What do you picture when you think of Aldi? Cheap food, own brand alcohol and biscuits in strange foreign packing, perhaps. Ski and snowboard gear? Probably not.
Yet little did I realise that Aldi have launched their own range of snow wear. Alongside the bargain price meat and odd array of car accessories, you’ll find a full selection of ski/snowboard jackets and salopettes (both basic and ‘pro’), merino wool base layers and Nordic jumpers.
“The full outfit including jacket, pants, goggles, helmet and the rest cost just £114.92”
When we heard you could buy a set of jacket and pants for £37, we knew we had to try it out.
Two days later, a giant box stamped Aldi arrived on my desk. Inside I found matching jacket and salopettes, a fake fur velour mid-layer, a thermal top and leggings, gloves, goggles and helmet. The full snow outfit cost just £114.92. Too bad there were no German biscuits hidden inside.
This might sound like a lot, but when I added up what my current snowboarding outfit cost, it was well over £650.
That evening as I danced around the living room snapping the braces on my salopettes, I asked my boyfriend what he thought. “You just look like a regular punter,” he shrugged.
Two weeks later when I rolled into my local ski car park, I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of embarrassment. What am I doing? I am wearing head-to-toe punter gear and I’m worried if I bend over my trousers will split. What if someone sees me?
Then the other side of my brain kicked in. “Don’t be such a douche bag. You just look like a regular person rather than a overly baggy, frameless goggle-wearing, swagged up seasonaire. Shut up and go riding.”
I yanked my helmet and goggles on, and made a beeline for the gondola, praying I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew.
What was it like to ride in Aldi snow gear?
Up on top of the mountain, it started to snow pretty hard. I sat down to strap in and I could feel the trousers tighten around my waist.
As a snowboarder, I’m not used to wearing salopettes. These trousers were so high-waisted, they would make Simon Cowell blush – plus they gave me a rather unattractive (and unavoidable) camel toe.
“The salopettes were so high waisted they would make Simon Cowell blush, plus they gave me a rather unattractive camel toe”
The jacket wasn’t bad. It even had a powder skirt and a sleeve pocket for your lift pass.
The base layers were also pretty great. Aldi do offer merino wool versions, but I was just wearing their regular polyester numbers. Still, they kept me super warm even if there was a definite whiff coming off them by the end of the day.
The helmet was pretty standard, shiny black with ear warmers. Bizarrely, it came with a flashing red light on the back. What could you possibly want a disco light on the back of your helmet for? Emergency descents? Impromptu slopeside raves? To warn people of a heavy load reversing?
The gloves were, again, not bad. They were Thinsulate mittens that genuinely kept your hands warm. I leant them to a friend for a week and she agreed, not bad but they started to go bobbly inside pretty quickly.
By far the worst item was the fake fur velour mid-layer. “It feels like someone’s dead cat,” a friend said when she saw it. It may resemble a deceased feline, but man, that thing can keep you warm. I was practically drowning in sweat after my first run.
The goggles looked fine from the outside, but by the end of the day I was ready to throw them into the nearest bush.
They were misted up pretty much as soon as you put them on. In a white out, I couldn’t see a damn thing. This did not make me any friends on the mountain, as I ran over a number of unwitting skiers due to my blindness.
“The goggles looked fine but by the end of the day, I was ready to throw them into a bush”
The snow turned into hail. I saw the water beading on the surface of my coat and trousers. Nice, I thought, they’re waterproof.
As it kept snowing, the water began to seep through until I could feel a damp patch emerging on my back and butt. OK, maybe not as waterproof as I thought.
By the time I’d dried off and the sun came out, I’d almost forgotten I wasn’t wearing my regular gear. Apart from the goggles. No one can forget being semi-blind for half a run.
Would I recommend them?
If I were a skier coming to the mountains for a week for the first time and I wasn’t sure whether this was the sport for me, I would genuinely consider buying Aldi ski wear. It’s cheap, warm and will do the job.
While it wasn’t 100 per cent waterproof and the trousers hugged a little too tightly in the wrong places, overall Aldi ski wear is not awful ski wear. I would definitely tell people to grab a few of those base layers.
However, if I were planning on riding any longer than a week and thought I might ski or snowboard in the future, I’d invest in some proper technical gear.
Nothing beats a super warm Gore-Tex jacket and pants that keeps you dry to the core.
Oh and don’t bother with those £7.99 Aldi goggles. You’d be better off saving yourself the aggro and using that cash for a couple of pints.
ALDI Ski Specialbuys range is available in stores while stocks last