Best Ski Equipment (2022)
After the past few years of interrupted ski seasons and the difficulty of traversing travel requirements, people are more eager than ever to return to the slopes and take back some of what was lost. Whether you’re dusting off your gear after dragging it out of storage and in need of replacements, or making the decision to splurge on your first major kit purchases, we’ve compiled some of the best ski equipment for 2022.
Best ski helmets
When choosing a helmet to invest in, some of the features you prioritise will vary from skier to skier. While durability and protectiveness are obviously important, other aspects you may want to consider are its weight, how well ventilated it is, and whether there is potential for size adjustments. The best ski helmets should rank well in all of these categories, so do try to read multiple reviews before you buy.
Smith Optics are a prestigious name in helmets, goggles and sunglasses - and for good reason. Their decades of experience go into everything that they make, and their Smith Vantage helmet has topped a lot of lists this year for this very reason. Highly compatible with goggles, lots of ventilation, and a BOA dial for fit adjustments, the only potential drawback that all reviewers seem to agree on is the price tag. However, even that may seem reasonable to a frequent skier wanting only the best protection and comfort, in a lightweight, attractive design.
The Oakley MOD1 Pro is found in a lot of the same comparison blogs as the Smith Vantage, but is a more affordable and stylish alternative that will definitely appeal to park skiers. While it lacks the Vantage’s ventilation, it’s Oakley’s most durable helmet to date, and also benefits from a BOA fit system.
Other names worth mentioning include Giro and Bern helmets, both of which have options for skiers of all budgets and skill levels. However, whichever you go with, one of the most important things with any ski helmet (and something that can’t be tested when buying online) is comfort. Remember, this is a piece of gear that you will need to wear frequently and for long periods of time - it’s crucial that it fits well, as an ill-fitting helmet is less likely to provide true protection.
Best ski boots
Moving from your head down to your toes; your ski boots are another piece of kit that will need to be comfortable in order for you to put in your best performance on the slopes. Buying the right boots means having a good understanding of not just your skiing ability, but also your body’s needs.
For example; the rigidity of your boot should be higher the more skilled you are, as it’s all about the transfer of power and motion from legs to skis. However, if you’re a person who has a large build, you’ll also need a slightly stiffer boot no matter your ability, so as to properly support your weight.
If you’re a casual or leisurely skier you’ll be prioritising comfort - a slightly more spacious boot, softer materials and the option of walk mode are more likely to appeal to you. If you’re looking for something for higher-level, sportier skiing, you’ll want to feel as though there is less separating your feet from the terrain. Wear boots that make you feel in control and connected to your skis, while not compromising on wearability and security.
Atomic Hawx boots are popular among intermediate to advanced skiers, with features such as heat moldable shells and liners as standard across their various models. Salomon and Nordic are brands that are also worth mentioning - they’re often found not too far behind Atomic Hawx on 2022’s best boot lists. And the best thing about all three of these names? They have boots catering to all skill levels and budgets.
If you aren’t in a position to splash out on expensive boots (which can easily come to £500+ depending on brand), or would rather invest more heavily in another piece of equipment (such as skis), you do have options. Decathlon offer an excellent service where they refurbish and resell boots that have been returned after testing or minimal use, at a much lower price than RRP. This represents a new theme which is starting to emerge in ski product shopping and reviews: questions about sustainability.
The price of skis will start somewhere between £300-£400, and can rapidly climb far higher. These will most likely be the priciest bit of kit you buy, no matter your skill level, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Chances are, if you’re at the stage where you’re ready to buy your own, you already have an idea of what set up you’re looking for. It’s said that the best place to start when looking for skis is the last pair of skis you wore; what worked, what didn’t, what you liked, what you would like to change.
Because there are as many different types of skis as there are styles of skiers, in this section we will focus on what we’ve found to be some of the best skis for all-mountain skiing this season - for anything more specific, you’ll need to do some extra homework.
A name cropping up in so many of this year’s reviews is the Elan Ripstick 96 (and 94, for lighter skiers). Described as playful and quick, it seems to be hailed as a capable all-rounder for skiers who want to focus on having fun, and the use of carbon in its construction keeps it light and manageable for different skill levels. With the right bindings you can easily take this ski off piste, and its powder performance is high. You can probably pick a single aspect of the Elan Ripstick 96 and find a different ski that does it better, but its strength lies in the fact that it is a Jack of all trades.
Another 96mm, the Volkl M6 Mantra is a heavier, more stable and powerful alternative, with a slightly higher price tag - though one that is still considered reasonable by most standards. Despite the extra weight you can still manage quick turns on this ski, and it’s described as a ski that’s supportive of your abilities and confidence-enhancing.
These are just two names pulled from the many lists and reviews available to read online; the Nordica Enforcer 94 and Blizzard Rustler 9 and 10 being two more often used in the same conversations. The main thing that a lot of the reviewers encouraged was the fact that you need more than a few runs on a pair of skis to truly get a feel for them, and understand what they can do for you. This isn’t a piece of equipment to rush in and buy without due diligence.
Best ski bags
Carting all of your equipment to your desired destination is a slog at the best of times, and usually the worst part of any ski holiday. Picking the right bag can alleviate some of this stress, but narrowing down your choice from everything available can be a trial in itself.
As a rule of thumb, you want everything to fit snugly in your bag - to avoid the chance of breakages caused by wiggle room - and for there to be enough padding that an accidental bump or scrape won’t be the end of the world. Other than that, it’s down to you what sort of bag you would prefer. As this is such a broad topic, we’re just going to focus on the one bag that ticked almost all of our boxes; in capacity, durability, manoeuvrability and affordability.
The Dakine Fall Line Roller Bag can fit two pairs of skis, has extra pockets for keeping smaller items organised, and comes with a removable boot bag. Its wheels and handles are perfect for easy towing through the airport, and it has a good level of padding on all sides. The downside is that there are no internal straps or clips, so you’ll want to pack this bag out tightly to keep everything snug and secure.
When it comes to bags it’s also important to consider exactly how you’ll be travelling. If you’re passing through an airport you’ll definitely want something with wheels. If you’re driving, a bag where you can roll down any excess space will help to fit everything neatly in your boot.
Equipment sorted, but need a place to stay?
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A stunning example of mountain life, Crans-Montana has earned itself a large fanbase of regular visitors. Sports fans will enjoy the long list of international events hosted here.
One of the top ski destinations in the Swiss Alps, Verbier is a cosmopolitan resort that excels in all areas; stunning views, vibrant nightlife, and 410km of easily accessible runs.
You can’t compete with Zermatt’s views of the iconic Matterhorn, or with its opportunities for year-round skiing. Surrounded by fresh air and beautiful peaks, one of this resort’s highlights is its dining opportunities.