Gear – What Your Student Needs
Every year we like to share information about what clothing, gear and accessories helps ensure families have positive winter sport experiences. For folks new to winter sports, or new to living in the PNW, this can be daunting! Never fear, we are here to help!
If you haven’t already started gathering all of the necessary clothing, gear and accessories for your student now is a great time! Our partner ski shops (Alpine Hut in Seattle, Edge & Spoke in Redmond, and Gerk’s Ski & Cycle in Issaquah), are all eager to help you find exactly what your student needs. Additionally, stores like EVO and REI typically have a “Winter Sale” later in the Fall that you can keep an eye out for. Several of our experienced families also participate in local ski swaps.
For a successful winter season please ensure that your student has the following items, all labeled with their name (absolutely no cotton!):
- Base layer = Long underwear/long johns – Synthetic or Merino wool is best. (Absolutely no cotton!)
- Mid layer = Light weight fleece pants and top. If your student is only going to wear one under layer, aim for a mid-weight layer to ensure warmth. This layer is most often synthetic (fleece), but can also be wool. (Absolutely no cotton!)
- Insulating layer = Full zip fleece jacket or vest, heavier weight fleece pants (or wool). This layer is used when the temperatures dip extra low, or for people who tend to run cold regularly. (Absolutely no cotton!)
- Socks – Ski and snowboard socks should be synthetic or merino wool, and go up higher on the child’s leg than their boot. (Absolutely no cotton!)
- Pants – Most kids snow pants are insulated these days. It is very important to ensure they are waterproof. If your child is still potty training or new to dealing with many layers, bib style pants are not always recommended because it is one more obstacle between then and being able to go potty.
- Parka – All Powderpigs (staff and students) wear all red parkas. It is important to ensure the parka is waterproof. Youth student parkas are available for purchase from us for $100. If you would like to add one to your account, just let us know. Adult students are not required to be in a red parka, but may do so if they would like. If we are able to offer red adult jackets for sale, we will communicate that in a separate email.
- Neck gaiter & buffs – Neck gaiters and buffs come in a few synthetic options and vary in thickness. This important accessory helps to protect the neck, chin, cheeks, and ears. Some gaiters and buffs come as just a tube that covers the neck, while others are balaklavas that include a piece that covers the head. Make sure that if you get a balaklava it fits under the helmet comfortably. (Again, no cotton!)
- Goggles – Goggles come in a variety of lens colors for varying conditions, as well as with the ability to fit glasses if needed. Be sure to have your student try on a few with their helmet to find a pair that are comfortable for them.
- Mittens / Gloves – We recommend mittens because they help retain heat better than gloves. These should be waterproof and also go up at least 2 inches above the wrist. Families are encouraged to have 2+ pairs of mittens so that they can swap out wet mittens for dry, or change mittens when fingers get cold.
- Helmet – Helmets should be specific for Winter Sports. Bicycle, skateboard, or other sport helmets are NOT adequate for winter sports. Seattle Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s Cares offers some great information and resources so you can learn more. Our partner shops can also help ensure that your child has a proper fitting helmet.
- Skis & Boards, Boots & Bindings – These need to be properly assessed, fitted and tuned by a professional to ensure your student’s safety. Some ski shops offer a trade-in program for families who purchase new children’s gear. This helps families as their children grow by allowing them to trade them in the next year and receive a partial credit towards purchasing better fitting gear after growth spurts (but be sure to inquire about if this is offered before making purchases). Another option is a season rental package which is picked up at the beginning of the season and returned at the end of the season. We do NOT recommend that you rent gear from up on the mountain, or doing daily rentals- doing so is very time consuming. If you are going to rent do it from a local shop off the mountain that will allow you to pick up the gear at the beginning of the season and return it at the end of the season.
- Ski Poles – If your student is a brand new skier, they may or may not need poles this season. Talk with your instructor about if/when poles will be introduced.
- Sled – With all that gear a sled sure makes transporting it from the parking lot to the lodge easier. Fred Meyer is often a great place to find sleds this time of year. Be sure to clearly label your family’s sled with your name, so it doesn’t accidentally go home with the wrong family. Also note: There is absolutely NO sledding at the Summit at Snoqualmie. Sleds are for transporting gear and tired children only.
ABSOLUTELY NO COTTON – Surely after reading through the first 4 bullet points of gear you have picked up on this very important message. Cotton acts like a sponge. It can absorb up to 27 times its weight in water (melting snow, rain, sweat). As we sweat (and yes even in that cold we sweat), the cotton soaks up that moisture and holds onto it, remaining wet and sucking the heat right out of our bodies. Here is an article about cotton we encourage you to read.
LABEL YOUR GEAR! – Remember, we all shop at the same stores and buy the same brands… this means that our gear often looks the same. Be sure to clearly label all of your belongings coming to the mountain. As you can imagine, during a cocoa or potty break, it is easy for gloves and parkas to get mixed up when they all look the same. Writing your child’s name on them helps prevent this. And should gear be left behind it helps us reunite gear with the correct owner.
This information is also covered under the “Equipment” section on our website, found on the top menu bar.