How to Dress for Skiing

Skiing can be fun, but without the proper gear, you'll end up with frostbite or sweating. Here's what to wear while skiing.


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    Put on a base layer. Thin, wicking, thermal shirt. It should be fitted to your chest, and it shouldn't slide around while you walk. This will be your base garment, and it should fit you well. Tight, thermal pants. They should also be thin, and they should be pressed up against your legs. These will be the base for your legs. The next-to-body fit of thermal layers prevents air from circulating and cooling your skin.
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    Put on a second layer. Additional layers provide warmth against the cold. Synthetic fleece or wool and wool-blend layers or sweaters are able to wick moisture and insulate well. Cotton will not wick moisture or insulate as well. This second layer doesn't need to be as tight, but it should still fit well and not be too thick or bulky. You should wear one with a long neck (1/2 or full zip with standup collar), as this will keep you warmer. 2nd layer Pants. They should be relatively tight, or else it will be too bulky to put anything else on. With current base layer and insulation technology, you likely won't need 2nd layer pants.
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    Dress into the third layer (insulated jacket):
    • Slide on a ski jacket. This needs to be roomy enough to comfortably accommodate your layers, but not too loose or bulky (again, too much air will make you cold, plus you want to make sure you can comfortably move). Make sure that it is a ski jacket - not a hoodie, not a sweatshirt, but a ski jacket' that is waterproof and preferably insulated'. Ski jackets use special fabrics, insulation and features to keep you warm while skiing, such as waterproof-breathable fabrics, heat-retaining insulation, and a powder skirt or closeable cuffs and hem.
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    Put on ski pants. Once again, you need to wear ski pants, not anything else. Ski pants have an inner powder cuff to prevent snow from getting in, which is very helpful. Pants should fit well and allow you to move comfortably.
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    Put on ski socks, these should be thin but warm. If you are renting boots you might want slightly thicker socks for comfort but they should still fit tightly to avoid wrinkles.
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    Put on ski boots. Any other boots won't clip into your skis. Make sure they fit you well, because you wouldn't want those falling off.
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    Wear goggles. These aren't necessary, but they do a great deal of good. Goggles are recommended on windy days, or if it's precipitating. The bigger the better. On bright days, they are absolutely necessary because not wearing them can cause snow blindness, which is extremely painful and can affect your vision for long periods adversely. Ski goggles also help you to read moguls in "flat conditions" when it's cloudy and there aren't many shadows. Racers always wear goggles to protect their eyes and tear ducts, and from accidentally dropped/loose objects flying around like pole tips and ski tips, which can be lethal at high speeds of 40–60 mph (64–97 km/h) on steep slopes on challenging courses in fair-to-poor visibility conditions.
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    Slip on a gator. Gators are basically felt tubes that you slip on your neck, which you can pull over your mouth on cold days. They are very helpful, and are recommended.
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    Put on a hat or helmet. Helmet is preferred, but a hat is fine too. If you ski through the glades, you should wear a helmet, and not a hat. If you do anything dangerous, where you could fall even as an expert skier, wear a helmet.
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    Put on ski gloves. Make sure that they are thick, and not regular gloves. Ski gloves are thicker and have a rubber lining on the outside for easy grip. These aren't optional, because if you don't wear them, you'll have frostbite after about an hour.


  • Follow this rule: You should have one base layer and one middle layer underneath your ski jacket and just a base layer underneath your ski trousers.
  • Wear a helmet and back protector, you never know what could happen and land you in intensive care!
  • Wear thermal underwear in addition to regular undergarments.


  • Wearing too little clothing can result in frostbite, and wearing too much can result in over-heating.
  • Skiing, like many sports, is dangerous. Ski at your own risk.

Article Info

Categories: Snow Skiing