Essential And Non-Essential Ski Clothing Items for All Winter Mountain Weather Conditions.

Due to the nature of winter sports and especially skiing, it goes without saying that proper ski clothing is an essential part of the overall package. In my ‘Beginners Ski Tips’ section I have already approached the subject of ski clothing with some basic guidelines.

I now want to go into the subject in more depth. In the ski clothing category, I will discuss all items of ski clothing that are both required and also helpful when spending your days in a cold mountain environment.

The weather, like anywhere, can vary enormously in the mountains and during the winter months you might experience anything from above zero temperatures in glorious sunshine to snowstorms in freezing temperatures. Last winter on skis I experienced every temperature between minus 27 degrees centigrade to plus 15 degrees centigrade. That is normal throughout a winter season in the mountains. If you are going for a week, it is unlikely to vary that much, but you should be prepared for all conditions.

One term you will often hear when purchasing items of ski clothing is ‘layering’. Wearing several thin layers is more effective that one or two thick layers. So in general, thick woolly jumpers are out and a combination of man made and artificial fabrics are in.

A typical layering set up for a skier on an average cold (minus 6 degrees centigrade) and sunny day in the mountains might consist of 4 layers including a thermal layer, a thin merino wool top, a gillet (a type of armless ‘body warmer’) and a waterproof, wind proof and breathable out ski jacket.

Ski pants of the same or similar fabric to the ski jacket is worn often with a thermal under layer for extra warmth. Good ski gloves are essential and an item not worth compromising on when it comes to cost. A good hat is also essential and should be of the ‘beanie’ variety and not a baseball cap (as they fly off at speed and are not very warm).

A good quality pair of ski socks is also essential and as well as providing comfort, they will keep your feet warmer than football or rugby socks (do not wear them). During a week of skiing it is advisable to have at least 2 pairs!

In the ‘ski clothing’ category I will discuss these items of clothing and some other useful additions in more detail, with every post focusing on one item only.

If you have any questions on any specific item of clothing and it has not yet been posted then please make a comment and I will respond.

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Robert Stewart

Ski Editor at Snow.Guide

Rob has extensive knowledge and experience of winter sports and has been qualified to instruct and teach Alpine Skiing for over 25 years. He is also an experienced off-piste and backcountry skier and has competed in freestyle and freeride events around the world. Now a full-time ski writer and Director of Ski Press, Rob is Snow.Guide’s Ski Editor and contributes to many other snowsports, national and lifestyle publications.

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