skiing friends

How to keep warm on the slopes

To help you, we've created a list of our favourite ways to help keep you (and most importantly, your muscles) warm.

There's a lot of things to love during your ski trip: the magic of snowy landscapes, the sensation of gliding over the snow, or the Savoyard cuisine.

That being said, the main challenge when skiing is trying to stay warm while sat on the ski lifts.

To help you, we've created a list of our favourite methods for keeping you (and most importantly your muscles) warm. 

How to keep warm on the slopes

1. Layer up when getting dressed: the best way to keep warm

Ski jackets and ski trousers

Your ski jacket is your first line of defence against the cold. For those who feel the cold or who enjoy frequent ski sessions in cold climates, a ski jacket with a waterproof outer layer and a padded inner layer is an excellent choice.

The downside is that these layers aren't so breathable and versatile when the temperatures begin to warm up, but they're an excellent way to keep warm on cold days.

Then, the choice of your ski trousers can also have an impact on your warmth. Most people focus on the upper body more than the lower body when dressing for a ski trip, and ski trouser options are more limited than the jacket ranges on offer. However, this doesn't have to prevent you from keeping warm.

Similarly to ski jackets, many skiers wear non-thermal ski trousers, which are pretty thick, and instead focus on a warm base layer instead. With thick thermal trousers and ski socks covering your lower legs, you'll definitely be warmer.

How to keep warm on the slopes

Middle layer

In addition to your ski jacket, your middle layer will handle a lot of the important work when it comes to heat insulation. To keep warm, you'll want to grab layer #2: a fleece and/or padded jacket (down or synthetic padding).

How to keep warm on the slopes

Base layer:underwear

Finally, your base layer is closest to your skin and evacuates the humidity generated by your body, as well as regulating your body temperature. Merino wool and polyester are two of the most commonly-chosen materials for base layers. Merino wool may be more expensive, but it performs much better in terms of humidity evacuation. As for polyester, it's a less expensive option and more durable than wool, but not as comfortable and less odour-resistant.

How to keep warm on the slopes

2. No more cold feet: ski socks and boots that fit properly

The good news is that ski boots (the shoe technology in particular) have been hugely improved over recent years. Ski boots now have better thermal insulation and are much more comfortable.

So, you no longer need to dig out the thickest ski socks possible. Effectively, it's preferable to opt for a high-quality, lightweight shoe and to select a ski boot that fits your properly.  Your boots are one of the most important aspects when it comes to keeping your feet warm.

If your ski boots are too tight, they can cut off your circulation, and make your toes cold, as well as quickly numbing them. If they're too big, there's more space for cold air and they can become uncomfortable after a few slope descents. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your boots fit you well and are comfortable (and don't forget that your boots will mould to your feet over time, or you can have them heat-moulded when you buy them).

If possible, we recommend trying several models before settling on a pair to buy, as each model has a different shape and general feel.
The best way to make sure your boots fit properly is to visit your closest store to get help from an adviser.

How to keep warm on the slopes

3. Keeping your fingers and toes warm

Hand-warmers and feet-warmers

Keeping your fingers and toes warm is essential when fighting the cold, and simple warmers for hands, feet and toes can be an effective and affordable way to keep comfortable. Disposable, inexpensive, and biodegradable... There's a great range available. 

To use them, you just need to slip them into your gloves or under your feet (when using a flat model, specifically for feet) in order to enjoy some extra warmth. They generally last 6 to 10 hours, which is more than enough to cover a day at the ski resort.

One last tip: if you have an extra heating pad, put it in the same pocket as your smartphone, as this will extend your phone's battery life.

How to keep warm on the slopes

Gloves or mittens

In terms of keeping your hands warm, you'll also want to think about whether you prefer ski gloves or mittens. Gloves are the most popular choice for resort skiers, given the dexterity they allow for and their ability to grip a ski pole, to adjust boots and fixtures, etc. That said, mittens are better overall in terms of heat insulation, as your fingers warm each other up. The downside is that they seriously sacrifice freedom of movement for your hands. 

When skiing, there's a potential compromise in the form of three-fingered gloves, which have separate slits for your index finger and thumb, but which keep your other fingers together. There isn't a huge difference in terms of dexterity, and you'll leave your index finger vulnerable to the cold, but they're a viable option for skiers who suffer with cold fingers.

Find more info in our article: choosing gloves or mittens ?

How to keep warm on the slopes

4 - Protect your head and ears

Fingers and toes are generally the first parts of your body to get cold, but don't underestimate the importance of protecting your head. Ski helmets have become common sights on the slopes and, in addition to providing protection in the event of an accident, they're generally pretty warm and comfortable. That said, the colder days or for skiers who feel the cold more (especially in their ears), you can choose to add a thin hat or ski mask underneath the helmet to reinforce the insulating effect. However, keep in mind that you want to keep a perfect fit, so that your helmet can do its job, so avoid overly thick and chunky hats.

Ski helmets also help with heat management through their adjustable ventilation systems. One last tip: if it snows, put the hood of your waterproof ski jacket over your helmet, so that you have another insulating layer to maximise comfort.

How to keep warm on the slopes

5 - Are you always too cold?keep moving while queuing for the ski lift

One of the quickest ways to get cold is to stop moving while waiting in lines or on the ski lifts.

In this case, our best advice is to keep moving as much as possible.Swing your arms, slide your legs forward and backward, squat... Anything that can increase blood flow and get your body moving.

How to keep warm on the slopes

6 - Head to the chalet

It seems pretty obvious, but if you can't manage to warm up, it's probably time to take a break in the chalet. Enjoy a hot drink, like coffee or hot chocolate, and fuel up with some good food (preferably hot) and grab a seat next to the fire. Your body needs energy to be able to keep with the rest of your activities for the day. If you're skiing with a backpack, it's also a great idea to pop a thermal flask into it with a hot drink or soup that you can enjoy during a break in the day.

How to keep warm on the slopes

7 - Dry your kit

When you're done skiing, and if you're thinking about heading back out onto the slopes the next day, your first priority should be properly drying your kit. Firstly, take off your boots so that they have time to defrost. Next, take off any damp layers and unfold anything that you had in your backpack. If you have a fireplace or a wood stove, hang your kit close to it, but avoid hanging it too close - fire and intense heat can having a damaging effect on many materials.

So, you're now ready to take on the slopes while staying protected from the cold.

camille begat

Camille bégat

Communication team

Avid skiing fan

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