Skiing is towards the top of the list for sports that require a lot of discipline, training, and strength of will. Not only is it difficult, but it requires a lot of investment in the form of travel, specific ski gear, and ski clothes.
Cross country skiing is less of a competitive sport and more of a way for you to enjoy the process and be outdoors. If you’re planning on going cross country skiing, whether by yourself or with friends and family, there are certain preparations you will need to make. We’ll be talking about what clothes for cross country skiing you will need.
What is Cross Country Skiing
Before we jump into talking about clothes, let’s familiarize ourselves with cross country skiing, what it is, and it befits.
Cross country skiing is generally less well-known than alpine skiing. It is the oldest type of skiing and involves skiing across low altitude, flat or hilly terrain. What started out as a way of traveling in Nordic countries is now a great way for you to try out skiing as a less intensive and competitive sport and experience snowy landscapes and authentic time spent outdoors.
Because it is less of a competitive sport than alpine skiing, cross country skiing is great for anybody regardless of their skill level, age, or previous experience with skiing. You can also try out different landscapes that are less severe and difficult to ski on.
As it began in Nordic regions, cross country skiing is also mostly practiced in Nordic resorts. Because there are no ski-lifts in those areas, the trails are specifically designed to help you propel yourself up the gentle slopes. There are also different routes depending on their level of difficulty so that there is some type of skiing for everyone to enjoy.
Some of the best places for cross country skiing in the United States include the Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado, Bear Valley Adventure Corporation in Bear Valley, California, and the Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby Colorado.
Cross country skiing has a lot of benefits. The first is that it is suited to almost anybody, whether you are young or old, and whatever your skill level is. Next, it is an endurance sport and builds your strength. You work on your heart and muscles while also getting fresh air from time spent outdoors. Being close to nature can also be very beneficial for your mental health.
Clothes You’ll Need for Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is an endurance sport and requires you to be moving a lot and for long periods of time while straining your body. This means that you are likely to sweat a lot as your body creates more and more body heat. The clothes you wear need to protect you from snow, water, and harsh wind and allow the sweat you produce to move away from your body quickly.
It is probably a good idea for you to wear many light layers of clothing. Layering lighter clothing is actually more helpful in keeping you warm than just wearing one layer of thicker clothes. It also allows you to remove and add layers whenever you begin to feel more hot or cold.
We’ll divide the clothes for cross country skiing into three categories. The base layer, the middle layer, and the outer layer.
The base layer is the first layer of clothes you will need and is worn directly with the skin. These clothes should be made of wool or some synthetic materials so that your sweat dries up quickly. The middle layer is what will be keeping you warm. This includes fleece and lightweight, warm clothing. The outer layer is what will protect you from the elements. This includes jackets, pants, and boots that are snowproof and water-resistant.
Let’s take a look at some essential ski clothes you will need in a little more detail.
Underwear is an important part of the base layer of clothing that people overlook or forget. The inner layer is essential for keeping you warm and resisting sweat. Lightweight, long thermal underwear is great for various temperatures from cool to very cold climates. You could also go for heavyweight thermal underwear, but it is a good idea to keep multiple light layers for cross-country skiing.
Stick to materials like wool and synthetic materials. Avoid cotton as it can easily become sweat-soaked and uncomfortable. Check out the PISIQI Thermal Underwear Women’s Ultra-Soft Long Johns and the Herobiker Men’s Thermal Long Underwear Set.
Socks are another important part of the base layer that you have to keep a particular eye on. Ski socks are made out of wool or synthetic-spandex blend of material and are designed to fit snugly inside your ski boots. Ski socks are also more durable than regular socks and do not become loose in your boots or bunch up around the heel or the ankle. Ski socks are essential for keeping your feet warm and also to prevent any blisters from the heavy ski boots. We suggest the Weierya Ski Socks and Cozia Wool Socks.
Fleece/Thermal Mid Layers
Keeping a lightweight but warm collection of mid-layers is probably a great idea if you’re going cross-country skiing. Although these are not specifically ski clothes and are great for everyday wear in winters, they can help keep you warm and are easy to take off or put on depending on if you’re heating up or feeling extra cold.
Mid-layers are usually made of fleece or a thermal material like wool. You could get a light turtle neck, leggings, or a sweater. Some good options to try out are the 90 Degree by Reflex High Waist Fleece Lined Leggings, the American Apparel Unisex Flex Fleece Long Sleeve Turtleneck, and the Indera Men’s Traditional Long Johns Thermal Underwear Top.
Mittens or Ski Gloves
Mittens or gloves are absolute must-haves when it comes to ski clothes. Like underwear, most people do not pay attention to gloves and think that just any regular pair will suffice. This is not the case. If your hands and fingers are too stiff from the cold, you won’t be able to properly grip your ski poles. Mittens and gloves keep you warm and are also designed to give you the best and most comfortable grip on your poles.
Gloves should be waterproof and snow resistant. Some ski gloves come with bumps or textured palms and fingertips to help with grip. There are also designs in which fingers are grouped together to allow for extra warmth. If you tend to feel colder than most people, it would be a good idea to wear mittens or wool gloves inside your ski gloves. Check out the VELAZZIO Waterproof Ski Gloves and the Carhartt Men’s W.P. Waterproof Insulated Gloves.
Hat or Beanie
Although you will be wearing a fleece-lined or insulated helmet while skiing, it is a good idea to also keep a hat or a beanie on hand, with cross country skiing being an endurance sport, your body temperature may drastically vary, and you may suddenly start to feel cold on your head and your ears despite the helmet.
Keep any type of hat or beanie that you find comfortable, and that will fit snugly underneath your helmet. It should ideally be the correct size, big enough to protect your ears, and small enough that if you want to remove it, you can fit it into your jacket or pants pocket.
A ski jacket is the first part of your outer layers. The jacket goes over your thermal/fleece layers and should be waterproof and snow resistant. The jacket should also have enough pockets to carry essential items like a water bottle, sunglasses, and a hat. Some jackets come with a detachable hood and can be used for extra protection over your helmet.
There is a wide variety of options for ski jackets, and you can find a great pick in almost any price range. We suggest trying the Pooluly Men’s Waterproof Ski Jacket, the Arc’teryx Fission SV Jacket, and the SUOKENI Waterproof Ski Jacket.
Ski pants are the next part of your outer layers to consider. Like the jacket, your ski pants should be waterproof and snow resistant. They should have an insulating lining made of fleece or some other synthetic material. It can also be helpful to get a pair of pants that has convenient and easy-to-access pockets for anything you may want to carry with you.
The pants should be a good fit so that you are comfortable and can move your legs in whichever movements skiing may require. We suggest the Heatwave Thermal Trousers, the Gash Hao Men’s Snow Ski Waterproof Softshell Pants, or the DAFENGEA Women’s Softshell Outdoor Snowboard Pants.
Ski boots are the last part of your outer layer of ski clothes. Ski boots are designed to help you walk in the snow and on different skiing terrain and be bound to your skis. The boots are essential in protecting your feet from the cold, snow, and water. The boots should have an inner insulating layer and be made of a waterproof and snow resistant material on the outsides.
Pay close attention to the quality of the bindings on the ski boots, as well as the size of the boots. A snug fit is very important in helping you ski as best as possible and making sure that you are comfortable. If your boots are too loose or big on you, there are higher chances of falling or having an accident. Try out the Rossignol Pure Comfort 60 Ski Boots and the Salomon X Access 70 Wide Ski Boots.
Additional Gear and Accessories for Cross Country Skiing
Now that you’ve got an idea of all the best clothes you will need for skiing let’s talk a little bit about the gear and additional accessories you may want to consider. You may already know that the basics of ski gear include skis, ski poles, a helmet, and goggles. This gear is essential and will make or break your skiing trip, so be sure to put in a lot of research and thought into picking it out. Ski gear can be quite expensive, and while there will be cheaper options to choose from, try not to miss out on quality. Be sure to get gear that is the correct size and fit for you for a more comfortable time skiing.
Some additional accessories that might come in handy are sunglasses, walkie-talkies to communicate with friends and family on the slopes, wireless earphones for if you want to listen to music while skiing, a balaclava to protect your face from the snow and harsh wind, and neck and leg warmers for any extra warmth and conform.
Our Final Thoughts
We’ve taken a look at all the clothes you will need for cross country skiing and have given you some of our top picks for each item. Make sure to start planning and preparing for your ski trip well in advance so that you can get everything you will need in the correct sizes and with all the right specifications.
When it comes to clothes for cross country skiing, be sure to keep all of the different layers you will need. It comes in handy to have lightweight layers that you can add and remove as per your convenience and ensure that you are not too cold or overheated.