THE OUTER LAYER
The jacket and pants form the outer layer of your clothing system and are designed to protect you from the snow and wind. As well as the outer fabric being breathable, both the jackets and pants will feature zippered venting to allow you to ventilate and manage excess body heat. This outer layer should also offer durable protection against the abrasive effects of snow, ice and equipment, yet be light enough to allow for sustained activity.
Most jackets and pants will have some form of lining or insulation to add comfort and warmth. Choose a level of insulation that suits your personal preference, and the outer temperatures.
Shell jackets are lightweight, packable and offer protection from the elements outside, but they will not have any insulating property, instead relying on an insulation layer worn underneath. A versatile and great value for money form of outerwear is the 3-in-1 jacket, which consists of an outer jacket and a zip-in/zip-out insulation layer, allowing you to adapt your clothing as the weather changes.
Soft Shell jackets are ideal if your activity requires a high level of aerobic output, as they not only offer exceptional water resistance and windproofing, but also deliver maximum breathability and allow perspiration and vapour to evaporate. They are a great option for spring skiing.
Mobility is another factor to consider. Modern garments now feature fabrics with 2-way or 4-way stretch providing enhanced levels of performance and greater comfort. This can also allow garments to have a more fitted style without restricting movement. In addition, advances in technology now allow manufacturers to create stretch fabrics that maintain their waterproof properties as they stretch, so you can now have it all!