As experts in skiwear, one of the most frequently asked questions we get at SkiGala is how to dress for skiing.
While it may seem elementary, choosing the right kit for a happy day on the slopes is tricky due to two main reasons. Firstly, 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 or even a nasty 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 chairlift.
Hence there is a balance between keeping warm and dry yet without the risk of overheating. We have put together some straightforward tips to maximize your comfort on the slopes. It's all about layers!
1st Base Layer - Start with a long sleeve shirt and long underwear 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 yet without constricting movement. The big plus with Merino wool is that it does not carry smell like synthetic fabrics. You can wear the same top for days on end and still feel fresh!
Add socks, the oft 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. Happy feet are crucial for 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. It is advisable to avoid cotton. Due to its moisture absorbing properties, cotton will leave you feeling damp and cold. In the absence of skiing sportswear, a wool sweater will do.
3rd Outer Layer - The importance of a good quality waterproof and windproof ski jacket and ski 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 ski jacket should be long enough to cover the wrists when the arms are out-stretched and the back of the ski jacket should be around hip level while in a sitting position.
The legs of the ski 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 ski pants should sit high on the waist so that it tucks well under the ski jacket, protecting your lower back (and hence kidneys) from exposure to the cold.
Do get a proper fit. Ski jackets and ski pants should not be too bulky. It will make movement awkward and can interfere with both agility and fun.
An invaluable piece of ski clothing that we recommend is a neck buff or gator made of fleece, synthetic or wool. It protects your neck from chilly weather and can be drawn up to cover your nose and chin in frosty, windy conditions.
Staying warm and dry is so important in the mountains. Take the time and effort to sort out your ski clothing prior to your ski trip. Try on all of the layers of your planned outfit. Swoosh around a bit in the living room and bend your knees to see how the combination of the ski jacket and ski pants works together.
If you still have questions, just give us a call and we can help you plan your ski outfit. Looking good on the slopes was never so easy!
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