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Ski Apparel Advice for Expert Skiers

Ski Apparel Advice - Level 3: Experienced & Extreme Skiers

You are a frequent skier. Maybe you do a whole season in-resort {lucky you}. You’ve been skiing or boarding since you could walk and you love it to pieces.  Those Green runs are a distant memory as you live exclusively in the fast lane these days on the Black runs and moguls and probably venture into the virgin snow frequently, maybe even Heli Skiing!

Your abilities probably mean you are active for a majority of the time, and probably from dawn to dusk each day.  You don’t want to miss an opportunity to carve up the powder. Most likely you will work up a sweat big-time and your layering apparel needs to reflect your specific needs.

To that end, your best solution is multi-layering as we always recommend, but not necessarily choosing the heaviest and warmest options for each layer, as you may need and want to shed layers frequently depending on conditions.  Below is some detail of options that should suit your every need whilst on the piste.

Socks & Pants

Almost inevitably, the first thing you’ll put on every morning will be your underwear and socks.  Going skiing doesn’t change your daily habits of a lifetime.  There is however, one rule for your pants no matter what your level of ability and that is……don’t wear cotton!  Cotton is cold.  Cotton also holds moisture.  Moisture and cold are not best buddies when it comes to your body. Cotton pants will be cold all day long so, start as you mean to continue.  Choose either Synthetic Briefs or Boxers or go with Merino Wool.  These two fabric options will be your best bet.  For Bras, it’s less critical but for downstairs definitely go with one of the above.  Check out these suggested Ski Underwear items.

As a very advanced skier, it’s very likely that you have your own boots, so a Lightweight Ski Sock may prove to be the best option as these will likely be a superior fit for your made-to-measure boots.  However, you may still prefer a Mid Weight Ski Sock.  These will provide additional warmth if needed, but you might also be hiring boots and the fit is rarely as good as ones that are bespoke for you.  So your best bet in these situations is a Mid Weight Ski Sock but do consider pairing these with some Liner Socks as these will add some additional comfort during your ski sessions.

For the après ski element of your trip, again some Liner Socks coupled with a good Mid Weight Hiking Sock with a high Merino content paired with those nice cozy snow boots, is usually fine for most, but if you feel you want or need heavier weight socks to fill out those boots or for additional warmth, then the Heavyweight Merino Socks are a good investment.  Do remember though that you’ll probably get more use out of some Mid-Weight socks than Heavyweight ones, once you get back home as heavyweight socks may be too thick for most regular shoes.

Base Layers

This is where Advanced Skiers’ kit can differ quite a bit from the Novice or even Intermediate skier. It’s almost certainly the case that you’ve had exposure to Base Layers in some form or other for various sports and activities including Skiing, in the past.  But have they been right for your needs at the time?  The Base Layer is your foundation layering piece next to skin.  Get this right and….happy days.  Get it wrong and your days on the slopes might be the most miserable of your ski trip.

We’ve already established that you are a very good skier with excellent capability.  You won’t be standing or sitting around that often {except perhaps with a glass of something to warm you up} so, for the most part, you will be generating quite a bit of body heat that you need to retain and use effectively. So you need to think about the best option for a Base Layer and that means something that prevents you overheating but equally, won’t let you get cold, as both scenarios are far from ideal.

To that end, we strongly advise an Advanced Skier to choose a Warm Technical Base Layer and if money allows, go with a Merino or Merino Blend option.  Merino will last the duration of most trips without washing and will provide that initial next-to-skin thermal regulation you will need.  But equally as good are the seamless ODLO Blackcomb range which are extremely popular with advanced skiers especially in Europe or their Performance Warm Seamless collection, and the impressive SAXX Roastmaster range which has gained a good following in Canada, it’s homeland.

Black works best in 99% of cases but you often have a choice of great colours that the Advanced Skier often likes and you can get either a Crew Neck or Half Zip Tops.  Always get leggings too.  A huge amount of heat is generated from the lower core.  You want to keep that heat you generate and re-cycle it.  For that reason, we suggest a COMBO comprising leggings and top.  From there it’s a matter of style choice.

Regardless of our suggestions here, some Advanced Skiers still want that extra warmth factor so with that in mind, there are always Warmer Ski Base Layer options available too.


Not everyone wants or needs a mid-layer especially higher performance skiers who will often wear just a base layer under a jacket.  It does depend on many factors including how high up you are.  Temperatures can vary enormously on the mountains and the higher you go, the colder it usually is. Plus if the weather closes in, the temperature can plummet by the minute.

I mid-layer though is a great investment piece.  You will get a ton of use from it back home too so it’ll never be a wasted cost and many advanced skiers will choose to ski in a Mid-Layer anyway.  You can choose a Long Sleeve Lightweight Jacket, a Gilet or a wool or synthetic half zip mid layer.  It really is a question of choice.  Ski Mid Layers are worth taking some time over.

Jackets and Ski Pants

Now we’re getting to the serious end of the ski business.  Ski jackets can be a minefield and can cost a fortune. Don’t be surprised to see jackets in excess of £1K particularly in-resort.  We all possess a jacket but most advanced skiers will have a very good ski jacket already set aside but if you’re looking at a refresh, the SQI Jackets are an excellent bespoke ski/board piece to consider.  For the slopes, you should consider a jacket that has a “hard Shell” finish, a bit like a raincoat fabric.  It’ll be robust enough to handle any falls and abrasions from the ice.  The last thing you want is to rip your jacket on day one.  But a “puffer” style jacket may do the job if you’re not going off-piste or too fast or you spend most of your time on your feet!

Jacket length is also largely a matter of taste and preference but most advanced skiers will go for an upper thigh or waist finish.  Some jackets are, for many, too ski-centric.  Remember the 80’s when people bought those bright Jean Claude Killi jackets when they were all the rage?  Never been seen again except on auction sites and charity shops.  So choose wisely, get something that has practicality back home but equally, has some style longevity to it.

A System Jacket can be a great investment as these have a Detachable Lining that acts as a mid-layer in its own right.  So if you did go with a system jacket, you get your mid-layer for free.  You then have the choice of wearing the jacket fully lined or as an outerwear piece without the insulation.  So it can make a great rain jacket too.  Cost is not always an indicator of practicality for skiing so do take advice where you can. Take a look here at our Ski Jackets range.

Ski Pants or Ski Trousers if you are this side of the Atlantic divide, are very often overlooked but with your underwear, then a pair of Base Layer leggings and a good pair of proprietary Ski Pants……you’re sorted.  There is one rule here too for pants…..don’t wear jeans!  Were back to that “cotton is cold” issue plus cotton pants like jeans are restrictive….just what you don’t need. Most Ski Pants are unisex, there’s not much “cut” to them as they are always designed to be a bit baggy. Equally, these can readily be worn out at night in-resort, to bars etc.  You very often see restaurants filled with people wearing baggy pants with flares.  That’s not a bad fashion statement, the flare, as you will no doubt be aware, is there to accommodate ski boots and it’s a very common sight in-resort.  Without a doubt, worth the investment and will serve a purpose back home when you’re stood on the sidelines in the middle of winter watching the kids on the rugby field!  See our range of Ski Pants here.

Other Accessories

Most people have some sort of accessories they will take with them on their ski trip no matter what their ability.  Gloves are a must.  We always suggest a Liner Glove below your Ski Gloves.  These help preserve the integrity of your ski gloves as well as adding warmth plus leaves something on your skin if you slip your ski gloves off for a quick brow wipe or for filming that latest descent.

Likewise a Hat is also a must-have.  But most resorts these days will insist on a Ski Helmet being worn and you may well hire one in-resort if you don’t have your own.  But the hired ones have often been worn by hundreds of people before you and whilst they usually provide a helmet liner, your own Beanie Hat is by far the best bet to at least, keep someone else’s sweat off your head.  But even if you have your own helmet, a Beanie is a very good idea.

One additional piece you may not have, and one we’d always recommend is a Face Mask or Neck Warmer. When you are on the ski lifts or coming down the slopes carving up the powder and it’s minus 15°, your face can physically hurt with the cold.  For a small investment, you will preserve your face buy easing a Neck Warmer or Balaclava over your mouth, nose and cheeks. You won’t regret it.