Whether it’s a killer powder day with frostbite worthy winds, or a chilly morning when the temperatures are in single digits, you don’t want the cold to hold you back. Here’s a head to toe guide to staying warm while skiing.
Hot Headed; Ski in a Helmet
You can lose a lot of heat from your head, so harness that warmth with a ski helmet that also happens to offer protection in the event of a crash. Ditch the earmuffs or headbands; helmets are worn by all the cool skiers these days, and are much warmer than just a beanie. Some skiers like to wear a beanie underneath their ski helmet for more warmth and an easy transition to après attire that hides helmet hair.
You also want goggles that fit nicely with your helmet, sealing up any gaper gap (the unsightly and uncomfortable space of open forehead between your goggles and helmet), because a cold blast to the forehead can give you an ice cream style headache.
Some skiers like to think that getting their faces all wind-chapped is a badge of honor, but for the rest of us, there are some excellent options for staying nice and bundled.
Warm from the Core to the Extremities
When threatened by a shortage of heat, the human body goes into survival mode, taking warmth from the extremities and concentrating warming efforts on the internal organs at the core. If you keep your core warm with an insulated ski jacket, your body can maintain enough heat to share with your fingers and toes. This way, you’re warm all over.
A pair of seriously insulated mittens doesn’t hurt either. But even with super insulated gloves, you have to be able to keep your core warm enough that your body is willing to share heat with your extremities.
There’s also a new technology that makes it easy to cheat: mittens with a rechargable battery powered internal heating system. Don’t laugh until you try them.
Trap Warmth with Air; Dress in Layers
As magical as it may seem, air is what keeps you warm. More specifically, trapping warm air close to your body keeps your body heat from being dispersed into the cold air around you.
The standard layered ski outfit includes baselayers, mid-layers, and outer layers, with layers of warm air sandwiched in between these pieces of clothing.
In addition to trapping air between your layers, you can also trap air within each layer. Materials such as fleece are full of tiny air pockets that hold that warm air. The same principle applies for baselayers with “brushed” interiors, and outer layers that are filled with either down or synthetic insulation.
Moisture and Body Temperature
Whether your ski day includes some hiking or some mogul runs, it’s likely you’ll work up a sweat at some point or another, even in cold weather. Perspiration that stays on your skin cools you off, and in an already cold environment, this just isn’t what you want.
Combat this issue by wearing moisture-wicking base layers and mid-layers. Technical baselayers and mid-layers are made with materials that are constructed such that they pull sweat away from your skin and disperse it across a broad surface. This allows the moisture to evaporate quickly from the exterior of the material, rather than leaving your skin cold and clammy.
Sneaky Trick for Skiing with Warm Toes: The Heated Ski Boot Bag
Keeping your toes warm in ski boots is a whole different ball game than keeping your toes warm in snow boots. A well-fitting ski boot is snug all over for efficient power transfer, but this can impede blood flow to your feet. When combined with cold weather conditions, this can result in seriously cold feet, numbness, and frostbite, especially for those who have poor circulation in the first place.
Toe warmers help, but they’re a bit of a hassle to fit comfortably, often bunching up or getting pushed out of place as you shove your foot inside your boot. You can also find online sources that advise methods such as wearing foil and plastic bags over your socks, but neither is noticeably effective in my experience.
The easiest, most comfortable, and most effective way to keep your toes warm is by using a heated ski boot bag like the Atomic Redster. With an appearance like a normal ski boot bag, this one plugs into a wall outlet to heat your boots overnight so that when you take them out in the morning they are warm and pliable, making them easier to put on, in addition to keeping your feet their normal (non-frostbitten) color throughout the ski day.
Cut down on hot chocolate breaks this ski season, and spend more time flying down the mountain and enjoying the fresh air. Find all the best gear to help you stay warm while skiing at jans.com.
Kendall Fischer, Content Writer