One of the most important aspects of skiing is wearing the right clothes. Nothing can ruin your day on the mountain like some chilly toes or fingers. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to layer for skiing to ensure that you are properly layered for your next trip to the mountain.
Typically the easiest way to organize your clothes for the next ski day is by breaking them down into three layers. Those three layers are base layers, mid-layers, and outer layers. Each of these layers plays an important role in protecting you from the elements.
Base layers are clothes that are going to fit tight to your body. And typically have a main purpose of wicking away sweat. Though these layers do help retain some body heat their main purpose is to keep you dry and free of moisture.
The first thing you need in your base layer is a quality pair of winter socks. This doesn’t mean grab your longest pair in your drawer. You need a quality pair of socks made for outdoor winter use, bonus points if they are meant for skiing.
Socks are extra important when dressing for skiing as the toes are one of the most likely areas to get cold on your body. It can also be tough to fit an extra pair of socks into your boots which means the quality of your first pair is important.
Next, you want to be sure you wear a long pair of compression pants or long johns. These will ideally fit tightly to your legs while remaining flexible. These pants should have the ability to wick away sweat so your legs stay dry throughout the day.
You then want to wear a long sleeve compression shirt. A longsleeve shirt made out of material you would typically exercise in should do the trick. This will have the same purpose of keeping you dry while retaining some body heat.
Of all the layers the mid layers are the ones that are most weather dependent. Not every skier or snowboarder wears these layers and putting on too much or too little can leave you feeling uncomfortable.
The main purpose of the mid layers is to retain heat. These layers can often make you too hot as they do a fantastic job keeping the heat in. If you typically get cold then wearing these mid layers is a great idea.
On the lower body a mid layer would look like a thin pair of sweatpants or joggers. Think of pants that you could do a workout in at the gym. You do not want your mid layers too thick or non flexible as it will inhibit your ability to move your legs.
For the upper body a mid layer typically looks like a quarter zip sweater. Your sweater choice is very important as this will greatly change the amount of heat you retain. Wearing a thick wool sweater on top of your compression long sleeve and under a jacket will often have you feeling to hot. So be sure to take the weather and location into account when dressing your mid layers.
The outer layer is the part of your outfit that protects you from the elements. Whether it’s snow wind or some unseasonal rain your outer layers should be able to protect you from it all.
The most important part of the outer layer and likely to most important part of all your winter gear is your jacket. A quality jacket is incredibly important for keeping you warm on the slopes. Much like ski socks it is important you have a jacket that is meant for harsh outdoor weathers.
Your typical shell jacket may not do the trick. You need a jacket that is meant for being outside in winter conditions for hours at a time. A quality ski jacket will also include tons of helpful features that will help you when skiing.
Another outer shell that is incredibly important is waterproof snow pants. This will help keep you dry when you take your inevitable fall into the snow. This is another piece of snow equipment you should take some care into choosing.
You want to make sure that your snow pants keep you dry so be sure to purchase a pair that is waterproof. You also want to be able to move your legs freely. So be sure to test out the snowpants and make sure you have a full range of motion before using them for skiing.
Do You Need A Base Layer If You Don’t Have One?
A base layer is quite important for comfort and for keeping you warm and dry on the slopes. That being said if you don’t own one this isn’t going to make or brake your day skiing. Make sure to wear a mid layer or two to make up for the missing base layer and you should be good to go. Though you may find yourself to be a bit sweaty at the end of the day.
Should I Dress Different If I Snowboard?
No, luckily snowboarders and skiers have the same goals when heading out on the mountain. And these clothing tips should be equally beneficial. The only real difference is that snowboarder boots tend to be a little more adjustable. Meaning you may be able to sneak an extra pair of socks in there if you are looking to keep your toes warm.
Conclusion How To Layer For Skiing
We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to layer for skiing. If you find you have any questions about layering or about this article in general please reach out through our contact us page or in the comment below.
If you enjoyed it and feel like you learned something about how to layer for skiing we hope you check out some of our other articles. Such as our guide to understanding parallel skiing or our guide to understanding tree wells.