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Ski Apparel Advice for Intermediate Skiers

Ski Apparel Advice Level 2: Intermediate Skiers

You are, by acknowledgement, a regular skier.  You’ve been skiing for a number of years now and even moved on to experimenting with Boarding perhaps.  The nursery slopes and Green runs are a distant memory as you live in the fast lane now on the Blues and Reds……maybe even venturing to the occasional Black run!

Your abilities probably mean you will be active for a majority of the time, and for a good-few hours a day.  You don’t want to miss an opportunity to carve up the white stuff. Most likely you will work up a sweat during your traversing, 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 to meet your needs.  Below are some suggested options that should suit your every need whilst on the piste.

Socks & Pants

Most likely, 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 underwear and that is……don’t wear cotton!  Cotton is cold.  Cotton holds moisture.  Moisture and cold are not best buddies. 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.

For Ski Socks at the Intermediate level, we’d usually suggest a Mid Weight Ski Sock.  The main reason being not necessarily just for for warmth, but that you might 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.

However, you may have your own boots and if so, a Lightweight Ski Sock may prove a better option as these will likely be a superior fit for your made-to-measure boot.

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 a Heavyweight Merino Sock is 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.  By the way, no need to take 6 pairs of socks.  Wear the same ones and cycle them round during your trip.

Base Layers

This is where Intermediate Skiers’ kit can differ quite a bit from the Novice 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?  A 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 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 or for those eternally long ski lifts} 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 over-heating but equally won’t let you get cold, as both scenarios are far from ideal.

To that end, we strongly advise an Intermediate Skier to choose a Warm Level 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.

Pick something practical unless you are very keen on colours, designer labels or design features.  Black works best in 99% of cases but you often have a choice of colours and of Crew Neck or Half Zip Tops.  Always get leggings too.  A huge amount of heat is generated from your lower core.  You want to keep the 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, many Intermediate 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.  Also if the weather closes in, that temperature will plummet by the minute so, don’t get caught out.

I mid-layer though is a great investment piece.  You will get plenty of use from it when you get home so it’ll never be a wasted cost.  You can choose a Long Sleeve Lightweight Jacket, a Gilet or a fabric layer of wool or synthetic.  It really is a question of choice.  Ski Mid Layers are worth taking your time over.

Jackets and Ski Pants

Now we’re getting to the more serious end of the ski business.  Ski jackets can be a mine-field 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 is what you have already, adequate for your needs?  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.

Jacket length is also largely a matter of taste and preference.  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.

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 multi-use rain jacket back home too.  Cost is not always an indicator of practicality for skiing so do take advice where you can and always see if you can borrow one as it can save you a lot of cash.  Take a look here at our Ski Jackets we feel are appropriate.

For Ski Pants or Ski Trousers there is one rule…..don’t wear jeans!  We’re back to that cotton is cold issue plus cotton pants like jeans, are restrictive….just what you don’t need. Ski Pants or Ski Trousers if you are this side of the Atlantic divide, are very often overlooked but with your underwear, then a Base Layer Legging and a good pair of proprietary Ski Pants……you’re generally sorted.  Most 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 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 is to accommodate ski boots and it’s a very common sight.  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 trip.  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 glass of Glühwein.

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.  But they have often been worn by hundreds of people already 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.  You may also want to take two hats.  One for the piste and one for the evening.

One additional piece you may not own, 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 by easing a neck warmer or balaclava over your mouth, nose and cheeks. You won’t regret it.