TIP - What to wear for skiing and snowboarding
The main objective for assembling your outfit for a day on the slopes is warmth. The basics of dressing for snowy conditions come down to layering your clothes, starting with an all-important thermal base layer that sits right next to your skin and building up layers of breathable clothes on top of that before putting on your waterproof jacket. Smart textiles, like Gore-Tex® that wick away moisture from within, but don’t allow moisture from outside the fabric to penetrate are the best options:-
Thermal Base Layers
The most important part of your skiing outfit is the layer that you wear directly next to your skin. Dressing with properly designed and constructed thermals is a game changer for many skiers and snowboarders because these specially made items of clothing should do the following: keep you cool when you get too hot, keep you warm when you are cold, wick away sweat, and be lightweight and breathable. And in the worst-case scenario, if snow gets into your clothes, you won’t suffer the misery of cold wetness for the day. Investing in proper thermals won’t go amiss! Keep an eye out for breathable fibres such as merino wool, and for popular brands such as Icebreaker.
Once you’ve got your thermal layers on you might still feel a bit exposed, so many skiers and snowboarders throw on a t-shirt or a fleece on top (depending on how cold it is outdoors). Many places sell expensive and specially made mid-layers but a normal jumper, shirt, t-shirt or hoodie will suffice. For your legs, a comfortable pair of cotton leggings over your thermal leggings will feel nice
Investing in a pair of proper thermal socks that have been designed with the skiers or snowboarders’ boot in mind is a must. Again, merino wool is an ideal material to look out for because regular cotton socks will not dry when your feet become clammy and nothing is worse than skiing with cold, damp feet inside your boots. Make sure you can wiggle your toes inside your boots. Popular brands to watch out for are Smart Wool, and if you really feel like splashing your cash, you can even get heated socks!
Neck warmers and scarves come in a variety of different styles but the decision to wear one
won’t go amiss. Whether you opt for a full-face mask, or a simple turtleneck warmer, if the
weather takes a turn, you’ll appreciate the warmth this simple item has to offer.
Tied with thermals as the most important item in the skier and snowboarders’ wardrobe, you won’t see a single person on the mountain who hasn’t gotten their hands on a proper ski jacket. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, makes, specifics these days so here are a few tips and pointers for searching for the right jacket for you:
Borrow. If you are a beginner, ask friends and family if you can borrow their jackets. A brand-new jacket at shop price and be anything from £100-£1,500! Should the worst happen and you decide that skiing and snowboarding isn’t for you (gasp!) then you don’t want expensive non-returnable clothing on your hands.
Water resistance. Well, this seems like a bit of a no-brainer but lots of different brands will differ in water resistance. Check the label of your preferred jacket and aim for something 5,000mm or more.
Breathability. If it weren’t for scientists in laboratories inventing ingenious materials, the sensation of skiing and snowboarding in a waterproof jacket would be akin to exercising in a plastic bag. Unpleasant. The material of jackets needs to both stop water from getting in from the outside, yet let sweat and perspiration escape from the inside.
Down vs. Synthetic insulation. While the idea of a feather-stuffed ski jacket sounds warm and cosy, its popularity has fallen in favour of synthetic materials that are multitasking and less bulky.
Pockets and zips. The number of pockets and zips on a jacket might be a bit confusing at first, but you will find them very useful over time. Pit zips allow you to unzip your jacket under the arms to cool down, and there are sometimes water-resistant pockets inside jackets for valuables and cash.
Trousers/ Ski pants/ Salopettes
Snowboarders pay attention! Like choosing a ski jacket, study the label of your chosen salopettes/ pants carefully before you purchase. Since you will be spending a lot of time sitting on the snow, waterproof pants are essential.
A good pair of goggles won’t go amiss. On a snowy day they keep the snowflakes out of your eyes and when the sun comes out, perfect sunglasses.
Helmets and hats
It does not matter how confident a skier or snowboarder you are; accidents do happen. Borrowing a helmet or investing in one could very easily save your life. Try to get a professional to fit your helmet.
Like your jacket and salopettes, your gloves should be given the same amount of care and attention to how waterproof they are and their breathability. Fingers and toes are often the first parts of your body to feel the cold when you are on the mountain, so getting some properly fitting, waterproof and warm gloves will maximize your comfort. If you really feel the cold, some merino wool inner-gloves might help with that problem.
The boots that you wear for your sport possibly won’t be the same boots that you use to walk around town and go to après ski in! A good pair of hiking boots will suffice but keep an eye on the soles of your boot- you want something that has good, sturdy grip. If it is a particularly icy year, then sometimes metal crampons can make you a little more slip-proof. Avoid wearing heels as these offer very little grip. Leave leather shoes at home as these can be damaged by the salt used as grit when it becomes mixed up in the snow.