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Gear up for the slopes

Before hitting the slopes, skiers and snowboarders check the snow conditions on their favorite mountain and make sure their skis and boards are in top shape for the season. But, according to Denis Sondeno of Sunsports in Turlock, what you wear to the slopes often determines how much fun you have, or rather can withstand.

"Depending on how you outfit yourself, dictates what type of day you're going to you look good," said the long-time skier and winter sports retailer.

The biggest mistake new skiers and boarders make is wearing jeans on the slopes, said Sondeno. Staying warm and water proof is the goal in winter sports wear. In fact, the more water proof an item is, the higher the price.

A good pair of pants and a good pair of gloves will get a newbie through their first weekend on the mountain, said Sondeno, but regular skiers know that top quality gear is worth the investment.
Today's technology makes it possible for winter wear to be both water proof and breathable. Check the tags on any ski gear item and it will tell you how water proof it is — meaning the amount of pressure needed to allow a water molecule through. The higher the number, the more water proof the fabric.

The tag will also tell you how breathable the fabric is, or how many grams of water vapor can pass through a square meter of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24 hour period. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric.

When looking for quality wear for winter sports activity in the 209 area, Sondeno recommends at least 5,000-10,000mm.

Along with being water proof and breathable, ski pants, under layers, gloves and jackets also need to be flexible. This is easily determined by trying on a pair of pants or jacket and moving around. A good item will feel good on, as well as keep the wearer warm, said Sondeno.

"Around here, you're going to want a lighter jacket so you can layer underneath or have no layers depending on the day," said Sondeno.

Many brand names in winter wear are synonymous with technology and quality, said Sondeno, and that's why veteran skiers and boarders will go for the Spyder or PWDR Room gear.

The weather determines what type of goggles a skier or snowboarder will be donning that day. The lenses needed to protect from the glare of reflective sun are different than those worn during a snowfall to help a skier see the slopes clearer.

Don't forget a well-fitting helmet and boots.

"If you fit (your boots) correctly, everything else follows," said Sondeno about maintaining control of your skis or board.

Gearing up for the slopes may seem daunting, but when it's all said and done you'll be warm, dry and styling while flying down the mountain this season.

Men gear

Helmet — Bern Watts, $99
Goggles — Smith I/O, $175
Shirt — Spyder Silver Dip Dry W.E.B. Zip-Neck Top, $75
Pants — Spyder Troublemaker, 10,000-10,000mm, $165
Jacket — Spyder Chambers, 20,000-20,000mm, $350
Boots — Rossignol Alltrack 120, $700
Skis & Bindings — Rossignol Experience 76, $600 (on special for $399)

Women gear

Pants — PWDR Room Juno, 5,000-5,000mm, $90
Shirt — Helly Hansen Phantom Midlayer, $80
Jacket — Scott Vezzanna, 10,000-10,000mm, $260
Gloves — Hestra Heli, $120
Boots — Sendit Grip 'N Rip, $179.95
Snowboard $ Bindings — Pulse 44, $239
Helmet — Pret Lyric, $100
Goggles — Scott Aura, $95

* All items pictured are available at Sunsports, 191 S. Golden State Blvd., Turlock. Contact info: 209.634.2073 or