On the ski slopes, equipment is essential. Some fabrics perform much better than others to keep you warm and dry. Wearing appropriate clothing can make the difference between a day of fun and a miserable one.
Having cold feet is no fun. This means keeping your feet warm while skiing is paramount. Ski socks are designed to keep your feet warm and are an essential part of your ski gear.
Ski socks are available in different thicknesses. Some have extra padding on the shins, because that’s where you put pressure on your shoes. Some socks also enhance the padding around the heel and toes for extra warmth and durability.
The best ski pants should be windproof and waterproof. They must feature gaiters to prevent snow from entering your ski boots. Insulation will provide heat, although you can use longer, thicker baselayers for trousers with lighter insulation.
The upper body
Dressing properly for skiing means layering clothing. The best fabrics or fibers have to wick away perspiration and to retain heat. Cotton does not work because it absorbs water and produces moist, cold skin. Fast-drying fabrics will provide the heat you need to ski while evacuating moisture from your skin. Antimicrobial treatments can help reduce odors and flat seams will prevent irritation.
Layering underwear is essential to manage winter conditions. For cooler temperatures, use a thicker fabric. For the hottest spring days, a lighter one. Tops usually come in light, medium and heavy thicknesses. No matter how you overlay the layers, be careful not to apply too much, this could cause overheating and prevent movement. On colder days, some tops include a turtleneck and/or a zipper at the neck.
There are usually three options.
Hot, down ski jackets. Light, warm and comfortable, however, they are not completely waterproof, even when featuring a DWR coating.
Hardshell jackets, on the other hand, are not very warm, not very stretchable, but offer total protection from the rain while being breathable. With these jackets that have only a waterproof and windproof coat, skiers can vary the underlayers to adapt to warmer or colder conditions. Ideal for the very high mountain.
In between are Softshell jackets, a versatile and effective solution in 90% of situations
Ski accessories play an important role to protect your head, face, hands and eyes.
While some ski caps are only designed to be fashionable, technical caps keep your head warm. They can also remove perspiration, which is especially useful for ski touring or cross-country skiing. For those who wear a helmet, only thinner beannies without pompoms on top, will go under the helmet.
To keep your hands warm on the slopes, you’ll need to get a pair of mittens or a pair of gloves. Many skiers opt for mittens because they bring more warmth to the fingers. You can also add fine silk under gloves for an extra layer of heat. Gloves and mittens must have a waterproof outer layer with inner insulation.
Sunglasses and Ski Goggles
Whatever the sun, sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes. Reverberation is very strong on snow and UVA and UVB rays can damage the eyes to the point of snow blindness.
Be sure to invest in sunglasses with a powerful UV-proof coating to limit those harmful rays. Look for polarized dark lenses to transmit less light.
Ski goggles protect your eyes from snow and ice and keep your face warm. Look for no-fog ski goggles with a wide field of vision. They must be compatible with the helmet. Some goggles have interchangeable lenses according to the brightness of the sun.
Neck warmers are knitted or fleece tubes that help retain heat from neck and lower face leaks. You can pull them up to cover your chin in a snowstorm or wear them just around your neck.