Before leaving home for a ski trip, it's important to double check that you've packed all the essential ski apparel. Dressing properly out on the mountain will keep you warm, dry and protected, and will make for an enjoyable time on the slopes. Get the most out of each and every ski day by dressing correctly. To make it easier to remember all of your ski clothing, pack your apparel based upon the well-established layering system.
Base layers include underwear, long johns and long sleeve shirts. Base layer clothing must have one key property: it must wick moisture away from the body. This keeps your perspiration from sitting on your skin and lowering your temperature. Some common materials you'll find in skiing base layers are merino wool, polypropylene, treated silk and polyester blends.
When planning a ski trip, you'll want plenty of base layer garments. One shirt and pair of underwear/long johns for every day on the mountain will keep you dry and fresh during your trip. Base layers come in different weights for different riding conditions. For cold temperatures, or long backcountry treks, consider a heavyweight base layering system. Lighter weights are more comfortable for resort skiing in moderate temperatures and sunny weather. Pack a variety of weights to adjust to changing weather during the course of your trip.
Mid layers are generally the least specialized type of skiing clothing. Wear more traditional, non-ski-specific clothing for mid layers, like sweaters and fleece jackets. Mid-layer garments should provide warmth and should wick and dissipate moisture to keep it moving away from your skin.
The mid layer is where you will have the most flexibility to adjust for temperatures, so be sure to pack plenty of different weight garments. Some types of garments that make it easy to adjust include down or fleece jackets, vests, microfleece pullovers and heavy wool sweaters. Different weights of fleece pants or long johns will work well for your lower body.
Since mid-layer apparel won't be next to your body or exposed to the elements, you can get away with wearing the same garments for several days, if not your entire trip.
Outwear is the most recognizable part of your ski ensemble. To provide comprehensive protection from moisture, outerwear needs to be breathable and waterproof. These properties allow the garments to protect from wind, snow and weather elements outside while letting your heat and perspiration escape from inside to keep you dry. You will need to pack at least one ski jacket and pair of pants, and may consider more if you'll be skiing for many days in a row or in particularly wet conditions.
There are many important accessories you need to wear while skiing in addition to layers of clothing.
Always carry a good pair of ski gloves that are breathable, waterproof and well insulated. It's a good idea to bring several pairs of gloves (or a glove dryer) so you always have a dry pair for the next day. Mittens provide the most warmth and spring gloves or glove liners are good for warm days.
Bring ski socks made from a wool blend or synthetic that wicks moisture. Ski-specific socks will provide a little extra comfort.
Pack several pairs of goggles or lenses for different light levels. You never know for sure what the weather will bring.
Pack a hat or helmet to keep your head insulated. It can pay to pack multiple hats so you always have a dry one.