Saturday, 18 October 2014

Snow Clothing for Townies - your Five Essentials Updated 2014

As someone who's been on many skiing trips with three kids and knows exactly what's needed to keep out the freeze in any situation, and with the cold weather just round the corner, with or without the actual white stuff,  I've put together my list of those five indispensable items that everyone should keep stored somewhere unless they intend to huddle under the duvet all winter.

Not only that but you do see people out in the snow and ice in the daftest things, particularly footwear.  At the very least a pair of snow boots, warm lined gloves and a great fleece will be a good start.  And the wrong boots can have you slip sliding away into any number of accidents.

Here are five of the essentials you need to cope with proper winter weather, whether walking the dogs, travelling to work or taking the kids to school.  And now that backpacks are such a 'fashion' accessory' all you need is a small one of these to carry a pair of shoes or ankle boots and possibly a thinner layer to change into when you arrive at your destination. This backpack by Michael Michael Kors may be going a little over the top but it's definitely on my Christmas list.  I'm leaving out the water-carrying daysack, expensive ski jacket and goggles for obvious reasons.

Ski pants - Let's face it unless you're going skiing, or have been skiing in the not too distant past you're unlikely to want to invest in a pair of proper ski pants.  Yes they'll keep you totally warm and dry but they can set you back quite a bit.  If it looks as if snow is going to be around for a while you might want to invest in something like these softshell ski pants, or wear thermal leggings underneath waterproof trousers.

The problem is that when there really is snow on the ground jeans will get horribly cold and wet, as will any other woven fabric.  So wear ski pants or waterproof or stretch pants with gaiters that go down your boots or over hiking boots to keep you dry whatever you wear on your feet or legs - these are essential for everyone who skis, and make sure that snow doesn't make it anywhere that it shouldn't. Of course you can go for salopettes (skiing dungarees) but I look so stupid in those I gave them up years ago. Or an all-in-one, although you might get funny looks when you arrive for work. One of the best places for snow and cold weather kit is Snow and Rock.

Snow boots
- Absolute necessities for this weather - I cannot believe some of the boots and shoes that I see people walking around in. Uggs won't work in snow, Fitflops won't work in snow and trainers and anything else are a total liability apart from proper walking boots with rubber ridged soles. Just don't blame me if the snow piles in and your socks get soaked. You need a pair of proper snow boots which, I promise you, don't need to cost a fortune and will last you for years.
Down coat or jacket preferably with a hood - There are so many out there right now, and the best ones disappear fast.  Don't go for the cheapest you can find (unless it's in a sale). Make sure that whatever you buy is insulated and waterproof. Short term pain (cash wise) will definitely get you long term gain here.  If you buy one of these without a hood you will almost certainly regret it.

 Barts Ski Gloves

Waterproof gloves
- proper ski gloves are the best, leather and sheepskin are second best although they'll get damp and wool or cashmere make keep your hands warm for a short while but you'll regret them totally in your next snowball fight. You can't drive properly in them either.  I really like the fur trim on these but there are cheaper versions at Snow and Rock as well.

Thermal top - When it's really cold nothing else does the job better, no matter how many other layers you wear.  My favourites are Heattech by Uniqlo and Heatgen by Marks & Spencer and you can wear as many layers as you want.

Unfortunately for you, most of the ski stores are not on sale because of course this is or is about to be the ski season. However you can find bargains around. Whatever, if we get a winter white-out this year in the UK, you need to invest now. Being cold and wet is not an option.

My favourite ski clothing store where you can find just about everything: