Good ski clothing is undoubtedly worth investing in if you go away a lot or are an advanced skier or snowboarder who is demanding of your kit. But for recreational skiers feeling their way into the world of snowsports, or for families on tight budgets there’s no shame in parking brand snobbery and hunting out bargains on the high street.
And options from retailers like Decathlon and Go Outdoors are very tempting on paper, almost unbelievably cheap, but does that cheapness transfer to poor performance on the slopes?
We decided to put them to the test with a full set of adults ski gear from Decathlon and a full kids set from Go Outdoors, here's what we found....
Decathlon are kings of low-priced sports goods across Europe and they’ve been making waves in the UK now for a few years. With a range of in-house brands across the sporting spectrum they’re able to offer decent quality kit at great prices, and anything that breaks down barriers to entry into snowsports is a good thing in our book.
Decathlon kindly kitted us out with a complete adult’s outfit including jacket, pants, goggles, gloves and helmet for an almost unbelievably low price of £275.
Jacket Wed'ze AM 900 | £110
Pants Wed'ze AM 900 | £70
Gloves Wed'ze Slide 500 | £25
Goggles Wed'ze G 500 S3 | £20
Helmet Wed'ze H-PST 900 | £50
Total | £275
We were generally very impressed with this set-up from Wedze with the stand out products being the jacket, pants and excellent helmet. With taped seams and an 8000mm waterproof rating as well as a thin layer of insulation, both outer layers kept us warm and dry during basic piste skiing. Both are very comfortable to wear with soft stretchy fabrics and a well-balanced cut. Although functional the goggles and gloves are basic, as you would expect for the price, and would be the first items we’d swap out come payday. The helmet fared very well indeed being both comfortable to wear and having all the necessary safety standards to help keep you safe out on the slopes.
Go Outdoors offer everything from ultralight camping kit to own brand clothing and equipment for the more budget conscious buyer. And their popular discount card scheme enables you to chop the price down further for a very reasonable £5 per year investment, on the kit listed below the discount card saves you an astonishing £64.
Go Outdoors kitted us out with a full kids outfit including jacket, pants, helmet, gloves and goggles for a very keen £116 (discount card price).
Jacket The Edge Mount Block | £30
Pants The Edge Vail Stretch | £25
Gloves The Edge Powder Ski Gloves | £6
Goggles The Edge Axel Goggles | £20
Helmet The Edge Yukio Snow Helmet | £35
Total | £116
Taking your family skiing can be a seriously expensive business and unless you’re a London banker you’ll be looking to trim down costs in any way possible. And with kids growing so fast why spend big bucks only to find you need to replace their outfit the following season. So, this little collection from The Edge impressed us for its amazing value but at that price you’ve got to expect basic performance and that’s generally what you get. The jacket looks great, is comfortable to wear and has an 80g layer of insulation – enough to keep your little ones warm on a cool day without overheating. On the downside a hydrostatic head of only 3000mm means slightly soggy inners after a full days skiing in heavy snow are pretty likely. The lined salopettes impressed with a much higher 8000mm hydrostatic head and reinforced instep for great durability as well as great comfort from the stretch fabric and a cool, understated look. Although ridiculously cheap we can’t recommend the gloves which are only water resistant rather than waterproof, and kids with cold, wet hands are not a good thing. With an anti-fog and anti-scratch lens the Axel goggles are functional out on the slopes and the great look and fit are definite positives, spend a little more though and you’ll get a lens with more clarity and less glare.
If you’re working to a very tight budget and are going skiing in fair weather for a few hours a day then this set-up is a winner, push it any further though and the slightly low-tech approach starts to show.
Decathlon sent us a range of ski clothing and accessories from the middle to upper level of their in-house Wedze range and we were very impressed by the quality, durability and performance considering the price. We would be happy to use most of the kit for gentle ski holidays spent cruising the pistes, but long days of ski touring, backcountry use and hard piste charging are off limits. Go Outdoors sent us some great items that would get you out on the slopes on a very tight budget, but we would recommend aiming your sights higher in key areas like gloves and goggles to really see the benefits of value versus performance.