If you would like to know about the technical performance of ski wear, read on. Skiing is a sport and therefore your ski wear should fit well and be comfortable. Your skiwear should also have some technical features that will help you stay warm, dry and protected. This article will tell you what to look out for when buying ski wear.
Garments, fabrics and designs undergo rigorous testing by manufacturers. All our women's ski jackets, pants, ski suits and ladies ski accessories including ski helmets and goggles are made by highly experienced ski wear designers and ski wear manufacturers. We recommend buying ski wear from a brand that focuses on winter sports wear, rather than fashion brands however tempting the low price ski wear is.
The best type of ski wear is breathable, wicking, water and wind resistant and ideally stretchy.
Top tips for buying good quality ski wear include looking for items that are well insulated, not bulky. Choose fabrics with water resistance to keep snow out. Newer downfilled ski jackets can be water resistant.
The ability for the fabric to breathe/evacuate water vapour to the outside of the garment and is important for sportswear where the wearer is likely to perspire. Completely waterproof skiwear would leave you hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.
Moisture Vapour Transfer (MVT) in waterproof fabrics occurs in two ways:
- Physical: Hydrophobic (water fearing) are waterproof, steam permeable microporous coatings or laminations. They have pores that are so small water cannot go through. However, vapour water molecules are smaller than the liquid state and can pass through “micropores”.
- Chemical: Hydophilic (water loving) /non-porous coatings move moisture by chemical diffusion. Water molecules are positively charged and the hydrophilic PUs are negatively charged, attracting the water through the intermolecular gaps of the PU. Because the ionic bond is relatively weak, the water gets pushed through gaps until water vapour passes through.
Broadly you're looking to see how effectively a garment transfers water vapour or sweat out. This is often measured in grams. For example, how many grams of sweat per square metre can escape a garment in a 24 hour period. The higher this is the better a garment is at keeping you dry and at a comfortable temperature.
Above 5,000g/sqm.24hr is considered good.
Above 8,000g/sqm.24hr is very good and enables perspiration vapour to be released from the garment during active exercise. This standard of fabric technology enables you to keep dry and comfortable during a full day of moderate activity and will easily handle sustained periods of high activity.
High Water Resistance
To discourage snow from melting on you and getting inside your clothing.
Results above 5,000mm are considered good. 10,000mm or above is excellent.
Water resistance can work with critical seam sealing ensuring moisture does not permeate seams of outer membranes in wet conditions.
Fabrics selected for manufacturing ski wear are chosen for their technical abilities obtained through advanced manufacturing techniques. The fabrics have pores which are larger than a molecule of sweat (to allow for evaporation and wicking of moisture away from the body) but smaller than a molecule of water. This allows your ski wear to be breathable, water resistant and comfortable.
High Water Repellency (100% is good) so that the fabric does not become saturated in wet conditions.
Most ski wear is not produced to wear in very wet conditions - it is manufactured to withstand cold, snow and dampness, not rain. Garments with High Water Repellency often are not breathable or as comfortable and are more like an anorak.
Fabrics, Linings, Insulation, Technical Information and Environmental Performance
Thermolite Insulation provides warmth and comfort but is lightweight and slim. It dries 20% more quickly than other insulating fabrics and 50% more quickly than cotton.
Tecnostretch Pontetorto is a fabric with a technical outer surface combined with great stretch plus high thermal insulation.
Gore-Tex offers enduring weather protection and comfort combined with well balanced heat transfer and optimum moisture management, even in harsh conditions.
Primaloft Insulation offers superior performance for high quality cold weather clothing. It's soft, lightweight and breathable with excellent water repellency. The user should be able to remain dry, warm and comfortable in extreme conditions.
Primaloft Gold Insulation microfibres trap body heat to make this one of the most thermally efficient synthetic insulations available. The performance is enhanced with water repellent capabilities to maintain 85% of warmth even when wet.
Primaloft Performance Energy series supports the active lifestyle, keeping the wearer comfortable and dry during a wide range of exertions and activities.
Perfortex is a fabric mebrane exclusive to Fusalp. It's waterproof, windproof, breathable and microporous. A synthetic layer is laminated on the internal layers of the fabric to increase efficiency. The tiny size of the micropores enables moisture to exit the garment whilst preventing penetration from rain, wind or snow. External water resistance treatments and waterproof seams guarantee protection.
Dupont/Sorona is a biopolymer fibre with an unbeatable heat ratio. Its elastic, soft, quick drying, easy to clean and resistant to chlorine and stains. This bio-polyester formulation is made from renewable organic materials and has the advantage over synthetic polymers derived from petroleum. Production uses 40% less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 63% compared with usual fibres.
Quilting traps the insulation layers to compress them and make them less bulky whilst still providing the same warmth. The removal of bulk is good for the skier who wants to look good, stay warm and have the best flexibility and movement whilst skiing. Many of our ski jackets are quilted for this reason.
Outer fabrics are often made of 100% polyamide consisting of tiny polymers. See above for our explanation of polymers. This fabric is designed to repel moisture from the outside of the jacket, keeping you warm and dry.
Inner fabrics may be made of polyamide and polyurethane – here the role of the polyamide is to repel moisture that you might make. This means no sweat lies close to your skin or base layers thus preventing you from getting cold, wet and clammy. Polyurethane (PUL) fabric is waterproof, durable and has a slight crossgrain stretch and is used in items that are required to be largely waterproof. Most PUL fabric is made by laminating lightweight polyester interlock knit fabric to a 1 millimetre thick film of polyurethane. There are two processes used for lamination: solvent lamination which fuses the fabric and polyurethane film into a single monolithic fabric and hot melt which uses heat activated glue to adhere the fabrics together. This laminated fabric is useful as a wind and/or water barrier in the construction of fluid-splash protecting garments, including shower curtains and outerwear clothing.
Lining 1 may be made of 100% polyester to keep you warm. Often polyester is made from PET bottles.
Lining 2 may be made of 100% polyester wadding or batting. A layer of insulation is sometimes quilted between a top layer and backing material.
4 Way and 2 Way Stretch including Schoeller
Stretch fabrics offer maximum ease and comfort to the user. Stretch is obtained either by using elastane thread, or by a specific weaving processes.
Swiss company Schoeller offers a range of laminated fabrics with 2-3 layers of high tension, high quality yarns and is produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
Schoeller make an amazing WB-400 fabric that's flexible, soft and hardwearing. Two fabrics are joined together. The outer layer is an elastic/synthetic blend which is hard-wearing and doesn't constrict the wearer. WB-400 is also dirt-repellent and is combined with acrylate layer which repels water but does not inhibit the movement of perspiration. As we've outlined above, this is essential for garments you wear for sports. The outer surface makes moisture form "beads" and roll off.
Inside is a fleecy fabric which retains warmth.
The WB-400 Schoeller fabric is water and wind resistant. It's suitable for 80-90% of weather conditions - excluding persistent heavy rain or very wet snow. The fabric's breathability is 25-30% better than hard shells, according to Schoeller.
Schoeller now comes in merino wool too. The membrane material is breathable, moisture repellant, windproof with anti-stain and anti-UV capabilities.
Down filled ski jackets provide great comfort and warmth for skiers with a natural feel. Down is exceptionally lightweight and it 3D structure ensures it is comfortable. Downoverlaps trapping an air layer which prevents heat escaping and cold entering.
Typically down from older birds is used as their feathers are larger and fluffier.
Fill power is measured in cubic inches per ounce. An ounce of down is compressed by weight in a glass cylinder. It's ability to bounce back and loft is calculated as its fill power. Fill power ranges from 400-900 and down outerwear ideally falls in between 550-800.
A higher percentage of down to feather is preferable as feathers don't have as much loft.
To create down ski jackets, down may be placed in the garment and then sewn through. Alternatively the down can be placed in individual rows which is known as Box Baffle. Occasionally ski wear is made using a blend of both techniques with Box Baffle on the body and Sewn Through used on the sleeves.
Dri-Tec membranes give superior waterproofing and excellent vapour transmission to maximise performance in even the wettest of environments. They are water and windproof.
Lavalan is a wool product made from traceable European wool. It is biodegradable and recyclable as well as being naturally high-tech. Wool fibres are processed into high quality fibrefill. Wool sourced for Lavalan is exclusively from Switzerland and Norway, both countries with the highest animal welfare standards in the world.
Micro Bemberg is a lining material that is highly absorbent and anti-static. Each fibre in the yarn is super fine for outstanding smoothness and a silky touch making it an excellent material for linings.
PolarTec and PolarTec Power Stretch
Polartec and Polartec Power Stretch fabrics are body hugging 4-way stretch and are very breathable. They keep the wearer dry even whilst sweat is being generated and provide warmth without weight.
Polygiene Stays Fresh Technology is a odour control fabric treatment that inhibits the growth of odour causing bacteria, allowing you to wear your clothes more often and wash them less. For fresh confidence that lasts the lifetime of the garment, your skin's natural bacteria are protected and is also better for the climate as you save both water and energy by washing garments less. The active ingredient in Polygiene is a biocide called Silver Chloride.
Antibacterial fabrics have embedded silver (Ag+) ions that destroy odours, microbes and bacteria present on the skin. They guarantee the antibacterial property of the fibre.
Valtherm insulation is a thermoregulated interlining and responds to the moisture generated on your skin. Active particles capture the infrared energy your body emits, and if there is too much moisture the evaporation process is sped up to cool you down. Extreme breathability, thermoregulation and moisture management in one insulation.
Lenzing Ecovero Viscose
The introduction of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ branded viscose fibres marks a new era of sustainablity in vicose production. These viscose fibres come from sustainable wood and pulp from certified and controlled sources. The fibres also have the EU Ecolabel certification, meaning high environmental standards are reached through the whole life cycle from raw material through to production, distribution and disposal.
3M Thinsulate is a warm, powerful thin insulation that enables moisture to escape whilst trapping body heat.
Freudenberg® and its comfortemp® insulation combines thermal comfort with technology. It offers excellent breathability and insulation from external conditions. The wadding is easy to maintain, washable and resistant to fibre migration.
The comfortemp® range also represents Freudenberg®’s contribution to sustainability via use of natural and renewable fibres in products made from 100% recycled polyester.
Therma TM technology for fabrics is a thermoregulation process which maintains maximum warmth while at the same time eliminating perspiration to the outside. Material has a scraped interior that provides more or less heat depending on the weight of the materials.
Some Winternational jackets are fur trimmed.
Our policy is to work with design houses who use naturally farmed fur products from reputable suppliers (for example Saga Furs) where the animals are regularly checked by veterinarians and there is freedom of movement as one might see at a free-range farm.
Whilst we do not condone cruelty to animals in any way, we believe managed fur production is similar to that seen on any food production farm. Fur is typically a by product from animals farmed for pet food and other products.
Fur performs exceptionally well in cold weather conditions and is a natural product.
YKK Excella Zips
EXCELLA® is the high quality metal zipper with fully polished elements and in a wide variety of colours including gold and silver. The shiny look gives a luxurious appearance to clothing.
YKK Water Repellent Zips
AquaGuard® is the water repellent and water intrusion zipper with lamination of polyurethane film on a spiral or injected zipper. It comes in several glossy, transparent or matte colours but always with a high quality appearance.
This technical and waterproof gaiter (PU coating) prevents snow and air from getting into the bottom of the pants so that you can remain comfortably warm and dry.
Wrist cuffs with or without thumbholes
This comfortable cuff provides airtightness to help keep warmth in and to snow proof your arms.
Fully taped seams are used when the movement of the needle through the fabric may create a potential vulnerability in the watertightness of the membrane. Welding seams makes it possible to secure the garment, avoiding risks of water intrusion.
Critical taped seams During sewing, the passage of the needle through the fabric can create a potential vulnerability in the tightness of the membrane. Welding seams then allows to secure garments avoiding any risk of water intrusion. In this instance only the main critical seams, equivalent to the parts most exposed to bad weather, are welded.
Ski Goggles and Visors
All ski goggles must adhere to the EN174 standard and filter 100% of UV rays which are harmful for your eyes. The category of the lens tells you how much light is filtered (Visible Light Transmission (VLT)) and should be chosen according to the weather conditions:
Category 0: over 80% of light passes through the lens. Suitable for night skiing.
Category 1: between 43% and 80% of light passes through the lens. Ideal for bad weather and foggy conditions. The lens is clear.
Category 2: 43% to 18% of light passes through the lens. These lenses are suitable for cloudy conditions or if you ski in shaded areas.
Category 3: 8% to 18% of light passes through the lens, making it suitable for use in sunny conditions.
- Category 4: less than 8% of visible light passes through the lens. This lens is very dark in colour and this category is used for extreme luminosity at high altitudes or on a glacier.
International manufacturing standards
Bluesign is an international independent standard based on resource productivity, consumer safety, air and water emissions as well as worker health and safety. Total transparency along the textile production line without compromising on functionality, quality and design. We are proud to say that most of the garments we sell are produced to this very high standard.
OEKO TEX Standard 1000 is a testing, audit and certification system for environmentally friendly operations in textile and clothing industries. The aim is to continuously improve performance and working conditions. Many of the garments we sell are produced to this standard and we continue to encourage our designers and manufacturers to adopt environmentally friendly production techniques.
Reach is an EU regulation aimed at protecting both human health and the environment from risks related to chemical substances and champions the European Union chemical industry. This regulation encourages the development of alternative methods for the assessment of hazards in order to minimise animal testing. Fabrics and accessories are regularly tested for compliance to ensure safe levels during wearing and washing as well as storage.
Business Social Compliance Initiative carries out surprise spot checks every year on factories. An independent party visits factories to ensure working conditions, including wages, hours, and the work environment meet requirements. Many of the manufacturers we use are members of this organisation and sign up to adhere to its policies.
Responsible Down Standard certification means manufacturers only source from animals farmed for the food industry on humanely run farms. Down is therefore a byproduct that would otherwise be thrown away.
Amfori membership for our suppliers means they have access to the world's leading business association for open and sustainable trade.
Please call or email customer services - you can call us on 02380610134 or send an email to email@example.com