Crispy slopes, fluffy snow, and romantic evenings by the fireplace. You could hardly find a better place for a winter skiing holiday than Canada. If this year marks your first skiing adventure, check if you have the right equipment. Not sure what you need? Our blog will explain how to choose the perfect winter gear just for you without spending your last dollar. From picking the right pair of skis to correct layering, this guide will help you spend unforgettable moments on the slope.
Finding the Right Pair of Skis Can Be Tricky and Expensive
Shopping for Canadian winters can be tricky. Don´t be dazzled by the most famous brands: go for the gear specific to your needs, ability to ski and body type. This way you will not only save money but also enjoy your skiing holiday much better!
Which types of skis can you choose from?
- all mountain skis are great for first-time skiers, suitable for most snow conditions
- powder skis are designed for powder snow
- big mountain skis are expert level; they give stability in high speed
- carving skis are narrow, prioritize quick edge-to-edge movements; perfect for advanced skiers who prefer firm conditions
- park and pipe skis (also called freestyle skis) have twin tip design, perfect for jumps or halfpipe riding
- alpine touring skis have light construction to make uphill travel easier; not recommended to new skiers
The length of the ski should be between your chin and the top of your head. You should also take your weight into consideration. Longer skis give stability but are harder to turn. That´s why beginners should pick a pair on the shorter side of the spectrum. Beginner skis are softer with a shorter side cut and narrow to medium waist. With your skis, pick appropriate poles as well.
If you are a beginner, we strongly recommend consulting a professional. Find a local store specialized in sporting equipment. In Ontario, for instance, visit Bramalea City Centre. They have amazing stores with all sorts of winter gear and trained professionals ready to help you chose the right one for you.
Choosing Your Ski Boots and Binding
With a pair (or two) of skis, you should pick a proper binding and boots. Those are essential for your comfort and confidence on the slope. Wrong type of shoes could cause discomfort and lowered ability to control your skis, which could lead to injuries.
Such as with skis, pick the right shoes based on your proficiency in skiing. But first, determine your size. Ski boots sizes are measured on a scale called Mondopoint. The size is the length of your foot (from heel to the longest toe) in centimetres. Don’t rely on the conversion from your regular shoe size, as those may vary based on the shoe type.
Beginners should pick the boot of their Mondopoint size or slightly longer. Don’t worry if the shoe feels small: the feel will change once you are skiing (the boots will loosen a bit). Flex is another factor you should consider. The more experienced and heavier you are, the stiffer your shoes should be. Flex is determined by a number ranging from 50 to about 130. Beginner women should pick in the range of 50-80, beginner men 60-100.
Pick the appropriate binding immediately with your boots. Not all bindings are suitable for any shoes. If you are not sure, ask an expert. Remember that binding constitutes an important safety feature. If it doesn’t release the ski at the right time, you can end up severely injured, especially if you are a beginner.
When buying winter boots, don’t forget another pair or two for after-ski activities. Especially the kids will enjoy making snow angels, snowball fights or snowman building. To get some inspiration on which boots are the best for loads of snow and winter fun, visit our blog.
Picking the Right Accessories
Stay on the safe side! Especially if you are a beginner, you need a proper helmet. Although wearing a helmet is not yet mandatory in the majority of Canadian mountains, it is strongly recommended. Don’t forget to pick the right size for your head, otherwise, it will not give you the protection you need. If you want to be sure, go for the safety certifications: ASTM in America or CE in Europe.
If you don’t feel safe on the ski, consider buying protectors. As back injuries are the most common ones, we recommend you getting a vest protector. You might also find wrist guards and knee protectors quite useful. Get a pair of fitting Goggles as well: don’t buy the fancy ones. Go for the simple, well-fitting ones with good visibility that will give you more security on the slope.
Keep Yourself Warm: Layer up and Forget About Cotton
Finally, pick what you will wear. You need to keep yourself cozy and warm. It is better to have thinner layers than one puffy jacket: the air between the layers will do the trick of isolating you from the cold. Wear at least 3 layers: the base layer should keep you dry. Pick a good material, if you want to save and still get good quality, get a synthetic base layer. Those cost from 15 to 60 dollars.
The mid layer should provide additional warmth: it can be simply a hoodie or jumper. The ones that you already have at home will do the trick. No spending necessary!
Outerwear – the third layer – is another business. Here you need good quality. Go for waterproof materials that are breathable. Actually, those can be measured. For your jacket, you should go for at least 5.000. Although the jacket represents the most expensive item on your winter gear clothing list, you can find the right deals in T.J. Maxx or other discount stores.
Finally, buy a fleece neck or a balaclava for additional face and neck protection. Again, you can use those you have at home. And why should you avoid cotton? It´s a great material, but not suitable for Canadian winters. Once it gets wet (and it will, as you will sweat and fall in the snow), it will not dry easily and will get you cold and frosty. Brrrr. All your layers can be bought with discounts if you get the right deals. Check the weekly store flyers to get the gear right for you.
Winter Shopping with your Family Can Be Fun
Ready for winter shopping with your family? We understand that the list of items can be very long but with proper planning, you can end up having a great time. After getting the right pair of skis, have some time off at Toys R Us. Then, head to the Children´s Place for some trendy winter wardrobe. And finally, don’t forget to fuel your kids with some hot chocolate (or other winter treat they like). For more tips and tricks on shopping for Canadian winters, read our blog!