A while back we published a post about New Year's resolutions for skiers. One of those resolutions was to buy quality, not quantity. We’d like to delve a bit deeper into the implications of that particular resolution. Quality doesn’t always mean more expensive, but when quality and price overlap, it’s important to consider what merits an enlarged price tag.
Here are five things to never compromise on when it comes to quality:
Let’s take the Smith I/OX for example. These goggles aren’t cheap, but they’re worth their price tag for several reasons—reasons that far eclipse any savings that an inferior pair of goggles would provide. The I/OX's are more comfortable, have a better view through the windshield, optimize colors and come with a lifetime warranty. That last one is pretty huge, but it’s not the most important contributor to the overall quality of nice goggles. We’ve all used a crappy pair of goggles. It was fine. They worked. But you don’t want to find yourself fogged up while that fresh powder awaits. You really can’t ski if you can’t see. Quality goggles won’t fog when you must get back out there for another run.
Compare an Arcteryx shell to the average jacket and it can sometimes cost double other brands’ offerings, but the quality has no boundaries. This jacket will provide twice the life of your average price point jacket. It will look and work like it did the day you bought it. In addition to the durability of a quality garment, these jackets earn their price with top-notch materials and pervasive design superiority. All GORE-TEX jackets are guaranteed waterproof for life, even if the manufacturer warranty has expired. Each seam, each point of articulation, every part of it is designed with vigour by people tasked with making the jacket fit a human in motion. They understand you don’t want to be watered down and cold at any part of your ski day. There really is no comparison between a quality jacket and its alternative. This one will fit better, be more comfortable and last longer. It costs more in the short run, but long term, the jacket not only costs less per day of use but you will also enjoy those days far more.
We are very serious about this one, and you should be too. If you pick quality over quantity for one thing and one thing only, make it your ski boots. Ski boots are the most important piece of skiing equipment. Few things take the joy out of skiing like cold, sore feet caused by ill fitting boots. Opt for boots that are suited to your ability, and moulded to your unique feet, ideally by an experienced boot fitter. Skiing with the incorrect boots and skiing with the right boots are two entirely different sports.
There really isn’t much to say about this one. We’re big proponents of helmets whether you’re skiing, snowboarding or biking. Buy quality, because unlike James Bond, you only live once. If you already have a helmet, great. Do be mindful of the fact that helmets have expiry dates and that they’re designed for a single impact. If your helmet is old or has sustained a big hit, it’s time to replace it.
What makes a quality ski depends so much upon your chosen discipline. When shopping for your next pair, take your skill level, height, weight and local terrain into account. If you’ll be skiing freshly groomed runs all season, a pair of Rossignol Soul 7 skis may not be the best investment. It’s also important to think about what you liked or didn’t like about your previous pair. The right pair of skis can make a big difference. Turns are easier, the ride is smoother and your confidence is higher.
The meat of the quality vs quantity debate comes down to utility and the long term outcome. Quality goods will work better and you will enjoy using them. The price of quality goods can seem outrageous, but if you can picture the life of each item from far off in the future, you’ll find that an Arc’teryx jacket is actually cheaper than the alternative because it still does its job years later. I feel like this quality versus quantity choice is an easy one if you’re a full grown adult, but when you’re shopping for kids, it’s difficult to justify expensive things that they will grow out of almost immediately. New features in most children's quality outerwear are now accounting for a growing child. Obermeyer winter kids wear, for example, have some extra length that can be easily altered to fit after a growth spurt with just a pair of scissors or snap. When deciding just remember a warm comfortable little one is a happy one and our Kids’ Half-Back Program has your back on kids’ ski equipment