How to Layer Your Clothing when Skiing

When layering your clothing for skiing, it is important to keep in mind both comfort and performance. Here's our recommendations as to what you should wear.

The first layer should always be a moisture-wicking material that will keep you dry and comfortable. The second layer should be an insulating material that will help to trap heat and keep you warm. The third and final layer should be a waterproof and windproof material that will protect you from the elements. 

By following these simple guidelines, even if you are a first-time skier, you can ensure that you will be both comfortable and able to perform at your best while out on the slopes.

Start with a base layer that wicks away moisture

There are a few different types of materials that make great base layers, but one of the best is merino wool. Merino wool is an excellent choice for a number of reasons. First, it is an extremely effective moisture-wicking material. It will help to draw sweat away from your skin and into the outer layers of clothing where it can evaporate quickly.

Another reason to choose merino wool is that it is a very breathable material. This means that it will allow your skin to breathe while you are skiing, and will help to prevent you from feeling overheated.

Finally, merino wool is also a great choice for a base layer because it is extremely comfortable to wear. It is soft and non-irritating, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin.

Add an insulating layer to help retain body heat

When you go skiing, you want to make sure that you have the best possible insulation to help keep your body heat from escaping. The best type of insulating layer for skiing is one that will trap body heat and prevent it from escaping. 

This can be achieved by using a variety of different materials, such as down or synthetic insulation.

Some of the best materials for an insulating layer for skiing include down, synthetic down, wool, and fleece. Down is the best type of insulation for trapping body heat, but it can be expensive. Synthetic insulation is a cheaper alternative that works just as well.

A good insulating layer for skiing should also be lightweight and easy to pack away when you are not using it.

Choose a waterproof and windproof outer layer

three people on skis
Image credits: Glade Optics

There are a variety of different types of waterproof and windproof outer layers available on the market, so it can be tricky to know which one is best for you. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a waterproof and windproof layer for skiing:

What kind of weather conditions will you be skiing in? 

If you’re only skiing in light rain or snow, you might not need a super heavy-duty waterproof layer. However, if you’re going to be skiing in more extreme conditions, like a blizzard, you’ll want to make sure you have a very durable and waterproof outer layer.

What is your budget? 

Waterproof and windproof outer layers can range in price from fairly affordable to quite expensive. It’s important to find one that fits within your budget while still providing the level of protection you need.

What is your personal style? 

Waterproof and windproof outer layers come in a wide range of styles, so you can definitely find one that suits your taste. Whether you prefer a more technical look or a more stylish one, there’s definitely an option out there for you.

What other features are you looking for? 

Some waterproof and windproof outer layers come with additional features like hoods or pockets. If you have specific needs in mind, make sure to look for a layer that offers those features.

What size do you need? 

Waterproof and windproof outer layers come in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to find one that will fit you well. Make sure to take accurate measurements before ordering to ensure you get the right size.

Add additional layers as needed for warmth

In cold weather, you’ll want to wear more layers of clothing to stay warm. In warm weather, you can get by with fewer layers. When it’s really hot out, you might even go without a jacket altogether.

There are three main types of clothing layers that you can wear when skiing: base layers,mid layers, and outer layers.

Base layers are the layer of clothing that is in direct contact with your skin. They should be made from a material that wicks away sweat and moisture, such as wool or synthetic fabrics.

Mid layers are designed to insulate you from the cold. They can be made from materials such as fleece or down.

Outer layers are the final layer of clothing that you put on. They provide protection from the elements, such as wind and rain. Outer layers are typically made from waterproof and breathable materials, such as Gore-Tex.

💡 Note: We’ve written another post on what to wear under your ski pants to stay warm all day long. It’s worth a read!

Leave room for movement and ventilation

To avoid overheating, be sure to leave room for movement and ventilation when layering your clothing. This will allow your body to regulate its temperature better and prevent you from becoming too sweaty or uncomfortable. Additionally, make sure to wear loose-fitting, breathable layers so that heat can escape easily. Ultimately, you should aim to dress in layers that will keep you warm without causing you to overheat.

Choose quality gear

Wearing well-fitting, supportive clothing will help you move more freely and stay comfortable on the slopes.

Investing in quality gear will also help protect you from the cold and wet conditions. Some important things to consider when buying clothing for skiing are:

Layer up

As described above, wearing multiple layers of clothing will trap heat and help keep you warm. Choose materials that are breathable and moisture-wicking to avoid getting too sweaty.

Insulation

A good ski jacket should be insulated to protect you from the cold. Down or synthetic insulation is a good choice.

Waterproofing

Waterproof clothing is essential for skiing, as you will be exposed to both snow and rain. Look for items that are rated as waterproof and windproof.

Footwear

Wear boots that are comfortable and fit well. They should also be waterproof and insulated to keep your feet warm and dry.

Socks

Socks are an important part of a ski outfit, as they help protect your feet from the cold and can prevent blisters. Choose a moisture-wicking material to keep your feet dry.

Protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses

two ski goggles hanging off skis
Image credits: Karsten Winegeart

Headwear

A hat or headband is a must-have for Skiing, as it will help keep you warm and protect your head from the sun.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are important for Skiing to protect your eyes from the bright sunlight reflecting off the snow.

Sunscreen

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before hitting the slopes. The sun’s rays can be intense at high altitudes, and you can get sunburned even on cloudy days.

Final thoughts

When you ski, you burn a lot of energy and lose a lot of body heat. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and take breaks often to warm up and rest. Otherwise, you risk getting very tired and cold, which can lead to serious health problems. So make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks often when you’re skiing

Have fun and enjoy the experience! skiing is a great way to get outdoors, exercise, and spend time with friends and family!

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Jakob Staudal

I love to spend time outside and reconnect with nature every now and then and cut-off all the noise from social media and everyday life.