How to Dress Like a Pro on the Ski Slopes


Understanding what equipment, accessories, and clothing to buy, can be confusing when starting with a new hobby. If you were taking up skateboarding, would you just buy a regular board or something more expensive? Skiing is exactly the same. It can seem like a minefield when wondering what you should wear when taking up the sport for the first time. It is important to be seen dressing properly for the occasion but at the same time, you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily.

Skiing can be an expensive hobby to get into so any tips for making it more affordable are always welcome. One simple way to do this is to buy the correct ski gear in the first place so you don’t have to replace it later. 

The Popularity of Skiing Across the World

If you decide to take up skiing, or snowboarding for that matter, you will be getting yourself involved in a highly popular activity. In Canada, 14% or more of anyone over the age of 12 takes part in either skiing or snowboarding and in the states, it is closer to 15 or 16 million.

There are 470+ ski resorts across the US and apart from skiers, there are also 8 million people actively participating in snowboarding. In Europe, the activity is also popular and Germany leads the list with almost as many skiers as the whole of the USA.

While the population is only just over 80 million, nearly 15 million people are skiing regularly in the country. Japan, China, South Korea, and even India enjoy indoor ski slopes, with Japan having the second biggest amount in the world.

As you can see, if you take up skiing you won’t be alone, so you better dress properly. 

How expensive is ski gear?

When you are just beginning you will have to make some type of investment in ski gear. Fortunately, you won’t have to buy everything brand new and top of the range. Second Hand equipment can in many cases suffice and renting is always an option too.

When it comes to skis, ski poles, and bindings, you can rent these from the ski resort you will be attending. This can cut down your initial expenditure and allow you to make purchases in other areas.

Ski pants can also be rented but you may prefer to buy your own along with a few other accessories. When you look to make your first purchases plan ahead if at all possible. Making any ski gear purchase close to the skiing season or during it will mean you are paying full price. Look for bargains before you start skiing.

The off-season or right at the end of the season are good times to look for discounted ski gear. Retailers look to clear out last year’s stock or bring in revenue for unsold gear so they often have sales or make discounts during the off-season. Skiers may also sell unwanted gear after the season ends too.

Buying ski gear this way can reduce your costs and allow you to buy higher-quality clothing and accessories. 

What do you need to buy for the ski slopes?

When you are skiing for the first time you should make an equipment checklist. This can help you see what you need to buy or rent.

Assuming that you are going to rent your skis and poles from the resort, you are now left with the following to consider:

  • Ski helmet
  • Ski boots
  • Goggles
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Socks
  • Ski pants
  • Ski jacket
  • Clothing for mid and base layers 

Ski Boots

Although you are renting your skis there are some areas that you might prefer to make purchases of your own. Most experts recommend that you purchase your ski boots instead of renting as you can choose ones that give you the best fit and support. 

Gloves and Socks

You might be on the slopes for hours so it is essential to keep as dry and warm as possible. Remember, you might spend more time on the lifts than actually skiing so if you are sitting around you want to feel as snug as you can. Weather-resistant ski gloves are a must as are good socks. Look for a mix of merino wool and synthetics for the warmest socks.

Goggles and Helmet

A ski helmet is a good safety precaution as things do happen unexpectedly in life and the ski slopes are no different. Some people prefer to take sunglasses, whether this is for style or to save money is uncertain, but goggles are a far better purchase.

Sunglasses can break, fall off, and may not have adequate protection from the sun and any glare from the snow. Invest in a pair of goggles and your eyes will thank you. The biggest part of dressing for the slopes will be your jacket, pants, and layering. 

Choosing Ski Pants and a Jacket

Waterproof ski pants are necessary as you might find yourself on the ground a lot, especially at the start. You can rent but you may prefer to find a pair of ski pants that provide good weatherproofing and you can also check out bibs which some people prefer.

If you cannot afford ski pants then you could consider wind pants, but don’t use jeans as you will end up soaked and cold. You don’t need to know how to prepare for extreme sports in the wilderness but you do need to stay warm and dry.

As far as jackets go you could take any good jacket that is water and weatherproof. Any jacket that is comfortable and can protect from the weather and is suitable for layering should be ok. 

Base and Mid-layer Clothing

When it comes to dressing properly for the occasion, knowing how to layer is very important. While your ski pants and jacket will help to keep you dry, you will need to know what layers to put underneath.

You need to consider the material for your base layer, the wicking effect it has, how comfortable it will be, and the level of insulation it will provide.

When it comes to materials you can dismiss cotton straight away. The reason jeans are a big no on the ski slopes is that they absorb water, and any base layer made from cotton will do the same when you sweat. This will leave you feeling uncomfortable on the slope.

The wicking effect is where materials draw sweat and moisture away from the body. The material then spreads the moisture allowing it to be evaporated. Synthetics can have good wicking effects but merino wool is also good at absorbing sweat and still allowing breathability.

Many professionals will recommend synthetics with good moisture management but your choice of base layer material may come down to your own requirements. Base layers come in different thicknesses and which one you choose will depend on the temperature you are skiing in. 


For your mid-layer, you want something that will insulate you so a fleece is ideal. You should choose something easy to remove if you get too warm. 


When dressing for the ski slope the most important thing to consider is your layers. Although you must wear gloves and goggles, your base, mid, and outer layers are what will keep you comfortable and warm.

The base layer will remove sweat while trapping body heat, the mid-layer will insulate, and a good ski jacket and pants will keep you dry and protected. Now you know how to layer and what accessories to buy, it is time to get on the slopes.