Slope-side fashion is becoming smarter and more tech-savvy than ever, with both sports wear and high-fashion labels offering the next generation of fabrics and finishes for extreme weather conditions. From kid's ski jackets integrated with state of the art thermal padding, to essential waterproof accessories, coated with snow repellent surfaces, performance clothing is working harder than ever to keep children warm and dry and stylish come rain or snow.
So, whether they’re hitting the fresh trails of the French Alps or battling bitter weather conditions a bit closer to home, we’ve taken the hard work out of navigating the technical features of some of your favourite ski wear items.
The Outer Layer
From rainy downpours to alpine snowstorms, keeping little ones dry will be one of your top priorities when picking technical ski wear. However, understanding the various levels of how water resistant a product is can be tricky. No fabric is ever 100% waterproof, but there are different grades that determine whether it can repel anything from light showers to extreme snow and rain. When looking for high-tech ski jackets, ski suits and salopettes, it’s also important to choose fabric that is breathable, allowing heat-formed moisture to escape from the inside of the fabric to the outside.
Waterproof ratings are usually displayed as two numbers, the first being its resistance to external moisture and the second, breathability. Fabric waterproof ratings are measured in mm and describe how high the water needs to be before it begins to leak through the fabric. 0 – 5,000mm is described as minimal resistance to moisture, so ideal for everyday outdoor activities and light rain, right up to 20,000mm+, which is highly repellent against extreme high-pressure rain and snow. Breathability is measured in grams and is rated through a similar process. This describes how much water can pass through a square meter of fabric in 24 hours. The higher the number, the more breathable the fabric is. Labels including Moncler Enfant and Canada Goose will also put their fabrics through stringent rub, tear-resistance and impact tests to ensure the fabric is as durable as it can be.
Padding is one of the most important elements when looking to keep kids warm in the coldest of climates. Down is one of nature’s best insulators - unlike the larger feathers on the outside of a bird that allow it to fly, down is very light and fluffy, laying around the bird's skin, hidden under the top layer of feathers. The outer layer of large feathers act as a waterproof guard and the light, fluffy feathers insulate the bird by keeping in the warmth. Each fluffy handful of down has millions of interlocking filaments that create tiny air pockets, trapping in the heat. Loft rating, or fill power, is used to measure down’s thermal performance: the higher the fill power, the better the performance will be in terms of lightness, thermal capacity and insulating properties. Premium goose down is at the heart of each and every one of our Moncler Enfant jackets, a feature for which the company is renowned, and contains at least 90% white down clusters and only 10% feathers, which equates to the very best level of cosy comfort for your child. Canada Goose – another of our much-loved outerwear brands – has even developed its own warmth scale, the Thermal Experience Index, which categorises its down-padded jackets from Level 1 for “active pursuits” to Level 5 for “the coldest places on earth”.
Whilst natural down is considered superior for insulation, it doesn’t fare as well when it comes into direct contact with moisture. Loved for its colourful ski apparel, Molo uses 3M™ Thinsulate™ thermal insulation in its jackets: an innovative synthetic alternative to down padding that promises to keep the weather out where it belongs. Designed to trap body heat whilst also allowing moisture to escape, the clever composition mimics down with water-resistant fibres.
The Finer Details
With padding keeping them warm on the inside and smart fabric keeping them dry on the outside…let’s look at the finer details. All of our performance outerwear designs are integrated with smart features, from reflective trims that stand out in low-visibility conditions to zip-off sections for multi-purpose wear on and off the slopes. Our Canada Goose ski jackets feature its handy Gosling Graduate System, which allows sleeves to extend and grow with your child, teamed with reflective piping and storm flaps to keep out the alpine chill. Two-way zip fastenings are also a simple but clever feature for your child’s ski jacket; the closure can be undone from the top and bottom to create a comfortable fit over ski trousers and will allow air to circulate when needed.
Thermal Base Layers
Layering is the key to staying warm on the slopes, so don’t forget to pack their thermals. Underneath all the technical features and high-performance fabrics of your child’s ski wear, it’s important to start with a quality base layer. From underwear and socks, to heat-retaining vests, long-sleeved tops and leggings, thermal clothing essentials trap pockets of air close to the skin to stop heat from escaping. Fabrics will range from premium-quality Merino wool, which naturally retains heat whilst keeping away moisture from the skin, to functional synthetic fibres that are fast-drying, lightweight and designed to maintain an optimum core temperature.
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