What To Wear Cross-Country Skiing

Have you ever wondered what to wear when you go cross-country skiing?

As part of our ongoing cross-country ski series we’ve talked about ski’s, boots, bindings, and poles and how to apply both kick wax and glide wax to our skis and what to put in our wax kit. Now we’re going to discuss what to wear when you cross-country ski.

Since cross-country skiing is aerobic, it’s not a good time to wear your downhill ski or snowmobiling clothes. The two most important things to remember are to dress in layers and avoid wearing cotton.

We typically dress in 3 layers, mixing and matching depending on the weather conditions.

We start with a base layer to keep us warm and wick away the sweat. We like base layers made of merino wool or polyester.

Base Layer

We top our base layer off with an insulation or mid layer. We like a heavier poly-blend top or light fleece layer and pants made of a polyester/nylon blend which on most days double as an outer layer as well. If it’s really cold, we’ll throw in a fleece vest.

Mid Layer

We finish the ensemble with an outer layer or shell to keep us dry if it’s snowing and protect us against the wind.

Outer Layer

And then we accessorize with sunglasses, hats, headbands, neck warmers,  gloves, mittens, Ausangate socks or Smartwool socks, overboots, or gaiters, etc depending on the weather conditions and if we’ll be in the backcountry or just a few kilometers from our car.

We try avoid cotton because it has little insulation capabilities and once it gets wet, it stays wet and miserable. It’s especially challenging to find non-cotton base layers for babies and toddlers and sometimes we improvise.

When it comes to cross-country ski attire the good news is that if you cycle, hike, or play outside a lot it’s likely that you already have what you need for a day of cross-country skiing in your closet.

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