Clothes for skiing: What to wear first time skiing

Newsroom Gear Clothes for skiing: What to wear first time skiing

Got a holiday booked to the mountains, and you’re unsure what to pack? Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, or a first-timer on the slopes, these pieces of ski gear are must have!

Now, everything listed here can be bought at a major ski resort, but you’ll end up paying a premium. It’s much cheaper to get all these clothes for skiing sorted ahead of time.

What to wear first-time skiing?

When thinking about clothes for skiing, it’s all about the layers! Dressing in multiple, thin layers can help trap warm air in and works out way warmer than just a big ski jacket with t-shirt underneath. Think a minimum of three layers and it’ll serve you well: a base layer, mid layer and water resistant ski jacket and salopettes. Then it’s accessory time: goggles, helmet, gloves, socks and ski/snowboard boots.

Base layers

When you’re at 2,000 metres elevation, surrounded by snow and ice, staying warm is essential. And doing so, starts with a base layer. These are usually made from synthetic materials like polyester, but can also be made with natural fibres like merino. Base layers are there to keep sweat of your skin and keep you dry and toasty. One pro tip when looking at what’s on the market is that you don’t necessarily need to go for the latest cutting edge gear from specialist ski shops for these. Remember to get a top and bottom base layer.  Check out Uniqlo’s Heattech range.

Mid layers

Continuing on with clothes for skiing to keep you warm, either a fleece or two thin jumpers should be your next layer. Unless you’re going for a particularly warm late season trip, you need multiple layers to keep your body temperature up. Also fleeces are a versatile wardrobe option even when you’re not skiing. You don’t need a mid layer on your bottom half, as legs don’t tend to get as cold. Check out Patagonia’s range of fleeces for a tried and tested classic.

Ski jacket

The final jigsaw piece as far as your upper body is concerned – a jacket. Ski jackets fall into three categories: hardshell, softshell or insulated. Hardshell jackets are favoured by freeriders and offer unbeatable weather protection, they’re waterproof and durable. Softshell jackets aren’t quite as weather proof but will hold up in moderate snowfalls. Also they offer more stretch and move with your body. Insulated ski jackets are the warmest and are essential for kids and beginners.

Ski jackets are also a chance to get stylish on the slopes. Consider choosing a brightly coloured jacket or something with a distinctive pattern on it if you’re in a group. It will help your friends spot you on a busy piste. Finally, go for one with vents, because just as the mountains can be cold, they can also get awfully hot. If you’re willing to splash the cash, then take a look at Arc’teryx’s high-tech range.

Salopettes or ski trousers

Moving down the body we come to your legs. You might be wondering what the difference is between salopettes and ski trousers. Well, salopettes sit higher, and usually have braces to hold them up. Whereas ski trousers are like normal trousers, except they keep the snow out. It’s a personal preference thing here. Mountain Range is a good haunt for these, and most items on this list.


While lots of items it’s alright to bargain hunt on, goggles are one of the few essential pieces of ski gear when you should seriously consider paying good money. A poor pair of goggles are liable to steam up, and present rubbish visibility on the mountain. Whereas a quality pair will allow you to take in the gorgeous vistas that surround you in all their glory. For a more in-depth guide to goggles, read our article “How to find the best ski googles“. And check out Snow + Rock to see what’s available.

Ski socks

Proper ski socks are of the upmost important when it comes to clothes for skiing. Many beginners complain about how uncomfortable their boots are, but often the root cause is their socks – either the wrong type or not pulled up tautly enough. Check out Decathlon.

Ski boots

What are the key factors to take into account when finding the best ski or snowboard boots? How should they fit? What style is best? Should they keep your feet warm? For the answers to all these questions, read our guide “How to find the best ski boots.” You’ll also want some comfy, grippy boots to get around the resort in. A pair of hiking boots or snow boots are a good shout.

Gloves or mittens

Now gloves versus mittens is a contentious issue among skiers and snowboarders. Do whatever works best for you. Glisshop has an extensive selection.


Keeping your face warm is often less vital as you glide down the piste, rather it’s necessary when you head back upwards. It can get awfully cold on chairlifts, with the wind whipping your mouth and nose. Check out Blacks.

Winter hat

Beneath your helmet, and yes, you should wear a helmet, a hat will stop any stray heat from escaping. There’s nothing wrong with using a beanie that serves you well in everyday life. Personally, I love Finisterre’s outdoorsy range.

Sun cream & lip balm

The sun’s rays are incredibly intense on mountains, and SPF is the only way to combat that. While you’re at it, apply lip balm to combat inevitably chapped lips. Head to your local chemists for something like this.


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