To avoid finding yourself unprepared and to better enjoy your day on the snow, choose the ski clothing that guarantees maximum comfort and technicality.
To help you in the choice we have created this guide that will help you to consider the ski clothing not only for its aesthetic appearance but also for its technical characteristics of:
1. Water resistance : it is the property that must have a fabric to not pass a liquid and is expressed with a number followed by the words: “Water column”. The water column indicates the pressure, expressed in millimeters, that can weigh on a material before it collapses and lets the liquid penetrate. (Consider that a garment to be considered waterproof must have a minimum water column of 1300mm)
2. Water repellency: it is the capacity of the fabric to make the drops of water slip without being absorbed. A fabric has a high water repellency if it retains its properties even after a certain number of washes.
3. Breathability: it is the ability of the fabric to release the water vapor caused by perspiration and is expressed in grams of steam expelled by a square meter of fabric in the twenty-four hours (gr / mq / 24h).
It is important to know that the higher these values are, the more we will have a waterproof and breathable garment.
To simplify, we can observe how a sheet of plastic is completely waterproof, but will not allow any kind of perspiration; therefore we will have to pay close attention to the materials with which the suits, jackets and ski pants we are going to buy are built.
If a finishing treatment on the external fabric is used to obtain water repellency, impermeability and breathability can be achieved by using microporous or osmotic membranes that allow the vapor molecules to exit but prevent water drops, infinitely larger, to penetrate.
The most popular membranes used by ski clothing companies are: Gore-Tex , Dermizax , Entrant , Hipe , D-Dry and Xtl Spylon.
As an alternative to membranes, a fabric with silicone or polyurethane coating can be used, which guarantees a similar effect.
However, it should be noted that a coated fabric is more rigid and less comfortable than those using membranes, and that the waterproofing treatment diminishes with time.
To help you choose, we divided the ski clothing into three categories based on the numerical values related to these parameters:
Top Performance : guarantees excellent performance even in extreme weather conditions.
Water resistance: more than 15000 mm of water column
Breathability: more than 12000 gr / mq / 24h.
(look at the jackets , the pants , the suits belonging to the Top Performance category).
B. High Performance: guarantees excellent performance with prolonged stays under the snow even in the presence of heavy rainfall.
Water resistance: over 10000 up to about 15000 mm of water column
Breathability: around 10000 gr / mq / 24h.
(look at the jackets , the pants , the suits belonging to the High Performance category).
C. Sport Performance: guarantees good performance in the event of light snowfall and limited exposure to the elements.
Watertightness between 5000 and 10000 mm of water column.
Breathability approx. 5000 gr / mq / 24h.
(see the jackets , the trousers , the suits belonging to the Sport Performance category).
* the division into categories is indicative.
4. Thermal insulation :
In nature the best thermal insulation is air. This is why the padding used in ski clothing has the characteristic of trapping air to better maintain body temperature.
Among the most known materials we find:
A. Goose down : it is preferred for its high degree of thermalness compared to the overall dimensions, it has a very high capacity to trap air and at the same time a high degree of compressibility which allows garments with this padding to be extremely light and comfortable. However, the feather is preferable in conditions of cold climates but with a low degree of humidity, as the material has a high capacity to bind to the water molecules.
B. Padding in synthetic microfiber : they have properties similar to goose down, but they have water-repellent characteristics, which guarantee maximum comfort even in conditions of high humidity.
In the field of ski clothing, the most technical and known padding are those in Primaloft , In Polartec , in Thermolite and in Thinsulate that allow an excellent thermal insulation and a good compressibility, in the face of very low moisture retention.
Obviously the higher the quality of the materials, the more you will have top performance.