A ski vacation takes a bit more preparation than just throwing a bathing suit in a bag and heading out. For first time skiers, the most important rule of thumb is stay warm and dry. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable and won’t be able to enjoy the experience. This post is a beginners guide to What to Wear Skiing. We’ve outlined eight things to consider before leaving for the slopes. In addition, we give you some alternatives to purchasing expensive ski clothing.
- Layers: Dressing in layers will not only trap the heat to keep you warmer, but if it gets too warm, you can peel off a layer or two.
- Waterproof vs. Water Resistant: Make sure your outerwear is waterproof, not just water resistant. As a beginner, there is a good chance you’ll be spending some time in the snow. Once you get wet, cold isn’t far behind and that can be miserable.
- Base Layer: Even in cold temperatures, skiing can make you hot. You want breathable clothes. If you sweat, it’s the same as getting wet from the snow and cold isn’t too far behind. If you’re an avid skier or winter sports enthusiast, getting good breathable base clothes is important. Silk is the best. Water wicking clothes are the most practical. For Southerners trying out skiing, think about what you would use for water sports or a dry-fit shirt from other sports. For bottoms, if you don’t have long underwear, try yoga pants, tights or if you need to, loose fitting jeans. When layered in warmer ski climates, these are good substitutes for expensive ski clothing. The colder the climate where you are skiing, the more you’ll want to invest in real ski clothes.
- Outer Layer: Make sure this layer is waterproof (not water resistant). Wind resistant wouldn’t hurt either, it can get breezy at the top of a mountain.
Googles can cut down on glare and help when snow is blowing. Helmets are becoming increasingly popular on the slops as well. (Photo credit: Kristian Jackson)
Extremities: I have low blood pressure, so my hands and feet are always cold. Invest in good wool or insulted socks and real ski gloves. Hand warmers are a must, especially when it gets really cold. Put them in your boots too. Your toes will thank you.
- Sunscreen: Don’t forget sunscreen. The white snow reflects the sun, so by days end, you’ll have a mean sunburn without protection.
- Eye Protection: The white snow reflecting the sun is tough on the eyes. At a minimum wear sunglasses to keep away the glare. If the resort is blowing snow, you’ll probably want a pair of goggles.
- Head Protection: Helmets are becoming more and more popular and offer protection for the beginner, as well as the advanced rider. You’ll also want a hat for when you take off your helmet and something to keep your ears warm.
Where to Get Ski Clothes on the Cheap
Borrowing ski clothes is the most inexpensive way to outfit a family. If that’s not an option, check if the ski resort you are visiting rents clothes. This is a great option for those who are flying to a resort and don’t want the bulk of ski clothing. If the resort doesn’t have them, perhaps there is a place in town that rents clothes. Local thrift stores in ski towns are a great place to find good brands and great prices. Many local ski clubs in Southern cities have a yearly ski swap and sale, a chance to pick up gently used kids ski clothes or even ones for adults.