Mountain Gear Basics

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New to winter snowsports? Let us be the first to welcome you to the awesome world of Skiing and Snowboarding. Much like golf, swimming, and tennis - snow sports are activities you will be able to participate in and enjoy for much of your life. Here are a few basics of skiing and snowboarding attire to help inform you about your new adventure.

How do I stay warm and dry on the Mountain?

You should wear clothes that will keep you warm and dry. That may sound obvious but there is a lot that goes into a proper outfit. After you fall a couple of times - and you probably will fall - cotton clothing such as jeans and a sweatshirt will become wet, then cold. You will need the right kind of clothes to keep you warm and dry. Chances are you probably have most of what you need. If you don't, you can borrow some from friends or find soft good rentals at some of our ski areas! 

Layers, Layers, Layers

You don't want to be too hot, nor do you want to be too cold. You want to be just right, and most importantly, dry. The key to warmth is making smart apparel choices and layering. On a sunny day, you may only need two layers - the waterproof outer layer and the turtleneck/long underwear first layer. Bringing a middle layer (fleece or wool sweater) just in case will ensure you're ready for any weather. You can always take off and add layers as the conditions on the mountain change (which they do frequently and drastically). We suggest dressing in three layers: inside, middle, and outer. 


Inner of "Wicking" Layer

Since the inner layer is worn next to your skin, it is important to pick a material that will pull moisture away from your skin, a process called wicking. Quick-drying polyester jersey fabric offers great moisture management and breathability. Silk is also a good natural fabric that pulls away moisture from the skin. Warm thermal underlayers made of wool or synthetic fabric will set you up for success on the mountain. 


Middle or "Insulation" Layer

For the middle layer, look for pullovers, sweat shirts, and vests that will keep you warm by trapping air between the fibers and insulating you. A great material for this is fleece. Sweatshirts or puffy jackets that can be added or removed will help to regulate your body temperature as conditions change. 


Outer or "Shell" Layer

It is important that your jacket and pants guard against the elements and keep out the snow, while allowing some breath-ability. When looking for a jacket, look for one that is waterproof with a snow guard or is long enough to overlap the pants a couple inches. This will help prevent snow from entering your pants or getting your layers wet.


Also, don't forget about these items:

Consider your sock choice! There is nothing worse than frozen toes. A pair of lightweight or medium-weight socks works best. Don't give into the idea that multiple layers of socks are better - that will only restrict circulation and cause your feet to be colder rather than warmer.

Protect your eyes. Sunglasses or goggles protect eyes from dangerous UV rays, which become stronger with the reflection of surfaces such as snow.

One of the most important purchases you will make for skiing and snowboarding is your gloves. Hands can easily get wet and it is very important to keep them warm.

Wear a warm hat or helmet. Like other layers, make sure the fabric works well when wet, such as wool or polyester. Helmets are also a warm and safe idea. Most helmets have the same safety standards and can often be rented if need be.


Do I need to purchase all the specialized stuff? 

If you're getting into skiing or snowboarding for the long haul, it's well worth the investment in some of the above specialized gear. However, if you're just checking things out, and not sure you're going to stick with it, focus on ways to stay warm and dry.

Layering regular clothing like a t-shirt, long-sleeve flannel or shirt, sweatshirt, and a jacket can go a long way! Same with the legs - layering shorts, sweatpants and some sort of waterproof pant will set you up for success.