sore after your first day. Skiing is a sport that requires physical awareness and fitness. Recovery is a vital part of your experience on the mountain. Pack yourself a compact recovery kit consisting of a foam roller, tennis ball (to target specific muscle groups), and a CBD or after-sports recovery lotion to alleviate the tension in your muscles.
#12 Après Ski Boots
Truth be told, ski boots might hurt… There might be swelling in your legs and feet as your body adjusts to the altitude. You can adjust your ski boots according to the swelling or discomfort in your legs but having a snow boot to put on for lunch is a feeling with no match. Make sure to get a boot with a good grip on the snowy and icy terrain.
Highest Quality & Best Value: Salomon Vaya Blaze ThinsulateTM ClimaSalomonTM Waterproof Boots
#13 Skis, Ski Boots And Poles
You’re most likely to rent your skis, poles, and ski boots as a beginner. If you’re fully invested and want to buy your pair before hitting the slopes, here are a few suggestions for skis fit for beginners. Beginner skis allow you to learn the basics of movement and the right technique in a shorter time. Most beginner skis allow you room to use as you move from beginner to intermediate. Skis usually come with compatible bindings, so they are generally sold together.
Highest Quality: K2 Disruption 78C Ski + M3 11 Compact Quikclik Binding - 2023
Most Available Option: Faction Prodigy 0 Skis 2023
Your ski boots contribute to your warmth and comfort on the mountain. So, the better your boots fit and provide you with the comfort you need, the more likely you will progress from a beginner to an Intermediate. Beginner boots offer more flex and are very roomy, so they are less likely to cause soreness on your shins and feet.
The store you’re buying your skis, or the rental shop at the ski resort will recommend the boot most suitable for your skis. Here are a few favorites from different experts.
Highest Quality: Salomon S/Pro 100
Best Value: Rossignol Alltrack 90 Ski Boots
Most Available Option: Rossignol Evo 70 Ski Boots
Poles help you to time your turns, balance, and improve your technique in the long run. If you’re learning to ski with an instructor, they might make you leave your poles behind to focus and get comfortable with your body’s movements.
Highest Quality: Leki Detect S
Best Value: Black Crows Furtis
Most Available Option: Black Crows Meta Ski Pole
What skiing gear can you substitute or rent from the resort?
As a beginner, you might not want to purchase all the gear. Skis, ski boots, and poles can be rented and as a beginner renting them is the most viable option. Helmets and goggles can also be rented if you’re comfortable with them. Just make sure that they are not worn out and are still durable.
You can bring a boot with a strong surface grip to wear at the resort rather than Après Ski boots. If you have a polar fleece for jogging or hiking in the cold weather, you may also use it as a base layer. However, thermal base layers are items with no substitute.
Don’t Ski Without Proper Gear
Beginner skiers make one of the biggest mistakes before they even hit the slopes. This mistake is either skipping out on essential items or using items that don’t fit. Maybe you borrow a pair of boots from a friend or use a pair you had as a kid but never really used. Whether it’s your boots, a jacket, or bindings, you need gear that fits you well. This will dramatically affect your experience and safety.