Originally Posted by checksix68
Welcome to Epic. I'll start off by agreeing with @sibhusky. Boots are by far, IMHO the most important piece of equipment you will buy. It doesn't necessarily mean that you will have to spend a ton of money to find the right boot, but having a custom fit pair of boots is a giant step in the right direction. I'll embed a video from a boot fitter in my part of the country that helps explain why it's so important.
As far as the rest of your equipment is concerned, a ski swap may be a good place to start looking for inexpensive used equipment. Based on the information you provided, and based on ski sizing charts, you should be looking for a ski in the 154-160 cm length. The "All Mountain" category would probably be a good first choice. As your skill level progresses, a longer ski may be desired as they tend to offer more stability at higher speeds. I wouldn't get too hung up on a particular brand. All ski manufacturers tend to have the same "Gee Whiz" technology built into them referred to by different technological names. I will say this... ski's will not make you a better skier. Spending time developing your skill set, through practice and doing drills is what will ultimately develop you into a better, more advanced skier. I'm far from being an expert skier, btw.
Other equipment considerations. Ski apparel: cotton is the enemy. Cotton traps moisture leaving you feeling wet and eventually cold. Look for man made materials that wick moisture away from your skin.
I tend to use a layering system so I can add or remove layers based on the ambient temperature. Also, keep in mind ski apparel tends to run a bit small. So, if you're ever in doubt when using a sizing chart, it may not be a bad idea to go one size up.
Socks: Buy ones that are specifically made for skiing. There are several brands and some use material like "Smartwool." There are 3 different weights. Thin, mid and heavy. This just refers to their thickness and one may be more comfortable than the other depending on the temperature. Although ski socks can be expensive ranging from about $15 to $35 per pair, they are well worth the investment. As with all things I will mention, there are sales going on at different times of the year, and by shopping online, you could save as much as 50-70 percent off. I think REI is having a big Labor Day sale to name one retailer, but there are many others.
A base layer is a garment worn next to the skin. This too should be man made material that provides a degree of warmth and wicks moisture away from your skin. My favorite base layer is made by Patagonia, and contains a technology called Polygenie. Sweat does not stink. It's the bacteria that grows in it that causes odor. Polygenie kills the odor causing bacteria so you don't have to launder your garments as often.
Mid layer: This is a jacket or type of sweatshirt worn under your outer jacket that provides warmth and also wicks moisture away from skin. Patagonia Nano Puff or Northface Thermoball are a couple examples, although there are several different options you could go with as a mid layer. The two I mentioned are incredibly light weight and warm.
Jacket and ski pants: There are two types. Shell and insulated. A shell is just what it says, essentially a thin jacket. Insulated jackets are typically thicker and warmer, but not so great when spring skiing rolls around and temperatures are warmer. Three important qualities to look for when selecting your jacket or ski pants/bibs. Waterproffness, Windproffness and Breathabily. Each have their own rating. A higher number means it has more of the quality. 30k is better than 10k. Some ski jackets and pants are now designed to offer extra roominess in areas where skiers flex and extend while skiing, making them more comfortable. As a matter of fact, I just received my new jacket today. I bought an Atomic Ridgeline 3L jacket, (last year's model). This is normally a $400 jacket at full retail price. I picked it up online at Sturtevants Sports for $175.
Helmets: IMO you get what you pay for, but as long as you wear one, that's the important thing. I happen to have one that is audio compatible. I bought some "chips" from Outdoor Technology that zip into the ear flaps on my helmet so I can listen to my tunes while skiing and make and receive phone calls all at the touch of a button without having to stop skiing. Although I always stop when using the phone. Otherwise it'd be like talking on the phone while driving. Not a good idea.
Goggles: many different brands. I use a pair that enables me to swap out lenses for different lighting conditions. Yellow or clear for night, blue tint for flat light, a dark lens for really sunny days.
Gloves or Mits: Personal preference
Poles: They should fit comfortably in your hand and touch the ground when your arm is bent at the elbow at a 90 degree angle. There are different materials uses to make poles, some are lighter than others. There are also different size baskets on the bottom of the pole. Larger baskets may be more appropriate if you're going to ski in a lot of powder. Anyone who's ever "eaten it" in pow knows that the size basket you have on the end of your pole could be the difference between easily getting back up or flailing around in the snow while trying to get back up. I have small baskets on my poles, so when I fell, I stuck my pole into the snow to assist me in getting back to my feet, but the snow was deep enough that the pole just went deeper into the snow and was useless in assisting me.
I think that about covers it. If I missed something, or if there are dissenting opinions, I'm sure someone else will chime in. Best of luck to you in your endeavors.