Photo: © Helly Hansen. Whether you are a complete beginner skier or an experienced mountain master, one thing always remains the same. For good and comfortable skiing, you have to stay warm. If it’s something that has caused you problems in the past, listen closely. 90% of the time, when a friend or colleague tells me they’re having a hard time keeping their body temperature at mountain high, it’s due to a single factor. And that, my friends, is the quality of the ski soles they have. A really good base coat costs a little, and those who stick to it always find themselves spending more than they would in the first place on hot chocolate – and wasting time skiing.
What causes a cold?
What really gets a skier cold – rightly, dangerously cold – is wet clothes next to your skin. It transmits cold vapor more efficiently to our bodies, and it also evaporates – sucking up our body’s heat at an alarming rate. That’s why polar explorers are taught a simple rule at the start of their careers: “If your clothes get wet, change them immediately – or you’ll die.”
Stay warm while skiing
Mons Women Base Layer in Merino wool by Ellis Brigham. Of course, it’s not like you’re flirting with death every time you catch a ski lift. But all the same, on an average day you’ll be working in very hot temperatures, and if all you’re wearing next to your skin is a cotton t-shirt, it’ll sweat. foul at lunchtime. As soon as you stop to take a breather, you’ll feel chills. For years now, manufacturers have been producing ski clothing to solve this problem – long-sleeved t-shirts and trousers, designed to be worn under your fleece and jacket. Sometimes (erroneously) referred to as ‘thermoelectric’, this base is primarily designed to keep us dry, not warm (the upper layers do that) and it works. in two ways. First, it’s extremely absorbent, so it can’t hold much moisture, and second, it encourages water to get out of our skin and seep into our outer layers of clothing. We’ve tested and reviewed what we believe to be the best ski foundation available that meets the described criteria. Take a look and maybe you’ll consider getting yourself one of them before your next ski trip…
According to Welove2ski’s Sean Newsom, one fabric does this better than any other in the business – Capilene, designed and manufactured specifically for Patagonia. Admittedly, he hasn’t tested every foundation under the sun, but he’s worn a lot during his years as a ski author and has found that nothing beats its performance. His definitive test did not take place in the snow. It comes in the Lake District, which is – officially – the wettest place in the UK. “I walked for three hours in the pouring rain – wearing a pair of Capilene pants under a pair of jeans. Normally, jeans can be deadly for hill walkers, as they soak up large amounts of water and can make the wearer very cold. “But with Capilene underneath, my feet are almost completely dry. It’s strange. Every now and then a stream of water would run down my jacket, my jeans, then down my legs – and then it would go away, and my feet would dry out again. There’s no dampness, cold, or stuffiness you’d expect, and overall, my feet felt warm throughout the walk. “Needless to say, if a foundation can perform well in those conditions, it should easily cope with average sweat days in the mountains. “The only problem with Capilene is that after a hard day on the slopes, it stinks. I don’t mean it smells a little. It’s cruel, with half the chance it’ll walk out of your chalet on its own and start nibbling on old ladies on the street outside. Patagonia has now introduced natural odor control ‘Gladiodor(TM)’ to its Capilene ski soles: but to make sure you won’t drive your ski buddies away on a one-way trip week, you need to bring at least three briefcases. Or grab some travel soap and wash your clothes at night.”
Try Merino wool…
Finisterre Argo base layer. If you can’t or don’t do the above, you can invest in a wool base. Clothes made by the Kiwi Icebreaker company won’t keep you as dry as Capilene during heavy exercise, they’re made from a completely renewable resource, and they’re virtually odor-free. It is for this reason that they have resonated greatly with the ski travel community: people who have to pack light and sweat a lot during their self-guided treks in the mountains. Another company that makes great Merino soles that really work (we tried them) is Finisterre. Born over a decade ago to the needs of demanding British surfers, Finisterre designs products that are equally functional and sustainable in the mountains.
… Or the base layer is made from bamboo
BAM background layer. BAM is the leading name in the world of bamboo clothing offering eco-friendly and ethical bamboo performance clothing. It is moisture-proof, temperature-controlled, anti-bacterial and anti-static. Constantly innovating, the company produces comfortable, quality and effective apparel. It’s all 100% machine washable and easy to pack as it takes up minimal space and won’t wrinkle.
Cashmere for pure luxury
Women’s Strike cashmere sole. Welove2ski’s Peter Hardy tested the Dhu Performance Cashmere men’s touring vest and performance shirt, which provide a practical middle layer without being too bulky. Both are 100% cashmere, designed and handcrafted in Scotland. Matching cashmere leggings are also available. “In my day, I tried every form of microfiber to try to stay warm in the mountains in the middle of winter,” says Peter. I find it quite extraordinary that the fabric used by the likes of Shackleton and Hillary is truly a fabric of the best! I admit I was quite skeptical when Dhu introduced me to it, but I am a convert now. What about the laundry? Hand wash in warm water – do not put in the washing machine. It’s naturally odor resistant and looks super smart. Like many ski gear, it’s pricey, but you get what you pay for. Please add cashmere.
LIFA Active Graphic Crew, color: Meltdown. The Helly Hansen sole is one of the best wool soles on the market. Unique LIFA® fiber technology and a premium Merino fleece outer layer provide excellent insulation and moisture-proof properties to keep you warm and dry on the slide. It stays dry next to the skin, warm and doesn’t itch.
Kora yak background layer. Yes, you heard correctly. Yak’s hair is currently being used for ski layers. Coarse hair; The nomads used it to make tents, ropes and rugs, but in contrast, yak’s wool is a fine inner layer of wool that animals develop to insulate against the cold – and it’s very soft. kora™ used it to develop a fabric called Hima-Layer™ that is made from 100% yak wool. It is extremely soft, wicks effectively, warm, lightweight and breathable.
Kymira Men’s Pro. Kymira clothing increases circulation and more importantly, improves tissue oxygenation by 20%. The idea is to capture wasted energy, recycle it back into your muscles and supercharge them. One of our editors, Peter Hardy, tried these heats out and said, “To me, this was like a pseudoscience waffle until I tried them. Wearing long johns will make you 10 or 20 years old…depending on your age! ”
Burnt Custard Women’s Base Layer. Burnt Custard has some gorgeous color combinations. In fact, you can choose combinations of colors to make your outfit completely unique. Burnt Custard’s UCustom involves choosing from eight different colors for each arm, leg and torso… and then stitching them together to create a unique garment. Imagine having a different color combination for each member of your family, instead of everyone mixing into their basic black thermos?
Save money on base classes
Stores like Snow + Rock and Ellis Brigham have a wide selection of soles at every price point. However, if you’re a beginner looking to minimize your initial investment in ski clothing (though all of these are great for hiking, biking, or in general for those cold days in home) – or if you’re on a tight budget, look to stores like TK Maxx, Decathlon, and Mountain Warehouse for bargains.
That covers the basics
The choice is yours. But whatever you do, you will bring yourself a great benefit financially. Because, for most recreational skiers, when you’ve chosen the right sole and midsole, the pressure to wear high-tech clothing is greatly reduced. A pair of waterproof ski pants and a basic windproof, waterproof and breathable outer shell will make you proud (with an extra layer in your backpack in case the sun hits). Unless you plan to spend the day on lipstick, anything more than that is just a waste of money. Plus, check out our post on How to Stay Warm on the Slopes, the right ski socks, goggles/sunglasses, and gloves.
What do you use?
We’d love to know what ski soles you claim and any other technical fabrics you just can’t ski without. Tell us in the comments below.
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