How to Dress Yourself

Advice from Coach Ben

Coming from skiing in Tahoe, I had no idea how to dress in really cold weather like we get in New England. It took me 5-6 years to get everything that I need to stay warm in all the conditions we see…which is unfortunate, because that means I was never warm enough while I was racing on the team! I’m hoping you can take some shortcuts by taking a look through these suggestions:

  1. NO COTTON on the slopes. It absorbs sweat and loses its ability to insulate–stick to wool and synthetics.
  2. Think in layers so you can be ready for any of the weather we might see in New England, from -20F to 40F with sun, snow, rain, and wind. Here is what I like to have available:
    • Long underwear: its a nice thin layer underneath your speepsuit to keep you warm when you have to shed outer layers. I actually like to have thin (normal) long underwear and thick (fleece) longer underwear for those really cold days. Wool and synthetic are both good.
    • Socks: invest in a couple good pairs of thin-ish wool ski socks. They smell less than synthetic and are very warm.
    • Gloves: Mittens are so much warmer than finger gloves and I strongly recommend you get a pair. A combination I like is using spring gloves underneath a leather work overmitt ($20 in a hardwear store).
    • Fleece: a medium loft fleece layer (like Patagonia R1) is great for over a speedsuit. It adds a lot of warmth without a ton of bulk
    • Puffy layer: a thin synthetic or down-filled jacket for between the fleece and your outer jacket
    • Jacket: the team jackets are great but, if you have your own, make sure it lets you be athletic, i.e. not too tight or too bulky. If it’s not waterproof (e.g. softshell) then make sure you also have a raincoat for any wet days we might see. I really like wearing a softshell in most conditions because moisture can get out much more easily than through a hard shell
  3. Optional:
    • I love my huge down jacket for days that are below 5F. I can stay out all day and if my core stays warm then my toes/fingers do fine as well.
    • Boot heaters might be a good idea if you have poor circulation. They can be the difference between staying out skiing and going in early.
    • Neck gaiter/scarf/mask/buff. Good to have for covering your face on windy or extra-cold days
    • For goggles, I like to have two lenses: one for sun and one for overcast.
  4. Good quality gear really makes a difference for staying warm. I really like Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear clothing (although there are many more good companies). We get some discounts/prodeals through manufacturers so ask before buying anything so you can make sure you’re getting the best price.