Cross-country ski clothing has a difficult task to perform. It must keep you warm in the snow while also allowing you to cool down as you generate body heat from the activity. Seems somewhat contradictory and near impossible, doesn’t it?
Choosing cross-country skiing equipment that protects you from the elements while making sure you don’t overheat is important, and the key is to wear multiple lightweight layers. Doing this allows for both warmth and versatility, as you can add or remove layers as needed.
We’re going to take a deep dive into exactly what you need for cross-country ski gear, but before we do, here is a snapshot of the fundamentals:
- The base layer: Your first layer of clothing needs to dry quickly to handle the sweat you’ll create. As a result, you should opt for synthetic material.
- Middle layers: Your next layers are all about warmth, which is why we recommend fleece or a lightweight jacket.
- An outer layer: Sometimes referred to as a “shell,” your outer layer jacket needs to be breathable, water-resistant, and windproof
How to stay comfortable in cross-country ski clothing
The secret to maintaining your comfort while cross-country skiing is being proactive. The reason why we suggest an outfit with easy-to-adjust layers is to make sure your temperature is quickly customisable. There is no need to wait until things get too cold or hot to change your clothing; it’s easier to stay comfortable than trying to become less uncomfortable!
Extra layers may be required for extended or overnight trips, and it’s a good idea to have some spares in case things get too wet. Dry clothing is like gold when you are cross-country skiing! Always make sure your outfit is versatile, ensuring it is easy to adjust or regulate your temperature. Zips and vents are your best friends!
Start With Base Layers
The base layer (first layer) needs to be comfortable and form-fitting; however, it should not restrict your movement. Base layers made of polyesters like workout tights, yoga pants or thermal underwear are popular options that will do the job.
Some key considerations for base layers include:
- Choosing materials that wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly. If your sweat soaks your clothing, you’ll get cold quicker. Try to avoid cotton as it absorbs sweat and takes longer to dry.
- A short-sleeve top under a lightweight long-sleeve is a great way to create options with your base layer to help regulate your temperature.
- Before you begin, it’s ok to be a touch colder than you would like as you’ll heat up quickly.
Whatever you choose for your base layer, just make sure the fabric feels nice against your skin. Different thicknesses will offer varying levels of warmth, heavier base layers for colder conditions, and so on.
Finish Off With The Outer Layers
Most snow outfits feature thick jackets; however, this level of bulk is not conducive to cross-country skiing. There is a lot of movement involved in this activity, and things heat up quickly; a bulky jacket restricts the movement and speeds up the heating, neither of which we want.
Jackets and pants should be wind-resistant and made from material that allows moisture to pass through it. Your outer layer should easily fit over your other layers and often comes in two options:
- Soft-shell: Soft-shell jackets are the most popular choice for cross-country ski gear as they essentially tick all of the boxes above. Make sure the fabric is water-resistant, and the material is breathable, so you won’t get too hot.
- Hard-shell: If you will be dealing with heavy snowfall or lots of rain, a heavier waterproof hard-shell may be required. While you still want to avoid the bulk of classic snowboard or ski jackets, this option will have a bit more padding to protect you from the elements.
Your pants should also be wind-resistant but breathable, made from lightweight, non-cotton materials that have a bit of stretch. The most important feature here is a good range of motion. If you need extra warmth, wear your pants over a base layer. This will create warmth while your outer layer is a windproof, breathable material.
Accessorising in cross-country skiing equipment
We don’t worry about style, as even our accessories are functional and just as important as the primary layers discussed above. Body heat will escape rapidly from your head and hands, which is why you should consider adding the following to your outfit:
- A light cap with a visor
- A headband to cover your ears
- A scarf around your neck in serious cold
- Glove liners
- Windproof gloves
You’ll notice that we even include layers for your hands. This allows you to mitigate the temperatures while ensuring you can still feel your fingers after a long day in the snow!
The same consideration should be made for your feet. We recommend a base layer of liner socks with synthetic socks over the top. Your ski boots will be all you need as the outer layer. Many people think thick socks are the way to go, and while they do create more warmth, it is important that you have some space in your boots for comfort. You can also add ankle gaiters over the top of your boots to make sure snow doesn’t sneak inside.
Don’t forget about sun protection
Just because it’s cold and possibly raining or snowing, that doesn’t mean we forget about sun protection! Direct sunlight and reflective sunlight are a constant consideration, and the right skin coverage helps you avoid sunburn. Sunglasses and the regular application of sunscreen should be a part of your cross-country skiing equipment process all the time.
Cross-country skiing at Lake Mountain
You’ll find more than 35 kilometres of cross-country skiing trails at Lake Mountain, all of which are well signposted and groomed. With some of Australia’s best cross-country skiing, we can guarantee snow during winter thanks to our snow-making technology. Once your outfit is taken care of, it’s time to hit the slopes!
Cross country skiing equipment FAQ
What clothing is suitable for cross-country skiing?
Any clothing for which the material is stretchy and breathable is a great choice as it will move with you while allowing perspiration to pass through it. This ensures you won’t overheat while working up a sweat. We also recommend a water-resistant soft-shell jacket to repel light snow or rain.
What boots do you wear for cross-country skiing?
While there are many different boot options for cross-country skiing, Skate skiing is a popular and dynamic cross-country skiing technique that gives you leverage to push off with each foot, and this requires a firm, lightweight boot. By choosing rigid skate skiing boots, you will allow for less movement of your foot and ankle, creating a good level of support.
How do I keep warm whilst cross-country skiing?
Starting with a good base layer is important; we recommend comfortable materials that will wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry. From there, you can create warmth with insulating middle layers like fleece pullovers, thin insulated vests and lightweight puffy jackets. Finally, your outerwear performs the role of protecting you from the elements, keeping the layers underneath nice and dry.