Posted by: Graeme Leathem
Have you ever worn the right jacket on the wrong day, or has anyone ever said to you: “Hey, the 80s called and they want their one piece suit back!” Well, if so, this is your lucky day. The legendary Turkey Sale is right around the corner, so in preparation I decided to ask an expert for recommendations on what to wear when skiing or snowboarding on Whistler Blackcomb Mountain.
So, I reached out to my close friend, Deanne Gale, aka "D", who has 20 years experience working in the snowboard and ski industry. Currently, Deanne is the Snowboard Softgoods Buyer at Whistler Blackcomb and she also purchases clothing for one of my favourite shops in town, Showcase Snowboards.
Q: How should someone dress for a day skiing or snowboarding on Whistler Blackcomb?
A: Any guest using our wonderful mountains should remember that our weather here in Whistler varies drastically from the valley to the alpine. Guests can experience snow, rain and sunshine all in one day. My strongest advice to anyone skiing or snowboarding on Whistler Blackcomb is to layer his or her clothing. Staying warm and dry will make your day the best possible experience. The first layer is right against your skin and it must be breathable to allow sweat to pass through to the outer layers. The second layer is usually a fleece product or sometimes a light down layer. This is the “warmth” layer. The outer layer is your jacket or pant. This layer needs to be waterproof and breathable to help keep you warm and dry. The jacket or pant may also offer insulation or simply be a shell. I stress breathability, as you tend to sweat when working up there so passing on this moisture though the layers is very important to keep you warm.
Q: What should someone take into consideration when buying new ski and snowboard outerwear (jacket and pants)?
A: Both skiers and snowboarders should consider where they plan to ski or ride the most when purchasing their gear. They also need to consider what type of skiing or riding they will be doing. For example, backcountry and park riding tend to create more sweat from hiking, etc. These users will likely want lighter products so they don’t create too much heat. It is also important to consider the climate, as some ski areas tend to be colder and dryer than Whistler Blackcomb. More insulation will be required for these users. When purchasing new gear, always make sure to tell your salesperson where you will be skiing or riding the most and what type of riding you will be doing so they can offer you the best gear.
Q: For the coming winter season, is there any new advancement in outerwear technology that has you excited?
A: There are a couple of new, great features in outerwear and layering that I’d like to mention. The first one is a new type of lining system that targets the areas needed most by the user. For example, an insulated jacket will have insulation only in the areas where you need it most, and will then use lighter layers through the other areas where you generate the most heat. This helps keep you warm but also helps regulate your temperature as you become more or less active. Volcom offers this technology in its T.D.S series of jackets and pants – this stands for Thermal Defense System. The second feature I’d like to mention is the new ultra light down mid layers. These are packable down layers that are extremely efficient in regards to keeping you warm. The benefit of this feature is that it allows you to have more freedom of movement and stay warm without the bulk.
Q: For those who like to be in style, what’s hot in ski and snowboard fashion for the 2011/12 winter season?
A: We’ve seen lots of slimmer silhouettes in outerwear the past two seasons. These remain strong, especially in pants for this coming season. Longer, slimmer jackets also remain in this year’s collections.
With ski and snowboard gear for sale at up to 70% off, make sure you check out the Turkey Sale from October 7 to 10 at the base on Blackcomb Mountain here in Whistler. If you happen to see D when you’re at the sale, ask her for advice. I can say from experience, she really does know what is up!
Special thanks to Powder Mountain for use of their photos.