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Thread: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Ctrain's Avatar
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    Default Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Hey Guys,

    Its official, This winter I'm moving to the French Alps for 5 months to work in the Ski Resort of Val Cenis.

    The moneys pretty average... actually pretty terrible, but if all your accommodation, food and ski gear included.. So its more about the experience than anything else.
    Anyways, I haven't spent a hell of a lot of time in the snow, I'm normally a beach person

    So all you skiers and boarders... And general snow junkies... Any advice for a newbie?

    Looks like I'm gonna need to purchase the following..

    Jacket.
    Ski Pants (gortex)
    Gloves.
    Snow Shoes.
    Goggles.
    Thermals.
    Socks suitable for Snowy conditions
    Zebralight

    Clint
    SF LX2 - D20 Q5 - NDI R2 - D10 R2 - EZAA

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    I'd email/call one of the guys there or the person your going to be working with and ask them what they recommend too. Bring Sunglasses (cpl pairs at least and good ones) Snowblindness is not a myth especially at altitude with the strong sun. Have fun too I miss the snow

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Arc'teryx is the be-all end-all to snow gear IMHO. I blow a good amount of money every season on 2-3 new Arc'teryx stuff.

    One thing that disappoint me is how much of their production has moved overseas. I try and support their garments that are still made in Canada. (I've also heard some mixed results on their Asian-made garments).

    Good luck and have fun!

    john

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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    I don't ski, so, this is coming from someone that camps in snow.

    Socks. I would not go without liner socks. Polypro, coolmax, whatever you prefer. If hiking, snowshoeing,,, I may sweat and soak them up and need to change them during the day. Outer socks. Depends on how much you are working. If you want warmth, there are many on the market. Ask the people that have been over there what they use when working. Just to stay warm, I prefer an acrylic/wool blend over the liner socks. Ultimax is my preference.

    Snowshoes. I use Tubbs snowshoes. Good price point and have a good binding that I prefer. Easy to tighten, easy to release.

    Sunglasses, as was already said, are an absolute must!!!!

    The rest is personal preference on brands. I prefer layers. That way you can pull a layer off. Base layers need to be comfortable and wick away moisture. I still prefer a silk liner layer. Polartec is great for warnth. A goretex or windproof layer on top is important also.
    Bright Scouter
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    No handheld flashlights? Just kidding. No, actually, not really...

    I've done a lot of skiing and snowboarding in the US, most of it in Colorado at 8000-13000ft. I don't know what the French Alps are like, but I'll give you my recommendations on gear.

    Buy a bunch of synthetic or wool hiking socks. These make a big difference. Cotton anything is just plain miserable in the snow. I recommend Smartwool or Thorlo. Get 2 pairs of dedicated ski & snowboard socks (longer than the hiking ones). Along these lines, synthetic underwear. I prefer Coolmax boxer briefs.

    If you have to choose, spend more on a good Goretex jacket rather than on Goretex pants. A good breathable waterproof jacket is the most important piece of gear. And make sure it has at least a foldaway hood preferably a full size one. If you snowboard, you will want something more water resistant on your butt because you end up sitting in the snow a bit. You can get away with lighter weight pants if you are just skiing. Cargo pockets also come in handy. Also, if you snowboard, I would recommend a helmet and possibly wrist protection.

    A normal 200 weight fleece jacket or wool sweater is the best for layering underneath your Goretex jacket. I also use 100 weight fleece pants under waterproof shell pants. By the way, you don't have to get "Goretex" but just something waterproof and breathable from a reputable brand such as EMS or REI. Also, there are lots of jackets these days that are windproof (e.g. Windstopper) which are great around town but will be uncomfortable to layer under a waterproof jacket. I never set out on the mountain with just a windproof jacket, but I see many skiers doing it. You never know when you might get stuck in some emergency situation in which case a windproof jacket alone will really suck. I've used plenty of fleece and down vests before and I have to say they all stay in the closet now. Sleeves make a big difference in warmth and I don't think a vest gives me that much more mobility. No vests for me.

    Wool for fleece hat. You lose an enormous amount of heat through your head. Get one with reindeer antlers and the girls will love you.

    Zippo lighter. Butane or torch lighters sometimes have issues at higher altitudes. I'd also get a safety whistle and zipper-pull compass, you won't even notice they are there. While your at it, you might as well attach a Photon microlight somewhere.

    Scarf and/or neckerchief.

    Goggles are a must, but unless it's snowing pretty hard, I personally find shield-type sunglasses to work better because they are much more fog resistant and will still protect your eyes from light to moderate wind and snow. I only use goggles in moderate to heavy snow and wind conditions.

    I can't tell the difference between $10 cheap waterproof insulated gloves from a convenience store and $100 premium ski gloves from a ski shop. However, if your ski jacket has glove attachment points on the sleeves, I'd recommend looking for gloves that have attachment points too.

    Sunblock, chapstick, lotion. Chapstick is your friend.

    You might want to consider a water bottle. If you are just learning how to ski or snowboard, it is easy to get dehydrated. Doesn't need to be anything special, a simple Nalgene bottle will suffice. However, a good stainless insulated bottle is a nice thing to have on a ski trip. Coffee will stay hot in it for 8 hours or so. I have big pockets on my ski jacket so I can actually get a 500ml water bottle in there, but you can always get a Camelback or a small backpack.

    I've never actually worked at a ski resort before, nor have I been to the French Alps. But from what I've seen at ski resorts, I'm not sure if snowshoes should be really high on your list. The sidewalks at most ski resorts are passable with just sneakers or hiking shoes. The snow around the lifts are typically pretty hard packed. I don't know if you'll be walking around in the trees where the snow is softer, but I'd say a good pair of waterproof hiking boots are all you need if you stay in and around the resort. If you really find you need snowshoes, you can always buy a pair after you get there.

    Backcountry ski and snowboard gear requirements are much more extensive, ask if you want a brief explanation.

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    Flashaholic* Scottiver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    I would wait until I got there and had one of the ski patrol guys take you shopping to get the right stuff. Also if you work at the resort perhaps you would get an employee discount on gear. Just a thought.

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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    I only know about boarding, Ski'd for a couple of weeks, but boarded ever since I stated and havent looked back.

    First time I went Boarding I had nothing, and soon realised you need good snowboarding trowsers you will get a wet arse sitting on the snow if not. I got some Burton ones, and they work for me, But there are lots of different sorts to choose from....Get then big/ baggy, it helps with movement.

    As others have said, high good quallity socks are a must, as are a large selection of plasters.

    Also, if you board, Knee pads help loads, as you spend a lot of time facing up the mountain, on your knees, cold, and hard when you fall on them, elbow pads also help lots, wrist protectors got on my knerves, but I always put them on the first few days of the trip untill I remeber what I'm doing. ( You could probably do without the wrist protectors, and elbow pads.

    Take a few different pairs of gloves, Even the most fancy ones, get wet and cold, its nice to change half way through the day (don't buy gloves with wrist portectors you can't take out, they may not work for you, so its nice to be able to take them out)

    I also used a double fold of bubble wrap tucked down my trowsers, Its cheap and it realy helps,Your going to land on your arse lots. In the end we used thick dense air conditioning lagging foam cut into an oval, and stuffed that down our trowsers, nice insulation from the snow, and helps, Also comfy if you stop to admire the scenery, and take a break.

    It realy slows you down, and ruins the holiday if you get injurys, so its worth spending money on some protective gear first, even if you start off looking like the michelin man. Dont splurge on gear, you will learn where the bargains are, like I said a average pair of knee pads, and bubble wrap are the two essentials.

    I ended up with full Dainese body armour, that does help loads with getting beat up, you will have a lot of tumbles., but event the coccyx protector on that is not as good as a foam pad, but after a while you get bettter, and have less tumbles. (When you do stack after you are proficient its impresive)

    I didnt start with a helmet, not essential, as i think it takes away some of your sorounding awareness. A hat will help. But last year I wore a helmet and I was more daring with it on.

    Drugs!!, you will need them, Diclofeniak, Ibuprofen, Paracetamol. If you dont have it you'll wish you did. It gets easier, but the first few days Hurt.

    Try to strengthen your legs, squats, etc before you go.

    3 days of tumbles and falls and you'll have picked it up, I learned on a friends stag week, so we were all drunk, which also helps as you roll with the falls a bit easier.

    Take a backpack, I coulden't get on with my cammel pack, as the nozzle freezes, but you will want some where to put your jacket if it gets hot, carry lots of water, as you will get thirsty, and chocolate for a boost, make a sandwich or two in the morning, cause you'll be hungy, ( I love French bagguette with creme fraice, black pepper and salami. C'est tres bon.
    Eating out in the cafes cost heaps and you can waiste alot of your day in there.

    If you think your going to crash dont bail, try to get out of it as much as you can, cause the worst thats going to happen is your going to crash anyway, so you may as well try to get out of what you may think is a potential crash.

    Oh, and I have never found France that cold, so dont go mad on artic clothes, You get hot quick trudging to the lifts carrying your board.

    I find myself wearing a hoodie or teeshirt, and tube knex fleese scarf, instead of a waterproof jacket I keep for if its realy heavy snow.

    And as your going to live there take your regular UK clothes, you dont go out for a beer in the eventing wearing your ski clothes, its not cool, or what the locals do, you dress in regular non ski themed clothes, You definatley dont need snow shoes, you'll probably be issued with snowboarding boots which are the same thing, a regular pair of casual boots is what you need, and trainers etc, or whatever you usually dress in the evening.

    Oh, and Dont eat the 'yellow snow'
    Last edited by Raoul_Duke; 09-05-2009 at 04:33 AM.

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    Flashaholic Ctrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Thanks heaps guys for all the info! Its really helped out a lot!!
    SF LX2 - D20 Q5 - NDI R2 - D10 R2 - EZAA

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    Flashaholic* orbital's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    +

    Tip 1: Layering is key (you'd be surprised how easily you can overheat in winter)
    Tip 2: waterproof/breathable is best
    Tip 3: a windproof fleece is one of the best investments ever
    Tip 4: see Tip 1

    have fun!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul_Duke View Post
    Take a few different pairs of gloves, Even the most fancy ones, get wet and cold, its nice to change half way through the day (don't buy gloves with wrist portectors you can't take out, they may not work for you, so its nice to be able to take them out)
    I was going to say what Duke said, however he bet me to it.

    For every set of gear (jacket + pants) you will want 2 pairs of gloves.

    They always get wet, and take twice as long to try out for some reason.

    Also they are the most common item of clothing (except maybe sunglasses/beanie) to lose.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Quote Originally Posted by AusKipper View Post
    I was going to say what Duke said, however he bet me to it.
    For every set of gear (jacket + pants) you will want 2 pairs of gloves.
    Yep, I had a bad case of verbal diarrhea yesterday.

    Quote Originally Posted by AusKipper View Post
    They always get wet, and take twice as long to try out for some reason.

    Dont they just, my (plug in /mains powered) boot warmers always spend more time in my gloves than in my boots.


    Quote Originally Posted by AusKipper View Post
    Also they are the most common item of clothing (except maybe sunglasses/beanie) to lose.

    So very true, its like they do it on purpose, Second place goes to skipoles
    Last edited by Raoul_Duke; 09-06-2009 at 08:01 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul_Duke View Post
    So very true, its like they do it on purpose, Second place goes to skipoles
    I'm a snowboarder, no skipoles for me to worry about :P

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Quote Originally Posted by AusKipper View Post
    I'm a snowboarder, no skipoles for me to worry about :P
    Same here, but if you stick to the main road, they seem to be scattered everywhere, They may also need to be concidered if a livley debate should erupt, for example a discussion on right of way...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul_Duke View Post
    Same here, but if you stick to the main road, they seem to be scattered everywhere, They may also need to be concidered if a livley debate should erupt, for example a discussion on right of way...
    Actually, I think I see most of them right under the ski lift.

    I never tried bubble wrap down my snowboard pants. Sounds uncomfortable...

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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    I'd definitely second the Smartwool recommendation; I'm a big fan of their baselayers. (And socks. And...well, just about everything they make.)

    Also, as others have said....layering. It's your friend.

    If you're not going to be rolling around in the snow a lot or dealing with freezing rain, you probably won't need terribly waterproof gear. I use TheNorthFace's Nuptse jacket up here in Alaska (where it's snowy and cold, but not usually rainy), and its 700-weight down keeps me incredibly toasty. You can find it on sale for about $140, and it's a fantastic jacket. (That said, it's not designed to be a rain jacket, so if you're expecting to be outside for a long time in the rain, you'll want a different jacket - or at least a rain jacket.)

    Also, you might want to consider mittens instead of gloves unless you really need the dexterity. I scoffed at mittens when I first arrived here, but I've really come to appreciate how awesome they are. I'd purchased the heaviest, most expensive gloves out there...but they didn't keep my hands nearly as warm as the $40 mittens I got from Swany. And I've found that I rarely wish I had gloves on; I can usually do what I need with mittens. If your hands get cold - and this is coming from another former beach-weather person whose hands do - you should definitely consider mittens. =)

    Hope this helps! Have fun - sounds like a great experience!

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    Last edited by FlashInThePan; 09-07-2009 at 04:14 AM.
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    +1 for mittens. Like I said before, cheap waterproof convenience store mittens will beat most expensive ski gloves for warmth. Sometimes I use glove liners under the mittens so I can take off the mittens to adjust something and not get my fingers frozen on any metal. Mittens also let you hold a heat pack in your hand on the inside, very toasty indeed!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Need some advice from all you Snow Junkies!

    Your gloves dont have to be 'Ski Gloves'.

    I have one pair of Ski/ SnowBoard Gloves, That are fair to sh!te at what they do, and the rest, last time, were actually insulated leather crane driver gloves, but anything will do, way better to carry more than one, I usually have two or three, But I do end up doing a snow man impression daily ( I'e get covered in snow) whilst weaving on and off the piste.

    LOL this thread made me go and book my next snow holiday early.

    I envy you...like you say you might not make much money, but the lifestyle. inc. the beer and girls is worth so much more than that.
    Last edited by Raoul_Duke; 09-07-2009 at 11:10 AM.

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