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Dressing for the slopes

How to dress and stay warm on the mountain

A frequent question we get asked before and during our events, is how to dress for skiing. In collaboration with the experts from skisuitrental.com we have worked to put together some straightforward tips to maximize your comfort on the slopes.

Dressing correctly for skiing is tricky due to two main reasons. Firstly, of course, is the alpine weather. A temperature change of several degrees throughout the day is fairly common, as is the chilling effect of wind, snow, rain and on a nasty day, a mix of all three elements of Mother Nature.

Secondly, the activity level changes throughout the day. Skiing can be physically demanding and skiers in full swing can easily break into a sweat. Yet a large part of the ski day involves stopping – either waiting for others on the slopes, observing demonstrations in ski class or sitting on a cold lift  to take you back up the mountain – even though a growing number of resorts now spoil us with heated seats and lifts!

Hence there is a balance to find somewhere between keeping you warm and dry yet without the risk of overheating.

Fortunately there are a few basic guidelines to make dressing for skiing simpler. It's all about layers.

1st Base Layer - Start with a long sleeve shirt and longjohns with either a high polyester (polyprolene) content, often referred to as moisture-wicking, or Merino wool. (Both can be worn for other sports and even under other clothes all winter long.) The fit should be tight enough to be close to the skin without constricting movement. The big plus with merino wool is that it does not carry smell like synthetic products- meaning you can wear the same top for days on end and still feel fresh, as well as creating less packing & washing.

Add socks, the often forgotten element of proper skiwear. The socks should be knee length and have enough elasticity to stay in place. It is well-worth investing in good quality ski socks, as these wick moisture effectively and also are designed to minimise discomfort around pressure points in your boots- which will reduce the risk of getting blisters and maximise comfort and as we all know, having happy feet can be a make or break point of a fun ski day!

2nd Mid-layer - Add the next layer such as a high-neck ski shirt or a light fleece according to weather. Note that like with many outdoor sports it is advisable to avoid cotton. Due to its moisture absorbing properties cotton will leave you feeling damp and cold for the rest of the ski day. In the absence of skiing sports wear, a wool sweater will do.

3rd Outer Layer - The importance of a good quality waterproof and windproof jacket and pants that are designed for alpine skiing cannot be overstated. This is the layer that prevents wind and snow from breaking into your cozy cocoon. The arms of the jacket should be long enough to cover the wrists when the arms are outstretched and the back of the jacket should sit around hip level while in a sitting position. The legs of the pants should be long enough to cover the bottom shaft of the ski boot while in the sitting position (on the chair lift for example).  The pants should sit high on the waist so it tucks well under the jacket, protecting your lower back from exposure to the cold.

An added note to jackets and pants is that they should not be too bulky. It makes movement awkward and can interfere with both agility and fun.

An invaluable piece of clothing that we recommend is a neck buff- this can be fleece, synthetic or wool material- or a combination. This protects your neck from chilly weather and can be drawn up to cover your nose and chin also in frosty, windy conditions.

Do you have any top tips to add? What is your favourite piece of ski wear? Let us know below!