Having an effective layering system can play a vital part in keeping comfortable and warm when skiing. Skiers all feel the cold differently so will need to add or remove layers depending on the weather conditions. Here is a basic overview for how to wear a layering system in cold ski conditions in order for it to provide effective insulation and breathability.
The base layer - sometimes referred to as first layer or thermal layer - is the layer you wear directly against your skin. this layer has two key functions, regulating your body temperature and wicking away moisture from the skin.
As the first layer of clothing against your skin, a base layer should be able to provide a good amount of insulation, but it also plays a vital role in wicking moisture away from the body. This is very important in regulating your body temperature, as it helps prevent moisture build up that could otherwise draw warmth away from the body.
Base layers are typically made from synthetic fabrics like polyester, or otherwise natural materials like merino wool. Cotton is never used in base layers, as it soaks up any moisture that may build up but will not dry out - making the wearer feel cold.
The mid layer's primary function is to provide insulation. An effective mid layer is able to direct any excess body heat that your base layer didn't retain back to your body. It will also prevent cold air from passing to your body. A good mid layer will be breathable and also wick any moisture away from the body so any moisture trapped by the base layer is transported out to be evaporated.
Micro fleeces, merino wool layers and thin insulated jackets are popular choices as mid layers. While a thin fleece or merino wool top might be most effective when worn during milder conditions, a thicker fleece would usually be more suitable for colder weather. In very bad weather a warmer insulated jacket may be a better choice.
The outer layer's main purpose is to protect a wearer from wind, rain and snow. Many outer layers are waterproof or water resistant, and breathable, allowing sweat and water vapour to escape the body while keeping you dry.
Choosing the appropriate outer layer for skiing depends a great deal on the weather conditions you are skiing in, as well as the kind of skiing you are going to be doing. Lighter shell jackets can be very effective in warmer ski conditions where they can be worn with differing layers underneath. Thicker insulated ski jackets are usually better for colder weather conditions, or less energetic types of skiing. You can find all of our outer layers in our Mens, Womens and Childrens ski jackets departments.
Wearing an effective a layering system will allow you to self regulate your body temperature for different conditions as you feel necessary. There isn't a single layering system that is appropriate for all types of weather and skiing, so it is good to use this as a guideline, and be ready to alter your layering system as appropriate when skiing.