Outdoor Life

Clothing layers for winter sports

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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woman on sled with child
Zipping down a mountain is most fun when you are not shivering
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Base layers are key to enjoying your favorite winter sports

Remember how easy it was to dress for the snow as a kid? After wiggling into a multi-colored one piece snow suit and covering all exposed skin with a hand-knitted creation, it was a race to crush the smooth powder with snow angels before your clothes were thoroughly soaked. Home, warm and dry, was always within sight and you probably werenít soaring down a mountain or trekking across a field in snow shoes.

Now, youíre grown and looking for adventure so itís important know about clothing layers for winter sports. Base layers of clothing are the basic ingredient for winter warmth.

Whether youíre a first-timer on the slopes, looking to improve your performance or simply trying to find the best way to stay warm and dry this winter, proper clothing choices are essential. Itís easy to talk yourself out of a full inner layer of clothing when youíre standing in a warm sporting goods store reluctant to spend the extra money.

Contrary to the one thick layer kids wear for their twenty minutes in the snow, you need to layer your winter wear in order to stay dry and control your body temperature.


Clothing Layers for Winter Sports

While specific clothing choices will depend on your location and sport, clothing layers for winter sports consist of an inner layer, a mid-layer and an outer layer.

Outer layer Ė Your outer layer should be wind and weather resistant, thin and easy to store. The outer layer is not meant for warmth, thatís the mid-layerís job. 





Mid-layer  - Thermals of mid-thickness and fleece are versatile mid-layer materials that resist weather and keep you warm while leaving room for more layering if needed.

Inner layer Ė Soft and fitted, the inner layerís function is to keep you dry by wicking sweat and moisture. This is the base layer for winter warmth: If your body doesnít stay dry, you can catch a chill during downtime, like riding the chair lift. A rapid cooling in your body temperature can lead to hyperthermia if not addressed immediately.

Your base layer should cover your body from neck to toes. Look for long sleeves, leggings and socks Ė you can even find base layer gloves for extra finger protection. In addition to removing moisture, your base layer will keep your blood flowing to extremities. Base layers should be fitted, but not too tight.

Besides fit, itís important to choose a base layer made from material that does not retain moisture. Silk and merino wool are popular natural materials. Polypropylene and polyester are synthetic materials designed to wick sweat, and select styles have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial treatments that control odor. Note that cotton retains moisture and should not be used as a winter clothing base layer for winter sports.


When shopping for base layers, keep in mind that the effectiveness of these clothes will be a major factor your ability to concentrate and enjoy yourself outside. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

- Base layer pants should offer full hip to ankle coverage.

- Avoid base layers with zippers, bulky stitching or cuffs as they can cause discomfort once youíre fully dressed.

- Base layer shirts with a crew or turtle neck will better protect your neck.

- If you plan to take skiing or other trips where youíll be outside several days in a row, consider choosing base layers treated with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, especially if you wonít be able to wash these layers between uses.


Base layers are for everyone who enjoys winter sports from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing, hiking climbing and ice skating. While few moments are as serene and thrilling as finally getting outdoors in the winter and immersing yourself in the sport you love, you wonít be able to enjoy it if youíre wet and shivering.

References:
Weather.com


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