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Help this "Noob" in South Carolina [jacket, layers, etc.]

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I am hoping I can get some help.  I have lived in South Carolina and in the Southeast for a long time.  I have not been skiing in about 4 years and I am going again soon.  I love to ski in Utah and Colorado.  I am not an "awesome skier" but I can clumsily get down some resort black diamonds (park city, snowbird, vail).  My main goal is to stay out of the way of more expert skiers and to stay safe.   I am looking for a new ski jacket.  Unfortunately in Columbia South Carolina we don't have ski shops and there is one sports store called "Dicks" but the selection is slim for ski jackets. I would like to get a jacket online...even used from eBay if the item is still some what new.  I am looking to spend about 200-250.   I don't know if spending 500 bucks on a jacket is all that great considering I will use it one or twice a year.  I also understand fabrics just generally breakdown over time so I don't

think I will be using it for 20 years.  I hope to get about 5 years out of it.  I am 5'-10" 138 pounds with a runners build. 

 

Can anyone suggest what size I should go for and something that I wont be swimming in, can also layer well underneath and keep me warm ?  I have tried looking online but I would love to be able to try some stuff on but don't think I will be able to.  I also need to get a helmet.

 

FSChris

post #2 of 33

5'10 138 is slim.  Good news: layering will be easy :)

 

You need to think about the conditions (for temperature ranges you'll be seeing) and features. 

 

Things I've found over time I really like:

 

1) a hood that can go over a helmet

2) powder skirt

3) pit zips

4) breathable

5) if you ski with a backpack, pockets that aren't impeded by your waist strap

6) a exterior chest pocket for essentials, and iideally another chest pocket(s) inside the zipper or outside flap for sensitive items

 

you need to decide:

 

a) do you want an insulated jacket

b) do you want a shell

 

for many years i did only shells and just layered up, now I take 2 shells and an insulated jacket on every trip.

 

if you're skiing in Utah or Colorado in non spring trips (ie: < 37 degrees) the benefits of the shell (truly waterproof and thinner) can be outweighed by the simplicity and economy of an insulated jacket.

 

the issue is now isn't the best time to buy either :)   call me stubborn but I buy all my shells/jackets at the end of the previous season, in the spring and stow them until the next year.  i don't care about the colors changing

 

* in march 2015 I bought a mountain hardware $550 shell for $175, end of season sale and a color combo others didn't seem to like (I still own and pack a North Face top of the line, and another mid-line Mt. Hardware, and midline Arcteryx; and have owned but now long trashed another TNF, and Halley Hanesen, and Spyder).

* in may 2009  I bought my first insulated jacket, before that i was all shell all the time, a Bonfire Snowboarding Company jacket.  It hit every hot button in the numbered list above and added a music player with headphone jack pass thru :)  bought end of season at a ski shop on the hill, 50% off to $175.  It's a sweet black and green herringbone jacket, not drab like their current offerings

 

so, since you can't go top of the line at end of year prices, a decent jacket (hits the major points above like hood, skirt, breathable, chest pocket) is found here $75 less than amazon by buying direct: http://www.mountainhardwear.com/mens-dragons-back-insulated-jacket-1616421.html?cgid=mens-jackets-insulated&dwvar_1616421_variationColor=425#start=2

 

that's a lot of jacket for $200 and is insulated.  unless you'll be doing spring skiing, this with a nice base and mid layer, will do you right.  Personally, even though you are thin, i wouldn't get smaller than a size Large - being tight = bad  the Mt. Hardware Dragons Back, Large = 35" sleeve with a 42-45" chest.  That will leave you room for layers if you want and a balaclava or scarf with it closed around your neck if you're really skiing when it's cold.  

 

Anyways

 

good luck! (and no i don't work for Mt. Hardware)

 

 

Helmets will be harder to buy sight unseen.  I've worn many brands in tests but have settled on Giro for a while but I bought (wait for it) an end of year deal on a sweet air suspension solomon in April 2015, skied with it the last 2 days of our Spring trip to Vail.  removable earpads, quick adjust vent, air suspension, great fit.  if you can't buy locally, get a seamstress tape measure (flexible cloth one from your local Michaels' store) and measure your head - then know your actual size in inches and CM then buy based on that from a place that allows 0 penalty returns, buy 2 brands and return the one that didn't fit right for you

 

good luck!

post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

Hi,

 

I am hoping I can get some help.  I have lived in South Carolina and in the Southeast for a long time.  I have not been skiing in about 4 years and I am going again soon.  I love to ski in Utah and Colorado.  I am not an "awesome skier" but I can clumsily get down some resort black diamonds (park city, snowbird, vail).  My main goal is to stay out of the way of more expert skiers and to stay safe.   I am looking for a new ski jacket.  Unfortunately in Columbia South Carolina we don't have ski shops and there is one sports store called "Dicks" but the selection is slim for ski jackets. I would like to get a jacket online...even used from eBay if the item is still some what new.  I am looking to spend about 200-250.   I don't know if spending 500 bucks on a jacket is all that great considering I will use it one or twice a year.  I also understand fabrics just generally breakdown over time so I don't

think I will be using it for 20 years.  I hope to get about 5 years out of it.  I am 5'-10" 138 pounds with a runners build. 

 

Can anyone suggest what size I should go for and something that I wont be swimming in, can also layer well underneath and keep me warm ?  I have tried looking online but I would love to be able to try some stuff on but don't think I will be able to.  I also need to get a helmet.

 

FSChris


Welcome to EpicSki!  Would you have any chance to drive to the NC mountains?  There are ski shops in Asheville and Boone where you could try on different brands and see what seems to work best.  Might even find something you like during early season sales before Christmas week.

 

Keep in mind that when you order online, all the reputable e-stores allow you to return something that doesn't fit.  I've found that a shell jacket with room to layer works quick well.  Then the jacket is potentially useful for other outdoor activities besides ski trips.  Waterproofing can be restored with wash in products.  Nix is a popular brand.

 

REI.com can be a good place to learn about options.  Enough choices but not as overwhelming as a snowsports e-store with a dozen different brands to choose from.

post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

Hi,

 

I am hoping I can get some help.  I have lived in South Carolina and in the Southeast for a long time.  I have not been skiing in about 4 years and I am going again soon.  I love to ski in Utah and Colorado.  I am not an "awesome skier" but I can clumsily get down some resort black diamonds (park city, snowbird, vail).  My main goal is to stay out of the way of more expert skiers and to stay safe.   I am looking for a new ski jacket.  Unfortunately in Columbia South Carolina we don't have ski shops and there is one sports store called "Dicks" but the selection is slim for ski jackets. I would like to get a jacket online...even used from eBay if the item is still some what new.  I am looking to spend about 200-250.   I don't know if spending 500 bucks on a jacket is all that great considering I will use it one or twice a year.  I also understand fabrics just generally breakdown over time so I don't

think I will be using it for 20 years.  I hope to get about 5 years out of it.  I am 5'-10" 138 pounds with a runners build. 

 

Can anyone suggest what size I should go for and something that I wont be swimming in, can also layer well underneath and keep me warm ?  I have tried looking online but I would love to be able to try some stuff on but don't think I will be able to.  I also need to get a helmet.

 

FSChris

If you want to shop on line try Eddie Bauer or LL Bean they have good quality.  They also have size charts to help you with fit.  I have a few Eddie Bauer "Weather Edge" jackets that are water proof and one is about 10 years old and still as dry as the first day I purchased.

post #5 of 33
Another Eddie Bauer fan. Their My Climate system allows mixing and matching. I just replaced an old jacket and the liner from that jacket zips right into the new one. I keep multiple liners in my locker and switch them depending on the day or load up on multiples.
post #6 of 33

Your biggest problem will be finding  proper, thin, ski socks.       Fortunately, those are available online and can be ordered based on US shoe size. 

post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

Your biggest problem will be finding  proper, thin, ski socks.       Fortunately, those are available online and can be ordered based on US shoe size. 

+1 on socks. Nothing is worse than having cold, numb feet while you ski. Makes it hard to ski when you cant feel the things you're supposed to ski with. IMHO, Darn Tough makes the best ski socks around. 

post #8 of 33

If you live in South Carolina I would recommend buying a shell or even a rain jacket thats waterproof and just layering up. I would get a good base layer and a few mid layers. This will serve you well year round where you live as you have a rain jacket and also mid layers for when it gets a little chilly but not too cold. I ski in all temperatures with a Columbia rain coat I bought at the outlet store and use a variety of fleece mid layers on top of a base layer. Last season I skied in sub zero temps at night and was fine. Basically just added an extra fleece layer and was good.

 

You could also get a 3 in one type jacket where it has a shell and fleece insert. You can use the jacket with insert as a winter coat, shell alone on warm rainy days or fleece insert alone on chilly but dry days.

 

Make sure you buy something that will serve you year round where you live as well as skiing. No sense in buying a heavy $400 jacket you will only use a few days per year.

 

 

Thin socks are also key. I found that I cannot use ski socks and use a pair of pearl izumu cycling socks that are wool. If I use any type of ski socks even thin I find my foot sweaty and cold even at subzero temps....

 

 

 

Columbia 3 in one Jacket

 

Above link is a jacket that would serve you well year round where you live. If later on you get serious about skiing and want a dedicated expensive type jacket then you could keep the columbia for daily use and have a dedicated ski jacket. I doubt you have issues with that columbia though.

post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

+1 on socks. Nothing is worse than having cold, numb feet while you ski. Makes it hard to ski when you cant feel the things you're supposed to ski with. IMHO, Darn Tough makes the best ski socks around. 

Can't agree that socks are the answer for "cold, numb" feet. Socks can only hold so much moisture and then moisture wicks into the liner and condenses at the plastic shell. Cold and numb are a lot more about the fit and quality of the boot. 

 

I fully agree with the recommendation to focus on getting a ski shell (including hood) with gore-tex or e- vent membrane for waterproofing. I use my shells anytime it rains in cool weather. REI Outlet is a good on-line source with a great return policy if you do not like the fit. Also, get 2 good technical base levels for under fleece.

post #10 of 33
An option is to order a lot of stuff online with the intention to return most of the items. Many stores offer easy returns for like 5.99 or 6.99.

Sierratradingpost is often the discount place to try, however often this is overstock or items that did not sell in previous years sometimes because thst item had a weirs fit or pattern

Backcountry or evo are other options
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thank you all very much for the advice.  I am going to look into everything suggested and look for some really good socks~!  I will report back what I get.  I like the MH jacket mentioned above and its not totally out of control $$ ;)

post #12 of 33

Regarding size, I doubt you'd be anything more than a medium in most jackets unless you like them very baggy/long.  I'm a touch over 6 feet and 185, and just bought a large in a Northface jacket which seems pretty roomy and is listed as 42-44 inch chest.  Actually part of the reason for buying this jacket was to get something a little roomier and longer than my old jacket (which was from Eddie Bauer in an M).  

 

I'm not saying don't buy the MH jacket in a L, just that you might want to double check the sizing before pulling the trigger.

post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

Thank you all very much for the advice.  I am going to look into everything suggested and look for some really good socks~!  I will report back what I get.  I like the MH jacket mentioned above and its not totally out of control $$ ;)


Not sure anyone mentioned . . . good ski gloves.  Still can find some on sale.  If you tend to have cold hands, consider mittens.

post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm View Post
 

Regarding size, I doubt you'd be anything more than a medium in most jackets unless you like them very baggy/long.  I'm a touch over 6 feet and 185, and just bought a large in a Northface jacket which seems pretty roomy and is listed as 42-44 inch chest.  Actually part of the reason for buying this jacket was to get something a little roomier and longer than my old jacket (which was from Eddie Bauer in an M).  

 

I'm not saying don't buy the MH jacket in a L, just that you might want to double check the sizing before pulling the trigger.


thanks... i think i will go with that insulated MH Dragon jacket.  I do not like things to be baggy or feel too big so I will get the med. Im sure a large would be huge.  Im not a big guy.

post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks MARZNC... i have some gloves and they did not keep my hands all that warm I will dig them up and take a picture.  What do you suggest for mittens ? I have never worn a mitten before.

post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

Thanks MARZNC... i have some gloves and they did not keep my hands all that warm I will dig them up and take a picture.  What do you suggest for mittens ? I have never worn a mitten before.


Personally, I prefer gloves.  Mittens help for people who have trouble keeping their fingers warm even with a very good ski glove.  Hestra or Swany are good brands.  The other choice you have to make is between long or short cuffs.  A matter of personal preference and budget.

post #17 of 33
gloves and mittens are personal preference and you have to try them on to make sure they fit well, and it might take some experience for you to narrow down what you are looking for.

But if you're looking off the shelf, you do want to look for those that do say they are goretex or outdry or otherwise says it's waterproof breathable and that will filter your suggestion for off-the-shelf gloves (Exceptions to this but that's more for advanced glove discussion).

It should not be too bulky with insulation that you can't easily move your fingers around. In practice the gloves that have a lot of insulation may seem warm in the store, but tend to not be breathable and lead to sweaty and damp hands when you're active.


One small company option that has gotten some good buzz in the snow community is the freethepowder gloves, search to find threads on it.
http://www.epicski.com/t/129721/free-the-powder-gloves

If your hands are very cold, there are threads on that too, some folks perhaps a bit with more extreme issues than you have; but one quick solution is to also get liner gloves.

They also have a good page on glove info here:
http://www.freethepowder.com/pages/ski-glove-buyers-guide
post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link for the gloves... I am going to order them and try them out.  They look like they are solid.   

post #19 of 33

I am currently wearing a Columbia 3-in-1 jacket and like it.  Columbia is good quality and reasonably priced gear.  You mentioned you have a Dick's near you.  The Dick's in the northeast carry Columbia jackets so it might be worth checking them out.  May be able to order online and return to store if necessary.  

 

Another post mentioned LL Bean.  They have good quality gear at decent prices with free shipping and close to free returns if needed.  And lots of sales this time of year.

post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Personally, I prefer gloves.  Mittens help for people who have trouble keeping their fingers warm even with a very good ski glove.  Hestra or Swany are good brands.  The other choice you have to make is between long or short cuffs.  A matter of personal preference and budget.

Hestra gloves, about $150. 

 

These guys, $10-15.

 

Add some of this for $5:

 

And you have gloves that will work as well if not better. It's all I use, and don't see any reason to use anything more expensive. 

post #21 of 33

Fair to say that I never buy ski gloves at full price.  And I like the little hidden pockets for a hand warmer. :)

post #22 of 33

Try your local hunting shop.    They will have insulated gloves for you to try.

post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 

Well... I appreciate everyone's help....your advice was used. 

 

I have a Med size Mountain Hardware Dragon Insulated on the way for right around 200 and a pair of those Free the powder gloves.

 

CANT WAIT.

 

I can only get out west once this year but hope to get out there 2 times next year....

post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

Well... I appreciate everyone's help....your advice was used. 

 

I have a Med size Mountain Hardware Dragon Insulated on the way for right around 200 and a pair of those Free the powder gloves.

 

CANT WAIT.

 

I can only get out west once this year but hope to get out there 2 times next year....


Now that your shopping is taken care of . . . when are you heading out west?  Where?

post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 

Breckenridge.... Jan 6-10th

 

Hope they get piles of snow.

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

Breckenridge.... Jan 6-10th

 

Hope they get piles of snow.


Look for the ongoing Colorado thread.  There will be more than enough for you I think. :)

 

Have you spent much time at high altitude, meaning over 9000 ft?  Worth checking out the EpicSki Article about altitude adjustment.

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/altitude-adaptation-and-acute-mountain-sickness

post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

Breckenridge.... Jan 6-10th

 

Hope they get piles of snow.

 

OK, be aware that you're diving into about the coldest place at the coldest time you possibly could.  

Double-check the windproof nature of your coat.
Do you have absolutely windproof bottoms? 
Do you have midlayers?

Expect to buy some sort of neck/face protection (fleece neck gaiter, thin balaclava) in addition to your helmet/hat and goggles.  

 

post #28 of 33
Thread Starter 

I will layer it up ... I have a pair of spyder ski pants.  I have been to Snowbird/Parkcity about 4 years ago. I remember it being very cold but I think my hands were cold and I was cold on a couple ski lifts when it was really windy. I think this new jacket should help and gloves.  I picked up some new google off of woot the other day... Bolle.Seemed pretty decent.

post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 

I will check out the colorado threads...thank you!

post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post
 

I will layer it up ... I have a pair of spyder ski pants.  I have been to Snowbird/Parkcity about 4 years ago. I remember it being very cold but I think my hands were cold and I was cold on a couple ski lifts when it was really windy. I think this new jacket should help and gloves.  I picked up some new google off of woot the other day... Bolle.Seemed pretty decent.


What I learned is that if my hands and feet were cold, I usually wasn't wearing enough around me core.  In addition to long sleeve midlayer(s), I often wear a thin vest.  One advantage of a helmet is that it's usually much warmer than a hat, especially if it's snowing since a helmet doesn't get wet like a hat does.

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