Originally Posted by notyouravgben
ah, I'm trying to make a push to ski more this year and I'm in Highschool so I guess I don't know the proper questions to ask, but thank you!
It really is better to have function as the priority, but if you look hard and take your time you'll be able to find something that works pretty well for a decent price, and that looks good.
First off: don't get anything that has cotton in it. Cotton absorbs moisture as you perspire, and when it's damp it loses its ability to keep you warm. You'll be miserable... think about how your Carhartts get pretty swampy feeling as you exercise, then if you sit still you get clammy and cold. Sux when you're skiing, or worse when you get stuck on a chair lift. You want fabrics made of stuff like polypropylene, wool or silk.
The purpose of the outer layer is to break the wind, keep water from coming in from the outside, and allow vapor from your sweat to escape. There are a number of waterproof, breathable fabrics that different makers use to do this, and most of them work pretty well. You'll see things like nylon or polyester sandwiched with Gore-Tex. I like this layer to not have much insulation, and it needs to be loose enough to let me put on layers underneath. Zippers at your pits and legs are good for venting excess heat. And don't wash it with regular detergent, because it gums up the Gore-Tex and ruins it. There are special cleaners, and you really only need to wash them a few times a season.
Underneath this I wear thermal underwear. I have something thin, similar to Under Armor for example, right next to my skin. Over that I'll have something more like fleece, and I put on what I need to keep warm. This way I can ski everything from warm and sloppy to single digits. If I get too warm or cold I duck out of sight, add or subtract a layer (shove it in one of the big pockets) and head back out.
After you stop growing and save some money you'll want to think about ponying up for some top-shelf outerwear... it's really expensive, but worth it. I finally sprung for a pair of Outdoor Research Alti mitts and Patagonia Primo pants, and... wow... they're freakin' awesome.
Edited by chilehed - 9/2/13 at 7:30pm