Skiing is an amazing sport and to enjoy it you need the best gear that will keep you warm and safe. Ski equipment is more expensive than regular sports clothes but it’s worth investing in quality products.
The problem is that many beginners don’t know what criteria to use to select the best ski apparel. That is why we reached out to 40 ski bloggers and asked them the following questions:
- What is the best ski gear and apparel a skier should use? Which brands do you recommend?
- Eg Nicolajsen – RATOONG
- Simon Heyes – Adventure Bagging
- Lena May – Snow Limits Ski School
- Matthew Bailey – Must Do Canada
- Nickie Mabey – Mabey Ski
- Amin Momen – Momentum Ski
- Tanner Kern – Own The Slope
- Iain Martin – The Ski Podcast
- Ethan Stone – Downdays
- Kristen Lummis – The Brave Ski Mom
- Will Roberts – Freedom Snowsports
- Gary Clark – SIA Austria
- Jamie – SkiPeak.net
- Lance Nelson – Bansko Blog
- Kyle Miller – Where Is Kyle Miller
- Keri Baugh – Bon Voyage With Kids
- Christoffer Vorre – Snowminds
- Paul Miller – Family Skier
- Neil McQuoid – Racer Ready Magazine
- Kevin Edwards – Chill Factore
- Laurence Norah – Finding the Universe
- Aleksandra Petrovska – Maya Maya
- Henrietta Holderness
- Skyler Leitze – Snow Sport Zone
- Barbara Sanders – The Snow Mag
- Hannah Elliott
- Jeanee Crane-Mauzy – MoCrazyStrong
- Vanessa Rivers – We Are Travel Girls
- Bettina Staerkle – The Next Trip
- Emma Verhaeghe – Emma’s Roadmap
- Chris Kamberis – Trip & Trail
- Samantha Ryan – PA on Pause
- Matt Bailey – Must Do Canada
- Torben Lonne – Dive In
- Eric Angerer – EZMoments.com
- Hanna Ashcraft – Moderately Adventurous
- Lisa Manderino – Planning Away
- Anna Cook – Stuck on The Go
- Dave Hellowell – Just Chalets
What is the best ski gear and apparel a skier should use? Which brands do you recommend?
Keep reading to see what recommendations they shared with us.
Eg Nicolajsen – RATOONG
To be honest there are soooo many cool apparel or outfits out there. Therefore I am very focused on the technical and sustainability aspects of the products.
Let’s start with the base layer. I would ALWAYS go with merino wool – and always 100% merino.
Some cool brands could be House of Hygge (a small Norwegian brand) another really cool brand could be Mons Royale that is focusing strongly on sustainability. Since I use shell outer layers I would always go with a mid-layer.
Here there is one brand that I think is AMAZING and it is German Ortovox that makes a merino blend.
Finally, for the outer layer, I would always go for 3 layers and if I should mention 3 companies with 3 different price tags it would be: Ortovox (expensive), Pyua (mid), and Untrakt (affordable). All 3 are super good products that keep you dry and have a strong focus on sustainability.
Finally, I will mention one product where there in my eyes is no substitute and that is Swedish Hestra gloves – buy a pair, give them grease regularly and you have an AMAZING pair of gloves for the next MANY years.
Simon Heyes – Adventure Bagging
I always go for ski jackets and salopettes that are at least 10k waterproof and breathable. I like to cover as much of the mountain as possible, so there is a lot of perspiration that needs to escape!
I’ve worn the North Face, Spyder and Trespass historically, but to be completely honest, my go-to brand at the moment is OOSC Clothing. Bright, bold ski wear that ticks the technical clothing boxes and looks great too. It’s probably the best value ski gear I’ve ever owned.
For gloves, again I go for warm, waterproof, and breathable, and Seal Skinz has never let me down. They also have a tough leather patch in the center of the palm which means the gloves don’t rip easily when you’re carrying your skis.
For a helmet I wear Salomon, and for skis, I use Rossignol Bandits. I’ve had these for over 8 years though, so looking closely at Black Crows, Rossignol Black Ops or the awesome K2 Mindbenders for an upgrade next season.
For base layers, I normally go for Helly Hansen Life Merino, or Icebreaker Merino tops and bottoms. These usually come out of the bag if I’m heading high onto a glacier!
For ski goggles, I’m a big fan of SunGod – great value, customizable goggles. Try the Vanguards for value, visibility, and interchangeable lenses.
Lastly, for a ski backpack, I use the Osprey Kamber 22…it has everything you need for a small-sized ski backpack.
Lena May – Snow Limits Ski School
Gone are the times where ski gear was either boring and functional or poor quality but fashionable, we can now have the best of all worlds!!
It is so important to get your equipment right we all have little preferences and things we find work for us. I like to choose equipment that has the best technical credentials but also small brands that believe in social responsibility.
Jackets – A good quality jacket is indispensable it will make or break your day. It must be comfortable, warm and don’t forget the stash pockets. As women, it’s so important to get clothing that fits our body shape and allows us to ski in comfort, and performs at our best.
My favorite brand now is Planks. The brand has great green credentials and is a real driver for change. I’m currently wearing an All-Time Jacket, it looks amazing and has all the features you need, including being quilted and 15k waterproof. To top it off it’s made from 55% recycled fabric. Couple it with a print neck warmer and it comfort all the way.
The next thing which I can’t live without is my Sunnies. It is so important to protect your eyes from the glare of the snow…….. it helps if they look amazing. A good fitting pair of sunglasses should not allow glare to reach your eyes, regular fashion glasses with large gaps will leave you with a headache at the end of the day. There are so many brands, shapes, and styles that it can be confusing.
My go-to brand is Panda optics, I’m currently using Panda Optics Conquer, the Wraparound style is back, Viva the 80’s!! Not only do they look after your eyes with 100% UV protection they rock for the Apres-Ski party too. Panda optics are renowned for supporting clubs and athletes and I love that my purchase helps future generations
My next indispensable piece of equipment is the one least seen and often forgotten about, a sports bra is the hidden gem for any woman’s comfort when skiing. Do you know that if you wear a poor-quality bra, yet you keep exercising, it can lead to musculoskeletal pain?
Skiing is a sport it can be high impact and intense so why put yourself at risk of discomfort at the end of the day. AWOL Mountain Wear has a great range. Look for bras designed for high impact but are lightweight and breathable.
AWOL works closely with mental health charities and are passionate about the positive effects that skiing has on mental health.
Matthew Bailey – Must Do Canada
While jackets and snow pants are obvious, one thing I would never ski without is a base layer. There are all sorts of base layers out there but the best tend to be either 100% Merino Wool or 50% Merino Wool and 50% Polyester. I prefer 100% Merino Wool but the mix can be good, especially for cross-country skiing as the polyester tends to keep cooler.
A helmet is also a good option as it not only protects your head but also helps to keep you warm, especially with a thin toque or balaclava underneath.
It’s also good to wear layers, so I would recommend having a fleece sweater as well as a warm vest to go underneath your ski jacket.
Good gloves are also crucial to a good day on the slopes and they should be waterproof. Mittens will keep your hands warmer but you may prefer fingered gloves for added mobility.
Nickie Mabey – Mabey Ski
I’m an avid fan of Planks Clothing, a British owned snowsports apparel company that really understands what skiers need and are looking for. Not only are they technically amazing, but the style is also young and fresh as they work so closely with their team of athletes to really understand the latest trends.
My new go-to for goggles and base layers is MessyWeekend. The company is made up of a young, fashionable team from Copenhagen which has a great understanding of clean, simple yet modern designs.
For skis, I’ve got my eye on the 2021 Valhalla 107’s from RMU. RMU is a great forward-thinking company that hired 25 women to design a series of skis that didn’t just ‘shrink and pink’ their unisex models. They also have an awesome bar in Whistler where you can taste the local beers whilst checking out their latest collection.
Amin Momen – Momentum Ski
Hot, Cold, Wet – those are just some of the challenges in choosing the best clothing for the outdoors.
To make the MOST of your time outside – regardless of the conditions it is always ideal to layer up and if you can; invest in the best clothing possible.
Next to the skin, a good quality base layer from brands such as Odlo or Icebreaker will keep you warm and help control and regulate the temperature of your body.
The mid-layer can be a good quality fleece, a ¼ neck jumper, or in cold cases perhaps a synthetic insulator. This layer is buffer and air that keeps you snug.
The final layer should be a waterproof breathable Shell, (with Gore-Tex or similar) which will keep you dry when it is wet, and let heat & moisture out if you overheat. Spend what you can afford but an investment here can make or break your holiday.
Snow and Rock is my favorite store where I always find good quality brands of sports clothes.
Tanner Kern – Own The Slope
The most important pieces of ski gear are located at the top and bottom of your body, namely skis, boots, and a good helmet.
Skis with all-mountain capability give skiers the ability to carve on the frontside and shred in the backcountry. My top picks for skis are Nordica. Their Enforcer line has consistently been at the top of the charts for ski performance since they released the model.
A great pair of boots take skiing ability to the next level. They provide comfort to keep skiers on the mountain all day long and give an added sense of confidence to not hold back on the slopes. For boots, I think Lange crushes it with all of their models.
That sense of not holding back is even more proof of the necessity of helmets on the mountain and so the innovation of skis has coincided with growing popularity in helmet use on the mountain. The helmet market is dominated by Smith and their emphasis on all in one protection and comfort.
Your skis, boots, and helmet are with you on the mountain no matter what, so that’s where most skiers should be investing most of their budget.
Iain Martin – The Ski Podcast
If you’re going to take skiing seriously, you need to be prepared for all weather conditions, so make sure you invest in a good jacket, ski pants, and gloves.
Although expensive, I favour brands that have a strong sustainable culture such as Patagonia or Picture Clothing.
This way you get good quality clothing that will protect you and keep you warm and have minimal impact on the planet.
Ethan Stone – Downdays
The best ski apparel and gear for you is the gear that you feel most comfortable wearing. There’s really no wrong answer here, and there’s a huge diversity of products and brands to choose from.
Quite simply, whatever gear gets you out on the hill and enjoying the snow is the right gear. That said, obviously, there is the gear of lower and higher quality, and if you plan to spend a lot of time in the mountains, you’ll most likely find yourself tending towards the latter option.
It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of outerwear available. The two main categories are insulated (with an insulation layer built-in) and shell (just a protective outer layer, with insulation provided by whatever you’re wearing underneath).
Insulated jackets and pants, while providing an “all-in-one” solution, are almost always bulkier than shell outerwear, and often don’t perform as well in the key categories of waterproofing and breathability. Many expert skiers prefer shell outerwear to protect them from the elements, and use effective layering (like a good base layer and a mid-layer jacket or pullover) to provide warmth.
With high-quality performance outerwear (brands to check out include Peak Performance, The North Face, Mammut, Arc’teryx) your days on the slopes will be more comfortable.
However, how much fun you have is up to you, whether you’re wearing the latest high-tech gear or just jeans and a hoodie. At the end of the day, it’s not really the gear that matters.
As far as ski equipment is concerned, it’s a similar story; there are so many different products available that it’s difficult to make specific recommendations. However, you should always make sure that your equipment is in proper working order.
Your ski bindings should be correctly adjusted by a professional (any ski shop can do this quickly), and it’s highly advisable to get your skis tuned at least once a season.
Your ski boots are your single most important piece of gear. They’re the essential connection between you and your planks. A poorly fitting boot can quickly make any ski day unbearable, while a well-fitted boot will keep your feet snug as a bug even after eight hours on the slopes.
Many ski boots these days include liners with heat-molding technology for a better fit; you can ask your local ski shop for help. I also recommend purchasing a custom-fitted insole for your ski boots. It’s an extra expense that many skiers don’t calculate into their gear, but which can truly make a world of difference.
Kristen Lummis – The Brave Ski Mom
The “best” ski apparel and gear is the apparel and gear that does the job.
In other words, don’t buy a cute puffy lifestyle jacket and expect it to serve you well on the ski slopes. Instead, buy apparel that is made for skiing. I love the warmth of wool, so I’m all about thin wool socks and baselayers from Icebreaker.
I also love fashion, so this season I’m wearing Eurostyle-inspired ski clothes from FERA. A tried and true brand that specializes in high-quality ski wear (but doesn’t break the bank), FERA offers a winning combination of style and technical function for women and men.
I also love their Meister-branded ski sweaters, which look great on the mountain, as well as at après.
As for other gear, my top choices are Hestra gloves and Kastle skis.
Ski boots should always be tried on before buying and never scrimp on the quality of your helmet and goggles.
Will Roberts – Freedom Snowsports
Roxa Ski Boots: Manufactured in Asolo, Italy. Roxa ski boots use the pinnacle of CAD design tools to develop the lightest, high-performance boots on the market.
Their signature boot, the R3 130 Ti, is the lightest 130 flex freeride boot on the market and is fast becoming the leading boot in the sector.
Out-of-the-box fit is incredible due to the unique ‘Biofit’ shape, with the ability to heat mould both the shell and liner, and the perfect fit is guaranteed.
Elan Skis: Making skis since 1945 and are one of the most innovative ski brands on the market.
Their Ripstick series is a benchmark ski in the freeride category combining category-leading lightweight with the power and precision normally associated with heavier skis.
But above all Elan skis are fun and so easy to use, their motto is ‘Always Good Times’ for a reason.
Gary Clark – SIA Austria
Just like men who focus on their chest and biceps in the gym rather than the more important posterior chain of legs, butt, and back many skiers are more interested in the outer layer as to what is hidden behind that designer cool outer shell.
As a professional skier I know the importance of spending money on the highest quality thermals and socks. When it comes to socks I favour the Boot Doc Performance PFI 90 sock which boasts a compression strength of 25mmHg ensuring a perfect anatomical fit and no chance of creases or slips whilst in your boot.
Consisting of almost 50% marino wool it is both warm and comfortable and has great longevity which I can testify to after using the same pair over 200 times.
The Thermal layer should not be overlooked at the expense of your outer garments. I have found Odlo TCS (thermal control system) offers some of the best fit and versatility when out in the cold.
Like many thermal manufactures, they have different grades from lightweight for those not-so-chilly days to a heavier duty option that I confirm is one of the best and only ways to keep your core temperature toasty when standing on a glacier T-bar for 10 minutes.
Best of all is I find, unlike many other manufacturers, the Odlo thermal does not need to be washed after every use and remains fresh for days and days.
Also, in the pursuit of warm fingers, many skiers are constantly changing and upgrading their gloves.
First and foremost before searching out the right glove, you must ensure that your body temperature is a little hotter than at first feels comfortable. The body will draw the warm blood away from the extremities if you have not ticked this box, no matter what your are wearing on your hands.
Once you have achieved a good core temperature I highly recommend the Hestra range of gloves and top of the list has to be the Narvik Ecocuir which is a mitt. Any seasoned instructor will most likely have these on their hands as they provide the comfort and flexibility they need on cold days.
Many people will avoid mitts arguing that it makes it difficult to manipulate your fingers and grip but what will limit your finger mobility is wearing gloves that leave your hands so cold that your fingers feel stiff and cumbersome to move.
It is better to wear a mitt like the Hestra Narvik Ecocuir with its wool pile liner proving to be warmer as your fingers are next to each other.
On the occasions, you want to use the dexterity of your now warm fingers you can still take the mitt off and let it dangle from the hand loops and furthermore you can also wear a thin under-layer glove for using your phone.
Jamie – SkiPeak.net
All ski gear is important. However, we think the most important is a helmet. You can find helmets ranging from £40 – £400 depending on comfort, style, materials it’s made from, and safety measures.
For example, POC invented a helmet that has three layers. There is a comfortable, soft layer around the head that keeps you warm plus a separate outside shell that is designed to absorb an impact.
The middle is made from silicone, moving as necessary to reduce trauma to the head. This is at the top of the game for us as it’s thinking about the importance of protection but also how to reduce damage.
There are many brilliant brands out there that we have used in the past and would recommend; Smith, BlueTribe, Bole, K2 to name a few.
Another point to consider when purchasing is what type of skiing are you going to be undertaking… freestyle, racing, backcountry. All of these tend to lean towards different specifics. i.e backcountry helmets have more vents due to hiking.
Racing helmets have harder outside shells, prepared for high-speed impact etc. It can be a complicated world out there but similarly, it can be very simple. There are never too many questions to ask when it comes to protecting your noggin!
Lance Nelson – Bansko Blog
My general use piste skis are Rossignol and all-mountain skis are Head Kore. Boots from Head.
I use the Tenson.com brand for ski jackets and trousers. These have been specially designed for instructors who have to stay in the mountain all day and who need lots of pockets in both the jacket and the trousers.
Tenson is by far the best outerwear ski gear I have used and it’s so warm it allows me to wear one less layer than normal.
For thermal leggings, I use Diel brand and for a thermal tops, I use a mix depending on conditions. For warmer weather, I use my old howies.co.uk merino wool thermal long sleeve. For colder days a selection from Decathlon.
Ski goggles from messyweekend.com and also from outdoormaster.com including Bluetooth speakers that insert into my helmet. Helmet from Giro which I trust from my mountain bike days.
Essential for my work up the mountain is my iPhone Pro 11+ with excellent 4k 60 fps video.
Kyle Miller – Where Is Kyle Miller
The answer to this is quite simple as the most important piece of gear is My BCA Tracker 3.
When I go out into the backcountry it is vital to carry one as it could easily be the difference between life and death. Even if I am riding within the resort as long as I am looking for deep snow then there is no reason not to carry it.
I have seen a handful of situations where people were riding within resort boundaries and got caught in a slide. The fact that they were wearing a beacon saved valuable time and reinforced my belief that I should use it all the time I am searching for new snow.
I used to own the Tracker 2 but after struggling to find multiple beacons while doing professional avalanche training I upgraded to version 3 immediately.
Out of all the gear that we have in our quivers it is without a doubt the most important thing to carry on you.
Keri Baugh – Bon Voyage With Kids
One of my very favorite quality ski clothing brands is Obermeyer. For kids especially (though they make adult styles too), they can’t be beaten.
Not only do their stylish, eye-catching jackets and snow pants offer excellent waterproof protection and warmth, but they are also exceptionally practical.
Obermeyer kids’ jackets and ski pants offer “iGrow” options, which allow you to trim along the seam to lengthen them and last longer. This has allowed our family to get at least two years out of their Obermeyer ski jackets and bibs, making them well worth the price.
They also include a multitude of pockets and a cute compass, which allows kids to store their passes, snacks, and anything else they need. Based in Aspen, this company knows a thing or two about creating quality ski gear.
Similarly, Burton, another great ski brand creates jackets and ski pants with “Room To Grow”, which extends the life of their high-quality gear.
I love Burton’s ski gear, goggles, and mittens, as they have kept my kids and me warm on even the coldest ski days. They are also durable, which is important for family ski gear that needs to survive some rough and tumble.
My favorite quality gear for teens and adults is Helly Hansen. With its top-performing ski jackets and pants, pockets for everything from phones to wallets to ski passes, and keeping me dry and warm, this high-quality gear also lasts for years.
All three of these brands have been tried and tested in our family, and we ski about 15 times per year in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Colorado. I highly recommend any of these high-quality options for an exceptional ski experience.
Christoffer Vorre – Snowminds
Over the years working as a ski instructor and with a lot of skiers gave me proper knowledge on what makes ski clothing great. Therefore, the Snowminds team created their own clothing brand Snowminds apparel, which reflects the quality and practical experience of what we want and need as professional ski instructors.
Convenient clothing when skiing is one of the important things for every skier as they need to stay warm and dry but also feel free to move and be flexible in the skies, for that reason having the right layers of clothes is essential when going on the slopes.
The first part of layering is the base layer, also the one in touch with the skin. The Marvellous Merino set is underwear, that we created with 100% merino wool material that is the softest and warmest material for the base layer of skiers’ uniform.
The advantage of using merino wool is that fibers keep regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin. The fibers of the merino wool adapt to your temperature. When in need to heat you up, natural bends in fiber hold the air in, creating insulation.
My favorite thing about merino wool is that when you get sweaty while skiing, this material wicks sweat from the skin keeping you always dry.
As a ski instructor, I spend the whole day on the slopes being active and sweating a lot which can present a bit of a hard time with unpleasant odors, which is why using merino wool for the base layer is practical it absorbs odors that are caused by bacteria’s preventing bad smell.
This material has a lot more good points which is why we choose to offer the best quality to our instructors and skiers, as it is completely natural and biodegradable.
The second layer is the middle one, usually a light jacket or fleece hoodie. It is always hard to find a perfect fit for the mid-layer part of the uniform as the purpose of it is to keep you warm and comfortable but also fit perfectly under a ski jacket.
We created The Jackoodie, the perfect mid-layer fit for both warmer and colder weather. Jackoodie is a versatile piece of clothing because you can use it as a light jacket, as a hoodie beneath a ski jacket or casual-wear for apres-ski.
Made of polyester and spandex materials that makes jackoodie flexible and lightweight mid layer, very comfy to wear. In my opinion, jackoodie is a must-have piece for every skier as you can wear it everywhere.
The ski jacket would be the last and most important layer in preparation to hit the slopes!
It is part of clothing in connection with the outside so it needs to be waterproof and a good protector from snowfall. The jacket in particular does not have to be so thick but it should have good breathability so that sweat can go through the fabric allowing the body to breath.
Personally, I prefer Shell Jackets, they feel awesome, and I am able to build up the perfect layers for my day.
Paul Miller – Family Skier
One indispensable piece of gear for any skier or snowboarder is a really good pair of ski pants. Your ski pants will make the difference on being cold vs. warm, and on being wet vs. dry. Sizing, of course, is important, but you also need to get a pair of ski pants that performs well.
Look for pants that are waterproof and can keep you warm — but not too warm. It is better to layer-up under the pants than to get overheated on a warm winter day. It is also good to get low-maintenance pants — specifically ones that are machine washable.
Our favorite ski pants right now are made by Obermeyer, and our favorite model is probably the Alpinist.
It is a good all-around snow pant with excellent waterproofing, a nice fit that doesn’t leave too much excess fabric puffing out, a good pocket layout, and strong zipper and seam construction. Pretty much everything you need in your ski pants, from a reliable, trusted maker.
Neil McQuoid – Racer Ready Magazine
I would have to say that the best clothing I am using at the moment is the Helly Hansen ski wear.
Its warmth and functionality is, in my view, second to none.
From standing taking pictures at ski races and staying warm to skiing in all conditions, the movement it gives is awesome.
I look for movement of the body and not being restricted when trying on new clothing to be honest, whether that is thermals or outerwear.
Kevin Edwards – Chill Factore
Whether you’re looking for apparel that’s practical but affordable or whether you’re wanting to be dripping in the latest gear, here are our recommendations.
If you’re looking for practical and well-priced ski clothing then Dare 2B offers a whole host of technical, quality skiwear for all ages. Their products are a great option for family trips, as they have a great selection of toddler, child, and adult apparel.
If you’re looking for the latest, ski-specific clothing then Snow and Rock are definitely the place to go. They provide the best top-of-the-range jackets, pants, and mid-layers to keep you warm, dry and skiing all day long whatever the weather.
They stock brands such as The North Face, Patagonia, and Arc’teryx, all of which supply functional, technical fabrics for the skier who doesn’t want to compromise.
If it’s Snowboarding you’re into, then Subvert Board Store provided some of the best brands in the game. The Burton [ak] and Volcom ranges provide some awesome styles with Gore-tex fabrics. Nikita and Burton both do an excellent range of the latest women’s styles, combining fashion and comfort in technical clothing.
Just make sure you don’t forget about the accessories that are small but important. These include Gloves, socks and goggles. Remember to keep those hands and feet warm and your vision maximized by purchasing goggles with 2 lenses, one for sunny days and one for snowy, grey days.
Laurence Norah – Finding the Universe
For skiing equipment, my must-haves are a good pair of ski goggles, helmet, snow-proof gloves, ski pants, and ski jacket. Underneath those, I like to wear a set of merino wool baselayers.
In terms of specific clothing brands, I prefer to focus on the feature set rather than the brand name.
For me, key features include a jacket with a snow skirt, waterproofing, underarm zips for ventilation, and a jacket hood that is large enough to go over a helmet. Other nice features include a good zipped pocket that is well located for ski pass storage.
For the goggles, I love my Oakley ski goggles. The optics are excellent and they really help with cutting the glare and letting me see the detail of the slope before me.
Aleksandra Petrovska – Maya Maya
Skiing without a proper choice of clothing and equipment can be both a bad and a dangerous experience for anybody. The first step is always to choose the right clothes, but what does that entail?
Base-layers are the clothes that are the closest to your body, fitting tightly. The purpose of the base-layer is to wick away moisture. For this purpose, materials like nylon, polyester, or even merino wool are suitable.
Avoid cotton, since that will absorb moisture and stay wet for longer periods keeping your body cold. In this category, you should have socks, a long-sleeve thermal top, and thermal leggings.
On top of your base-layers, you need some mid-layer clothes. The purpose of this category is to essentially keep you warm. The type and amount of layers should be chosen based on the temperature outside, and the length of the activity. One layer should be enough for skiing, but you can add more than one.
For skiing, you can skip the mid-layer on the legs because they are naturally warmer from all the work they’re doing. You can add a long-sleeve mid-layer, or a light down or jacket.
3. Outer layers
The outer layers go last, and their purpose is to keep you sheltered from the weather conditions. The most important characteristics you should look for are waterproofness and windproofness. This way, you’re warm from the inside, and the snow, rain, wind, fog, etc, do not interfere with your garments.
For this category, you should choose a good ski jacket, ski pants, gloves, and any extra accessories you may need like neck and face warmers.
Living in the mountains, I spend a high percentage of my time in the winter wrapping up warm, especially when I’m spending the day out on the slopes. For me, the most important part of my ski apparel starts with the basics – the base layers.
The criteria I look for are always; is it thermal regulating, is it breathable, does it have 4-way stretch (ie. how does it move with my body) and is it anti-bacterial?
On a freezing day, my go-to comes from my own brand, H. Holderness. The Glacier Base Layer Leggings and Glacier Long Sleeve Top ticks all these boxes, plus has a soft-brushed interior, which feels amazing against the skin and adds an extra layer of protection from the cold, and is made in the UK.
For mid-layers, I like to wear a lightweight down jacket like this one from The North Face. When it comes to layering up my mantra is quality over quantity. A few great quality layers are so much better than pilling them on.
I love this one because it feels super lightweight and but packs a punch when it comes to insulation, plus it doesn’t constrict the body when skiing.
I finish off my layering with a Napapirjri Skidoo Jacket, this is the ultimate cold-weather ski jacket and has lasted me nearly 4 seasons. Aside from being incredibly snug, I love the front pouch pocket which is great for easy access to your phone on the slopes.
To keep out the wind chill on my face, I love the H. Holderness Snood, it’s incredibly soft and has an adjustable toggle to make sure it fits perfectly and doesn’t slip when skiing. Even in the nicest warm weather on the slopes, it can feel cold on the face on the descent, so this is an item I’m rarely without.
Ski wise, I’ve been loving my Dynastar Vertical Bears. They are a great all-round touring ski, nice and light on the way up and smooth and responsive when it’s time to take the skins off and ski down.
With lifts being closed throughout lots of Europe, ski touring has become more and more popular, but it’s not without risk and it’s essential to be prepared for whatever the mountain throughs at you, so I’m never without my Orthodox Ascent 30 Avabag.
Skyler Leitze – Snow Sport Zone
Patagonia is my go-to brand for ski apparel.
They’re super great quality and they do seem to put an effort into being one of the more sustainable and environmentally conscious brands in this space. I’d definitely recommend their jackets and pants.
The only downside is they don’t dabble in the helmet and eye protection space.
For those items, I’d recommend Smith Optics— they have great safety features and their goggles are really cut down on any glare and fogging that might occur with a lower quality product.
Barbara Sanders – The Snow Mag
Here are some brands I love and why!
Head Sportswear – I love the Lindsey Vonn Legacy line. It is fashionable and sexy and the quality is top!
Goldbergh – This brand has taken the world’s attention in just 10 years. Best fit on the market! Fashion-forward and fun!
RH+ – Great new brand from Italy very technical and perfect for both men and women.
Authier- Beyond fabulous brand. They outdo themselves every year. You will ski better when you look this good.
Rossignol- This brand is over 100 years old and they keep getting better! They do high fashion with JC de Castelbajac, they are crazy technical and sporty. They have a bit of bling. It’s all amazing!
M.Miller- If you like a bit of glamour, they have fabulous cashmere sweaters and stunning parkas.
Alps & Meters – one of the most original brands on the market, from tweed pants to cashmere sweaters, the brand evokes the heart of skiing.
Base layer brands I love include Newland From Italy. They bring high tech and fashion together artfully. Corbeaux, a local Aspen brand is great for keeping you warm and dry and not adding bulk. And lastly, check out my Snow Society Merino wool vintage-style ski sweaters.
It’s important to have a good kit when you’re on the hill. Skiing is hard enough – you don’t want your gear to make it even more difficult.
Thermals – I recommend Eivy thermals. Not only do they come in loads of fun designs and are super soft, but they have integrated neck warmers. It’s one less item of apparel you need to wear and there is no opportunity for cold air or snow to get in around your neck. Win win.
Mid-layers – I prefer to not have a mid-layer with a hood unless it’s extra cold or snowy. It ends up being extra material that just gets in the way. If I’m going for a fleece, I’m opting for a North Fleece zip-up. If I feel like a puffer, it’s my thin Patagonia puffer – warm & ethical.
Outer Layer – I personally really enjoy both Black Crows and Haglofs. Black Crows jackets are optimal if you want to go ski touring, the pockets are easily accessible when you’re wearing a backpack.
Haglofs has a super high-quality kit, and their trousers are the perfect amount of snugness. Loose enough to provide comfort and movement, but not overly baggy or restricting.
Jeanee Crane-Mauzy – MoCrazyStrong
I absolutely love Coalition Snow skis! They are a women-run women focus ski and snowboard company. I have been competing on their skis for many years now. They work hard to have the highest quality skis/boards and amazing graphic designs veering away from the classic “boy look.”
For clothing, I love Kari Traa. Founded and run by the Norwegian Olympic gold medal mogul skier herself. The brand combines the comfort and warmth of real woolens with bright colors and classic Scandinavian style.
You won’t find anything more comfortable to wear skiing. And it’s absolutely adorable, no need to try to change for Apres Ski or dinner!
Vanessa Rivers – We Are Travel Girls
Ski clothing is expensive so I recommend buying either dark or neutral coloured items for your main clothing such as your pants and jacket. Then you can mix and match these basics with fun coloured hats, scarves, and thermals, and change up your look without having to have several pricey ski jackets and pants.
Although they are more expensive, I recommend buying brand name ski apparel. Cheap gear does not hold up to the elements and falls apart quickly so you will end up saving money in the long run if you opt for higher quality apparel when buying ski clothes.
Burton makes great quality ski pants and jackets. I also love jackets and pants from The North Face. Your pants and jacket should be fitted but leave enough room to comfortably wear 1-2 layers underneath.
For Goggles, I love Oakley and Smith. Goggles all fit differently and it’s important you find a pair that fits your face with your helmet on and doesn’t leave an open space on your forehead between your helmet and goggles aka a “gaper gap.”
I suggest ordering a pair of goggles you like then trying them on at home with your helmet on. If they don’t fit right, exchange them.
It’s important to try on your entire ski outfit in advance of your ski trip so you have time to exchange things that don’t fit right.
The best advice I can give is to choose quality and comfort first when shopping for ski clothes. You want to feel comfortable when skiing and you don’t want to have to worry about your gear breaking down all the time.
Bettina Staerkle – The Next Trip
Growing up in Switzerland, I practically learned to ski before I could walk. My first time on the slope was when I was 4 years old. I’ve been skiing my whole life and have experienced first-hand what a difference the right or wrong ski apparel can make when out on the mountain.
For me, the most important factor towards enjoying a day on the slopes is staying warm! This means investing in a quality ski jacket and ski pants.
Look for exterior clothing that has some good basic insulating properties to keep you warm, but that is also waterproof and provides vents which you can open when you get too warm.
Underneath your outer jacket, it is important to layer multiple lightweight and moisture-wicking clothing options that will keep you warm, but that can also be easily taken off when you head indoors or the sun comes out.
My personal preference is a lightweight moisture-wicking under layer, followed by a merino wool sweater underneath my ski jacket. Last but not least, don’t forget a scarf and hat, which can both be easily adjusted to keep your body at the perfect temperature. Keeping yourself warm while waiting in line or sitting on the chairlift is key to enjoying a beautiful day on the slopes.
Another trick I have that saved me many times is using hand warmers which you can easily get on Amazon. Whether you are waiting in line or riding a lift, it can get cold very quickly.
I always bring a pair of hand warmers and warm them up at the beginning of my skiing day and put them in my gloves. They help keep my hands warm all day long. I even used them in my skiing boots for days when my feet are particularly cold and it makes all the difference!
Emma Verhaeghe – Emma’s Roadmap
For me, two things are extremely important. The first one is base layers, without them you could get extremely cold while skiing! It’s very important to buy quality material and not to settle for the cheapest models.
The warmest material generally is wool but you also have to take a look at the density or weight because what you need exactly depends on the temperature and intensity of the sport. After several years, I’ve settled with my favourite brand Craft and a high weight since I always get very cold.
The second most important thing is ski boots. If you’re a frequent skier, renting is not the best option. The best option is to buy your own boots at a professional store and get your boots heat-formed to your feet. You might also need a special shoe sole depending on the form of your feet.
Of course, when you only go skiing once in a while, this might be too costly.
Chris Kamberis – Trip & Trail
The most important piece of gear in skiing is boots. Ski boots are rigid consequently getting the wrong size or form (not all brands will fit) can be a real torment.
Boots from Head for example are nice but their fit is on the narrow side which means that they will never fit a flat-foot guy like me. Salomon on the other hand, are wider and feature a custom moldable outer shell that can conform to most foot and calf shapes.
Ski pants come second since they shield you from the cold and keep all the slush from getting in your boots, wetting the boot liners and your legs.
The name of the game here is waterproofing and breathability. Thigh zippers for thermal regulation and, if your budget allows, Gore-Tex or another type of membrane always help. Salomon, The North Face, and Spyder among others produce some very good pants.
Now for skis, they should be the last piece of equipment you buy. This is because they come in many sidecuts, lengths, stiffnesses, and have various characteristics that change from model to model like camber, rocker, tip and tail shape, etc.
Only experience will help you decide, and there is no better way to choose than by renting and trying as many pairs on the piste as possible.
Samantha Ryan – PA on Pause
One of the most important things for cold-weather sports including skiing and snowboarding begins with a good base layer. My go-to pair of base layer bottoms are from Burton and are warm, but also have a raw edge around the ankle with no seams.
They are soft and eliminate the issues with discomfort inside ski boots due to seams and nonslip features binding and pinching. Painful feet and ankles from these issues can quickly ruin a day on the slopes.
Another inexpensive, but handy item that is useful at ski spots that involve a bit of walk from the car to the slopes is a Ski Strap/Pole Carrier.
This is especially convenient this year when many ski resorts are not allowing access to their lockers, or for anyone trying to avoid lodges and lockers on their own. It is compact enough that it can be folded up and zipped into a jacket pocket. We have Volk brand, around $25 for a two-pack on Amazon.
The biggest thing to take into consideration is your ability level and location. Skis and bindings vary widely based on the type of terrain, snow, etc. If you are a beginner, rent or try to find a demo day so you can try before you buy.
Matt Bailey – Must Do Canada
One of the most important articles of clothing for skiing is a warm base layer.
While buying a cheap base layer might be okay for a one-time trip, I highly recommend investing in a quality set of thermal underwear, which should either be merino wool or a combination of merino wool and polyester.
I recently bought my thermal base layer top from Smartwool and my thermal base layer bottom from Icebreaker. Both brands are known for making the best base layers and are typically priced around $100 each.
I also recommend layering with a fleece sweater and vest, as well as a ski jacket that is waterproof.
Torben Lonne – Dive In
I am originally from Denmark and I explored different European brands for a while. By far my favorite brand is Klattermussen which specializes in warm and sturdy equipment both for men and women.
The brand is originally from Sweden which is known for very low temperatures so it’s no wonder that all of their clothes are incredibly warm and cozy. Those who love Nordic skiing should definitely check out Klattermussen’s offer.
My favorites are their jackets because they’re very light yet they protect from the wind and cold in the mountains.
Some of Klattermussen’s products are a bit expensive, but experience has shown me that every piece of clothing is made of very durable materials which means they last for a long, long time.
I have had my jacket for 6 years now and it was definitely a very good investment.
Eric Angerer – EZMoments.com
The best gear is the gear that fits your budget and gets you on the hill. The big-name brands like North Face, Helly Hanson, Patagonia, Marmot, etc are amazing but do come with a price tag. However, you can find great deals on older models/discontinued items too.
If it’s something you plan on doing long-term or will at least use a jacket for multiple winters, the spending is justified. Pro tip: if you don’t mind buying used checkout Patagonia’s worn wear program of quality upcycled gear
One other thing to remember is the environment you will be skiing in. Some areas get painfully cold whereas others stay warm and dryer. Some items you should always have are:
- Baclava/Buff – COVID now + sun protection/warmth to the face
- Helmet – yes because it’s the brain
- Gloves – Nobody likes cold hands especially when trying to text at 8,000 feet +
- Jacket – Having a decent jacket will keep you from having to buy multiple layers underneath.
Hanna Ashcraft – Moderately Adventurous
A ski helmet is an absolute necessity. Embarrassingly, I only started wearing one last season, but now I am hooked. Not only do they protect your noggin, but they also hold your goggles in place and are WARM!
It’s hard to believe for some of us ladies, but they are warmer than a fleece-lined beanie. In my opinion, Smith Optics is the brand leading the way with snow-helmet innovation and is a reliable choice.
If you have never worn one, it’s important to find out your size before buying. You can do so by renting a helmet the next time you ski or try a few at a local outdoor retailer. Pick one with MIPS for added head protection. If you see vents, you can likely open and close them for more or less warmth.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re a newbie or a professional skier, gravity works the same for us all, and you never know when you’re going to catch an edge. Better to be safe, warm, and stylish every time you ski by wearing a helmet.
Lisa Manderino – Planning Away
The right gear is essential for your ski trip. Being too cold or too warm can make or break the enjoyment factor. Finding the right materials and brands are important and part of the planning process for your ski trip.
One item that I think is essential is the helmet. Helmets really keep your head warm and protect you if you have bad falls. You can always rent this from a ski shop, but I personally recommend buying one.
I recommend for beginners starting with an inexpensive helmet brand such as: Jet Blaze or Retrospective.
For Kids, I like the Odoland brand because it comes with both the helmet and goggles. If you want something of higher quality the Oakley Mod 5 MIPS Ski Helmet is very nice.
And lastly, if you ski all the time and want something really nice, a Giro ski helmet is a great choice. What is great about all of these products is that they can be found on Amazon.
Anna Cook – Stuck on The Go
When it comes to staying warm on the slopes the most important piece of clothing will be your base layers. I have the midweight Hot Chillys and am absolutely in love. They feel great and keep me warm all day long!
Another important piece will be your boots. Whether you’re skiing or snowboarding the boots will make such a difference in how comfortable you are during the day.
No one wants ski boots that make them feel like their legs will be snapped in half and the boots make a huge difference in controlling a snowboard. I use the thirtytwo double boa boots for snowboarding and cannot recommend them enough. One dial controls the tightness on your calf and the other controls how tight it is on your foot.
One piece that makes a big difference and might surprise you is your gloves. I used regular gloves for a while until I took a lesson in VT and the instructor used glove liners inside of mittens. Game. Changer. My North Face glove liners and mittens keep my hands toasty all day.
Dave Hellowell – Just Chalets
I tend to favour gear and equipment that covers multiple bases. For apparel, I look to brands like Helly Hansen, particularly when I want a jacket that is suitable for all aspects of the resort.
I’d recommend the Alpha 3.0, which is significantly cheaper than a similar spec coat from Arc’teryx but covers a lot of the same bases in terms of the style, flexibility, and features. If there’s anything that lets this jacket down it would benefit from including more breathable materials.
On a similar theme, my preferred boots would be something from the Fischer Ranger range. These will cut it either in a resort of off-piste but they also have a really comfortable walking mode, which adds up to a really versatile boot.
Unlike the HH jacket I mentioned above these probably *do* fit more towards the upper end of the budget for most skiers, but that’s often the case with hybrid boots and I think these are worth the investment.
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