One of the best ways to can make your skiing experience better is knowing how to dress for a day on the slopes. For beginners, it is important to come with the right clothing packed, so that you can focus on fun and learning instead of focusing on how uncomfortable or cold you are. Conditions on the mountain can range from high winds and freezing temperatures to sun and slush.
When you are dressing for skiing, it is best to start with a good base layer, and depending on the conditions, add an appropriate mid-layer and shell. A good layering system will make you comfortable no matter the conditions, as each layer has its own important function. The key is to be able to create a flexible and adapting layering system, so that you can tweak or swap them out to keep you comfortable and dry.
If you are not sure where to start, read along, so that we can give you a hand with some of the basics about what to wear when skiing.
Quality base layers will provide added insulation and will regulate body temperature as they wick away sweat while you are skiing. They come in a variety of materials and weigh, from lightweight to heavyweight. When choosing base layers, avoid cotton materials because they tend to hold onto moisture and do not dry quickly. Instead, it is best to choose wool for base layers because it is soft, manages moisture well, has a long lifespan, and stays relatively odor-free. Some base layers are also made of synthetic materials and tend to be lighter and cheaper than wool. A tight-fitting but not constricting, thin, and lightweight option is best for all weathers because these tend to dry quickly and will leave you fresh yet warm all day.
The function of a mid-layer is to keep you warm. It is your insulating layer. It is okay if mid-layers are not waterproof or do not have moisture-wicking abilities, as long as they insulate you and keep you warm. This is also the most versatile layer because it allows you to switch to a thinner or warmer mid-layer, or take it off altogether when it gets warmer. In freezing temperatures, mid-layers are important.
Mid-layers usually come in fleece and tend to be made of man-made synthetic fibers that are highly breathable, or merino wool, which is more sustainable. They come in different weights but a lightweight fleece is best for high-impact activities. For beginners, it’s best to have a heavier mid-layer to keep you warm.
For the best padding and support, it is best to invest in knee-high merino wool ski socks that can wick away moisture and keep your toes warm. Pack two to three pairs for your ski trip, but do not wear more than a pair at a time because this will restrict your blood flow.
With the bulky equipment and different kinds of clothes and accessories needed, packing for a ski trip can be stressful. To make sure that you won’t forget to pack anything important, follow our guide on how and what to pack for a ski trip.
A shell jacket on top of your base and mid-layer will complete your layering system and will protect you from wind and water. Choose a ski jacket that has excellent waterproofing abilities and breathability. It may be the most expensive layer due to the technology and materials used to make jackets waterproof and breathable, thus protecting you from the elements.
A ski jacket has the ability to protect you from moisture due to snow or rain, and it will also protect you from the cold wind. It has the ability to wick moisture when you sweat to keep you nice and dry.
Your ski pants should be breathable and waterproof with an elastic cuff at the bottom of each leg, so that it can seal around your boot and protect you from snow and cold wind. It should also have vents for the regulation of temperature. You can also opt for snow bib overalls, as they stay up more easily and will also protect your back from the cold.
It is also important to protect your hands from the cold. That is why ski gloves or mittens are essential. Mittens offer the most warmth but lack dexterity as they will not allow you to hold or grab things properly, while gloves offer more maneuverability but may be a little less warm compared to mittens.
If you’re looking for a good pair of ski gloves, check out our articles on the best ski gloves for men, best ski gloves for women, and best ski gloves for kids for our top recommendations.
With a neck warmer, you can protect your face and neck from the harsh, cold wind that can cause icy windburns. Neck warmers that are made with polyester microfiber, provide breathability and moisture-wicking ability, and are wind-resistant are a good choice. Aside from wearing it around your neck, you can also wear it as a balaclava or as a bandana.
Helmet and ski goggles
A helmet is needed to protect your head from any potential falls or impacts that can cause injuries. A light, durable, and comfortable helmet with vents and adjustability will be a good choice. On the other hand, ski goggles will protect your eyes from sun and snow. A lot of ski goggles provide UV protection with lenses that offer different ranges of vision, brightness, and visibility. You can also bring a pair of sunglasses for lounging or dining on the mountain.
It is important to bring a pair of winter/snow boots so that you can wear them at the end of the day instead of staying in your (uncomfortable) ski boots. A cozy pair of snow boots will keep you warm and comfy, and must be able to grip onto ice and wet pavements to prevent slipping or sliding.
Jeans, jumpers, scarves, and hats will suffice for when you head out to the resort’s bars and restaurants. Note that you won’t need formal clothing nor tight dresses.
After a good, long day on the slopes, you may want to have a good, relaxing time at the pool or spa — that is if the resort has these facilities.
Pack some loungewear and slippers to keep you cozy and snug while staying at a chalet or apartment.
To keep you warm, protected, and comfortable while you are on the mountain, make sure that you’ve got everything on our list. If you are a first-timer, you can always borrow some things from your friends, and then invest in some good quality gear whenever you are ready.
Make sure that all of your skiing gear and equipment are durable enough to last for a long time, and have the right features that you need, so that you will be able to enjoy and maximize your time on the slopes.