To enjoy skiing and snowboarding you have got to have the right kind of clothing.

While fashion is important, it’s not the “look” that defines clothing for skiing and snowboarding, it’s the function. Ski and snowboarding clothing needs to; keep you warm when you’re riding uphill on a chairlift, accommodate the excessive perspiration that is a natural result of skiing or riding, be wind proof yet allow perspiration to breath through the garment so you don’t feel clammy and sweaty, it needs to be lightweight and waterproof and it has to allow unrestricted movement.

For starters let’s cover some of the “don’ts” with regarding to ski and snowboard clothing

  • No Jeans – they’re not wind proof or waterproof
  • No cotton waffle undies – they don’t wick moisture away from the body
  • No in-the-boot stretch pants – bad boot fit
  • No cotton socks – miserable cold when wet with perspiration

Dress in layers.

This allows you to shed or add layers according to the weather. Start with a good set of long underwear bottoms and tops that suit your bodies thermal capabilities. If you tend to heat up and sweat even on cold days choose a light weight synthetic such as Hot Chillys MTF 3000 that wicks moisture from your body and transfers it to outer air layers. If you’re a freeze baby start with a heavier layer that’s made out of a light weight Polartech fleece. Another option are Marker power stretch tights and zip T’s. They are a bit heavier and will still do a good job transferring moisture. Do not wear cotton underwear. Cotton has no redeeming insulating qualities and it absorbs moisture.

Your next layer should be a wool or wool blend sweater or a fleece (again, not a cotton sweatshirt) followed by an insulated jacket and pant. Again, depending on your ability to maintain heat, a non-insulated shell and pant may be more appropriate. Shells are also great for warmer days and Out West spring skiing and riding.

Technology has come a long way since the introduction of the down jacket. Light weight insulations made with microfibers trap heat, reflect heat back to your body while giving the garment a soft hand and lofty appearance. Coatings and membranes laminated to the outer fabric make jackets and pants waterproof and windproof, yet breathable. Many jackets and pants have critical seams on the shoulders and butt taped so water can’t pass through stitch holes.

Down is a warm insulation but is suited more to an environment like a hockey rink where you’re not generating perspiration. If down gets wet, it clumps together and looses it’s insulating value and takes a long time to dry.

To the person who is still wearing jeans or even athletic nylon warm-up pants, invest in a pair of ski or snowboard pants. They will keep the moisture and wind off your bottom half. If you are worried they’ll be two warm, many pants have ventilation zippers to cool you off.

Everyday cotton socks will not work in ski or snowboard boots! Remember, cotton absorbs moisture and will make you feet cold and the ribs on a crew sock can cause painful shin bite. A snowsport sock should be perfectly smooth with the top of the sock coming above the boot. Hot Chillys makes synthetic socks that have a knit in arch support bands and articulated footbreaks that eliminate bulk where the ankle meets the foot. If you feet sweat or your boot is on the tight side, look for a low volume sock. If you require extra warmth or your boots are packed down use a high volume sock. Mid volume socks are designed for the vast majority. If you are on an out West vacation, take at least two pair, one to wear and one to wash. Dirty socks are not as warm as clean ones. HINT: If you are experiencing foot, ankle or shin pain look for wrinkles in your socks. One little wrinkle can cause painful blisters and ruin your day. Also-the seams in your long undies can be causing pressure in the boot. Just pull them up above your boot. Did you know that most of your body heat is lost through your head. If you are cold and not wearing a hat or helmet, put one on. You will warm up. Don’t worry about your hair. Hat head is cool in the lodge because everyone has it. Any exposed skin on your body will cause heat loss so cover up. Neck gaiters are tubes of fleece that you pull over your head to keep your neck, chin, nose and cheeks covered. Do not use a scarf. They are dangerous as they can get caught on lifts and tow ropes.

Mittens are warmer than gloves, but gloves give you more dexterity

Gloves and mitts purchased at your local farm supply store or the local discount store will not be warm enough nor will they hold up to the abuse they will take on the slopes. Gloves and mitts are like shoes, the more you spend, the better they are. The little diposable hand warmers work great if your circulation is poor and your hands are cold even with a good pair of mitts.

If you are a snowboarder or are purchasing some thing for one remember that riders generate more heat than skiers. The clothing they wear will be less insulated and will include lots of zippered vents they can open and close as needed. The “look” is unconstructed and baggier than ski wear and a bit more edgy.

Don’t even think about heading out without a good pair of goggles. If it starts to snow, your day will be ruined without them. They will also protect your eyes and keep them from tearing up. Look for double lens goggles with air flow to prevent fogging.

Follow these few suggestions and you are guaranteed an AWESOME day on the slopes. Come and see us. We offer a wide variety of ski wear from Spyder, Obermeyer, Mountain Hardware and Sessions, Burton, and Ride for snowboarders just to mention a few. We’ll be happy to help you with all your apparel needs!