I’ve been getting so many questions about my ski clothes since this last trip, including questions about base layers, boots, socks, if I’m cold, etc., that I decided to dig up an old (but popular) post that I wrote 3 years ago about dressing for snow/cold. My plan was to re-vamp it, but as I was reading through it I realized that not only would I write the post the exact same way, but I even still wear almost all of the same pieces now! Ha! So instead, I’m pasting the same post below with some updated links of pieces I’m loving this year. Now is a great time to buy ski/snow gear because it’s all on sale!
Something new I want to add – if you’re NOT skiing and don’t want to wear technical clothing (aka you want to look cute!) here’s what I would do: invest in a really good, timeless, WARM coat. And really, NOW is the time to buy one! I have a couple favorite brands – I’ll link some of my favorites below! Wear this coat with a good sweater underneath, and if it’s really cold a base layer (see suggestions below) under that. You can even wear leggings/a base layer under you jeans! Then wear some good wool socks and warm boots. This is exactly what I did in the photo below (and all over Europe in the winter) and I was so comfortable.
Keep scrolling for all the advice you ever wanted about dressing for snow/skiing….
Something to keep in mind…this advice is good for people who are skiing at the level I ski, or just hanging in the snow with your friends and family. If you are skiing out of a helicopter or summiting some insane peak, this is not the post for that. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if that’s what you’re into, you’re probably not reading MY blog ;)….
I’ve loved seeing messages from people in response to our Europe trip, it’s so fun to connect over travel! I’ve been cracking up because one of the questions I’ve been getting the most is, “Aren’t you cold?!” The answer is both yes and no, and the question inspired me to finally post about something I’ve been thinking about for a while: dressing properly for the cold ;).
YES it was cold, and there were times I felt it. But the majority of the time I was comfortable and didn’t have to think about it. Having the right gear for the cold and knowing how to properly layer makes the BIGGEST difference in the level of fun you can have. I was able to be comfortable enough in the Europe winter to fully enjoy and experience the beautiful places we went. Dressing the right way for cold has also allowed me to fall in love with skiing, instead of being frustrated and miserable. Lucky for me, my Mom made sure we had the proper attire when we were little, and now since joining the Nyman family I’ve also learned a few new techniques and tricks (and upped the cool factor of my gear, too!) I want to share what I’ve learned with you, in hopes it will help you be warmer and look cooler while doing it ;). To those who have grown up in the snow, this post may seem pretty silly, but I know there are a lot of you out there (especially you Californians!) who could use some help, so here you go:
Layering is key, and base layers are so so important! Remember, you can always shed a layer if you get too hot, and that’s a lot better than being too cold. There are pieces out there made specifically for base layering, but my favorites are actually my leggings and long-sleeves from lululemon. They’re moisture-wicking so you don’t get chilled if you get wet, and you still feel cute if you shed some layers when you go into a lodge for some hot chocolate ;). I love the top pictured below that I have in black – so much that I want to buy it in the other four colors! I also just bought a long-sleeved wool shirt from lululemon and love it, so I’ll wear that when it’s a bit colder. As for leggings, if it’s not super cold I love to wear the Align leggings by lululemon, but if temps are lower I’ll wear the Wunder Under Leggings because they’re a bit thicker/warmer.
Depending how cold it is, I’ll sometimes put a wool sweater (my favorite is this one from lululemon) over my first base layer. This is usually the piece I take off first if I end up too warm later in the day!
For my mid layer, I like to have a thin down-insulated jacket. The one I’m wearing here is by Aether.
All socks are not created equal! You’re definitely going to need a winter/snow-specific sock. Something with wool is great, and they don’t have to be especially thick. NEVER wear cotton socks – they can actually make your feet colder, even if they are thick! I love the brand Fox, and Stance has actually really upped their snow sock game. I just got the Stance pair pictured below and love them!!
Proper snow boots are a must! And FYI (I’m saying this for any beginner or aspiring skiers out there) you usually will leave your snow boots on right up until you’re ready to ski and switch them for your ski boots! And as soon as you’re done skiing, there’s no better feeling than switching back to your comfy snow boots. I will always go for Sorels, and they’ve got lots of options. These are my current favorite, but they have lots on sale right now. They’re so comfortable, warm, and waterproof without being too clunky. Like a lot of this stuff, they can be an investment but they will seriously last you forever – I’ve never had a pair of Sorels wear out. My mom likes to brag that she’s had hers for 22 years and they still look like new ;).
Despite popular belief, you don’t need a crazy thick jacket. If you layer properly, all you need is a technical shell which you can use throughout the year for all different weather conditions/temperature. Make sure it has some sort of waterproofing fabric – I usually go for at least 10k breathable waterproofing, and you can’t go wrong with Gore-tex fabric. Lately, I’ve been partial to longer jackets like the Armada piece I’m wearing here (linked the newer version because this is old)– it’s crazy how much warmer you are when your bum is covered!
Similar to your jacket, you want pants that are thinly insulated and have some waterproofing (again, I look for 10k mm waterproofing and/or Gore-tex fabric!) It can be hard to find a comfortable pant with a flattering fit that isn’t too pricey, but this year I’ve been really loving the pant pictured below by Armada.
TIP – did you know that the elastic piece under your pant goes OVER your boot? Back in my rookie days, I always thought you were supposed to tuck in into your boot, but that is NOT the proper way. If you put it over your boot, it keeps snow and water from getting inside to your socks!
This is one of those things that lots of people go without, but it’s so important!! If it’s cold, having something to keep your neck and face warm is SUCH a game changer. You can’t go wrong with the classic soft fleece gaiter from Turtle Fur that I’m wearing below – it’s the one I always go back to!
I prefer mitts, because they are more comfortable AND you can stick some hand warmers in there too if you want ;). These black mittens (old, so I linked a similar current pair) are my FAVORITE.
If it’s especially cold, I’ll bring a thin pair of gloves with touch fingers to keep in my pocket so I can still use my phone! I don’t typically layer gloves – if your gloves/mitts fit you correctly you shouldn’t be able to fit a layer underneath, and layering gloves is another thing that can actually make your hands colder!
I’m pretty picky about my beanies, and I tend to wear the same one over and over. I’ve been loving these beanies, or for a less expensive option, this beanie from the North Face is a favorite of mine for skiing – I have it in three colors! Blake and I also love Brixton beanies and you can get them in SO many colors – they’re thin so if it’s crazy cold I’d get a thicker one!
I’m a little biased because Blake worked with POC for years during his ski career, but I love their goggles the most. Goggles are another thing that really make the biggest difference – they help you see down the mountain with snow flying in your face, protect your eyes from the sun and it’s glare off the snow, and can help keep you warm on extra cold days. I love POC’s Retina model that I’m wearing below – they come in several colors/lens colors.
If you’re needing the warmth, you’ll want to place your goggles so that they’re just over the edge of your hat and then pull your gaiter up under them (and over your nose). Always avoid the “goggle gap” (where you’ve got space between your hat and your goggles) unless you want to end up a Jerry of the Day.
Hand and/or toe warmers are a little extra thing that can help a lot on those especially cold days. I love to stick hand warmers in my mitts, and toe warmers help a lot on days when even wool socks aren’t cutting it, especially if you know you’ll be standing directly on the snow for a long time. One thing – I don’t love using toe warmers with my ski boots, since ski boots generally fit pretty snug. They actually have an adhesive side that sticks to your sock, but it can feel off sometimes – you’ll have to see how it feels for your boots!
To recap, remember it’s all about the layering! If you have the proper layers, you’ll be ready for any weather/temperature. If it’s warm but wet, you can take off your mid-layer and sport your waterproof outer layer/shell. You get the picture!
Another tip – and this one is important – designate a special duffle bag or tote for your ski gear and KEEP IT ALL IN THERE and ready to go! That way, when it’s time to go skiing you’re not searching in your garage for missing pieces, and you won’t end up on the mountain without your goggles or gloves.
I know that gathering the right stuff can be an investment, but if you spend any time in the cold/snow throughout the year I think it’s well worth it and should last your for years. You can even space it out – buy a piece or two each year until you’re stoked about your kit ;).
I hope this helps! Please comment or message me if you have any other questions on gear or layers – I want you to have fun in the snow!