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Re-new skier, help with gear choices?


Diva in Training

Naturally, because of COVID, I am getting back into skiing after a 20 year hiatus. So, I have a few questions.

The local mountain sold me a new (completely unused) pair of Nordic belle to belles (past season - I think 2016 he said?). For $250 for skis, bindings, mounting and all. Hopefully this was a decent deal. Are they ok skis?

Last time I skied I was 20 years younger, but also 170 lbs heavier. (I had weight loss surgery some years ago and lost a lot!). Is getting back into it like riding a bike? I assume it’ll come back quickly. Especially since I’m so much lighter and stronger now. (I do Olympic weight lifting).

I literally can’t even remember what I wore on the mountain last time I did this regularly. I need help finding snow pants. I bought a pair of cheap Artic pants on Amazon, and they’re super tight in the thighs and crotch, yet really big in the waist. I’m very “curvy” and wear size 8 jeans. I did a search in the group and saw someone suggested Marmot slopestar? Any other recommendations for big butt/thigh ski pants?

What the heck do I wear -under- the ski pants?

I notice helmets are a thing now . Are they Required? Or just a good idea? What makes a good helmet? (In a “Mom skiing with her kids” budget). Same with goggles, how necessary are they?

I have additional questions about kids helmets, I probably should put this in the family ski area - but on the off chance someone notices in this post—

My son (5 - never skied before, however is relatively athletic in nature) wears glasses and hearing aids. Any advice on a helmet that won’t interfere with either of those?
Am I forgetting anything?

I appreciate your patience with my silly questions! Thank you so much!
Welcome! When I started skiing, I made do with the raingear and base layers I wore for hiking, until I knew I wanted to invest in good gear. I didn't even have googles--I used sunglasses. (Then I experienced my first snow day...). So I think you probably can cobble together an outfit without making major splurges right away, and you'll figure out pretty quickly what you want to buy.

Where do you ski, aka, what kind of weather and temps are you dealing with?

Under snow pants (some people just wear a waterproof shell; when I started, I wore the rain pants I wear for hiking): Base layers aka long underwear bottoms, synthetic or wool.

Helmet: I think most of us would say you need this. I don't know of any ski area that "requires" them but they are the norm. My husband's boss lost a year of his life recently when another skier tangled with him getting off the lift; he whacked his head on the ground and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He couldn't function normally for a year. So that's why we wear them. They will probably not save your life if you are out of control and crash into a tree at 40 mph; there's only so much they can handle. But a helmet could really make a difference in a collision with another skier, or a situation like I mention above.

Googles: You will likely be okay in sunglasses on a sunny day, though they might fling off if you crash. But when it's snowing, the protection you get from stinging snow in your eyes is pretty necessary. I got my first pair of googles for $5 from a bargain bin.

There are lots of discount sites. Sierra.com, REI Garage, Backcountry Outlet...6pm.com has deals....Ski swaps (when they happen), Craigslist, your local Buy Nothing group if you have one...

If you start skiing a lot you will likely really figure out what you like and don't, and you'll formulate opinions about what you need. I am super fussy now but I was perfectly happy in my bargain bin googles, rain pants, etc when I started.


Diva in Training
Where do you ski, aka, what kind of weather and temps are you dealing with?
Thank you!

I live in Massachusetts. I skied in both the berkshires and Adirondacks as a teenager, but probably mostly the Berkshire’s now. So, cold.

I can see spending a little bit of money on comfortable snow pants, as they’re dual purpose. But I really don’t want to spend much more then $100ish? I did find the marmot slope pants for $125. But in neon Orange

I absolutely can see the benefit of Helmets. Accidents like that being relatively low risk, but REALLY high consequence. But what to look for in a helmet? Is an inexpensive $40 helmet ok?

Like this one:
PHZ. Ski Helmet Snowboard Helmet for Men Women Youth, Performance Safety w/Active Ventilation, Dial Fit, Goggles Compatible, Removable Fleece Liner and Ear Pads, Safety-Certified Snow Sport Helmets https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H822XTJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_b-s3FbDJ47MXZ

ski diva

Staff member
Welcome to the forum! And welcome back to skiing!

Let me add my two cents, too.

The Belle to Belle is a fine, intermediate, front side ski, and you got a screaming deal. What you may want to do, however, is take a lesson or two. Yes, skiing is a bit like riding a bike -- I know, because I took a lot of years off before I returned to skiing, too -- but skis are different than they were in the past, and a lesson can really show you how to use them to their best advantage.

As for helmets, Christy is right. They're not required, but most people wear them now -- at least they do here in New England, where I ski. They won't protect you in every instance, but they do enough to minimize damage. Definitely worth the expense

Goggles -- yes, I'd say they're much better than sunglasses, at least here in New England. First, because we don't get a lot of sunny days. And second, it's COLD and goggles are better at keeping your face warm. You can get a decent pair for not a lot of money.

And what you wear under your ski pants has a lot to do with your tolerance to the cold. I get cold pretty easily, so I wear pretty warm base layers underneath. BTW, neon orange is a GREAT color for ski pants. I love the visibility! No one will miss you on the hill.

I understand you don't want to spend a lot of money. As Christy said, there are a number of discount sites where you can get what you need without spending a fortune.

Hope this helps.
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One thing I might add is to avoid cotton as a base layer for skiing. There are many synthetics out there as well as wool or silk at different price points. That includes socks (no cotton socks).
Welcome back to skiing !


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Just jumping in to say I also think Goggles are better in general, but know plenty of folks who wil just use sunnies when the weather is nice. But since you mentioned your son wearing glasses, I want to say, be sure he wears sunglasses or goggles on a sunny day. My dad made that mistake with me once as kid when I wore prescription lenses and it was nice out and I didn't want to wear the goggles - I ended getting "snow blind" and couldn't see colors correctly for a day or so afterward.
I recently got an awesome deal on ski pants from Land's End, and I notice they're still running the 60%-off sale, so you can get them for about $55 (and this is my 2nd pr --they're really comfortable, come in different lengths, and have tabs to adjust the waistband): Women's Petite Squall Insulated Winter Snow Pants . Their Squall parka would also make a very good ski parka.

I ditto helmets and goggles- would never ski w/o them anymore, not just in case of collisions, but I've done a couple of face-plants that would have been very unpleasant if not for them. Any sports helmet will do - doesn't have to be ski-specific, as long as you can wear goggles with them. They also really keep you warm.

Also, a few lessons: skis have changed a LOT since you last skied, and techniques are different (it's a lot easier to ski nowadays!).

The one piece of equipment to spend your $$ on is a good pr of boots, fitted by a bootfitter (NOT a salesperson). Depending on where you live, you can get lots of recommendations for good bootfitters from Divas here. You can always rent demo skis to get an idea of what you'll like, but boots are the one piece of gear you'll want to own. (Every one of us here has a story about how their skiing improved after they got out of boots that were too big, lol).
If you belong to Costco, they often have goggles, helmets and base layers at a reasonable price. It is also possible to find good stuff at thrift shops.
Especially thrift shops near ski areas. Not sure about where you might find that in Massachusetts. Play It Again Sports? I would not advise a used helmet. You don't know how many crashes it has had, weakening it and reducing its ability to protect you.

I love Sierra.com. Steep and Cheap is another good source. When you decide to get a parka, be sure to get a one with several pockets, and ideally one on the sleeve. You put your pass in there at any ski area that uses RFID, and you don't have to mess with taking it out, putting it back, etc.

I bought a lot of gear at Sierra my first year, and just returned the things that didn't fit. You will want some serious mittens (warmer) or gloves. Mittens with liners can hold a chemical hand warmer in them, essential if you're prone to cold hands. (Similarly, those toe warmers work wonders, too. Stick them to the top of your socks over the toes.) I used both, and bought them in bulk on Amazon.

To really save money on skiing, make a list of what you need to bring (lip balm, hand warmers, ski socks, etc, etc.) and don't forget anything! And bring your own lunches and snacks. Buying almost anything at the mountain is $$$! Can you say $3.95 for a bottle of water? The water fountains in the resorts are closed now, so BYO.

When you ski Berkshire East, say hello for me. I love that little mountain and its family-friendly vibe. I used to live in Northampton and I learned to ski there. If Jane is still an instructor there, get a lesson with her. Fabulous instructor.

So, welcome, @Alisonpv. I'm guessing Pioneer Valley?



Diva in Training
Hi- It seems like you are getting great suggestions on gear and I just wanted to add my opinion about helmets. IMO it's like wearing a seat belt with you drive. You can be the best driver or skier ever but someone can still crash into you. Plus trees so I would not forgo the helmet.
I live in Massachusetts. I skied in both the berkshires and Adirondacks as a teenager, but probably mostly the Berkshire’s now. So, cold.
Have you noticed the Wachusett thread yet? A few of those Divas may venture out to the Berkshires this winter.


I learned to ski in Lake Placid in middle school. My hiatus was also about 20 years. Started skiing more regularly when I started my daughter on skis at age 4. We bought helmets when she was 6 and skiing the blacks in the southeast. Turn out to be far more comfortable, warm, and practical than a hat, especially when it's snowing or the snow guns are on. She's in college now.

I enjoyed Jiminy Peak and Berkshire East when my daughter was in prep school as a boarder near Boston for a few years. Catamount has had quite a lot of improvements after being bought by the family who own BEast. Might be worth checking out. Both are on the Indy Pass. Can get 2 days at each Indy location for $199 for an adult.
What the heck do I wear -under- the ski pants?
Depends a bit on what type of ski pants. If the pants are insulated, long johns or yoga pants might be enough. As I skied more, I found that a good quality pair of shell pants with zippers was better because I could layer up as needed but still use the same ski pants for spring skiing when it's warmer. With shell pants for cold days, warm long johns plus fleece pants keep me plenty warm.
My son (5 - never skied before, however is relatively athletic in nature) wears glasses and hearing aids. Any advice on a helmet that won’t interfere with either of those?
Am I forgetting anything?
Here are a few Family threads that might be helpful.



Have you looked around to see if a season lease is available for your son? Still need to buy him a helmet, but might be an option for skis and boots. Note that for kids, used boots are cheap and fine. If you know the size, can find used boots online. Take the liner out of the shell to check fit. Can't just ask a kid that age if a boot feels good. A boot that's really comfortable will be too big.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I ski on a budget. If others are interested in saving money, thrift shop purchases can put a big dent in expenditures.

Below are the things I get at thrift shops in the Boston area and up north near the mountains in NH where I ski. The shops up north have more stuff, but Boston shops get their fair share of donations.
--Ski jackets: All my ski jackets, both insulated and uninsulated shells, come from thrift shops, priced each at $8.00 - $25.00. These are really good high quality up-to-date jackets. I have too many.
--Ski pants: same thing, both insulated and shell. Priced $4:00 to $15:00. I have waaay too many, but they are in different sizes should my body decide to go up or down on the scale.
--Ski pant liners: same thing. Priced $4:00 to $8:00. I have waaay too many in all sizes and thicknesses.
--Ski tops: all are up-to-date, moisture-wicking tops from name brand manufacturers (no cotton!!). Priced $4:00 - $8:00.
--Socks: all are wicking materials, many Smart Wool or Farm to Feet or other prize-winning manufacturers. Did I say I have too many?
--Fleece neck gaiters and neoprene face masks: all cheeep from thrift shops. $2:00 - $4:00.
--Wool hats: $2:00 usually. I don't have too many of these; I'm pretty picky style-wise.
--Ski Mittens: Some have come from thrift shops, some from end-of-season sales at ski shops. Yes, I have many. On a rainy day a second pair comes in handy.

Below are the things I buy at full price, or on sale in ski shops. (Prices start to drop in ski shops the week after President's week.)
--Helmet. I don't buy used helmets; I get them new when they are on sale. I don't want a helmet that's been cracked then discarded. My head matters too much to me.
--Boots: I pay premium for boots. No price is too high for boots and all the adjustments that they require. Boots must fit right for the skis to behave as I tell them to.
--Boot heaters: I buy these in a ski shop and have had them installed by the bootfitter there.
--Boxes of hand and toe warmers: I get these from my local ski shop, by the box, at the start of the season, full price.
--Goggles: I buy mine from Costco. They are as cheap as they come. I replace them when they get scratched up. This is way cheaper than buying a pricey pair at a ski shop which will just get scratched up no matter how careful I am. I'm clumsy with goggles.
--Boot bag: These never show up in ski shops. And I'm picky. So I have bought these at the end of the season when they go on sale.
--Waterproofing spray for fabric: I get it at Walmart, which means it's not priced as high as at REI. This is for jackets and pants. Sometimes they need to be sprayed at the start of the season.

I buy my skis used, online, without demoing them. I've spent anywhere from $80.00 (that price actually included shipping) to $450.00 total for used skis. But most of my skis have cost me around $250.00. These are skis that would have cost much, much more if purchased off the wall at a store. At this point in my skiing I pretty much know what I want in a ski. Demos never worked for me; the lines were long, the available skis were always the wrong size for me, or what was available was not what I was interested in. So I buy blind and it's been OK so far.

My closet space is filled because of too many browsing visits to thrift shops, so my ski things are sitting out in plain sight in labelled boxes in the adult daughter's bedroom that is now dedicated to my ski stuff. Covid has broken me of the habit of going to thrift shops for entertainment; my collection of ski clothing has finally stabilized. :smile:
I don't have the patience for thrift shops, plus I live south of Washington DC so not too much in the way of ski clothing to be found. What I tend to do is check out stuff in person while on trips to ski country to decide what I'd like. For instance, I stopped in an REI in Ogden recently. Then I keep an eye out to find what I want on sale online during late season sales, and all summer. Gloves, helmets, and goggles are often 50% off as early as the week after Pres. Day.


Staff member
Some large ski areas have consignment shops for just ski stuff. If there is one at Tremblant, I'm sure there are more at major areas.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@liquidfeet - I get the chemical hand warmers by the case at Costco...in September. They're gone by the end of October...
I have bought those hand warmers. I don't like the brand (Little Hotties), but they are the cheapest option out there. The little bags sometimes break and the black powder escapes into the interior of my mittens. Yuk! I buy Hot Hands (I think that's the brand) from my local ski shop and they have never leaked the powder.
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