Spring Break Staycation: Why head for the sunny south when you already live in paradise?
March 8, 2015
March 9, 2015
How to Dress for Spring Skiing: the Laws of Layering
March 8, 2015
By Ingrid Palmer
Whether you’re new to Colorado, a long-time resident or one of those rare natives, you probably know that the fluctuations in weather make layering for warmth and safety extremely important.
The basic clothing requirements for outdoor activity are: Base Layer, Mid Layer, Outer Layer. But this may not be enough for everyone. Some people need several layers, or a down jacket and a shell, while others are perfectly fine wearing a lightly insulated jacket or softshell over their long underwear. It all depends on the person—and the conditions.
Most winter clothes will trap heat next to your body to provide insulation, but when you’re engaging in an outdoor sport like skiing you also need to stay dry. That’s where moisture-wicking technical gear comes into play. Before you head out snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding this spring, take a minute to review these layering tips:
Wear base layers made of materials that will help move sweat away from the skin. Because base layers are right next to your skin, they should be made of synthetics or other materials that wick water away, like Smartwool, Capilene, polyester and nylon. Be sure to wear a base layer on top and bottom.
Personal comfort is, well, personal. Everyone’s comfort zone is different—know whether you run hot or cold and layer accordingly. The beauty of layering is that even if you start out feeling puffed up like the Michelin man, you can always peel off a fleece or down layer at noon when the sun blasts the slopes, then put it back on when the clouds roll in later. It’s a good idea to carry a small backpack so you can add or subtract, and stow your extra layers as needed.
Protect your core. Over your long underwear, pull on a fleece, wool sweater, puffy jacket or mid-weight hoody for warmth. Top it with a water- and wind-proof insulated ski jacket, and you should be good to go. Don’t forget to make sure your ski pants are also wind- and water-proof. Many come with zippered vents for cooling down when you get hot.
Protect your extremities. Don’t overlook the importance of keeping your head, hands and feet warm and dry. Most people today wear helmets, which is an excellent way to protect your head from trauma and keep it warm. Consider a buff, neck gator, or helmet liner for added protection. Mittens and gloves should be waterproof and warm. Some brands, like Hestra, offer products with removable liners. Socks should be made of a wicking material as well (never cotton); we sell Smartwool and Fits brand ski and snowboard socks at the shop. You can also supplement with disposable hand and toe warmers that radiate heat for up to 8 hours.
Don’t neglect your eyes. The first time I skied in Colorado, I burned my eyes from the glare of the sun hitting the snow. Coming from Ohio, I’d never encountered such intense rays! Now I know that at 10,000+ feet altitude, the sun is powerful even on a cloudy day. Invest in a pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles and not only will your eyes feel better, you’ll be able to see variations in the snow and improve your skiing in the process.