There are some basics to layering right for the ski season, and we know exactly what you need to wear when you hit the slopes!
What to Wear Skiing
Before you can spend a day skiing on the mountain, make sure you have all the attire necessary to stay warm, dry, and comfortable all day. If you’re a beginner, you might be wondering what to wear skiing for the first time. What type of clothes and gear you need can also depend on what kind of skiing you’re participating in—downhill or cross-country.
What you should wear cross-country skiing is often different than what you would wear downhill, due to the increased level of physical activity. And, of course, weather conditions and skiing location can help further determine what type of layers you should wear.
Regardless of what type of skiing you’re planning to do, you’ll want to wear waterproof snow pants and a snow jacket. When it comes to what to wear under ski pants for skiing, you’ll want a layer that will keep you warm while also wicking sweat away from your body. This will help regulate your body temperature so you can perform your best on the slopes.
Make a Game Plan
First things first, checking the weather report and snow conditions will influence your selection of winter layers for the day ahead and any additional items you may need to pack. Once you know what the day could look like and decide what type of skiing you'll be doing, you'll know what to wear and how to pack.
Is it a blizzard outside? Freezing, but sunny? Sunny and windy? Maybe it’s a bluebird day with a high of 60 degrees. Either way, you’ll need to know how to dress the part and handle the elements if you want to enjoy a full day on the mountain. Always check the day’s forecast before heading out and pack additional layers if necessary. There's no shame in the rip and strip game because conditions are never certain for the full day.
Type of Skiing
Are you going to the resort or on a ski tour? For resort skiing, we generally dress warmer since we'll be riding chair lifts to the top instead of skiing or hiking. This usually consists of a mid-layer under a shell. If going on a ski tour, you’ll generally start colder and should pack extra warmth in your backpack: down jacket, beanie, buff, extra mittens, and socks, along with emergency essentials and food and water for the day.
We all have a dressing routine in the morning. Some of us at Gear.com like to start with socks first, so they lay flat under long johns without bunching up, making the boot battle an easy win. Socks then base layer pants, or if you do not love multiple pieces or the gap opportunity brought on by a separate top and bottom combo, Corbeaux makes great one-pieces to solve this issue.
Things to consider when buying ski socks
Buying the right ski socks really comes down to your personal preference of thin vs. thick socks. Many people mistakenly purchase thick socks thinking they typically have cold feet due to lack of warmth when, in fact, their cold toes are a result of overheated piggies and lack of moisture-wicking fabrics. Enter Merino Wool. Merino wicks away moisture and does not hold onto the sweat, which can create the rich, stinky smells we all hope to avoid. The majority of ski socks today feature a blend of wool and a synthetic material like polyester, which improves elasticity and heat retention.
Another thing to think about before investing in ski socks is how you want your boots to fit. Often, the degree of bulkiness your socks create can drastically alter how your boots’ fit. If you don’t have a pair of ski boots yet, or are planning on renting them, the best way to ensure you get the size of ski boots you need is to bring the socks you’d wear skiing when trying boots on.
Gear.com offers a variety of moisture-wicking ski socks to help keep your toes warm and dry in any weather.
How to Select the Right Base Layer
Moisture-wicking base layers are an absolute must for winter activities. As the first layer against your skin, a snug fit is recommended to achieve full warmth and moisture-wicking potential. A top and bottom or onesie made of synthetic material like polyester or natural Merino Wool will deliver on both fronts.
Facial Protection and Mid-Layers
Even though it’s cold out, remember to layer responsibly, i.e., don’t overdo it and end up sweating so much that you actually freeze! It’s possible to have too many layers, but having the right layers will prevent any mid-day chills when your body starts to warm up.
To avoid forgetting this crucial piece of clothing, suit up with all your base layers at once, including a neck tube or gaiter, which should go on before the snow pants and after the ski socks. A gaiter will not only protect your face from any harsh winds or cold snow, but will shield UV rays any time of year.
Adding a mid-layer of insulating down or breathable polyester can be your saving grace on those particularly chilly days. Want more? Mid-layers provide the protection required for sunny spring days without overheating your core or adding weight to your pack, plus they look pretty sweet for après ski dinner and drinks.
When selecting an outer layer, check the technical specs and choose the appropriate level of water resistance and warmth to your climate based on your local season patterns. Coastal towns will have wetter, colder winters than inland, whereas Rocky Mountain towns should select outerwear with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish.
How to select the right ski jacket or shell
When selecting between an insulated jacket or a waterproof shell, consider the elements you find yourself in most. If you're like most, you'll want your jacket to perform just as well off the ski hill. The next question to ask is what activities you enjoy most when you aren’t skiing. If your outerwear needs to also function for hiking the dogs or shuttling kids back and forth between activities, an insulated jacket is going to be perfectly warm and stylish. But, if your off-the-slope activities involve more extreme sports like climbing or running, a shell that works with insulating mid-layers is going to be your go-to solution.
Choosing the Right Ski Pants or Bibs
To bib or not to bib may be the biggest question you ask yourself when deciding on ski pants. Bibs are great for touring because they allow for easy access to your beacon and other essential items without overly exposing your core to the elements. They also rock during the spring months when the riding is a bit warmer, and fewer layers are ideal—you can wear a mid or base layer under your bib and bend over back-crack free. Bibs for the resort, however, pose an additional layer contraption when stripping layers or taking care of business on bio breaks and typically run at a higher price point than most ski pants. Just something to keep in mind.
Pro Care Tip
We recommend pulling out all your winter gear and accessories from any bags or vehicles and unpacking them somewhere they can lay flat or hang out to dry completely. This will prevent any bacteria from growing and causing the “athlete stink” we are all too familiar with. Plus, your items will be fully accounted for and in one place for when you're ready to head out the next day.
Prepare For Your Winter Activities With Gear.com!
Whether you're hitting the slopes on a snowboard or skis, hiking with the dogs on backcountry trails, or snow camping, Gear.com has the right winter gear for you. Browse our snow and Winter gear today, and never let the weather stop you from going outside!