Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What To Wear Skiing

This is the most comprehensive guide to everything you need for skiing that I have ever done. This post has certainly been a labor of love, so bear with me! 

The day I could walk was basically the day my parents had me skiing. My dad had skied all his life and when my parents were dating, he taught my mom how to ski. A lot of my extended family and friends ski- it's popular here as we have quick access to slopes.

My grandparents had a ski house at Seven Springs so growing up, we spent many weekends skiing. In middle and high school, we had something called 'ski bus' where each Friday we would go up to Seven Springs with our classmates. All that said, I LOVE to ski. Love.  

I really think skiing/snowboarding is something you have to truly love to make it worth it, though. It's pretty high maintenance, it's cold, and time-consuming. If I wasn't passionate about skiing, there is no way I'd put on all of those layers, sit on a cold lift, wait in lift lines, etc. 

It's a great workout, a really fun way to spend time outside in the winter, and overall a really great social sport. 

Whenever I share that I ski, I get DM's asking what to bring/wear. I would say if it is your first time, don't invest in a ton because you want to make sure you truly love it. You need a lot of stuff as you can see in the list below. But I think if it's your first time, you can get by with less. Then, if you try it and love it, you can invest in more gear! 

Skiing can be pricey but if you buy quality things (I don't mean expensive, just quality!), they'll hold up for many years and you won't have to be continually replacing things.

The stuff you need also depends on where you are skiing and the conditions, so keep that in mind, too! I'm linking to exactly what I own as best as I can and will also give some recommendations of other things I love at the bottom of this post. 

I've broken it all into categories as I think it helps to visualize it all. It's all very wordy, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible because I want to be able to refer people to this whenever I am asked about skiing! A lot of it is also personal preference, so this is just what I have and what I do, but you might prefer differently! 

Base Layer Thermal Top// I LOVE this top as a base layer. It's thin but incredibly soft and great with moisture wicking. It is warm, but not heavy. There are a million and one different brands out there for base layers and all different weights for different levels of warmth. I usually wear the base layer that I am linking as I layer and accomplish different warmth levels that way, but if you are in arctic conditions, then you might need something heavier. I am not sure that I'd go any lighter than the one I linked but that's just a personal preference. My ONE tip with ski clothing is do not wear cotton. It doesn't provide much warmth, but also, if you sweat, you'll be sitting in your sweat all day as cotton does not wick away moisture when cold. You need either a synthetic material specifically made for heat retention/warmth that is sweat-wicking OR wool OR silk. I am usually all about natural fibers, but I really do prefer a synthetic base to wool or silk when it comes to a skiing base layer. I find that they hold up better, are easiest to care for, and are just as warm if not warmer. Another thing about base layers- I don't like my clothing tight or clingy, but you want this base layer tight. I know leggings are self explanatory, but my top base layer is as tight as my leggings are. The tight fit makes room for more layers and helps you to stay warm when the fabric is right up against your skin. 

Base Layer Leggings// These are my favorite. They're thicker than typical sports leggings and have a nice fleece lining but still flattering and not bulky looking or feeling. If it's a warmer day, these are usually too much. We rarely have 'warm days' of skiing here in Pittsburgh so I wear these leggings every time. The other day I was skiing and it was 'warm' and I probably could have gone with a lighterweight but also didn't overheat too badly in these. Again, these are synthetic and I find that they hold up nicely and wash easily. 

Socks// Always Smartwool socks, they are the best. They make socks specifically for skiing, which I also wear, but I actually prefer their hiking socks. They have different weights, light, medium, heavy and if you plan on skiing a lot, you probably want all of those different weights in your arsenal. The heavy are WAY too heavy for me unless it's single digits. I wear the medium weight most. I sometimes wear the light if I'm mostly doing daytime skiing with a lot of sun to keep me warm. The skiing socks are pretty light and I never need them to go all the way up my calf. You can also get sock liners if your feet tend to get really cold. My ski boots are heavenly, so I never really have an issue with cold feet, but I know a lot of people do sock liners. I always bring an extra pair of socks in case I want to switch them out during the day. 
* This is all like choose your own adventure once you have a base. It's all dependent upon weather from here so here are few items that I have and love to use as layers over my base. Sometimes I do just one layer, sometimes 2, sometimes even 3. These all also depend on what 'outer layer' you choose... aka your ski jacket. 

Better Sweater Pullover// I wear this mostly when I ski but it looks great with leggings pre/post workout. It looks and feels like a sweater on the outside and on the inside it's fleece. If I were lounging around the house in this, I'd prefer it in a medium for something a little roomier. However, I like the small in this for skiing purposes because it's a bit more fitted so it can fit under other layers. this is what I wear most often over my base layer. This one from Lands End looks similar (I have not seen it in person) but is a much more budget-friendly option. 

Down Vest// I put this over the better sweater if it is extra cold! It is down insulated so this is a warm option. I wear this under other coats (even when not skiing) or just over a sweatshirt when I'm walking Henry in the fall/spring! If you get cold easily, focus on heating your core and then your head, feet, and hands. This down vest is pretty puffy, so it's not really slim. It has slim/flattering lines to it, but I only wear this if it's necessary. There's a slimmer version of this vest with synthetic insulation. I don't have it, but it's a good option, too! Here's another similar and more affordable option from Lands End. L.L. Bean also makes pretty much the same items that I have listed here, too, and most things I have from L.L. Bean are high quality and very comparable. The same for brands like North Face, too! 

Nano Puff Jacket// My sister wears this as her winter coat in North Carolina. This is a fall/spring coat for here in Pittsburgh. It's casual and filled with synethic insulation. This is pretty thin but still nice and warm. There's also the Down Sweater, which is a down filled jacket similar in style to the Nano puff. The down sweater is bulkier and if you wear a base, the down sweater and a ski jacket shell, that should be plenty for cold temperatures. The downside to the down sweater is that it's pretty bulky. I don't know if I would ski in just the down sweater, but you could, I guess as the fabric is slightly waterproof.

Fleece Quarter Zip// Love this fleece pullover. It's just very basic. I wear it a lot over my workout clothes. It is so soft and warm. I have yet to wear it skiing. I have a small and it is roomy so I'd probably size down to wear it for skiing purposes! Really great quality for $20ish! 

Outer Layer
Ski Pants// Mine are very old by Rossignol, but I love them and have yet had to replace them. However, whenever I have to replace them, I'll likely order the ones I have linked. I really like to wear black as a base and then use my ski jacket as the 'style' part. Black pretty much goes with anything and doesn't show stains as easily. 

Ski Jacket// I have a few that I rotate around. I don't think you need a few, I've just amassed them over the years. The yellow one you see in the photos is super old, Roxy, it's actually my mom's coat because I couldn't find my ski jackets. I linked the black and white one, which is a shell jacket. You'll see shell, systems, and softshell/down. This all depends on your preference. I prefer a shell, personally, just becauese I like to be in control with layering. I usually go one size up in ski jackets (the outermost layer) to accomodate layering, especially if it is a shell. You can literally wear any winter jacket to ski in, but there are some nice functionalities of a jacket made specifically for skiing like pit zips, a hood big enough for a helmet, powder skirt, etc. I don't wear these jackets outside of skiing because I much prefer just a down puffer if it's just everday life. 

Helmet// With my helmet, I don't wear anything else on my head. My helmet is super comfortable and much warmer than a hat/headband. 

Hat/Headband// I wear this before/after skiing because I have my helmet when I am actually skiing. 

Goggles// I have no loyalty to any goggles. We have SO many pairs of goggles between the 4 people in the Carver family that I usually just grab whatever I see first.

Sunglasses// I prefer sunglasses to goggles when I can get away with it! If it's snowy or too cold, I use the goggles but if it is just sunny and beautiful, sunglasses are the way to go. Again, a personal preference. 

Neckwarmer/Face Mask// It's crazy how cold your face can get- I prefer the turtlefur because it's warm and soft against my skin. My face gets irritated really easily with certain fabrics and this is one of the few that I have found that doesn't break me out, plus it is long enough that I can pull it all the way up to sit right under my eyes.

Mittens// I wear these outside of skiing if I am walking Henry or whatnot. They're warm and waterproof and they have held up for years. The key with these is that they have a thing that attaches to your wrists so you can take your glove off without using it. SO helpful on the lift if I want to pull out my phone. Some people like liners, too, I personally don't. I'm also a mitten person vs. gloves, but again, just a personal preference.

Hand Warmers// I always have them on hand, sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't, it just depends on the weather.

Ski Boots// I have the head dream 100 boots. I LOVE them. Ski brands often change up boots and skis and all of that each year so there is likely something very similar that's being sold today. I LOVE my boots. I think my last pair of boots were Rossignol and they were nice, but these are much better. Love love love. These are the most comfortable ski boots I have ever put on my foot. I would recommend going into a ski store and figuring this all out with someone that really knows their stuff. Plus, they are often running sales and sometimes will sell skis, boots, and bindings all in one bundle. 

Skis + Bindings// I have the Head total joy skis and I love them. Easy to ski in. Again you want to go to a ski shop (Willi's here in Pittsburgh is great) and they can make sure you get the right length of skis for your heigh and ability. 

Poles// Mine are k2, they're fine, nothing special! 

Boot Bag// This is my boot bag. I just got a new one. I find that they wear over the years and I have to replace mine quite a bit. I don't mind as most of them are usually under $100. I prefer the backpack style as that's easiest to get around with. Schlepping all the gear is my least favorite part of skiing. I really like the design of this one. So maybe when this one wears out, I'll try this! 

Ski Bag// I like that this is padded so I know my skis are safe. 

Towel// Any old random towel will do but you need to wipe off the snow and water from your boots and skis and poles before stowing away. That way you prevent rust and corrossion. 

Lip Balm// I really love this lip balm and have used it for well over 10 years. It's moisturizing and not too goopy when you put it on. For skiing, speficially, I love that this has SPF 15. 

Sunscreen// This is what I have been using and I LOVE it. I don't use it day-to-day but love it for beach/pool and skiing. It's both a physical and chemical sunscreen and I think it works wonderfully- I have never burned when wearing it. It has a slight tint to it, but it is very light and doesn't look like makeup when you put it on, it just gives you a glowy look that I really like. 

Hair Ties// I usually wear my hair in two braids. It's most comfortable with the helmet and then I don't have hair whipping me in the face as I'm going down the run. Sometimes I do a low pony, it just kind of depends on what I'm feeling. I've done my hair all down before, but it's honestly just a pain. 

Heavy Face Lotion// My face gets so dry! I always bring the Cetaphil Rich cream and it works wonders. 

Extras// I usually bring extra socks, extra turtle fur, etc. Thing get wet or sweaty and gross and it's always great to have backups. 

Misc.// I don't wax or sharpen my own skis, I leave that to the pros, but I know a lot of people wax their own skis, so you might want to have some on hand if you plan to DIY. 

Apr├ęs Ski

Sweater (similar)// I just tweak what I'm already wearing from skiing... which is what you can see in the photo above. I left my base layer on and put this sweater on overtop. I also have a few of my dad's vintage wool sweaters that are fair isle and fisherman knit. They're oversized on me and pair nicely with leggings and a turtlneck and have that vintage ski cabin vibe to them. I also like to do a cashmere turtlneck and a faux fur vest. I find more fun ski sweaters (like fair isle knits) in the men's section than the women's! This would change if I were at a resort, but right now, it's just day skiing an hour outside of Pittsburgh.

Leggings// In the photo above, I kept my leggings on from skiing, so usually I just take off my snow pants and wear the fleece-lined leggings. Sometimes I will change into something a little 'nicer' like these velvet pants.  

Snow Boots// I have several pairs of snowboots which is more out of necessity than my desire to wear them. I refer to the boots I am wearing in the photo as 'prettier Uggs' as they have the same fit and feel (shearling) as Uggs but just look nicer. Although no hate to Uggs, I love them!! I also could not do Pittsburgh winters without my Bean Boots. Mine have the goretex and thinsulate lining which keep my feet toasty warm and I also have the shearling inserts

Vest// I was wearing the vest that day as a 3rd layer, so I just rewore it here. I often wear this faux fur vest with a black cashmere turtleneck which looks dressier than the down vest! 

Socks// I didn't change out of my ski socks in the photo above, but usually I do. I like pops of red and socks are easy to do that with. This red snowflake design just feels classic! 

Yacht Tote// I've shared these totes many times before. For skiing I use them for a change of clothes, snacks, water bottles, etc.

Hat// I usually have some sort of hat or ear warmers. This hat I am wearing in the photo is old but I do love the ones with pompoms on top! The one I linked has pearls on it and I am sooo here for it!! 

1 comment:

Kelly C said...

THIS IS THE BEST! Sydney thank you so much!! And I just want to tell everyone, just do what Sydney recommends, you always hit the nail on the head. I just got started with my own ski gear. My sweet boyfriend bought me ski boots and they are a dream, so much better than renting!


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