Originally Posted by vickieh
Ski clothes for the PNW (these post-season sales are calling my name)
- Jackets: if I wear a thin base layer, then another shirt, would I generally need a shell, a moderately insulated jacket, or a fully insulated jacket? Or is it damp enough that shells don't usually come into play for those of us who get cold easily?
- Pants: are insulated pants ever really too much?
Please carry on with the sports banter too. I'm looking forward to seeing some AAA baseball again. When I lived near Richmond, I went to a few Braves games and loved the fact that for $15 I could sit close enough to be able to see pebbles of gravel, not just a brown band, around the perimeter of the field.
I'd say yes, you'll want something with a shell because the snow can be wet. Make it a waterproof/breathable one with a fairly high rating (e.g., 20,000/20,000 or higher) if you can. If you get cold easily then an insulated shell is nice but if you heat up they can be too warm. I prefer a lightly insulated shell plus a midlayer because the combo is relatively light, but a lot of people stick with an uninsulated shell on top of more underlayers because it's more versatile. At Bachelor I can park directly adjacent to the ski run so it's super easy for me to stop at my car and switch out my gear.
I prefer insulated pants until the temps get 40F and above. It doesn't quite get Montana-cold here but it can get cold and I'd rather have my legs be too warm than too cold. Most pants have some vents to dump heat if you're too warm but you can't do much about it if you're too cold. Switching jacket layers during the ski day is relatively easy but switching pants -- not so easy.
I think having a high waterproof/breathable rating on pants is even more important than on your shell because your butt can get wet while sitting on the chairlift as your body heat melts the snow you're sitting on. I always go Gore-Tex or equivalent with pants.