Are you planning to go cross country skiing for the first time and wondering what to wear? Or are you a seasoned skier who wants to ensure that your outfit is still on point? Look no further!
Cross country skiing requires proper clothing to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. It’s easy to underestimate the cold temperatures and windchill factors when gliding through snowy landscapes, but fear not – our experts have got you covered.
“When dressing for cross country skiing, you need to consider both warmth and mobility,” says John, a professional ski instructor with over 20 years of experience. “The goal is to layer yourself up without restricting movement.”
After consulting with various ski instructors, enthusiasts and retailers, we’ve compiled some top tips and recommendations on how to dress for cross country skiing. You’ll learn about important materials, gear and accessories that will help enhance your overall skiing experience.
Read on to discover the best ways to stay cozy, flexible and fashionable in the snow!
Start with a Base Layer
One of the most important things to consider when dressing for cross country skiing is your base layer. This is the layer that will be in direct contact with your skin and should provide both warmth and moisture-wicking capabilities.
Choose Moisture-Wicking Fabric
In order to stay warm during a long day on the trails, you’ll want to make sure that any sweat or moisture created by your body is being transported away from your skin. Look for base layers made from synthetic materials such as polyester or merino wool, which are known for their moisture-wicking properties. Avoid cotton, as it holds onto moisture and can leave you feeling damp and chilly.
“The biggest mistake winter athletes can make is not properly managing sweat,” says Jeff Padua, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes sports dietitian. “The key to staying comfortable in cold weather is to avoid sweating too much.”
Consider Your Activity Level
The intensity of your activity should also play a role in determining what type of base layer you wear. If you’re planning on going for a leisurely ski through the woods, a lightweight base layer may suffice. However, if you’re planning on pushing yourself and breaking a sweat, opt for a mid-weight or heavy-weight base layer to keep you warm and dry.
Fit is Key
A proper fit is crucial when it comes to your base layer. Make sure it’s snug but not constricting so that it can effectively transport moisture away from your skin. It should also have a longer cut so that it can easily tuck into your pants without coming untucked while you move.
Layer for Versatility
When it comes to cross country skiing, it’s important to be prepared for changing weather conditions. That’s why layering is key. Start with your base layer and then add a mid-layer, like a fleece jacket or vest, for added warmth. Finally, top it off with a waterproof and breathable outer layer.
“Layering allows you to easily adjust to temperature changes,” says Megan Harvey, a professional cross country skier and coach. “Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating middle layer if needed, and finish with a wind-resistant and water-repellent outer shell.”
Choose the Right Mid Layer
Cross country skiing is one of the most invigorating winter sports, combining exercise and fresh air in a stunning natural environment. But before you hit the trails, it’s essential to ensure you have the right clothing for the conditions. Layers are key to keeping warm and comfortable while skiing, with a mid layer being particularly important.
The mid layer is the insulation that sits between your base and outer layers, providing warmth by trapping heat close to your body. Most mid layers are made from synthetic materials such as fleece or wool, which offer good insulation even when wet and are quick-drying.
“The right mid layer will keep you warm and happy all day long.” -Outside Online
Insulation Type Matters
When selecting a mid layer, choosing the right insulation type is crucial. Synthetic insulation offers excellent performance in varying weather conditions but can be bulkier than other options. It’s also not as environmentally friendly since it’s typically composed of petroleum-based fibers.
Natural insulators like down or wool provide superior warmth-to-weight ratios but tend to be less resistant to moisture. Wool wicks moisture away from the skin and has antimicrobial properties, reducing any unpleasant odors. However, it can add weight and itchiness compared to other materials.
“Synthetic insulation is versatile, efficient and durable. However, if it gets wet, its insulating abilities may dramatically decrease.” -REI Co-op Journal
Consider Your Climate
Your choice of mid-layer should also depend on the climate you’ll be skiing in. If you’re hitting the slopes in milder temperatures, thin fabrics like microfleece or lightweight merino wool do an excellent job. They pack down small and won’t overheat you in moderate-to-high intensity skiing.
On the other hand, if you’re skiing in colder temperatures or windier conditions, thicker mid layers and extra insulation like down vests or wool sweater are required. Look for materials that insulate even when wet but can dry quickly, such as synthetic blends or merino wool.
“Choosing your clothing for cross country skiing is often about finding a balance between warmth and ventilation.” -Craft Sportswear
The mid layer is an essential component of any cross country skiing outfit, contributing to overall comfort and performance on the trails. Take care when selecting your mid layer by considering the type of insulation that suits your needs, along with the climate you’ll be experiencing during your outing. With the right mid layer, you’ll stay warm, comfortable and focused, allowing you to enjoy the wonders of winter sports at their best!
Protect Your Extremities
Cross country skiing is a demanding sport, and it’s important to protect your body from the cold weather. One of the most critical areas to cover during this activity is your extremities. Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself:
Invest in Quality Socks
Your feet will be exposed to the cold and harsh environment while cross-country skiing. Therefore, investing in good quality socks is essential. Look for synthetic or wool blends that wick moisture away from your skin so your feet stay dry.
“When it comes to skiing, opting for high-quality footwear made up of merino wool, acrylic, polypropylene or other synthetic materials blend provides optimal insulation,” says James Fishburne Jr., President of Ski.com
Be sure to also wear appropriate-sized boots with thicker socks as well if necessary to keep your feet warm and comfortable.
Don’t Forget About Gloves
Gloves are another crucial aspect when it comes to protecting your extremities in cold weather. Choose gloves that are waterproof, breathable, and have sufficient insulation to keep your hands warm and dry. Looser-fitting gloves allow air to hit your fingers, ultimately reducing its effectiveness against guarding frozen digits.
“Gloves or mittens often work best since they trap heat better than fingerless gloves and expose fewer cold-prone surfaces,” shares Hilleberg The Tentmaker founder Bo Hilleberg.
If you find your hands get extremely cold easily, try layering with glove liners underneath thicker ski gloves for additional warmth.
Cover Your Head
The head is where our bodies lose the most amount of heat; therefore, wearing a hat or a proper helmet can make a significant difference in staying warm while skiing. Choose headwear that fits snugly on your head, wicks away moisture from sweat, and is made of insulating materials such as wool to preserve heat.
“A helmet not only provides safety for the skier but also added warmth during colder temperatures,” according to Jennifer Botterill, a three-time Olympic gold medallist athlete with Canada’s national women’s hockey team.
Other alternatives include balaclavas, buffs and beanies which are all great options to keep you cozy throughout the journey.
When it comes to dressing up for cross country skiing, think layers instead of one bulky coat. This allows your body to regulate its temperature and provides flexibility in adjusting insulation levels when needed depending on how active or inactive you may be on any given stretch of your route. Wear breathable synthetic base layers to wick away sweat, followed by an insulating mid-layer and topped off with waterproof and windproof outer-wear to keep snow at bay. The better fit between the various layers, the more effective they will be in working together to maintain body heat and dryness…
“Layers provide flexibility so that you can manage your comfort level,” shares Kevin Jordan, author of Cross-Country Skiing: Building Skills for Fun and Fitness.
Protecting your extremities during cross-country skiing is crucial for improving performance and—most importantly—staying safe in harsh weather conditions. Follow these tips, be aware of weather forecasts before heading out, and dress accordingly for an enjoyable day on the trails!
Invest in Quality Outerwear
Cross country skiing requires warm, comfortable and practical clothing. Investing in high-quality outerwear will not only keep you warm but also make your experience more enjoyable.
Choose the Right Type of Jacket
When cross country skiing, it’s essential to choose a jacket that meets your needs. Typically, skiers wear either a softshell or a hardshell jacket. A softshell works well if it’s dry out, as it provides warmth while remaining breathable. Softshells are typically lightweight and flexible, allowing for ease of movement during activity. On the other hand, a hardshell is recommended when visibility is limited due to rain or snow and conditions are extremely wet. The waterproof material ensures that snow doesn’t soak through and leaves you cold and damp.
Invest in Breathable Fabric
Breathability is another crucial factor when choosing outerwear. Cross country skiing is an intense workout, so expect to sweat. Therefore, investing in breathable fabric will allow moisture to escape quickly rather than trapping it inside, leaving you feeling cold. Look for fabrics such as Gore-Tex or eVent which wick away sweat effectively.
Snow can be very wet, making it critical to invest in gear made with waterproof materials. Since wind-chill is a real threat on the slopes, maintaining body heat and staying dry is vital no matter how experienced you are at skiing. You don’t need to break the bank for good quality garments; they just should do their job! If you plan on skiing often, it’s worth spending extra money on snow pants and gloves with exceptional waterproof ratings.
Fit is Key
The right fit for your outer layer is vital. Anything too tight will restrict your movements, making it challenging to execute turns or create long strides. Clothing that is too loose can be annoying, causing the fabric to flap and stir in the wind which could also slow you down. Seek clothing with a comfortable fit but would still not inhibit movement.
Finally, wear additional layers underneath your outerwear for extra warmth while skiing. Thermal underwear and turtlenecks are some examples of warm clothes to put on. As a general rule of thumb, remember to dress as if it’s ten to fifteen degrees warmer than what the temperature reads since your physical activity level always transform into excess heat.
Pack With Caution
Cross country generally requires packing small because you only want to carry what’s necessary. It allows for more range of motion when cross country skiing and less weight to carry. The best backpacks have both hip and chest straps to ensure gear stability compared to an over-shoulder one. Sunglasess, gloves, sun lotion, hat and helmet may protect the skier during different weather changes so it’s best to bring these items with precaution.
“A good layering system makes sense in terms of outdoor activities,” advised Brawner. “When doing things like snowshoeing, skiing, biking, etc., you’re adding energy, and you get warmer very quickly. A thin shell with multiple light layers instead of heavy pieces helps dissipate sweat by wicking moisture away from your skin.” -Kevin Brawner, manager of Ispo Academy”
Investing in high-quality breathable jackets, choosing among softshell or hardshell and waterproof materials, proper fit, and wearing sufficient layers will make all the difference between a pleasant skiing experience and pure misery. So choose wisely!
Don’t Forget About Your Accessories
Cross country skiing can be a fun and invigorating way to enjoy the winter scenery while getting some exercise. But before you hit the trails, make sure you have all of the necessary accessories to keep yourself comfortable and safe.
Protect Your Eyes
The bright sun reflecting off the snow can cause serious eye damage if you don’t wear proper eyewear. Look for sunglasses or goggles that provide 100% UV protection and also feature polarized lenses to reduce glare. It’s also important to choose a style with good ventilation to prevent fogging up on the slopes.
“Snow blindness is no joke – it’s like having sandpaper in your eyes. Wear protective eyewear.” – Dr. Andrew Kerman, an ophthalmologist at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Invest in a Good Backpack
A backpack is not just convenient for carrying extra layers or snacks—it also serves as a safety precaution. Choose a well-made backpack with padded shoulder straps and plenty of pockets to organize your belongings. Make sure it fits appropriately, stays close to your body, and doesn’t swing widely when you move.
“Once upon a time, people believed that carrying a backpack was only meant for hikers, mountaineers, alpinists etc. However, things have changed quite a bit now, thanks to technology which has helped manufacturers develop better mounts for skiers across the world.” – John Alex Clark
With a quality backpack, you can bring along essentials like sunscreen, water bottles, first aid kits and emergency equipment. There are specialized ski backpacks available that come with special features designed specifically for cross-country skiing, such as loops for securing poles and compact designs to minimize mobility disruption.
Other accessories to consider include socks designed for cross country skiing, warm hats and gloves, insulated water bottles, neck warmers or other cold weather gear. With these items in your toolkit, you can tackle the trails with confidence.
Consider Your Environment
When it comes to cross country skiing, the environment plays a significant role in determining what you should wear. You need to consider not only the temperature but also the wind speed and precipitation. Here are some tips on how to dress appropriately for different environments:
Prepare for Windy Conditions
Cross country skiing can be quite challenging when there is a strong wind blowing. It not only makes you feel colder but also affects your balance and impedes your speed. To stay warm and comfortable in windy conditions, you may want to layer up with lightweight and breathable clothing that blocks the wind but does not trap moisture.
According to REI Co-op, “If it’s really cold, add an outer shell or jacket made from Gore-Tex or another high-tech fabric, which will block the wind while still allowing sweat vapor to escape.” Additionally, you may want to wear a protective hat that covers your ears and neck, as well as gloves that provide insulation without compromising dexterity.
Stay Cool in Hot Climates
When skiing in warmer climates, you may struggle with overheating if you overdress or choose fabrics that do not allow air circulation. Therefore, it’s essential to opt for lightweight and moisture-wicking materials that keep you cool and dry throughout your workout.
The Ski Monster recommends wearing a base layer made of synthetic or silk material, a middle layer made of breathable fleece or wool, and an outer layer made of waterproof and breathable nylon or polyester. As for accessories, sunglasses or goggles may protect your eyes from glare and sunburn, whereas sunscreen may shield your skin against UV damage.
Stay Warm in Cold Climates
In extreme cold, frostbite and hypothermia can pose severe risks to your health if you do not wear appropriate clothing. Therefore, dressing in layers is crucial to trapping body heat while also allowing for ventilation and movement.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends wearing a base layer made of synthetic fabric such as polypropylene that wicks moisture away from your skin, followed by an insulating layer made of fleece or down that retains body heat, and topping it off with a water-resistant and windproof outer shell that provides protection against the elements.
Stay Dry in Wet Climates
Cross country skiing in wet conditions can be very demanding, especially when it comes to keeping dry and comfortable. One option is to choose waterproof and breathable clothing that repels rain and snow but does not trap sweat inside. Another solution is to wear quick-drying clothes that do not absorb moisture from your skin.
Athletic Performance Solutions advises checking the weather forecast before heading out and adjusting your layers accordingly. “In cold rain or sleet, a waterproof-breathable jacket and pants are best over an air-trapping base layer.” They also recommend bringing extra socks and gloves in case they get soaked during the exercise.
- To sum up,
- Dress according to the environment you’re skiing in.
- Layer up properly to stay warm and dry, but not too heavy to restrict movement.
- Wear lightweight fabrics that wick sweat and block wind without holding moisture.
- Consider accessories like hats, glasses, sunscreens that protect you from various threats.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the essential clothing items for cross country skiing?
When it comes to cross country skiing, layers are key. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating mid-layer, and finish with a windproof outer layer. A pair of breathable and water-resistant pants, along with warm socks and boots, are also essential. Don’t forget a hat or headband to keep your head and ears warm, and gloves to protect your hands from the cold.
What should you consider when choosing cross country skiing pants?
When choosing cross country skiing pants, look for breathable and water-resistant materials that allow for freedom of movement. Consider the temperature and weather conditions you’ll be skiing in, and choose pants with appropriate insulation. A high waist and adjustable cuffs can also help keep snow and wind out. Finally, make sure the pants fit well and are comfortable, as you’ll be wearing them for extended periods of time.
What type of jacket is best for cross country skiing?
The best jacket for cross country skiing is one that is lightweight, windproof, and breathable. Look for a jacket with insulation appropriate for the conditions you’ll be skiing in, and consider features such as adjustable cuffs and a high collar to keep out the cold. A jacket with a hood can also be useful in windy or snowy conditions. Finally, make sure the jacket fits well and allows for freedom of movement.
What kind of gloves should you wear for cross country skiing?
For cross country skiing, it’s important to wear gloves that are both warm and allow for dexterity. Look for gloves made of a breathable and water-resistant material, with a good amount of insulation. Consider gloves with grip on the palms and fingers to help with pole handling. Finally, make sure the gloves fit well and are comfortable, as you’ll be wearing them for extended periods of time.
Should you wear a hat or headband for cross country skiing?
It’s a good idea to wear a hat or headband for cross country skiing, as you can lose a significant amount of body heat through your head. Look for a hat or headband made of a warm and breathable material, such as fleece or wool. Make sure it covers your ears and fits snugly, but not too tight. Consider a hat with a brim to help keep snow and sun out of your eyes.
What type of socks are recommended for cross country skiing?
For cross country skiing, it’s important to wear socks that are warm, moisture-wicking, and provide good circulation. Look for socks made of a synthetic or wool blend, with cushioning in the heel and toe areas. Avoid cotton socks, as they absorb moisture and can cause blisters. Make sure the socks fit well and are comfortable, as you’ll be wearing them for extended periods of time.