We have great ski equipment rentals at A Racer’s Edge, but skis, boots and poles are just part of what will help you enjoy your time on the slopes. Once you start planning your ski trip, you should also start thinking about your ski outfit. Your comfort will depend a great deal on what you are wearing. You’ll find that most happy skiers know how to dress for the weather and will be able to adjust their clothing to accommodate changes in the weather.
Layering is a tried and true method for maintaining warmth and dryness on the hill. You may also know layering as onionization because as Shrek would tell you, ‘onions have layers’. The idea behind layering is to have a few thin layers rather than one or two thick ones.
Your first layer is your ‘base’ layer and should be wool or synthetic underwear that will wick away any moisture from your skin leaving your skin dry and warm. Cotton should be avoided at all cost in layering but especially as a base layer. It captures moisture making your skin cold and clammy.
The next layer or layers are your mid-layers. These should be pants and shirts that fit comfortably and provide some good insulation. Two thin layers may be better than one medium weight layer as you can remove one thin layer if you begin to get warm and the remaining thin layer will provide enough warmth to keep you going. Mid-layers should be non-cotton products, again, as you want any moisture to be drawn away from your skin, and cotton isn’t built for that purpose.
Your outer layer will probably be the highest tech layer you wear as the optimal outer garment will be wind- and water-proof as well as breathable. It also may have vents known as ‘pit-zips’ or other features that let them exhaust moist air while keeping snow out. Look for features like wrist and ankle cuffs designed to keep snow out. Some pants will have a ‘bib’ top. Some skiers find bib ski pants a bit too warm for skiing, and unlike a mid-layer, the bib usually can’t come off so you are stuck with it if it is too warm. People that get cold regardless of what they wear, however, might like the added warmth of bibs. Jackets often will have a ‘powder skirt’ that is an extra flap of fabric on the inside of the coat that you can snap closed to help keep snow from coming up under the jacket, especially on powder days.
Gloves, hats or helmets and goggles round out your cold weather protection. Gloves should fit comfortably and be waterproof. You might try using thin glove liners if you get cold hands. Additionally many gloves now have pockets for chemical hand warmers. These can be a life saver for kids and people who have naturally low circulation. Avoid gloves that are a tight fit as they will inhibit good blood flow. The insulation in gloves works best when loose and fluffy, not when it is squished flat by a tight fit.
Helmets are very popular these days. A good ski helmet will protect the head from injury, but they are also very comfortable and warm. Goggles also stay in place nicely when wearing a helmet, and the combination of helmet and goggles will cover much of your head. Look for helmets with ventilation features and if you are someone that likes music while you ski, you can look for optional headphone systems that integrate into many helmets. It’s a good idea to try on different brands and models of helmet to find the right fit. You want a fit that is snug enough that even without the strap attached, the helmet follows your head and doesn’t rattle around.
Goggles are an often neglected accessory. Lots of people like to wear sunglasses when skiing. On some days sunglasses may be all that you need, but most days you’ll encounter some amount of wind and snow. Goggles protect your eyes from UV rays like sunglasses, but they also keep wind and blowing snow out of your eyes. A good pair of goggles will also have interchangeable lenses so you can accommodate the brightness of the sun.
So, hopefully these clothing and preparation tips will help you stay warm and dry on the slopes as long as you want to be out enjoying your ski trip. Part of fully enjoying your ski equipment rental from A Racer’s Edge is coming into the lodge at the end of the day comfortable and ready for your next adventure.