DRESSING FOR THE SLOPES
Updated: Oct 10
THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED ME ANYWAY
There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing - or so they say! But dressing for the slopes can be tricky due to the weather and how fast it can change over the course of a day or week. Also, if you are anything like me, then keeping warm in general can be hard - and there is nothing more miserable than being frozen to the bone.
So here are my top tips for dressing for the slopes...
The key word here is LAYERING. By layering correctly you can adjust accordingly and make sure you stay warm and comfortable all day long, making your day on the slopes a lot more enjoyable!
BASE LAYERS - these should be close fitting, breathable and wick moisture away from your skin. A long sleeved, thermal top. Thermal leggings - I prefer 3/4 length ones that reach over the top of my socks but not right down to my ankles as they can wrinkle and cause discomfort inside the boots.
MID LAYERS - these should trap heat. This layer is not usually necessary on the legs as they tend to keep themselves warm. For bodies, a fleece or thin down jacket is good.
OUTER LAYERS - these should be designed to keep out the wind, rain (heaven forbid!) & snow so something waterproof. Trousers, jacket and gloves/mittens.
My must haves for my outerwear
Trousers and jackets with zippered air vents under the arms/down the legs to give even greater adjustability with changing weather & temperatures.
Jackets with elastic thumb holes to keep the jacket cuffs tucked inside my gloves and keep out drafts - personal choice as I know some people hate them.
Pockets, lots of pockets in jackets - inside and out!
Look at waterproof ratings - 20K is the top, 5K is the bottom.
Depending on your internal thermostat and the time of year you can choose between insulated outer layers or thinner shell designs. I’m a bit cold blooded and like to have a bit of insulation.
SOCKS - remember that thicker doesn’t always mean warmer. Only ever wear one pair at a time to prevent uncomfortable wrinkles.
GLOVES/MITTENS - I always choose mittens over gloves. I find they keep my fingers much warmer as the air can circulate better and the fingers are close together to help each other out - again this is personal choice.
HAT & HELMET - keep that head warm and protected.
NECK WARMER - an essential in my mind, can be adjusted depending on wind and temperatures to keep those drafts out. Cheeks and noses can be very sensitive to the cold and it is important to keep them wrapped up in chilly temperatures. I would suggest a tube type neck warmer rather than a scarf which can be bulky and trailing ends could get caught up in things making them a bit risky. For kids I would suggest a balaclava as these stay up better and can be pulled up/down over the nose when necessary.
GOGGLES/SUNGLASSES - whatever the weather you need to protect your eyes in the mountains or risk snow blindness. I always choose goggles (except on the very warmest of spring days) as I think they are a lot more versatile in all weathers. However, if you like lunching on a terrace then you should have a handy pair of glasses in your pocket as goggles really do hinder relaxation and look a bit silly without a helmet or hat!
Second keyword is QUALITY. It may seem like quality products cost an arm & a leg but they do last so you shouldn’t be having to invest too often if you ski just a week or two a year.
EXTRAS - as I’ve said above the weather can change fast in the mountains and can vary greatly throughout the day so it is sensible to be prepared for all eventualities.
Throw a down jacket into your rucksack for those "just in case" moments. Usually they come with their own little carry bags and can be rolled up super small, and they are light too.
A pair of thin thermal gloves to go under your waterproof ones.
Handwarmers - reusable ones are great & can be boiled up ready to use the next day.
MY TOP CHOICES
For all your clothing & layering needs PLANKS - thermals, sweatshirts & outerwear
Hats - PLANKS
Neck warmers - HYGGE BANDS
Socks - FALKE socks and on colder days I have LENZ heated socks to take the edge off for my toes! They do a range of heated clothing including gloves and gilets - not cheap but worth it if you miss a lot of ski time because you're inside warming up.
Gloves/Mittens - mittens from HESTRA - they aren’t cheap (I usually get an end of season deal) but they tend to last me around 3 or 4 seasons before they need replacing. That is skiing 20 weeks a year so one pair should serve the average holiday maker a lifetime.
Goggles & Sunglasses - both from SUNGOD
Down jacket - UNIQLO do good inexpensive ones
So there you go. I hope this gives you some useful tips and that you will spend your next ski holiday toasty warm and dry. If all else fails there's always a hot chocolate or vin chaud!!
HAPPY SKIING :-)