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Skiing is a sport that has participants in direct contact with outdoor elements. This engagement with nature can be exhilarating and addicting when the skier is properly prepared and outfitted. However, wearing inadequate clothing can turn a thrilling experience into a miserable one, and it could even be dangerous, as the risk of hypothermia is always a concern when skiing in snow.
Base Layer Basics
Your base layer is your first layer of clothing, the clothing closest to your skin. Ski Bums recommends buying thermal underwear made from a wicking material such as polypropylene. This material wicks away moisture, drawing it away from your skin rather than trapping it. Silk also wicks moisture and is a good alternative, but avoid cotton, which holds moisture and can make you feel cold. If you can't afford or find silk or polypropylene thermal underwear, a cotton and polyester blend is better than cotton alone.
Removable layers are key to creating a comfortable skiing experience, as you'll frequently fluctuate between feeling hot and cold. Insulating layers should be made of a warm material such as fleece and covered with a snow-proof jacket. For cross-country skiers, a thin, breathable soft shell jacket is ideal for warm days, as it will protect you from light snow and rainfall but wont be too bulky. You should always keep a hard shell jacket close by though to protect yourself in the case of wetter weather.
Head and Hands
In very cold weather, stay warm by wearing a wool or fleece hat with a headband to cover your ears. In warmer weather, switch to a light cap with a visor. The reflection of sun on snow is harsh and can be harmful to your eyes, so you'll need goggles with polarizing UV protection. Some skiers prefer to wear two layers of gloves: a thin, insulating pair under a thicker, waterproof pair. Gloves with deerskin or goatskin on the palms are made to last.
Lower Body Love
Waterproof pants are a must, as you'll often be sitting in melted snow on your way up the mountain on the ski-lift. Your Ski Coach recommends thin, warm socks made from wool or silk. Thin socks are preferable to thick socks, which can make it hard to feel the action under your feet. Ski boots should fit snugly, but they shouldn't be so tight that they cut off circulation and make your feet feel numb. You should be able to wiggle your toes in your boots.
- Karl Weatherly/Digital Vision/Getty Images