Downhill skiing is one of the most exhilarating sports to watch and play. It’s an activity reserved for the winter months, when the temperatures drop and the snowflakes fall, providing a perfect ice-skating rink. But just because the snow is deep and the air is frosty, it doesn’t mean that your ski gear has to be bulky and heavy. There’s a way to safely and comfortably ski during the summer months too. It just requires a bit of thinking outside the box and some creativity.
Thin Versus Bulky
When you’re shopping for ski gear, you’ve probably noticed that many resorts offer a wide variety of shapes and sizes of ski boots, along with lightweight and summery fabric options. When you’re skiing during the summer, you don’t want to be carrying around a lot of weight, especially if it’s hot and humid where you are. That’s why it’s best to choose gear that’s light yet extremely durable, providing you with the best of both worlds: warmth and comfort on the mountain, and dexterity on the trail. It’s all about knowing which characteristics are most important to you and what you’ll use the gear for. For example, a thicker and more flexible material may be ideal for biking, while a firmer and less flexible option may be better for skiing. In other words, you want a ski boot that’s flexible enough to provide a solid connection with the snow but sturdy enough to withstand heavy use. Durable materials and a roomy interior are also desirable features that you might consider when shopping for ski gear. Of course, the level of insulation and support you need will depend on the temperature and altitude of the resort. If you’re in the Canadian Rockies, you might want to consider a boot with a bit more insulation than usual, as the air is very thin and temperatures can reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit. At higher elevations, you can often get by with less gear, as the air is colder and thicker, meaning you don’t have to over-insulate your feet.
Backcountry Versus Ski-In/ski-out
Another important factor to consider when selecting ski gear is whether you’ll be backcountry skiing or cruising the ski slopes. Backcountry skiing involves skiing off-piste, in other words, beyond the ski run and near the tree line. It’s usually a solo activity and requires you to be self-sufficient, as food and fuel are not provided by the resort. Because of that, backcountry skiers usually have to carry more equipment and know how to use it effectively too. That’s what makes this a more appealing option for adventurous individuals who seek thrills and excitement in their winter activities. It requires more effort and training to master, but the rewards are worth it. When you’re backcountry skiing, it’s essential that your ski gear is designed for that purpose. Backcountry skis are longer, sturdier and thicker than your typical ski equipment, which means they can handle heavier weights and more torque (turning ability). Make sure the manufacturer provides proper guidance on how to use these specialized pieces of gear safely and effectively. If you’re interested in backcountry skiing, take some time off from your regular ski vacation and try out some of the great resorts across Canada. A few runs here and there are enough to satisfy even the most adventurous backcountry skier.
On the other hand, a ski-in/ski-out vacation is one where you ski on the mountain and eat in the resort’s restaurants. Your ski gear doesn’t change much from the standard ski equipment you would use on the regular slopes, but the convenience of being able to park your ski vehicle on the mountain and then walk to the lodge or restaurant for a meal is unparalleled. The downside is that there’s no getting away from the crowds, as the majority of people are using that specific resort at that time. It also requires a bit more planning, as you’ll have to make sure the restaurant is open during your stay (and ideally, that it’s close to your accommodation). The upside is that a ski-in/ski-out trip requires less gear and is a whole lot more convenient. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to include this type of trip in your vacation plan, we suggest you go for it. Just make sure you’re prepared for the high altitude (ski-in) and that the temperatures are suitable for biking and hiking (ski-out). You can’t beat the panoramic views and fresh air of the Canadian Rockies in the summer.
Ski Gloves Versus Ski Mitts
Like with many other activities, there’s more than one way to skin a cat (or a skier). Many people prefer to use their hands for handling their ski gear, while others prefer to keep their hands warm by wearing gloves. The main difference between the two is that the mittens protect your fingers from frostbite, meaning you’ll be able to feel the bar you’re pressing against and stop your ski fall in time.
There are various styles of ski gloves available, each with its pros and cons. One of the best and most comfortable varieties of skiing gloves is the K2 Snowboarder’s Mitts. They’re light and flexible, yet thick enough to keep your hands at the right temperature. They also provide excellent grip on the snow and ice, preventing potential injuries from falls or collisions. Another great option is the Salomon QuickTouch Glove. It’s made of a synthetic leather that’s highly durable and flexible, yet still retains its original shape after years of heavy use. You can wear these types of gloves during the day and not worry about overheating or frostbite too. Just make sure you wash them regularly and don’t leave them in the rain or expose them to direct sunlight, as this can cause the leather to fade and the glove to deteriorate.
Ski Pants Versus Ski Jumps
Pants aren’t just for fashion: they provide many functional and safety features that you might need while skiing. The main purpose of your ski pants is to keep you warm. That’s why most skiers prefer to wear them over regular pants. They also offer better protection against snow and ice burns, along with abrasion and tear resistance. The downside is that the snow and water often makes the material stickier, meaning you might find it more difficult to maneuver around on the mountain. That’s why many skiers also choose to wear over their pants a pair of ski socks made of the same material as their ski pants. This provides a better connection with the snow and reduces the possibility of frostbite and irritation too. Naturally, this also means you’ll have to change your ski socks more frequently than usual, as the material tends to become slushy and messy after just a few hours on the mountain.
It’s important to note that not all ski pants are created equal, as there are various levels of protection depending on the type of skier you are (beginner vs expert vs amateur). The key is to find the right pair of skimpies to meet your needs. Beginners and experts should opt for a thicker, warmer fabric with the best insulation properties, while amateurs should go for a synthetic and semi-bulky option that provides some durability without affecting warmth.
How Do You Warm Up On The Slopes?
When you’re on the slopes, you’re not always sure of the temperature. It can get quite cool at times, meaning you have to warm up. Fortunately, there are a few ways to do that, whether you’ve got a few minutes or a few hours. The best way is to use a hand warmer. These are small and discreet in size, so you can keep them in your hand without feeling weird or strange. You can also use them to warm up your feet and your fingers if needed. It’s also worth noting that many ski resorts provide you with a towel that’s specifically designed for wiping down your equipment, so make sure you keep these by your side at all times. The towel will stay dry and clean thanks to its waterproof coating and you’ll be able to clean all the snow and ice off your skis, goggles and gloves after every run. This will make a big difference and ensure they remain in good condition for years of use.
Knowing how to size down the items you need for your summer ski trip is a lot easier than you think! It just takes a bit of research and some creative thinking. As you now know, the key to light and comfortable summer skiing isn’t in covering up but in being smart about what you bring. Always remember: less is more. You don’t want to overload yourself with a lot of gear either, as you’ll be carrying around a lot of extra weight, which might affect your skiing and your enjoyment of the activity. Instead, pick your equipment carefully and only what you need. You’ll be much happier and more comfortable on the mountain that way too.