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It might be quite a stupid question but... can I use my leather jacket to go to ski ?

I think it is waterproof and it is reasonably warm. If I wear quite heavily under it, do you think I should be fine spending 1 day skiing at high altitude ?


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migrated from travel.stackexchange.com Nov 7 '12 at 12:59

This question came from our site for road warriors and seasoned travelers.

This really isn't a travel question, and I believe it's far more suited to The Great Outdoors. I'm migrating it as such, as they'll have more people to give advice. –  Mark Mayo Nov 7 '12 at 12:59
You can wear anything you please, and I've seen everything from leisure-suits to birthday-suits on the slopes. –  LBell Nov 15 '12 at 17:20
If you fall, you will get soaked. Also, ski pants are seriously a must. –  theJollySin Feb 9 '13 at 0:58

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I strongly recommend you purchase, borrow, or possibly rent a proper ski jacket and pants.

Given that you don't have a ski jacket I'm guessing that you are a relative beginner. It is likely that you might be falling down quite a bit. One thing to consider is does your jacket give you good mobility? If it does not, you could very easily expose your waist line and wrists a lot when falling or lifting your arms. Ski jackets tend to have very long waists for this reason.

You might call ahead and see if rental snow clothes are available at a reasonable price. It will make your experience much more pleasant.

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The mobility point is a good one. Thanks –  Patrick Nov 9 '12 at 8:28

As far as I know there are no legal nor cultural barriers to stop you :)

Regarding warmth, if you can put a few layers under it I think you should be fine. And if the weather proves to be too cold, you can always buy a new jacket when you are there.

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Welcome to The Great Outdoors S.E. –  MaskedPlant Nov 7 '12 at 17:04

There are a variety of important features that your leather jacket will lack compared to a ski jacket. Borrowing or buying a ski jacket from a thrift shop would definitely be worth it.

Skiing is pretty physically intense. If it's not very cold (above 20?), you'll sweat, and most ski jackets don't actually have much insulation as they're designed to block as much wind as possible, while still being breathable to let some sweat out.

Leather will soak up water if you fall, your inner layers will get wet with sweat, and it will not be long enough or cinch tight enough at the waist to keep snow and cold wind from going up your back, which is extremely uncomfortable.

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It really depends on a lot of different factors. If it is a warm winter day I go sometimes skiing without any jacket just wearing a thick pullover. But during the same winter and at the same ski resort it can also be very cold. E.g. -20 degrees and a lot of wind so that the wind chill factor also plays an important role. When it is this cold I'm even freezing with my snowboard jacket and thermo underwear.

So to answer your question: If it is sunny, relatively warm and not windy I would see yes. But in other conditions you wouldn't have a lot of fun. So if possible I would go for a dedicated ski jacket if possible. It is always possible to doff some clothes and leave it somewhere, but it is not so easy to get another jacket if you're feeling cold. (However, one could argue that if you're getting cold with your leather jacket, you could always opt for après ski)

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I'm going end of november in Innsbruck in Austria. Do you think I shouldn't dare ? :) The wind indeed is the main variable, it really changes a lot. I'm asking this because I would prefer to not buy a ski jacket for 2 days, but if you tell me I risk to assiderate, I will go for it. –  Patrick Nov 7 '12 at 13:49

I have skied at high altitude in only a pair of surf shorts, and acquired a nice tan, but that was in zero wind and perfectly blue skies.

In general the benefits of a dedicated ski jacket include:

  • wind protection - your leather jacket will give you this
  • elastication round wrists, neck and waist to prevent snow, and sometimes zips to connect to salopettes
  • waterproofing - leather will not be so good at this when snow that has fallen down your neck starts to melt!
  • thermal insulation
  • large zips suitable for gloved hands

So while you absolutely can ski in anything you like, I would advise the correct gear!

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The only scary point from your list is the wind. The jacket has elastication round wrists. Maybe the waterproofing is also very valid. –  Patrick Nov 7 '12 at 17:58
Im still thinking what to do... and what if i buy a windproof, waterproof suit to use under the jacket ? Is there something specific you can suggest me? –  Patrick Nov 7 '12 at 18:02
I've sometimes used sweaters or sweatshirts under a waterproof windbreaker. A waterproof shell over something to keep you warm is quite adequate. Ditto for the pants. –  thursdaysgeek Nov 8 '12 at 0:10

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