Every year, I cannot wait for the winter season! That means… SNOWBOARDING! I started snowboarding about 6-7 years ago. It was one of those things that I tried once and fell in love. Learning snowboarding as an adult was super painful for my body and my ego. I do though have to give a little shout out to everyone that has tried to teach me along the way. I’m sure it was just as slow and painful for them too! By no means am I an expert today, but I thought I would write a beginner’s guide to snow gear and share my experience for anyone starting out.
If you thought finding the right size in everyday clothes was hard, finding clothing for the snow is even harder! Snow clothes are super expensive and the last thing you need is to purchase something that maybe fit in the dressing room, but didn’t fit on the mountain. I want my past experience to help someone out in the future so I decided that I wanted to do a 2-part (maybe 3-part) blog series on snow gear throughout this winter. So I want to first start with the basics!
WHAT TO WEAR (BASICS)
Base Layers/Thermals: UNIQLO has pretty good base layers for relatively cheap. I would recommend their HEATTECH line since the material is super soft yet keeps you surprisingly warm. Even though UNIQLO has an XS size, I would go with S since their sizing seems to run smaller. This is pretty normal when buying clothes from Asian brands. As a matter of fact, I actually got the M size for the long sleeve since I wanted a looser fit.
Mid Layers: I get cold pretty easily so I ALWAYS have a second layer on. I would only stick to the base layers if the weather was 45F+ and sunny. Otherwise, I’m packing it on! For the bottom, I’ll just double up my leggings. For the top, my absolute favorite layer is this North Face zip up fleece that I got for a backpacking trip years ago. I now wear it religiously on the mountain. I love it because it’s a full zip-up, has a turtle neck design, and thumb holes at the bottom of the sleeves.
The full zip-up (vs. half zip or pullovers) is better in my opinion because it gives me the option to easily fully unzip if I get too hot. With the pullover, I would have to take my whole outer jacket off to strip off that layer. The turtleneck design is also great if it’s windy on the mountain. You can easily zip all the way up and keep your neck warm. Last, but not least, are the thumb holes. Nothing annoys me more than having my sleeve bunch up inside my jacket and then feeling the cold air run up my wrists. The thumb holes really help keep the sleeves down and provides and extra layer around your palms. Unfortunately, I can’t find the exact same model, but I’ve listed some similar ones below.
Outerwear: Outerwear ranges anywhere and everywhere for me. This really just depends on the brands you choose. I’ll review my outfit details below, but the thing to really keep in mind when trying on outerwear is how many layers you plan on wearing underneath. The jacket should be roomy enough where you can still easily move. You are doing a snow sport after all. Also pay attention to the thickness of the jacket. Some are just shells so you should be aware that you will have to layer heavily underneath. Others are super insulated which can be great during really cold and windy days, but absolutely dreadful when springtime rolls around and the sun is out most of the time.
686 Women’s Jacket (XS): This is the first time I bought a 686 jacket and I actually really love it. What caught my eye was the bright white with minimal specks of color. I usually never go for the XS in jackets because I want it to be comfortable and roomy for all my layers. When I tried it on at the store, it actually was the perfect size. There was plenty of room and enough pockets for my goggles, phone, credit cards, etc. There’s even a tissue pocket and a place for your headphones to run through.
Burton Girls’ Pants (L): There’s definitely a lack of options for petite women when pertaining to snow pants. Every time I try on a cute pair, I’m either swimming in it or it’s dragging on the floor and I can barely walk. Granted, once you have your boots on, it should be fine, but then there’s that puddle of fabric bunched up at the bottom. So what’s my solution? Girl sizes! Not only are they the right length, but significantly cheaper than the women’s version. The waist might be a little big at first but after you tuck in all your layer, you should be fine. Also, I noticed with the girls’ version, they have Velcro on the waist so you can make it even tighter if you want.
Hopefully, this beginner’s guide to snow gear helps someone out! The next blog post in the series will focus more on snow accessories. Thank you everyone for reading!