Whether you are heading off on your first skiing holiday or are an expert who is preparing to take on some of the most challenging slopes around, there is one key thing that will help to determine how enjoyable your winter trip is.
And it isn’t how good you actually are at skiing.
Wearing the correct clothing, and wearing it in the right manner, could be difference between being warm, dry and happy throughout the day, or ending up wet, cold and miserable and wishing you were back at your hotel.
Dressing to ski is all about layering, with the use of different layers of clothing ensuring that you’ll be able to remain comfortable throughout a day in action regardless of what the weather may throw your way.
Should it be a chilly day where the temperatures never really rise, you’ll remain warm and happy throughout, but if the temperatures do rise and you find yourself getting warm, you’ll be able to remove a layer prevent yourself from overheating.
Although you can always add additional layers if required, the most set-up revolves around three different layers that all serve a purpose when combined together to ensure that you get the maximum enjoyment from your time on the slopes.
First up is the base layer which, as the name suggests, is the layer that you will be wearing close to the skin.
The main job of the base layer is to take moisture away from the body to keep you warm and should be tight-fitting - ideally made from something synthetic and not from cotton as the latter will trap moisture and result in you becoming cold quickly.
Base layers can appear to be expensive but you very much get what you pay for, and investing in a high quality base layer will only be beneficial once you get onto the slopes and down to action.
A long sleeved top and long bottoms are ideal and you also want to consider a good pair of ski socks to ensure that your feet remain warm throughout the day. You’ll also want a sock that draws moisture away from the feet to keep them as dry as possible to reduce the risk of blisters.
How thick you’ll need the base layer to be largely depends on what the weather conditions are set to be like; something that blends warmth with weight is usually a safe option.
Make sure your base layers are both comfortable and well fitting, and ensure you have more than one so you don’t put a damp layer on for a second day.
On top of the base layer will be the mid layer, which is all about insulation and keeping warm when the weather conditions are cold.
Again, exactly how you approach the mid layer will be down to the conditions that are facing you, with colder weather needing a thicker mid layer, and the possibility in warmer weather that you might elect to remove it altogether.
Your mid layer should be insulating for warmth and water resistant so that it doesn’t get wet - which in turn will impact on its ability to keep you warm. You don’t want it to be too bulky because there is another layer still to go on top, but don’t want it to be too restrictive as to affect your movement. Fleeces are a popular option for helping to keep heat in.
Whilst the first two layers are key, arguably the most important of all is the outer layer, which will act as the final barrier between you and the elements outside.
Crucially, this top layer should be both waterproof and windproof in order to protect you as much as possible, but will also need to be breathable to ensure you don’t get too warm underneath and to make sure that the layer will dry out quickly.
Fit is once again an important factor as you need to be comfortable, and when choosing which outer layer to use, make sure you try it over your additional layers to make sure it is ideally suited to your needs.
Specialist outer ski wear might be more expensive, but will certainly be worth the additional investment given that it has been specifically designed to meet the needs of those who are taking to the slopes whereas cheaper offerings may look like they would 'do the job' but would ultimately be far from ideal.
A good set of gloves to keep your hands warm alongside the obvious safety gear and you should be ready to hit the slopes and fully enjoy your latest skiing adventure.