/ Winter/Ski kit

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NottsRich on 02 Oct 2012
Hi all, I'm after a bit of advice... I'm planning on my first ever ski trip in Feb 2013 and will probably need to get some kit for it. It's to the French Alps somewhere, and I don't really know what I'll need in terms of warmth etc. Also, I'm looking to get more into Scottish winter climbing this season (moving up there at last) and need some cold weather gear for that.

I'm currently on the lookout for a belay jacket (ME Fitzroy, RAB Photon etc) and some decent winter climbing trousers. And gloves. I have enough very basic kit to make do at the moment but would like to be a little less uncomfortable in the cold this winter.

Anyway, my question is, is there an overlap of kit between an Alpine ski adventure and a Scottish winter. It would be great if there is because then I only have to buy one set of kit! Any advice very much appreciated.
earlsdonwhu - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: Wear your climbing kit to ski in. You will be warmer/drier than those in dedicated ski kit.... though maybe not looking as trendy.

Same things apply eg. layers and a shell work well.
PeteA - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

I ski a lot off piste on high mountains and all my kit is basically climbing gear apart from pants and boots, although in the past I used salopettes.

The jacket I use is the mountain equipment changabang which in addition to being a top expedition gore tex also has a detachable zip out snow skirt and an arm pocket for a lift pass.
cannichoutdoors - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to PeteA: I use my old climbing kit (e.g. old style heavy waterproof that get used for commuting, old helly base layers, normal fleece) for skiing, as I tend to fall over, so don't want to trash my newer, better stuff.
Shearwater - on 02 Oct 2012
Almost never worth buying ski-specific gear; you pay a big price premium for precious little benefit.

Just get some suitable stuff for a Scottish winter and you'll be alright. Might be worth paying a visit to an indoor ski slope to test your trews though... the cuffs on my Aspiras don't fit over the top of alpine ski boots, for example (though they cope with touring boots okay).
barney800 on 02 Oct 2012
^ what they said.

The only thing I vary between my downhill skiing and winter climbing kit is the trousers. I prefer tough, heavy, hardshell trousers for downhill skiing but wear softshell trousers for climbing/touring. It's easy to slice more delicate trousers with a ski edge. Plus my legs sometimes get cold sitting on skiing lifts.
NottsRich on 03 Oct 2012
Thanks all, some good suggestions.

My biggest thing is I don't know how wet I'll get skiing, or how cold it will be. Any guess for a beginner in February, probably to La Plagne?

If I went for a base layer, 1 or 2 thermals, then a belay jacket would that be ok? And then thermal bottoms with something like Haglofs Mountain Pants over the top, and waterproof trousers if needed?

Would the belay jacket get ruined falling on hardpack snow and landing on my head, or are they fairly tough?
niallk on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

You'll be roasting in all likelihood. And on the whole you don't get very wet skiing.

For downhill I wear - thermal, fleece (one of those bog-standard weight ones) and a waterproof, with thermal bottoms and shell trousers. Incidentally that is also pretty much what I wear climbing in Scotland, with a bit more variation depending on weather and a pertex windproof.
niallk on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to niallk:

ps - as mentioned above, on-piste, more rugged materials are advisable.
Doug on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: I remember the first time I skied in the Alps, around New Year. I'd previously only skied in Scotland & Norway & assumed it would be cold so left the appartment in Tignes wearing fleece salopetes, thermal top, fleece plus goretex salopetes & jacket together with mittens & warm hat. After one run I went back to the apartment to loose about half my layers as I was ridiculously warm.

Unless the weather is really bad, you'll probably be ok with a base layer plus windproofs, maybe a bit cool on the chairlifts but ok while actually skiing. Add a fleece in case its cold, and maybe longjons if really cold

In February you are very unlikely to get wet from falling over, although if its sunny you might from the chairlifts.
doz on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: Feb in the alps can be cold....-30 hurts! Warm mitts...cheapest option- Dachsteins with a shell over to cut the wind and something for your face..buff/balaclava, again to cut the wind..or you'll be skiing downhill backwards!
niallk on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to doz:
> (In reply to NottsRich) Feb in the alps can be cold....-30 hurts!

It can be, but pretty rarely in my experience. However, a balaclava or scarf in the kit-bag is not bad call.
nniff - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

I'm not a fashion-conscious skier and my skiing is at best successfully incompetent. Skiing is an activity reserved for days when ice climbing is off.

I wear my usual Scottish softshells in a fetching ninja black - it's my equivalent of a little black dress, so to speak. By virtue of my incompetence, my skiing usuallly involves more effort than most and getting cold is seldom the issue - quite the reverse most of the time. Add a red merino buff and a beanie and I'm all set. BTW, Incompetence does tend to lead to wet hands though, and good gloves or spares are advised.

Powershield softshell is very good at shedding snow, but it does tend to stick to 'experienced' Schoeller stuff. I do conseqently look somewhat snowy on my lower half if there's lots of powder around. Windstopper sheds well though.
Blinder - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: Good gloves (2 pairs) and googles are worth spending money on. Light down jackets are maybe not a good idea to start with or wear them under a shell.
IMA - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: Most of my kit has been a crossed over. I do have some ski pants that are what some would call trendy, but they only come out on warm dry days.

My usual outfit in the winter (with a hoody and big gloves in the bag) is

back protector
Really think but windproof/showerproof patagonia jacket (sometimes my Softshell jacket comes out, sold the hardshell years ago)
Gloves are thin ones so I don't lose mobility and my hands don't become disgusting (Mountain Hardware Stretch gloves but with a leather pad so ski edges don't destroy it)

Bottom half really depends on the conditions but range from
TNF Apex softshell
Patagonia Guide pants
Then some heavy duty its freezing and knee deep power Degree 7 salop

leg skins are rare but are sometimes used (generally in Canada)

Summary is, it all crosses over, and you will generally be warmer out skiing than climbing. If you do get cold go grab a hot chocolate. As you say you are new, I'd recommend items that are a tad more waterproof than not as you may spend some time on your backside.
TobyA on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: If you are really keen, you can even find one or two models of helmet that are rated both for alpine skiing and climbing! The CAMP Pulse is one model.
NottsRich on 04 Oct 2012
Thanks, some really good advice there. I think I have a plan...

Gloves - I already have some sealskins reasonably warm and waterproof gloves, and some thicker non-waterproof thinsulate gloves. I'll take these. Looking towards climbing, I'll try a pair of the Dickies leather gloves. Might take these skiing as well.

Trousers - I want some climbing trousers. Currently use cotton cargo trousers and they're great, but not for winter. I'll try to find some decent climbing trousers and wear them under my current waterproof trousers. Any recommendations for non-cotton climbing trousers? I like the look of the Haglofs Mountain Pant, but not the price!

Top - I want a Primlaoft belay jacket. I've got plenty of thermals. I think I might pop into TKMaxx and keep an eye out for cheap ski jackets too. Between that lot I should have the top half covered as well.

Helmet is sorted (my paddling helmet doubles as ski/board) so I'll get some goggles and I should be away! Oh dear, this is gonna be expensive...
NottsRich on 04 Oct 2012
doz, thanks for the tip about buff/balaclava - duely noted!

IMA - I'll have a look at those trousers you mentioned. Would you recommend any of them in particular for a Scottish winter and also skiing?
IMA - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: I haven't done a scottish winter in about 3 years, however the TNF Apex ones were what I used and they worked a treat (including the crampon damage I had to repair haha) sometimes I do shove thermals on with those though.

I think a lot of people use the Guide pant, a quick search on here would show those views up. I do use them in the alps or for dog walking and can't imagine having an issue with them in Scotland. I prefer the Guide pants to TNF but that is a personal choice. Patagonia put it both into alpine and skiing for their clothing filter.
cannichoutdoors - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to IMA: TNF Apex is not that windproof. If it's close to zero and blowing 40mph you get cold quickly. Solve by putting hard shell over, but something durable. Lightweight shell trews and crampons don't mix.
xoran - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: The haglofs rugged mountain pant won't fit over the top of an alpine ski boot (at least mine don't) just something to bear in mind. They're awesome trousers though!
davy_boy - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich: i love my pair of norrona svalbard softshell trousers great for climbing and ski touring also use them for piste based skiing lots of handy pockets and good features also fit over ski boots but are cut like normal trousers so there not too baggy
Carolyn - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

Make sure you get (climbing) sallopettes that are wide enough at the bottom to go over bulky ski boots, and have a built in snow gaitor. I also like a snow gaitor in jacket - not essential if sallopettes come up high, but definitely a bonus when learning to ski!

But I basically ski in my winter mountaineering kit. Even though I do more skiing than winter mountaineering since kids!
cannichoutdoors - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to xoran: I wear craghopper lined kiwis for skiiing. Nice and warm, durable, and cheap as (less than 30). But I don't understand the posts about trousers going over ski boots. I put my trousers on first, then my boots. If's about snow coming over the top, shell trousers tend to be baggy enough to go over the boots?
TobyA on 06 Oct 2012
In reply to Carolyn:

> Make sure you get (climbing) sallopettes that are wide enough at the bottom to go over bulky ski boots, and have a built in snow gaitor.

I've found salopettes designed with ski touring in mind tend to be flappy around the ankles when I'm wearing my ice boots (diddy size 42 trango extremes) http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3282 The gaiters can be too loose to really work on ice boot.

Conversely a mate used a pair of my softshell troos for a week of ski touring in Lyngen, he was pulling them down over his boots (they had a side zip to make this easier) and they were tight enough to keep snow out http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=149106, but by the end of the week the top of the tongue in his boots had cut a 15 cm rip into the front ankle area of the trousers!

Conversely I thought these http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=2538 were too flappy around the ankle for climbing without gaiters on http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=2538 But when I used them ski touring, they were just perfect over my tele boots: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=148580

You have to wear gaiters to make good ski trousers into good ice climbing trousers. But then I love gaiters! http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.fi/2010/12/gaiter-haters.html
xoran - on 06 Oct 2012
In reply to cannichoutdoors: If you mean you tuck your trousers into your boots, the rugged mountains have a hook and a buckle on the ankle which would make that pretty uncomfy, if they just hang around at the top of the boots that's just something which annoys me personally i guess.
Carolyn - on 06 Oct 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

I've had some (Berghaus, I think) shell trousers where the bottom of the trousers wasn't wide enough to fit over ski boots, resulting in boots full of snow. I agree, I always put the trousers on before the boots....!

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