all products mentioned in this post will be shoppable at the bottom!
Apparently I am too fat to ski, and this discovery brings me to a very new topic for the blog: winter sports and why the heck it is so hard for plus size people to participate in activities like skiing. Like riding a roller coaster, traveling on an airplane, or scuba diving, the gear, like seatbelts or clothing, is not designed for all body types.
This year will be my first time skiing. Con and I will be taking a trip and I am so excited but also hoping to prepare as much as possible for any size-related obstacles when we are there. Fortunately for you, I have done the research on where to find gear, what to ask for at rental shops, and how to have fun! In this post I will share my favorite skiwear brands and discuss tips on how to handle these situations yourself.
For any person with hips this may be the most challenging part of the ordeal, as I notice (1) most pants are cut narrow and tall and (2) for women’s sizes especially they do not have as large a range as would a jacket or parka. For example with most retailers you can find up to an XL or XXL in pants but for jackets you can find at least one more size up.
What truly fooled me size wise was reading the size charts and figuring out what to order. I assumed one would need to size up one size, but when looking at both North Face and Columbia, two popular snow brands, I not only needed two sizes larger than what I normally wear, but even going based off of my own measurements that still did not match the size I needed. Now I finally listed to everyone saying, “just size up and do not trust the chart!”
Here is what worked for me: a $50 bib from Amazon?! The brand is Arctix and I ordered my normal size based on the chart. They have a reasonable range and different length options as well! Once I tried them on I thought, ok thank God this works!
Could I personally have made one of the afore mentioned popular brands work for my size in jackets? Yes. Would it have been uncomfortable? Yes. Thus based on my research, if you are not someone who fits into straight sized ski gear, I highly recommend Arctic again for budget friendly jackets and Ulla Popken for stylish options in a reasonable range. Both are linked below!
For the fun stuff: layers, hats and accessories, I am very excited by the new Chillside collection at Aerie! Reasonably priced for their manufacturing, my favorite leggings, tops, sweaters, and such are all from there so of course I highly recommend!
Other solid options for a variety of price ranges include: Ulla Popken (again), Uniqlo, and Sweaty Betty! These pieces are certainly easier to size so be sure to follow my recommendations below!
Oftentimes more difficult than finding fitting pants is finding rental boots! The plus size skiers I have followed usually purchase custom gear, but from my internet deep dive these are your options if you have trouble getting your calves in rental boots:
So most boots are designed for up to a 14 inch calf but can accommodate up to about 20 inches with a combination of extenders, heel lifts, and the miracle of a shop carrying bell shaped boot options. The tricky part with these solutions even if they work is it can making skiing more difficult by angling your calves in a way that throws off the desired weight balance on the slopes (i.e. you end up leaning too far forward and have to compensate with form).
The main thing here is I still have yet to ski! But I hope my anxious findings help encourage you to not sit in the lodge just because of your size. There are clothing options out there, you just have to find them! And hopefully this industry and other similar industries learn to make room rather than discourage people of all sizes.
To shop everything mentioned in this post, click here!