Learn about ski gear,clothing and Accessories you will need to hit the slopes

Dress with Layers

Dress with Layers to stay Warm and Dry:
When dressing for skiing or snowboarding, layering your clothing will help keep you warm and dry. First take into consideration the outside temperature and weather conditions. It’s always best to be over dressed (warmer) then under dressed. Layering your dress allows you to take off and add clothing as needed.

Base Layers:
A base layer is an insulating layer of clothing that is worn next to your skin and can be layered over. This layer helps regulate body temperature and keeps you dry by wicking moister away from skin. Base layers come in different weights to suite temperature range and activity level. The main consideration when selecting a base layer are:

  • material weight
  • type of material

Base Layer Weights:

lightweightLightweight – a thin bottom layer, both top and leggings, worn next to the skin for moisture wicking and insulating purposes. Can be worn alone or layered over.
midweightMidweight – this layer can be worn as a heavier bottom layer next to skin or as a second layer over the lightweight layer. Best suited for colder conditions.
Mid Layer – These layers are always worn over lighter weight layers. They will be thicker and have more loft for insulating qualities. This layer will be worn looser and typically have a collar or zip on the top. Most often these are zip up fleeces or synthetic or wool pullovers.

Materials used in Layers:

Base layers and Mid Layers are constructed of either synthetic fabrics or merino wool. These fabrics wick moisture away from skin and move it away from the body so that it can evaporate. They do not absorb moisture, like cotton fabrics, and become wet. Both synthetic and wool have excellent drying qualities and allow for better body temperature regulation.

Synthetic versus Wool

Synthetic, good qualities:
  • Soft
  • Easy care
  • Lightest base layer
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Very stretchable
  • Excellent moisture management
  • Excellent drying time
  • Fairly priced
Synthetic, bad qualities:
  • Slightly slower temperature regulation than wool
  • Synthetic fiber
  • Odor can build up if not consistently washed
  • Petroleum-based synthetic fiber
  • Potentially vulnerable to staining

Wool, good qualities:
  • Soft to skin lightweight fabric
  • Stain and wrinkle resistant
  • Natural fiber
  • Excellent moisture management
  • Excellent temperature regulation
  • Excellent odor resistance (it doesn’t stink)
  • Very good stretch
Wool, bad qualities:
  • Slower drying time than synthetics
  • Potentially vulnerable to shrinkage if not washed properly
  • More expensive than synthetic base layers

Choosing a Ski Jacket:

A ski jacket should be comfortable, functional and make you look good too. When trying on ski jackets, it’s a good idea to be wearing your base layers or take into consideration what you will be wearing under your ski jacket. Your ski jacket can be fitted but absolutely NOT restrictive. You are better off with a coat that is too big versus one that is a bit small.

When Trying on Ski Jackets think about:

The length of coat should fall below your waist line and even cover your trunk. The longer coat fit, helps keep snow from entering your snow pants. Many ski jackets have snow skirts to further prevent snow from entering. Ski Jackets should not be restrictive, they need to be loose enough to accommodate base layers. You need to feel comfortable bending over, getting up, raising your hands over your head and twisting.

length of arms should allow free movement of your arms. You need to be able to raise your arms over your head in a jumping jack fashion. Coat arm length should not allow for skin exposure even when arms are raised.

Ski Jackets with Hoods, Ski jackets with hoods offer more warmth and protection from the elements than jackets with out hoods. Hoods need to allow room for a ski hat or helmet, neck gators and goggles. Hoods prevent wind and snow from entering into the neck area.

Ski Jackets with Collars, with the addition of ski helmets, ski jackets with collars can be more comfortable and offer the fit around the neck area to compliment the helmet. Collars need to be large enough to allow for neck gator and other layers worn under the coat. The collar should be high enough to cover the mouth and nose when necessary. Collars should have adjustment features.

Selecting Ski Pants

Ski pants need to be comfortable, function to protect you from the elements, and look good too. When you try on ski jackets and pants, it’s a good idea to be wearing your base layers or take into consideration what you will be wearing under your ski pants. Ski pants can be fitted but absolutely NOT be restrictive. You are better off with a ski pant that is too big versus one that is a bit small.

When Trying on Ski Pants think about:

Ski pants should have roomy fit. You need to be able to do a deep knee bend, bend over, lift your kneesup and twist with out restriction.

Ski pant waist line, is better off higher then lower. Many ski pants have higher backs, accommodating the ready position of skiing or bending over. If you prefer your pants worn lower you should wear a much longer coat to help protect your back from snow and exposure.

Bib ski pants, are a favorite among seasoned skiers. Bibs virtually eliminate snow from entering the back of the pant. They stay comfortably in place with the shoulder straps. They often have elastic in the waist band making bending over and getting up easy. There is also no restriction around the waist.

Ski pant length, they need to come down over your ski boots or have a ski boot gator sewn in, and not pull up when lifting your knees, bending over or getting up.

Ski Gloves or Mittens?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both gloves and mittens, and there are some important things to consider when purchasing hand-wear for skiing or snowboarding.


Ski Glove Advantages:

  • Usually lower profile
  • Better dexterity for reaching into pockets and using hands and fingers

Ski Glove Disadvantages:

  • Not as warm


Ski Mittens Advantages:

  • Warmer

Ski Mittens Disadvantages:

  • Less dexterity and much more cumbersome

Things to think about…..

  • Do I get cold hands?

If you tend to get cold hands while out on the mountain, definitely lean towards a mitten. By keeping your fingers all together, you will increase heat retention and will stay warmer for longer.

  • Am I skiing or snowboarding?

Most skiers tend to like more dexterity in their hands and fingers while skiing because they have to hold on to poles meaning that they might lean towards gloves

Ski Neck Warmers and Face Protection

There are a few different styles and types of face and neck protection to choose from, otherwise known as Balaclavas or Neck Gaiters.

Full overhead face and neck:

If you are one that tends to get cold easily, this might be a good choice for you. Usually these are made with a thicker material than others, and they are more or less a hood that pulls over your head and offers full head, face and neck cover and warmth. Keep in mind they can be bulky, especially if you wear a helmet.

Face warmer:

These are a smaller option that just covers the face. Usually they use a velcro fastener that wraps around the neck. Very similar to the look of a bandana, but heavier material (usually fleece).

Neck Warmer:

The best option for people that do not get cold easily, but want some protection from snow, wind, and extreme cold, is the neck warmer or neck tube. These can be found in a wide variety of materials and thicknesses. It can be pulled up over the face, or kept under the chin to prevent draft down into your jacket. The neck warmer is the most unobtrusive and comfortable of the three, and is an easy thing to keep in a pocket to use as needed.

Choosing ski goggles, ski sunglasses and lens types

Most of the time goggles are going to be the first choice when skiing or snowboarding because they will protect your face from wind, snow and sun. When the weather is warm and sunny with no wind, sunglasses could in fact be a better alternative. Prepared skiers usually carry both, as conditions can change quickly and having an alternative eye protection is a good idea.


There are 3 different types of lenses when it comes to goggles:

POC Iris Bug

1. Stamped Lenses Goggles with stamped lenses are the most basic and usually the most inexpensive of the three. If you are not an extremely avid skier or snowboarder, and just go a few days per year, this might be a good choice for you. These goggles come a lots of different styles and fits, along with lots of different lens colors and tints. The drawback to these is that the optical clarity(how easy it is to see through) of the lens is not very good and they scratch and get damaged very easily.

POC Cornea

2. Cylindrical lens goggles are most often in the mid level to higher quality range. These types of goggles usually have a much better fit, are more comfortable, and are much more scratch resistant and durable than the later. They however come with a little bit higher price tag and might be suited best for someone that skis or rides a few weeks per year.

Dragon APX

3. Spherical lens are the highest quality and the best optical clarity that you will be able to find. They attempt to resemble the shape of the actual human eye, which greatly decreases the distorted view that you would experience with the other two lens types. These also provide much better peripheral(side) view, allowing you to be more aware of what is going on around you on the slopes. These are usually the highest price, but you can find some models that are a little bit cheaper than most. If you are an avid skier and appreciate good clear vision on the slopes, these are the best choice for you.


Sunglasses are a great choice for spring skiing. When the temperature is warm and the weather is good, sunglasses will be a much cooler option than goggles, and have less potential for fog up when you get hot. However, they do lack the ability to block out elements like wind, snow and cold. If you do choose sunglasses, make sure you have a good quality pair that block 100% of UV light, and have a nice tight athletic fit. These are a few things to think about when trying to choose between goggles or sunglasses, but in the end it is mostly personal preference.

Accessories that you should carry:

It’s a good idea to carry a few accessories around with you when skiing or snowboarding. Here are our suggestions:

  • Sun screen 30+, even on cloudy days ultra violate rays are much more intense at altitude and it is real easy to get sun burned.
  • Carry water. Often even area skiing takes you a ways form water. Be prepared and carry water in a frost resistant container.
  • Goggles & sunglasses , be ready for changing conditions and carry both.
  • Goggle & sunglass cleaner cloth. It’s easy to obtain moisture in your eye protection, having a lens cloth can be a real lifesaver.
  • Cell phone, just in case.