It’s spring snow skiing season, and while temperatures on the slopes are supposed to be warmer than December through February, unexpected frigid temperatures can sneak in during your spring ski trip. Be prepared for freezing temps with this simple Cold Weather Skiing Wardrobe Capsule and some Skiing Tips & Tricks to keep you on the slopes longer… making those ever increasing lift tickets worth every penny!
Most families we knew in the 1970-80s were heading for the beach during spring break, but our Fayetteville, AR, based family always drove west to Colorado in our loaded up mini van. My earliest memories of snow skiing, around age 5 years, were in Winter Park-Mary Jane Ski Resorts. I learned from an early age to be prepared for any kind of weather on the mountain and bring extra gear for the colder-snowy-windy days.
As a wife to a Boulder, Colorado, native who grew up skiing every weekend with his family and hitch hiking to the slopes with his brother off of Diagonal Highway, I knew our our family of five would spend much time skiing. Being prepared for the cold weather has kept me on the slopes, spending more time with family. Even though the price for ski lift tickets has skyrocketed, there is no better family vacation than snow skiing, especially if you have older kids.
After 45 years of skiing, I’ve learned what to bring, how to properly prepare for the cold weather, so I can keep up with my people on the slopes. Here are some tips and tricks and equipment that have worked for me… I hope some of these will keep you on the slopes with your family, too.
1.) Start with Quality Base Layers–– layering up on quality, thin base layers ensures your core stays warm. Skiing gear can get expensive, but if you invest in quality pieces and take proper care of them, they will last years, if not decades. Some brands that are worth the cost are SmartWool and Athleta.
But first… for females, start with a good sports bra.
Third Layer Option for Cold Weather— My father gave me a fire orange colored Butter Fleece, 3/4 snap up, long sleeved fleece about 12 years ago, that I’ve brought on every ski trip since. The link provided is a Poshmart listing since apparently this style is made anymore. But many brands, like Patagonia and Eddie Bauer have similar types of fleece. The fleece provides a cozy extra, third layer for those really cold and windy days.
2.) Keeping your bottom half warm: Now that you’ve got your and arms covered, focus on finding warm, form-fitting layers for your bottom half. Athleta’s Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch have served me well over the past ten years. Usually wearing these pants under ski pants provides sufficient warmth, but on frigid days, I wear a pair of old long-Johns that I’ve cut the bottom, so they can slide up over my shin and not be in the ski boot, which can cause your boots not to fit well.
Ski Pants— A basic pair of black or slate grey ski pants or bibs will accommodate most colored jackets. I really like the Columbia basic ski pant with adjustable waist. They are nothing fancy but have all the basic bells-n-whistles needed to get you down the slopes in comfort. REI is another great place to shop for ski wear.
Keep Your Toosties Warm– Wearing the right kind of ski socks is key for keeping your feet warm and happy:) I really like EuroSocks because of the extra padding for the shin and top of foot area. SmartWool is another great ski sock brand.
3.) Sliding on to Ski Jackets: This is where you’ll probably spend the most on your skiing wardrobe, unless you are purchasing snow skis and boots. Invest in a quality jacket that provides wear versatility. When my kids were little, Burton‘s The White Collection snow boarder jacket provided large pockets and extra storage for items like sunscreen and snacks my kids’ didn’t want to carry.
While I still have the Burton jacket and wear it during Texas winters, I have transitioned into a slimmer jacket now that my kids carry their own gear. The Obermeyer Tuscany II sits at the hips, with a detachable hood with faux fur trim (which is also detachable). I love this jacket for all the thoughtful amenities it has.
This is my basic Cold Weather Skiing Wardrobe Capsule. I hope is has been of help to those who new or relatively new to snow skiing. In the next SeekBalanceSea.com blog post, more skiing wardrobe and equipment recommendations will be presented. Be on the lookout for this post soon!
Wishing you and yours a fun–and warm–time on the slopes in the beautiful outdoors this ski season,
Sarah Heinzelmann Andersen