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What to Wear When Skiing6 min read

If you’re ever been on the slopes or are planning to, your main concern is probably to keep warm because it can get very cold up there. However in the modern world of high tech ski clothing it can be confusing as to what we should wear when skiing. In fact there’s a great choice of skiing clothing about that not only makes sure you don’t feel the cold but also comes with a wide range of additional features.

With so many choices available including a whole range of technical specifications, types of insulation, accessories and features it can be difficult to choose the right clothing for the job. So where to begin?

Picking the right clothing for the job

The first thing you’ll have to realise is that there’s a world of difference between après-ski attire and technical skiwear. Après-ski literally translates from French to “After-Ski” and après –ski attire is meant for exactly that, to be worn AFTER skiing. So whilst an outfit might be fantastic for meandering around the shops and enjoying a nice hot chocolate, it’s not entirely going to be the best thing when you’re facing the harsh cold of skiing.

For facing the slopes themselves, you’re better off sticking with your technical skiwear with all the bells and whistles that come along with it. Skiing jackets, trousers, footwear etc. have all been designed specifically to withhold the cold; your favourite pair of jeans on the other hand has not. In fact if it is your first time on the slopes and you’re wondering if you should wear jeans because they’ll look good, then it’s strongly suggested you look into buying some ski trousers. Chances are as a first timer on the slopes, you’ll be falling over a lot (unless you’re a born natural and take to it like a penguin) and jeans will let the cold and wet in, leaving you cold and miserable.

Starting at the base

The first piece of clothing you’ll need is a base layer, which is an important piece of clothing on the slopes to ensure that you keep warm. The purpose of the base layer is to add an extra layer between your skin and your clothes. Wet clothes touching you are one of the quickest ways that you’ll get cold, so having an extra layer of defence is great. Wool base layers are fantastic because they help to resist odour for longer so you’ll be able to wear them for increased periods of time as opposed to man-made materials.


Lots of layers

Layering up is a great way to keep warm when out in the cold and with your base layer sorted the next think you’ll want is to add a fleece or a jumper on top. The great thing about layers is that they help trap more air than a single thick layer. Trapped air works as an insulator meaning that two thin layers can keep you warmer than one thick layer whilst remaining lighter.

A jumper with a high collar is great because it helps add an extra layer of warmth to your neck and helps stop and cold air seeping through the top.  Having these extra layers also allows for flexibility during the day, if you’re ever too warm then you can take off a layer and vice versa if you’re cold.


The Ski Jacket

One of the most synonymous pieces of clothing when skiing is of course the ski jacket. The ski jacket is where you’re more than likely to see a large difference in specifications from one jacket to the next. However, there are a few key points to look out for in a good ski jacket:

  • Breathability. Breathability is very important in a ski jacket, you’ll be spending a lot of time exerting yourself skiing and walking around so it’s better not to have to put up with being sweaty and uncomfortable.
  • Waterproofing. Snow = Water and proper waterproofing is going to save you from getting chilled if any water seeps through.
  • High collar. A high collar is the difference between getting cold winds and snow inside your jacket and not. Make sure that the collar is high enough that it will properly protect you.
  • Sealed seams.  Sealed seams on a ski jacket refer to the main areas on a jacket that are susceptible to water being sealed. Within the specs of a jacket you may see the phrase “Critically seam sealed” which means that the most important areas have been sealed, whilst “Fully seam-sealed” means all stitches has been sealed.

Ski jackets can be a bit of an investment so it’s important that you take a look that a jacket has all of these basic specifications covered and added extras are always a bonus. The most important thing is that you stay warm whilst skiing so you can enjoy yourself as much as possible.

Ski Trousers

Ski trousers are much the same as ski jackets in their technical specifications and requirements to ensure you keep warm. Extra layers aren’t as important for your legs as ski trousers will do most of the work; however your legs should be protected by base layer leggings for that extra warmth. A couple of key features to look out for are:

  • Breathability.
  • Waterproofing
  • Sealed Seams
  • Moisture wicking lining. As less layers are more common for your legs it’s important that you have a moisture wicking lining, which means that the lining actively keeps water or sweat away from your skin.

Ski Accessories

Ski helmets, gloves and goggles. There are quite a number of accessories you’ll need to look into wearing when you’re out on the slopes.

Ski helmets can be one of the most important pieces of equipment that you pick up and one that can sometimes be overlooked by a first time skier. A helmet does its job in protecting you and can greatly reduce your chances of both head and neck injuries.

Unisex Poc Fornix Backcountry MIPS in Uranium Black

Ski gloves can have some large differences in pricing, quality and technical capabilities. If you’re planning a one off ski trip then you’ll be safe to buy a cheap pair of gloves. However if you’re a bit more a seasoned vet then a high quality pair of ski gloves is a worthwhile investment. For example, the Zanier Heat GTX Gloves include battery powered heating for your hands.


Ski Goggles are invaluable for keeping the snow off your face, the cold out and the sun from your eyes. You’ll want to keep an eye out for UV protection, anti-fog and vented lens.


Ski Brands

Ski brands can be important in determining the quality of the product and ensuring that you don’t get short changed. The brands we have used in the images in this article are:

  • Bloc
  • Icebreaker
  • Poc
  • Westbeach
  • Zanier

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