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Ski Apparel Advice for Novice Skiers

Ski Apparel Advice - Level 1: Novice/Moderate Skier

So, you love the white stuff and the whole wintery, ski scene, but you’re not necessarily that enthusiastic to hit the powder and the highest peaks…..just yet.  You’ve mastered the snow plough and you can cut the ice with the edge of your skis very nicely now, albeit very gently.

That’s absolutely fine. We all have to start somewhere.  You’re going to probably stick to the nursery slopes and maybe venture up to the Green and possibly a

Blue run or two by the end of the week and you’re almost certainly going to hit the après ski facilities along the way too. Let’s face it, it’s all part of the experience.

But as a result of your acknowledged limitations, you’re likely to spend quite a lot of time standing or sitting still and most likely won’t work up a sweat quite as much as some of the more experienced individuals on the slopes might do.

To that end, your gear should reflect your individual needs and your best solution is Multi-Layering but choosing the Warmest options available in most cases.  Below is a list of options from Underwear to Outerwear that should suit your every need whilst on the piste.

Underwear & Socks

Usually the first thing you’ll put on every morning will be your underwear and socks.  Going skiing doesn’t change your necessary habits of a lifetime.  One rule for your pants though and that is……don’t wear cotton!  Cotton is cold.  It holds moisture and will be cold all day long so start as you mean to continue.  Choose

either a Synthetic Brief or Boxer or go with Merino Wool.  These two fabric options will be your best friend.  For Bras, it’s less critical but for downstairs definitely go with one of the above.  Check out these suggested Ski Underwear options.

For ski socks for the novice skier, we’d usually suggest a Mid Weight Ski Sock with a good Merino Wool content.  As with underwear, avoid cotton. Cotton can grab and cause blisters and foot irritation. The reason we suggest a mid-weight sock, is that you are most likely to hire boots in-resort and the fit is rarely as good as boots that are bespoke for you.  Your best bet is a Mid Weight Ski Sock and do consider pairing these with some Liner Socks as these will add some warmth and additional comfort during your ski sessions.

For your Après Ski element, again do consider some Liner Socks coupled with a good Mid Weight Hiking Sock with a high Merino content inside 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 extra warmth, then a 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.  Also, there’s no need to take a dozen pairs of socks.  Take a couple of pairs and cycle them round, the Merino socks will last the distance for most ski trips.

Base Layers

It’s probably a guess, but we reckon that you’ve had exposure to Base Layers in some form or other for various sports and activities.  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.

You are a modest skier with limited capability by admission, and that’s not in any way meant to be a criticism.  You will be standing or sitting around quite a bit {not least of which can be waiting in line for a ski lift….} and therefore not generating

heat as much as those with more experience out there, so you need to think about the best option as a Base Layer and that means warmth.

We strongly advise any low level skier to choose the Warmest Base Layer they can and if money allows, go with a Merino or Merino Blend option.  These will usually last the duration of most trips without washing and will provide that initial next-to-skin warmth you will need.  You can even double layer to get extra warmth with a lighter weight next to skin and a second heavier weight layer over that to create a hefty 300/400gsm next to skin layer.

Pick something practical unless you are very keen on colours, trendy brand labels or design features.  Black works best in 99% of cases but you often have a choice colours and of Crew Neck tops or Half Zips.  Plus, always get leggings too.  A huge amount of heat is generated from your lower core.  You want to do all you can to keep the heat you generate and re-cycle it.  For that reason, we suggest a Warmest COMBO comprising leggings and top.  From there it’s a question of preference.


Not everyone wants or needs a mid-layer especially the 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 and if the cloud has closed in.  Temperatures can vary enormously on the mountains and the higher you go, the colder it usually is.  Always cater for the worst case scenario.  If the weather closes in up the mountain, you will seriously notice the temperature change.

A mid-layer is, however always a great investment piece regardless.  You will get a ton of use from it back home too so it’ll never be a wasted cost.  You can choose a Long Sleeve lightweight jacket, a Gilet or a fabric mid-layer of Wool or Synthetic material and in different fabric weights too.  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 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 the unique needs of the mountains?  For the slopes, you should consider a jacket that has a “hard Shell” exterior finish, a bit like a raincoat fabric.  It’ll be robust enough to handle any falls and abrasions.  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 preference but make sure your lower limbs stay free.  Also, 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.  So choose wisely, get something that has practicality back home, especially if you are likely to remain an infrequent skier.

A System Jacket can be a great investment as these have a Detachable Lining that acts as a mid-layer in it’s 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 back home too.  Cost is not always an indicator of practicality for skiing so do take advice where you can and if you are likely to remain as an occasional skier, see if you can borrow one.  Take a look here at our Ski Jackets we feel are appropriate.

Ski Pants or Ski Trousers depending on which side of the Atlantic divide you relate to, are very often overlooked but with underwear, then some Base Layer Leggings and a good pair of proprietary Ski Pants……you’re 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 during your après ski down-time.  You 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 in-resort.  Without a doubt, worth the investment and will serve a purpose back home when you’re stood on the side-lines in the middle of winter watching the kids on the rugby field!  See our range of Ski Pants here but do also consider hiring or borrowing your outer wear.  Not every resort does hire but there are plenty of locations at home who do hire Ski Gear……just check your area for the best option and you can secure your kit early so you’re not scrambling around days before you depart.

Other Accessories

90% of people will have some sort of accessories they will take along.  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.  Also, if you slip your outer gloves off, you retain a protection against severe cold.

Likewise a Hat is also a must have and you may want to take a couple of hats with you one for daytime and one for the evening.  Most resorts these days will insist on a Ski Helmet being work {you’ll likely hire one and it’s a good idea to do so regardless of ability}.  But they will have 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.

But if there is one additional piece you may not have, it is possibly a Face Mask or Neck Warmer. When you are on the ski lifts or coming down the slopes even on a slow run 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. Trust us……it’s seriously worth the cost.