Not many beginner skiers know much about layering. Knowing how to layer for skiing is essential and should not be ignored. Skiing in inappropriate clothes can cause discomfort, risk of injury, or hypothermia. Each clothing serves a purpose and works with other layers to keep your skin dry, warm, and comfortable.
Have the best skiing experience by starting with a good base and then build it up according to the weather condition. The best way to dress up for skiing is by using the 3-layer method. Start with a tight-fitting light base, a mid insulating layer, and a waterproof outer layer. We have created the ultimate guide to help you to keep you warm, waterproof, and comfortable when skiing.
The main goal of layering is to protect yourself from the elements and adjust to the changing conditions. There are three key sections when it comes to layering for skiing.
- Mid layer
- Outer layer
The base layer wicks off sweat and regulates body temperature. Ski base layers should be body-hugging but not uncomfortable. They should also cover from the neck to the ankle. The base layer’s best materials are merino wool or synthetic blends like polyester and nylon because they keep moisture away from the skin.
- Thermal tops- this one should be long-sleeved and form-fitting. We love the theDevops base layer line, which we recommend for indoor and outdoor skiing.
- Thermal leggings- similar to the top, the leggings that for me tight-fitting. Also, it would help if you tuck your top in your leggings. The bottom of the leggings should sit just above the ankle to ensure your skiing boots remain comfortable.
- One pair of ski socks- No matter how warm your body is, your feet tend to remain cold because your body draws blood from your feet during cold weather. It would be best if you did not layer your socks but wear thin elastic socks. So we recommend Smartwool socks, which mold to the shape of your feet and help give you stability when skiing because they fit snug. Non-elastic socks form creases that cause blisters and sores. Make sure your socks are also long enough to tuck in your leggings.
The base layer also comes in various thicknesses depending on how thick or light the mid and outer layers are.
- Lightweight clothes are thin and have maximum breathability. They also wick away moisture and dry the fastest.
- Middleweight is well-balanced between insulating and breathability.
- Heavyweight is best for keeping you warm in freezing temperatures.
Lastly, the base layers come in several fits; regular fits are best for all-day comfort, fitted are a balance between insulating and comfortable, and the compression fitting increase blood flow to the limbs and are most insulting,
The purpose of the mid-layer is to trap warm air to keep you warm. The best material for the mid-layer is fleece and thick wool. The mid-layer can be versatile when it comes to weight and ease to shed off.
Wear a zip-up sweater or jacket that can be opened in warmer weather and closed in colder temperatures. With the modern technology of ski trousers, you will not need mid-layer bottoms.
Softshell jackets are another renowned mid-layer option for sports in cold conditions.
With the mid-layer, it’s better to start light and add thicker layers making it easier to remove when it gets warmer.
Check this too: Best Heated Socks For Skiing
The outer layers aim to keep the elements away: wind, rain, and snow. The outer layer comprises clothes made of a laminated membrane such as GORE-TEX. This material is waterproof and breathable.
- Salopettes are most preferred to regular pants by expert skiers. They are more comfortable and won’t pull down when falling in the snow. Salopettes also have more storage pockets for goggles and gloves. For ski trousers, waterproof and lightweight is the way to go for flexible movement during skiing. You can also get insulated options, which are usually more comfortable.
- Windproof jackets are also crucial if you are skiing or mountain climbing since you’ll be moving at high speed. Make sure the ski jackets have taped seams for additional protection from wind. Similar to the salopettes, there are ski jackets with insulation.
- Waterproof gloves and mittens are a necessity when skiing. It would be best if you got gloves which are well insulated to prevent cold fingers. You also have the option of heated gloves that can stay warm for up to 10 hours.
- Buffs are an optional skiing gear that keeps the neck warm during cold conditions. They come in a variety of materials, and you can choose one that’s weather appropriate. We have thick fleece, merino wool, and thin cotton.
Wear ski jackets and Salopettes with the highest waterproof rating of above 10,000mm, and highly breathable with a rating of above 8,000mm. That means it will keep the cold air out but also allow sweat to dry out quickly.
- Ski goggles will allow you to have a clear sight when it gets windy.
- A ski helmet will protect you from head injuries when you fall. Get a ski helmet with adequate ventilation that will prevent your head from sweating while keeping your ears warm and
- Ski boots need to be well-fitting. Your ski boots should feel snug, meaning you should be able to wiggle your toes but not turn your foot side to side. Too loose or too tight ski boots will cause cold or sore feet.
Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Layering for Skiing
- Do not wear more than three layers. Ski layering aims to keep you warm, but over-layering traps sweat and moisture, and you’ll start feeling bulky and uncomfortable.
- Avoid cotton and highly absorbent fibers as they will increase the risk of hypothermia.
- Do not wear jeans when skiing. Like cotton, jeans do not dry quickly.
- Avoid wearing wet clothes when cold, especially boot liners, which take the longest to dry thoroughly.
- Do not wear regular clothes when skiing. All the clothes and materials in the three layers have a specific purpose in keeping you warm and dry.
This effective 3-step layering is the best approach if you want to achieve warmth and comfort with the versatility to shed or add layers easily. Too much is not always the best; layering requires high-quality skiing gear with a specific purpose to keep warm and be comfortable. Follow the guide and above and figure out what works for you best.
Check this too: What Is Cross Country Skiing?