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What to Wear Skiing & Snowboarding - A Skimigos Guide

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Keep calm the Skimigos will guide you through what you need and why, so you can feel confident that you'll feel your best on the mountain, comfortable, warm and dry, (no matter how many times you end up splayed out in the snow)!


Keep reading and this will not be you!

Before we dive in it's important to note,


Ski and snowboarding clothes are interchangeable.


We may refer to items in this article as 'ski' specific e.g. ski wear or ski socks, but they are also snowboarding wear or socks. 'Ski' is an umbrella term most commonly used for ski and snowboarding products.


Now,


THE LAYERING SYSTEM


The trick to keeping warm is in the layering. Air becomes trapped between the layers creating a cozy insulated environment keeping you warm.

Pack these 3 layers to make sure you're prepared for any weather on the mountain.


1 Base Layer


2 Mid Layer


3 Outer Layer


No need to empty the bank, once you've understood the science check out Skimigos' top tips on Where to Shop and our favourite Money Saving Hacks.



#1 - The Base Layer


The base layer wicks away sweat, acting as an underwear that regulates body temperature and keep you dry.


A base layer consists of a form fitting top and bottoms, typically made out of a blend of synthetics, most commonly polyester and elastane on the affordable end, and merino wool on the pricier end.


!!! Avoid wearing cotton materials as it soaks up sweat leaving you feeling cold and uncomfortable.


Your base layer provides light insulation and works in tandem with your other layers to keep you warm.


Base layers do not have to be ski or snowboard specific. Check out our smart Money Saving Hacks to find out ways you can save on ski wear.


How many do you need? This is down to preference. The base layers main function is to move sweat away from the skin. If you're not someone who sweats much you may be fine with fewer, others may want to pack a set for each day.


Skimigo wearing a simple black base layer - Austria 2019



For a visual and more detailed breakdown on how the layering system works we recommend watching this video.


#2 - The Mid Layer


The mid layer is a soft layer acting as an insulator to keep you warm.


From fleeces to light soft shell jackets, gilets and ¼ zip tops the mid layer can vary, but as with base layers, cotton should be avoided due to it's lack of sweat wicking properties resulting in feeling cold.


Our recommendation is to pack one thicker mid layer and one thinner so you have variety, and the ability to adapt to the climate during your trip.


Some winter sports specific mid layers can be used as an outer layer if the weather is warmer (look for DWR - Durable Water Repellant in the product description).


"Wear the fleece on the first day, with your base layer then you can adjust as the day or week goes on."


How many do you need? 1 or 2


#3 - The Outer Layer


Outer layers are typically the hard shell of your ski wear keeping the elements like snow and rain out.


Your first outer layer is your ski jacket, the one item of clothing we (hopefully) all know we'll need.


You will need a jacket specially made for snow sports. Any old winter coat or hiking jacket will not do! When shopping for your ski jacket look for specifications indicating that it has key features:

  • Breathability and Waterproofing 10k waterproof/ 5k breathability tends to be the average

  • Zip fastening with chin guard (stops zip scratching your chin)

  • Taped seams

  • Insulation will be shown in GSM, the higher the value the more insulated it is

Skimigo snowboarder wearing Burton jacket - Italy 2019










Taped Seams





Chin guard


  • Snow skirt, this is a MUST HAVE without this if you fall, expect to get snow inside your coat and up your back!

  • Venting, not absolutely required but definitely a nice to have.




Snow skirt












Venting


Your bottom outer layer is your ski trousers.


Similarly to the jacket, you want them to be waterproof, breathable and have taped seams to prevent any water from getting in. Make sure they fit around the waist and you can bend your knees without material becoming tight and restricting your movements.


Salopettes (ski trousers with braces) or bibs (material up to the chest and higher up the back) are a matter of preference, if you have a small waist they can be useful in keeping your ski trousers up without the need for rigorous tightening. For serious off piste skiers and snowboarders bibs offer additional protection in deep snow.




ESSENTIALS

Forget any of these 4 items before you go up onto the mountain and lets just say, it's going to be a long day.


#1 - Goggles


Goggles shield your eyes from the sun’s rays but also those reflecting off the snow. If you ski without them for a prolonged period you can suffer from snow blindness (temporary blindness).


Don’t compromise on eye protection, go for a recognised ski goggle brand. Want to shop quickly? Bolle is a convenient choice, renowned for its quality across a diverse price range. With options ranging from £50 to over £200, many of us in the Skimigos community have either owned or currently own Bolle goggles.


Generally an orange or pink lens serve as good all rounders. Yellow lenses are good for cloudy days. Dark and polarised lenses are best on sunny days.


Check The Category


A grade 2 / S2 mid lens indicates a good all-round lens tints for the majority of weather conditions.


We know you want to win the Best Dressed Skimigos Award and make your friends jealous at home watching you on insta, but wearing a black lens on a cloudy day could result in a not so fun fall (we've been there), if it's your first time on the slopes, go for an all rounder.


Over the Glasses (OTG) Goggles


If you wear glasses you may want to consider OTG Goggles, or if you're committed to the sport look at investing in a prescription insert.


Check out this informative video on goggle features and lenses on the market, making it easier for you to shop like pro.


#2 - Gloves


Are a must have unless you want to get frost bite! They must be ski or snowboard specific, waterproof and have tougher material in the palm of the hand.




#3 - Ski Socks


Ski socks are the key to making your feet and shins comfortable and cushioned against your ski or snowboard boots.


These are a must have, your everyday cotton socks won’t do! Make sure when buying your ski socks that they fit so there isn’t extra material gathering in places where they shouldn’t, you want no opportunity for discomfort.


Material wise a mixture of Merino wool is said to be the best, in the past we’ve used synthetics and they are also fine.


How many do you need? This is down to preference. If you're not someone who sweats much you will do fine with 3 - 4, for those who sweat more, one for every day.


#4 - Sun Screen


Take it or leave it whether you start off white, brown or black you can guarantee you will come back with panda eyes and or a burnt nose if you don’t wear sunscreen. Some of us in the Skimigos community have learned this the hard way!


There's an old Caribbean saying, 'who don't hear, must feel.' Take stock, this is one of those moments.


The sun reflects off the snow giving you extra strength UV rays, therefore we recommend 50 SPF and a sunscreen lip balm/ stick helping you keep the crispy lips at bay.



PRO TIPS

Experienced skiers and snowboarders from the Skimigos community give you their top tips!


Snowboarders

Tip #1 - "Get you some padded shorts!"


For most people snowboarding is a little harder to get the basics than skiing, padded shorts will you save you a lot of pain in your early days as a beginner, when you're spending most of your time crashing, sitting or sliding on your bum!




Tip #2 - "Gloves with wrist guards"


Gloves with wrist guards provide extra support to your wrists during falls. A snowboarder in the Skimigos Community still wears these now despite her many years of experience and swears by them.



Snowboarders & Skiers

Tip #3 - "Borrow!"


Don’t be ashamed to ask friends or family if you can borrow ski clothes if it’s your first time! It’s common in the ski and snowboarding community to lend items as so many ski clothes often go unused for long periods of time.


We also recognise and are empathetic that first timer's may not know how much of an investment they would like to make for future trips.


It doesn't hurt to ask. You'll be surprised how many people will be happy to help.


Tip #4 - "Dress to Impress"

Be bold, be colourful, take it back to the 90's, be so bright your Skimigos can spot you from a mile off, scream your name from a chairlift and you can wave back like a kid in the playground.


Skiing and snowboarding is about having fun and finding your inner child, show it in your fashion and enjoy the compliments and nods from fellow Skimigos and strangers. And maybe, just maybe, you'll receive the coveted Skimigos Best Dressed Award.


Winner of Best Dressed Skimigo - Italy 2023


Tip #5 - "Face Mask"

A face mask or tube scarf that covers your face is helpful in windy and cold weather conditions or when moving at speed.


Skimigo wearing his face mask - Italy 2023


Tip #6 - "Water Bag"

A water bag is smaller and lighter than carrying a backpack if you won’t have much else you expect to carry on your person than this works well.



That's a Wrap!


Wow! Now you know it all, share the knowledge and this article with anyone who needs it, as we say in Skimigos 'sharing is caring'.


Don't forget to check out Where to Shop our Money Saving Hacks to find out smart ways to shop like a pro and save on ski wear!


If you have a tip we've not listed, have a question or want us to do an article on another topic you're keen to know about, let us know in the comments down below.

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