Ski Race Wear Shopping Tips
Race Wear is designed for a very specific market, Ski Racing. Mens race wear includes both race suits and training shorts or pants. These items are intended to be worn with which ever ski jacket you choose. Just before each racer is set to go through the course they remove their coat and training pants and race in just their race suit.
Training shorts or pants have zippers that run the full length of the pant leg. The zippers allow ski racers to get their training pants or shorts on or off without having to remove their ski boots.
High performance mens race wear is not meant to be warm or comfortable, the primary objective is to be aerodynamic. Race suits are made of spandex and other stretch fibers to create a skin tight suit. The tight suit eliminates much of the wind resistance that a jacket and pants would cause and helps the racer go faster. Since mens races suits are tight fitting and aren’t insulated it is important to wear high quality long underwear with your race wear in order to keep warm on the slopes.
There are two different styles of mens race suits, and there is a big difference. GS Suits have padding in the arms, legs, and sometimes on the upper back to protect racers when they hit the gates in the technical racing events. Downhill suits do not have any padding, since racers typically don’t hit gates when they race speed or downhill events.
Unless you are racing FIS ski events and need your mens race wear to comply with FIS wind resistance regulations for race suits, it is recommended to purchase a GS Suit. At speeds of 30 to 50 miles an hour the plastic gates can leave bruises and cause soreness, the padding on a GS suit helps reduce the impact. While downhill suits may be less expensive initially, many ski racers determine they need additional protective wear which ends up costing them more in the long run.
When it comes to sizing race wear, the race suit should fit snuggly. The spandex material will stretch quite a bit. Check the brand specific size charts to ensure that you are getting the proper fit. When sizing training pants or shorts it is important to keep in mind that these items will be worn over your race suit. If your race suit has pads on the thighs, they will add about 1/2” to the diameter of each thigh. You may need to size up to ensure that you will have enough room in the thighs so your movements aren’t restricted by your mens race wear.