Spend your time flipping off backcountry features or sliding rails in the park? Then invest in some body armour pronto
Let’s face it folks, skiing is a risky sport by nature. Especially if you spend your time perfecting rail slides in the park, dodging trees or flipping off features in the backcountry. And while body armour certainly won’t make you invincible, it does offer added protection should you take a tumble. Here’s what you should be looking out for when assembling that protective armoury…
1. Atomic Ridgeline back protector, £80
From Atomic’s brand new line of soft protectors, this shield is made of soft foam for shock absorption plus Thermagrid microfleece, a warm, stretchy material that wicks away sweat. We love the fact it’s lightweight and supple as well as protective. Comes in five sizes, each also with an adjustable belt and shoulder strap, and there’s also a women’s model.
2. Demon Flexforce X short D30, £65
These shorts incorporate a clever material called D30 – which hardens instantly under impact – in the highly mobile zones near the seat and coccyx where a rider needs total range of movement. They feature lightweight Lycra/mesh material, full ventilating legs and thermoform, full-flex hips and butt. There’s also extended lower back protection, with an elastic waistband.
3. Forcefied Mons vest, £120
It may resemble the top half of a 1980s wetsuit but this vest is packed with the latest all-action tech. Enclosing the removable armour is a fibre known as BeCool, which is designed to act like a fan for sweaty, hard-exercising wearers, replacing clammy air with fresh to help maintain core body temps. It has the same Repeat Performance Technology as all Forcefield’s armour.
4. Head Flexor Unit, £85
Head’s Flexor Unit is FIS compliant, which means that you’re welcome to test its performance at speeds up to 90mph… should you feel so inclined. We like the extra-wide waist strap, the removable shoulder straps and the fact that it has loops that allow you to attach it to the belt of your ski pants so it doesn’t ride up when sitting on a ski lift. It also has a nifty anti-microbial lining to keep it smelling fresh lap after lap.
5. Salomon Flexcell W, £125
The female-specific Flexcell is anatomically designed for women. This season the waist strap has been updated for swift, one-motion fastening. The padding is breathable and quick-drying – and the vented shoulder straps are more breathable still. The garment is top-rated under EU safety regs and is also available in a junior version for your offspring (£80).
6. Scott Actifit Pro vest, £150
This versatile vest allows you to remove or add an extra layer of protection and thickness from the backplate – perhaps according to how much fresh snow has fallen, or how gnarly a day you reckon you have ahead… The design follows the contours of the body, with compression lines and a hook-and-loop fastener on the hip belt. Unsurprisingly from this brand, it’s easy on the eye, too.
7. Slytech Backpro Noshock XT, £150
This no-nonsense back protector incorporates Slytech’s tried-and-tested technology that’s designed for serious impact absorption while keeping it comfy. Core to the system is Slytech 2nd Skin XT foam, whose polygonal cells act as a progressive shock absorber. Speed, air and obstacles can be factored into whatever mission you have planned if you strap on this piece of kit.