How To Layer Up For Cold Skiing
No matter where you ski this winter, chances are you’ll face some brutally cold temperatures. And nothing spoils a day on the slopes––or effects your performance––quite like a chill you just can’t shake.
To make sure you stay warm all day long, you’ll need to dress appropriately. Layering not only means you’ll hold on to your body heat better, but it also allows you to shed garments should you need to cool off.
Use our easy guide to layering up for when the temperature drops, and guarantee yourself a great day out on the hill.
Start with a strong foundation
All successful outdoor outfits are built on a good base layer. It should be close-fitting to trap warm air next to your skin, but not so tight that it rides up in the sleeves and waist. Base layers don’t just boost the warming properties of your other garments, they also help to wick potentially cooling sweat away from your body.
Fleece is your friend
The fleece is a critical addition to any layering system. Many technical fabrics exist that offer a mix of breathability, flex and comfort––but most crucial of all is warmth. It must be insulating enough to keep out the coldest of chills. Look for garments that use Polartec® fabrics or similar, providing high warmth to weight ratios and excellent quick-drying properties.
Against the elements
Wind, snow and freezing temperatures combine to form a formidable foe. To fend off all three, you’ll need an outer layer that ticks a few boxes. It should be waterproof to a minimum of 10,000mm and, depending on where you’re skiing, contain its own insulation to add extra warmth to your underlayers. If you’re heading into the backcountry, you’ll also want to look for a jacket that has an integrated powder skirt. It’ll form a barrier against the snow, and help to trap in extra warmth.
Protect your neck
Collars and neck gaiters are essential items for cold-weather skiing. Tucked under your jacket and over your layers, they’ll protect you from the worst of the wind, and can be easily pulled up or rolled down to quickly regulate your temperature––whether you’re hiking through the deep stuff or flying through the trees.
1. Keep it close
Close-fitting layers trap insulating pockets of air next to your body. Make sure your first layer fits tightest to prevent vital heat loss, then add looser layers on top.
2. Bring the heat
Your body generates its own heat, but it needs managing when you’re working hard. Wear lighter layers if you know you’ll be hiking to earn your turns, and always layer up before you’re cold, and layer down before you’re hot.
3. Happy feet
Many people think the thicker the socks the better, but you need air space in your boot to create a warm environment. Find a thinner technical sock and keep your feet hot and happy.
4. Smitten for mittens
A mitten will keep your fingers together––and warmer––by trapping body heat and reducing evaporative heat loss. When the temperature really plummets, a layered mitt system will boost your hand heat even further.
5. Be prepared
You could get caught out in the cold, or simply headed for the outdoor bar… Either way, carry an extra layer in your pack so you’re ready for any eventuality.