What to Wear
Tips on Clothing for North Country Skiing
The temperature where we ski can be below zero, but you warm up through physical exertion while you are skiing. For your comfort and protection, we recommend that you dress in layers for skiing.
- Wear a wicking layer next to your body. Long underwear tops and bottoms of polypropylene, wool or other moisture wicking fabrics are recommended. When you ski, your body warms up and you perspire. If the moisture is held next to your skin in a cotton tee shirt or turtleneck, you will be cold and soggy when you slow down and cool off or when the temperature drops. Therefore, do not wear cotton as it will not wick moisture away. Reserve your cotton turtlenecks for lounging inside.
- Wear a sweater or jacket and pants as the next layer for insulation. This layer should be of "polar fleece", wool or other efficient insulating fabric. Some people like lycra tights over long underwear for the enhanced mobility. Lycra also helps cut the wind. "Polar fleece" trousers are also available. Avoid cotton or cotton blend sweat pants!
- Wear a windproof layer. Examples are nylon shell jacket and wind pants. Avoid coated fabrics if you perspire heavily.
- In very cold weather, a warm face covering is sometimes needed. Depending on your need and taste, this may be a balaclava, ski mask, scarf or neck gaiter.
- Wear good insulated mittens. Heavy fleece or wool with windproof over mitts are good because wool and fleece will help keep you warm even when moist with sweat or snow. Insulated gloves may seem more flexible but tend not to keep your hands as warm because the fingers are isolated from the warmth of each other.
- Wear wicking socks inside your boots. One of the new wicking fibers or heavy wool socks with wicking sock liners are also recommended.
- Finally, carry a warm cap with ear coverings.
- Remember that even though you feel cold starting out on the trail, the vigorous exercise will warm you up. You will want to vent some of that warmth in a controlled way. You can do this by layering, and by wearing outerwear that can be loosened and opened at the neck.
Remember, cotton does not wick and will not insulate when you perspire! Cold, wet cotton clothes will make you miserable and can bring on hypothermia.
Don't wear cotton on the trail!