Thankfully, modern technology has made ski clothing immensely sophisticated, and there will be a plethora of different options to suit your preferred activity. We can broadly break down the types of clothing into 3 broad categories:
An uninsulated, durable and waterproof outer layer, used as part of a comprehensive layering system, this is the most versatile way of dressing. Beneath this layer would be layers of insulation and wick able base layers, which can be added/removed to suit conditions. See ‘The Layering System’. For example the Arc’teryx Tantalus and Sentinel jackets
The more traditional type of ski-clothing. These clothes include an insulation layer underneath a shell layer. Well suited to colder climes, and for less aerobically taxing skiing. Think high altitude Piste wear such as the Peak Performance Helium Jacket.
Not 100% weatherproof like a hard shell, but typically wind and shower proof. They are, however, very breathable, and really come into their own during activities with high aerobic output in dry-ish climates. They can also be used as a technical mid-layer underneath hard shells on warmer days. For example the Salomon Snowfirt Jacket Womens.
What we need to do is discern what you will be doing. This is easily broken down into 3 (admittedly broad) types of skier:
Traditional skiing. Nice carves with the occasional journey off piste when the powder is good. Piste skiers have the widest range to choose from, and can tailor their clothing to suit the wide variety of conditions; traditional insulated clothing will suit long waits for and on ski lifts or those high alpine resorts. A fully layered hard shell system will be ideal for those of us who like visiting a new resort each trip. Fair-weather skiiers will probably choose a soft shell to prevent overheating on hot spring days. A good traditional example would be the Columbia Piste Beast Jacket.
Think ski-touring, beautiful untouched powder and a pathological dislike of skilifts. The level of constant cardiovascular effort produced by this kind of skiing means a well curated layering system is the only viable option. Usually a soft shell with hard shell in your pack just in case works well. Norrona do a good selection of soft and hard shells to suit this activity
Snow-park junkies, and off-piste tricksters. With short laps and quick stairlift trips, and all-round generally aggressive riding, the work rate is typically quite high. A shell system gives you versatility and range of movement to work hard, and stand up to the impacts when the aeronautics don’t go according to plan.
The above is a brief outline of the thought processes involved, and obviously personal preference plays a large part in what you choose. There is a plethora of products out there, all with their own specific blend of features designed to improve your life on the mountain. The trick is - obviously - finding the right fit for you. If you have any questions give us a call!