A Layered Guide on Skiing Thermals for a Good Ski This Winter

Hey! Are you planning a short ski trip this winter? It’s a pretty adventurous sport to try out in the winter. If you have plans, you’ll need the right skiing thermals, among other essentials. And so, if you’re looking for some, this one’s for you.

You must enjoy your winter sports and adventures in full flow. And for that, you will need the proper winter gear. As always, thermals are a reliable essential in extreme weather.

So, let’s see how you can make the most of your skiing experience with the right ski thermals.

I’ll guide you through some options for your skiing thermals.

The Importance of Base Layers

Layering is one of the first things you must look at while planning a ski adventure. As part of that, base layers play a massive role in your skiing thermals. So let’s get a deeper understanding of how base layers work.

What’s in a Base Layer?

Base layers are insulating layers worn close to your skin. It’s also your second skin in many ways during winter. They also regulate your body temperature by wicking away sweat from your skin.

In turn, it keeps you dry, which has its benefits in winter. Staying dry lets you stay warm and comfortable throughout your winter journeys.

Base layers come in forms such as t-shirts, tights, leggings, etc. Some of them might fit like contours to your body. But there are some loose-fit options on the market as well.

Base layers also come in weights or thicknesses. It depends on the varying temperatures and activity levels.

There are three main elements when you look at a base layer. It’s mentioned below.

The Base Layer Weights

Based on the fabric’s weight per square meter, a base layer is usually categorized as light, medium, or heavyweight. You will find different cut-offs for “lightweight” at each store,

The same goes for medium and heavyweight base layers.

  • Lightweight

This is a thin first layer that sits next to your skin and could also welcome more layers. Lightweight base layers must be comfortable on your skin and are designed to fit tighter for moisture-wicking.

They can be worn alone while running, climbing, cross-country skiing, touring etc. So, here are some you need to consider as your skiing thermals. We’ll look into the details later on in the post.

  • Midweight

This layer can be a warmer first layer or a second layer to your base. It should be good at insulation and moisture wicking.

You can also wear this in cool, moderately cool, or cold conditions. It’s best for medium activity levels with little movement involved.

It can accompany lightweight layers underneath or heavyweight layers over it for desired warmth.

  • Heavyweight

The third type of base layer is the heavyweight one. They are ideal for cold climates. Heavyweight layers are designed for good insulation. These are thicker layers due to their higher loft for insulation.

Types of Base Layers

Now, let’s move to the types of base layers out there. We will look at your options for skiing thermals later on. But, for now, let’s take a quick look at the base layer options in the winter market.

  • Tops

This section of base layers will offer you both long-sleeves and short-sleeves. The former base layers are commonly used for colder conditions in winter. They’re often paired with additional layers to maximize warmth.

On the other hand, the short-sleeved layers tend to be used in conditions where moisture-wicking is more essential than heat retention. In such conditions, a short-sleeved base layer is enough to warm you up at the top.

  • Bottoms

Here again, base layer bottoms come in two styles – the more traditional full leg or the increasingly popular 3/4th leg for use specifically with ski or snowboard boots, where the bottom ends where your boot begins.

The Things to Look At for Your Skiing Thermals

If you wish to try out snowboarding this winter, you must be well-prepared. You should pack the ideal skiing thermals for your winter adventures.

You must properly wear the right gear. It makes all the difference for a pleasant experience.

It can either be highly comfortable or a misery on the slopes.

The layering system you read about above will come into play while you pack for a ski trip. The best way to go about skiing is to have three high-quality layers.

Look for a thin base layer, an insulating mid-layer, and top it up by a waterproof outer layer.

Here’s how you can shield yourself from the winter elements as you come charging down the slopes.

Now you might ask, how does each layer help the overall warmth and comfort?

The base layer wicks away sweat and keeps body heat close to your skin.

The mid-layer is a good insulator and traps warm air.

The outer layer should have a waterproof shell to shield you from wind, snow, rain, etc.

Your Options for Skiing Thermals

For a good experience, you must start off with suitable skiing thermals. Let’s look at options to help you pack for your snowboarding adventures in winter.

Base Tops for Your Ski Thermals

If you’re out for a ski adventure, your base tops should include long, tight-sleeved t-shirts. These types will help trapping your body heat and wicking away moisture, as mentioned above. It keeps you warm and dry, as most base layers do.

As for the best fabrics, you should pick merino wool, synthetic blends or merino wool. The base needs to be insulating but not made from fibres that easily absorb water.

You could wear half-sleeved Merino Wool Bamboo skiing thermals from Kosha as a T-shirt. This tee is lightweight and soft on your skin.

Usually, it works from 15°C to 10°C. But, if you’re layering under other layers, 10°C to – 20°C is the ideal temperature range.

Its temperature regulating properties won’t let you feel chills while stepping out of central heating. Hence, it’s the ideal adventurous base layer for warmth and odour-free winters.

Base Bottoms for Your Ski Thermals

While skiing look for a close fit, so they sit comfortably beneath your more bulky ski trousers. For your bottoms, look at trousers or pants below your ski trousers. Your bottoms should ideally end above your ankles. This won’t allow any extra material to creep into your boots or socks.

Base Layer Fits

Now, moving on to another crucial aspect for your skiing thermals. The types of fits that one finds for a base layer are varied.

  • Compression Fit

It is a tight and form-fitting base layer for your skiing thermals. It increases the blood flow through your extremities and provides a tighter insulating layer.

These types of base layers are a good option for your skiing adventures. But, you might want something more relaxed and flexible due to the potential discomfort.

  • Fitted:

These types aren’t as tight as compression fits. But, they are more fitting than your regular t-shirts. It’s worth considering if you want a balance between a relaxed fit and an insulating layer.

  • Regular Fit

These are much more relaxed and preferable to certain groups of skiers. They like such layers as their skiing thermals due to the comfort it brings along.

Merino Wool base layers are great for such fits.

Middle Layer for Your Ski Thermals

The middle layer sits between the base and outer layer. A mid-layer is usually a fleece designed to trap warm air and keep you warm and comfortable on the slopes.

A mid-layer, too, can range from tight-fits to loose-fits. But, it entirely depends on the skier’s preference and comfort level.

If you go tight, it could restrict movement and cause discomfort. If you are too loose, it might not insulate well or feel comfortable. Remember that this is your second layer and will sit under your ski jacket.

Pick a thicker and warmer mid-layer. When it reaches -5°C. If the weather gets slightly positive (5°C), thin fleece layers will do.

If it’s above 5°C, don’t wear too many layers. If you are, then get rid of that fleece layer. It’s always better to have it with you than not!

You could try a nylon ski pant from Kosha. It’s suitable for temperatures from -20°C up to 5°C. It’s a versatile pair of hardshell pants to explore the snowy hills.

The stable and comfy fit allows easy movement. It is a good choice for activities in cold temperatures.

Outer Layer for Your Ski Thermals

This layer is the most important of them all. It will face all the harsh winter elements. And so, you must have this layer well-covered. You could look for a ski jacket and ski trousers for the final level of the layering system.

Look for ski jackets and trousers with a high waterproof and breathability rating. It should be above 10k mm and above 8k mm, respectively.

The waterproof jackets protect you from getting wet from snowfall or falling onto the snow. A bad waterproof rating will mean that the outer shell will work only in dry and mildly snowy conditions.

The amount of time it takes the fabric to dry will determine the breathability of the jackets. 

You can add a waterproof ski jacket from Kosha to your winter wardrobe. The underarm vents allow good breathability. You can enjoy your inter adventures and sports with this jacket.

The best way to stay warm on the slopes is to stay dry! Your ski jacket and trousers must wick away your sweat as soon as possible. Or else you will feel damp and clammy.

Layering the Other Body Parts

You’ve now got an idea of the ideal skiing thermals for your snowboarding experience. But, you must also cover other parts of your body. It’s essential to avoid any discomfort or health concerns.

1. Keep Your Hands and Feets Warm

While you’re busy skiing, our hands too will be in full flow. So you must ensure that the surrounding temperature doesn’t affect your hands. You must keep your hands warm throughout to ensure maximum safety.

Here are some ways you can ensure reasonable amounts of protection.

  • Hand and Foot Warmers

Your hand and feet warmers can be one of the best ways to keep those body parts warm. They can be disposed of and are usually cheap and affordable. You can use them by stuffing them in your gloves or under your feet for warmth.

They might last for around 6 to 10 hours on average. That’s enough for a day’s worth of exertion.

If you want to go further, use heated socks, insoles, boots, gloves, mittens, etc.

  • Gloves vs Mittens

Here’s where you must be alert. Both gloves and mittens can warm up your hands well. But there are differences between the two handwear accessories

First up, gloves and mittens have different structures. A winter glove has an opening for each finger. But mittens have an opening for your thumb while one separate opening for all other fingers together.

Resort skiers prefer gloves due to their dexterity and grip on a ski pole, among other features.

On the other hand, mittens are better insulators because they’re structured. The downside is the restriction on flexibility and movement.

But if gloves or hand warmers aren’t your cup of tea, don’t rule out mittens. So, avoid hypothermia, frostbite, etc., by providing sufficient warmth to your hands and feet.

2. Keep Your Head and Ears Warm

In all this, you must not forget about your head and ears. These are two essential body parts that need attention, especially in winter.

Good luck if the cold hits your head or gets in through your ears. There might be a winter cold coming soon.

You have ski helmets to keep your head warm and safe from the elements and injuries. But, on those chilly days, add a thin beanie or balaclava underneath for some insulation. But it should fit such that the helmet can act perfectly functional.

Also, here’s something you should also keep in mind. If the conditions get harsh on you, put on that hoodie from your waterproof jacket. Layer it over your helmet to provide an added insulating layer to maximize comfort.

So these are some ways to warm up your body apart from skiing thermals.  

Tips to Enjoy Skiing

Now you know what to wear, but let’s see how you can enjoy your time in the mountains.

Skiing is an outdoor winter sport that takes a lot out of you. But, the result is very fulfilling. Apart from the right skiing gear, you must be aware of other aspects. If you pay attention to it, you will have a great time.

So here are some tips you should follow when prepping for a ski down the mountains.

1. Know The Weather

Like you check the weather for a vacation spot, you must do so while prepping for your skiing adventure. Skiing adventures in winter aren’t something you can land up for straight-away. You need to know what clothes you will need.

For that, you could consider the options highlighted in the above segments. But, ensure that you check your weather apps in advance on the day.

The temperature will depend on when and where you’ve decided to take up this expedition. And so, knowing the outside air temperature, the snow forecast will clear things up.

It’s very common for temperatures to fluctuate while you’re at it. On windy days, the “Wind Chill” factor could play spoilsport if you don’t prepare well.

Ideally, you should choose calmer winter days for your adventures. It’s also best to avoid the days assigned with snowstorms. 

2. Start the Day with Warmth

Ensure that you keep all your skiing gear under room temperature or warmer at the least. If you store them in lower temperatures, you have a tough road ahead.

Why should you store it in warm or room temperatures? It’s because the primary purpose of your skiing clothes is to keep you warm. You will get a good headstart if you store them in such temperatures.

Once you’ve got the skiing thermals and other gear on, stay indoors for 5-10 minutes. It will allow you to warm up your body temperature. It’s essential before you get going. But, don’t stay in for too long, as you might start sweating.

3. Eat and Drink at Regular Intervals

While you pay attention to the clothing, don’t ignore hydration and hunger. You must keep yourself hydrated and eat something before you get started.

You should never set out on an empty stomach. You will need all those calories to burn while you exert yourself in the mountains.

It’s best to begin your day with a hot and nutritious meal with carbs, fat, and protein. It will ensure that you’re pumped up for the exciting day ahead. You should also carry some high-calorie snacks to munch during your breaks.

As for the liquids, carry a reusable water bottle. But ensure that you si[pping water at regular intervals.

4. Keep Your Equipment Dry

You should ensure that you’re skiing equipment doesn’t get too wet at any stage. Wet equipment and clothing are hazardous on windy days.

And so, always wear dry socks and dry boot liners. Put on dry thermals, dry jackets, and dry ski trousers.

Get rid of any snow or dirt at the end of each day. You can also hang it up to dry at room temperature.

You should take out your boot liners and keep them near heaters.

If you start the day dry, you’re likely to stay warm for longer. And as mentioned, damp clothes are a poor start to the day. But more importantly, it’s a losing battle that could end up miserable.

Unless, of course, you get your gear changed immediately before you begin! In short, these are some vital elements in the delicious skiing recipe.


So, I hope you’ve got the gist of the essentials for your winter skiing thermals. You must venture out and do some skiing during winter. If you live in sub-zero climates, you aren’t far away from an opportunity.

If you don’t experience such climates, go on a vacation. Add this to your itinerary while you plan your winter adventure.

It could be a pleasant and fulfilling experience for you. So, I hope you go well-prepared for your next ski trip in winter.

This post was written by Kosha team member – Shawn Mathias