I'm planning to go skiing in the near future (who wouldn't when they live so close to the snowfields?!) and looking to buy some ski clothing. I've been skiing once before. A LONG time ago. I think I just wore whatever I had at home which was far from appropriate. My pants were not even waterproof! They were those thick fleecy pants you wear for sport (or in my case, for sleep). Yeah, I cringe at the thought of my lack of knowledge (or my parents' lack of knowledge rather) about skiwear...
So, a few weeks ago (before it even started snowing actually) was reading up on skiwear (and also watching tutorials on YouTube and other video websites about how to actually ski instead of 'falling gracefully')... I discovered some key words such as breathability (respirant) and waterproof (imperméable) ratings. They start from 1,000 and go up to around 20,000+. The average ski jacket/pants in the shops is around 3-5,000 and 10,000 is very good. I doubt you'd need anything more than that unless you are a hardcore winter sport enthusiast. Of course the higher the number the more expensive the item is too. And then you have Gore-Tex which is a whole other world altogether and defies numbers.
It's all a bit confusing so I won't even try to explain it but here are two (one, two) good websites which explain it well.
I decided I wanted at least a 5000/5000 rating (or more if I could afford it).
I have a few problems:
1) I live in a small town and don't have a car so it's a pain to do any shopping for anything other than food (a whole new post on this topic coming up soon)
2) I seem to be the size of the average French woman so almost everything I want to buy is sold out in my size. This happens all the time. Even if the product is not on sale! It is beyond frustrating.
3) Ski clothing is ugly. Am I the only person who thinks this? Why can't they just come in normal colours other than black or white? I don't want to wear hot pink or puke chartreuse or look like I'm 8 years old. It's as if - how should I say this? - somebody threw up in Photoshop. Why do the patterns on ski clothing have to be so loud and garish and 80s? As well as that, it makes you look fat and/or pregnant.
Also, why are there so many white ski clothes? Do people want to be camouflaged or what? I don't get it. I keep having paranoid thoughts about being stuck in the mountains and noone being about to find me because... I am wearing head to toe in white! Hahahaa. Call me silly but I think about these things. And then to me, black is just too dreary which leaves the highlighter pen type colours, or your wacky crazy patterns.
I have no choice but to buy it on the internet but I'm never sure what size to get as it largely depends on what brand it is... It's going to be very interesting seeing if I can even find anything that I like, in my size, AND in my price range!
On the plus side, ski wear (and sports wear/equipment in general) seem to be a heck of a lot cheaper in France than in Australia, and I love that there are so many sport stores with discounted prices. In fact, winter technical clothing, accessories and equipment (for randonées, skiing and snowboarding, etc) seems to be about 1/3 price of that in Australia!
Edited: I ended up buying a jacket from Intersport in Lyon. It's by the brand Protest and cost 169 euros. It's more than I wanted to spend but I figure if I can wear it as a normal jacket then it's like getting 2 in one. It has a rating of 8000 for both breathability and waterproof... waterproofability? waterproofedness? watertightness? so it's totally worth the price I think. I fully recommend that store in the Croix Rousse in Lyon. It was huge. It had 2 storeys and the largest range of ski clothing I'd seen in any store. Of course it also sells other sports stuff too including actual skis.