Visiting the slopes for the first time or revamping your ski wardrobe, but not sure what you’re looking for? Look no further! Here we have put together a guide on what to wear for all-mountain occasions, whether it’s on the slopes, out in the evening or at home in your chalet.
What kind of jacket to wear skiing
When it comes to choosing your ski jacket, do not be fooled into thinking that it’s all about thickness! The purpose of your ski jacket is to protect you from the elements, most commonly wind and snow. With that in mind, you should always aim to have a high-quality waterproof jacket. But do not fear, a good quality waterproof jacket doesn’t have to break the bank. You can purchase jackets from a wide range of retailers with lots of places offering generous end of season discounts. Such as Sports Pursuit, where you can purchase high-quality brands for great prices.
When shopping for your jacket you will notice a range of level of waterproofing and breathability ratings. To put these into simple terms, the higher the number the more waterproof your jacket will be. For example: a 10K rating is less waterproof than a 20K rating. The same applies to breathability ratings, also measured in 1000’s.
If you’re going to be spending several hours a day on the slopes, we would recommend a jacket with a waterproof rating of no less than 10K. This is a fair rating and will keep you dry for 2-3 hours in snowy conditions. It is important to note that waterproof doesn’t always mean breathable. So keep your eye out for a breathability rating of 10-20K for optimal comfort.
For more information on technical ratings, visit this helpful guide from Oxygene Ski.
If you’re planning to take it easy on the slopes, then we would recommend buying a jacket with built in insulation. For those who are planning to take things up a notch in activities such as ski touring, a hard-shell jacket is a great option. Remember you can always remove a layer, but you can’t put one on once you’ve left the chalet without it. Which leads us on to our next commonly asked question…
What to wear under ski gear
When heading out onto the slopes, a great rule to follow is the ‘3 Layer Rule’. And now that we’ve got your ski jacket (your 3rd layer) covered, that leaves just two more!
Your first layer is your base layer. Being the layer based on your skin it’s going to be responsible for your overall comfort, or discomfort. To avoid discomfort it’s always advisable to wear a technical base layer. Fabrics such as cotton will quickly become and remain wet when you sweat. A technical base layer will regulate your temperature and keep you dry throughout the day with the use of innovative fabric structures.
You can purchase technical base layers from a whole host of brands with varying price tags. For more sophisticated base layers, look no further than those made with Merino Wool. It is a natural material that will effectively remove moisture. Not to mention, it also boasts the advantage of masking any unpleasant sweaty odours.
Next up is your mid layer. This layer will keep you warm and cosy on the slopes all day, particularly if you’re wearing a shell jacket. Dependent on the weather or your personal preference you can swap this layer for something thicker or thinner. When wearing a shell jacket, a popular option is a lightweight down jacket or gillet. Alternatively, you can wear a fleece or synthetic lightweight jacket or gillet. During warmer weather, mid layers such as synthetic or down gillets and jackets can be worn without an outer layer.
Ski socks are also an absolute must and will help to make your ski boots as comfortable as possible. A couple of pairs of good quality ski socks such as those made form Merino wool will see you through a week’s skiing keeping your feet warm, dry and odour free. Socks made from synthetic materials are also available at a lower cost. However, we would recommend buying a few more pairs of these as they will be less sufficient in wicking away moisture and odours from your feet.
What to wear under hard shell ski pants
Whilst the 3 Layer Rule is recommended for your upper body, when it comes to what to wear under hard shell ski pants you can stick to just one base layer. For ease, we would recommend purchasing the matching leggings that go with your technical upper body base layer.
The vast majority of standard ski pants will have built in insulation meaning that you can make a call on whether you feel the additional layer is needed. However, for hard shell pants and the colder winter months, we would always recommend heading out layered up top and bottom!
What boots to wear for skiing
You will always require a pair of well fitted ski or snowboard boots in order to hit the slopes. You can either rent these in resort or purchase your own. If you’re skiing for the first time, it’s advisable to rent your boots so you can get a feel for things before purchasing any equipment.
If you’re returning to the mountains and are unsure on whether to take the leap and buy some kit of your own, have a read of our blog weighing up the pros and cons. Or for help on knowing how your boots should fit, head over to our guide. Whether you’re renting or buying your own, the shop assistant will be able to provide advice on which boots are best suited to your feet and capabilities.
What to wear to ski resort
When out and about in a ski resort you can wear regular clothing such as jeans, teamed with your ski jacket. It’s useful to follow a similar layering approach to the top half as you would when on the mountain. In particularly cold weather, you may decide to wear thermals or leggings as an additional layer on your lower body too.
Sensible shoes with a good grip are key! Resorts can become extremely slippery in places throughout the season, so a good grip will help you to move around safely. If you’d prefer not to buy an additional pair of shoes, crampons are a great option. You can purchase these from a range of sports and outdoor shops or places such as Amazon.
What to wear in a ski chalet
After an action-packed day on the slopes, there will be nothing more inviting than changing into some comfortable clothes and relaxing by the fire. Lots of our chalets have log burners or open fires and can therefore get very warm and cosy in the evening. So we would advise bringing some t-shirts for around the chalet.
In order to keep the chalets looking their best, we ask that there are no outdoor shoes worn inside. So it’s always useful to bring a pair of slippers or flip flops. Particularly if your chalet has a hot tub or spa area!
What to wear to après ski
You will most often head straight to après from the slopes, with lots of après bar on the slopes themselves meaning that you will be in your ski gear. In order to make sure you stay warm after removing your helmet, it’s best to take an additional woolly hat. As well as some gloves that will be more comfortable whilst socialising than your ski gloves. You’ll more than likely be out on a terrace soaking up the sun, meaning that sunglasses are also a must!
What to wear at night on a ski holiday
The majority of bars and restaurants within resort are informal with a relaxed atmosphere. However, some restaurants do have a smarter dress code so it’s worth checking ahead or asking your chalet manager.
When heading out in the evening, always take a jacket. Even if you feel you don’t need it when leaving the chalet, the weather can quickly turn in the mountains. As when out and about in resort during the day, shoes or crampons with a good grip are a must. As are woolly hats and gloves in the colder winter months.
What not to wear skiing
Now to address what not to wear skiing…
We highly recommend against wearing anything other than proper ski coats and trousers such as jeans when out on the slopes. Jeans and other materials such as cotton, will quickly become wet and retain water should they come into contact with the snow.
We also recommend always wearing a helmet whilst skiing or snowboarding. Meaning that you should save any headbands, hats or ear muffs for après. As well as the obvious safety disadvantages, ear muffs and headbands are unlikely to keep your head warm whilst skiing particularly in adverse weather conditions.
Always wear proper ski gloves too, woollen or other non-waterproof materials will struggle to keep your hands warm throughout the day.
If you’d like to book your next ski holiday, take a look at our chalets and their availability here. Or simply get in contact and a member of our team will be happy to help. We look forward to welcoming you!