Skiing and snowboarding are fun and exciting ways to spend time outside during the winter months. That said, it’s not for the faint of heart: strapping yourself to wooden boards to speed down a snow-covered mountain isn’t just a little dangerous, it’s also very cold. Icy conditions and blowing wind can leave you shivering even under your cold-weather gear. Add on a few of the below ski accessories to stay as warm and comfortable as you can—until you head inside for hot chocolate.
How To Stay Warm While Skiing
Retaining heat in freezing temps can be a struggle, but it’s not impossible. There are plenty of accessories made for the kind of cold weather that comes with being on the slopes, and they’ll help keep you as comfortable as possible. Follow these tips as well:
- Protect every inch of skin. Pile on the clothing and accessories so that you minimize the amount of skin exposed as much as possible. Frostbite is a real possibility if it’s cold enough, and any gaps in your clothes can allow cold air to sneak in and leave you shivering. Add on a face mask and a neck warmer no matter how silly you might feel.
- Layer up. Even if you splurged on a great ski jacket and pants, they wouldn’t work as well if you don’t layer up underneath them. Make sure you have a proper base layer (something that will wick away moisture to keep you dry) and a midlayer that adds extra insulation and keeps you warm (and that can be removed if it’s too warm).
- Make sure your boots fit correctly. Ski boots are not the most comfortable pieces of footwear you’ll ever own. A proper fit keeps them more comfortable but also keeps your feet warm. If they’re too tight, they can cut off circulation, which can leave your toes numb. If they’re too big, there’s more room for cold air to get in there. You want them to feel snug but not tight—you should be able to wiggle your toes around.
- Bring chemical warmers. Sometimes it’s so cold that layers upon layers just don’t seem to do it, especially when sitting on the chairlift. When it’s like that, be sure to bring hand, toe, and foot warmers. Tuck them in glove pockets or in your boots to keep your extremities cozy.
- Keep it moving. Standing still or just sitting there is going to make you feel colder while moving will warm you up. Whenever you’re not actually skiing down the mountain, make sure you’re moving around to keep your circulation going.
- Take some breaks. Even the most experienced skiers need a break after a few runs, especially if temps are below zero. Head inside to warm up, get dry, and drink something that will warm your entire body.
Best Gloves: Hestra Heli Ski Glove
The best gloves for skiing and snowboarding should be durable, flexible, waterproof, and, obviously, very warm. Hestra Heli Ski Gloves check all of those boxes and come in at a lower price point than other high-quality ski gloves. The Heli glove is made with soft leather to keep it very functional so that it moves easily and lasts for a long time. They’re super warm, windproof, waterproof, breathable, and come in several different color options.
The only thing to note about these gloves is that you should apply a leather conditioner to the palm and fingers to keep them waterproof. While that might be a little annoying, it’s worth it—these gloves will keep your hands warm and dry, and they look stylish too.
Best Mittens: Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
Some people prefer gloves when skiing; others prefer mittens. Many say that mittens are warmer because they keep your fingers together. If you’re going to splurge on a pair, go for Black Diamond Mercury Mitts. The shell has a four-way stretch that makes them really comfortable and flexible, and the goat leather palm makes them stronger and less likely to wear through use.
They also feature a waterproof insert and removable liner that has a split-finger design to keep your hands super warm—unlike a regular glove, you’re able to rub your fingers together to keep them warmer. The smart design makes them super popular and easy to use for any level skier.
Black Diamond Equipment - Mercury Mitts - Black - X-Small
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitts are comfortable and warm with a removable waterproof liner.
Best Glove Liners: The North Face Flashdry Liner Gloves
Whether you’re wearing gloves or mittens, you’ll also want to wear a pair of glove liners if it’s really cold outside. When temps are freezing, just one layer often won’t get the job done. The North Face Flashdry Liner Gloves are a great pick. These stretch-fleece gloves are comfortable, breathable, and wick away moisture to keep your hands dry.
These are lightweight enough to feel comfortable under a pair of mittens or gloves, but they’re still warm enough if you want to slip the outer layer off when you need more flexibility with your fingers. They can make a big difference and come at a great price point.
Best Helmet Liner Hat: Smartwool Unisex Beanie
To be as safe as possible on the slopes, you should always wear a helmet—head injuries are real and scary, especially when ice is involved. Helmets are generally pretty warm, but in really frigid weather, you’ll want to add an extra layer. This Smartwool Unisex Beanie makes a great helmet liner, but can also double as just a regular old beanie.
Made of 100 percent Merino wool, this beanie is lightweight but warm, comfortable, and keeps your head dry. It’s thin, so it never feels bulky under your helmet, and the material is super soft. And because it’s so small, it’s easy to put in your pocket if you need to add it or take it off while out on the mountain. All in all, it’s a great, versatile option.
Smartwool Merino 150 Beanie Black, One Size
The Smartwool Merino Beanie is thin and lightweight, but still warm and great at keeping your head dry.
Best Socks: Smartwool PhD Ski Light Socks
Warm socks that don’t feel bulky under your boots are a ski essential. Smartwool PhD Ski Light Socks are a favorite because they’re made with performance in mind, they don’t bunch up, and they keep your feet warm without making them sweaty. They feature a flex zone around the ankle and a seamless toe for extra comfort. The other nice thing about this sock is the light cushion on the bottom, which feels great on your feet.
SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Over The Calf Socks - Men’s Ski Wool Performance Sock Black Small
Made with performance in mind, the Smartwool Men's PhD socks are comfortable, light, and super warm.
Smartwool PhD Ski Medium Pattern Sock 2019 - Women's
Made with performance in mind, the Smartwool Men's PhD socks are comfortable, light, and super warm.
Best Hand Warmers: HeatMax Hot Hands
When the cold is biting, you need something besides just layers, especially for your feet and your hands. Carrying around HeatMax Hot Hands is kind of like carrying around a tiny portable heating pad. They get warm the moment they’re shaken up out of the package, and they stay just as hot for hours on end, no matter how chilly it is outside. Tuck one into your jacket or pants pocket, or in a little pocket on your gloves.
HotHands Hand Warmers - Long Lasting Safe Natural Odorless Air Activated Warmers - Up to 10 Hours of Heat - 40 Pair
HeatMax Hot Hands makes you feel like you're carrying around a tiny portable heating pad for your fingers.
Best Face Cover: Tough Headwear Balaclava Ski Mask for Men & Women
When the temps drop super low, covering up your face is imperative. Your cheeks can quickly get frozen, and the windburn can be excruciating. There are lots of face covers out there, but the ones that go over your head and cover your entire face are the most convenient. This Tough Headwear Balaclava Ski Mask is a helmet liner, neck warmer, and face cover all in one. It fits nice and snug and won’t slide down like some of the half ski masks.
This one is stretchy and breathable so that it wicks away moisture while retaining heat. There are mesh breathing panels as well to help airflow so that you don’t fog up your goggles. Anyone who has used a face mask like this without mesh panels knows how great they are. It also has a hinged jaw so you can wear it as a neck gaiter or a half mask if you want.
Balaclava Ski Mask - Winter Face Mask for Men & Women - Cold Weather Gear for Skiing, Snowboarding & Motorcycle Riding Black
The Tough Headwear Balaclava is breathable and warm, with a versatile and snug fit.
Best Aprés Ski Boots: The North Face Thermoball Eco Traction Booties
The first thing you’ll want to do when you’re done skiing for the day is to take off your ski boots to let your feet breathe. But if you’re hanging in the ski lodge for a bit, you’ll need to put something else on, and you’ll want it to be comfortable. The North Face Thermoball Eco Traction Booties are perfect for aprés ski drinks. Soft and cozy, these are also high-traction, water-resistant booties made to withstand the snow and ice on the ground. They’re super lightweight but will keep your feet cozy, and easy to slip on and off. They’re ideal for days on the mountain because they aren’t bulky, so they’re easy to throw in your bag and store in a locker.
Best Gaiter AKA Neck Warmer: Original Turtle Fur Fleece The Turtle Fur
You have to keep your neck extra covered up when skiing, otherwise cold air is bound to creep in. A scarf is not a good option because it can quickly unravel and end up becoming a safety hazard. A gaiter, on the other hand, is perfect, and this Original Turtle Fur Fleece is one of the best. Made of two layers of soft, cozy fleece, this gaiter keeps cold air out and ensures your neck is warm, but it never feels overwhelming.
You can leave it down to just cover your neck or pull it up over your mouth when you need an extra layer of warmth on your face. It also comes in multiple colors to match whatever you’re wearing.
Original Turtle Fur Fleece - The Turtle's Neck, Heavyweight Neck Warmer
This Original Turtle Fur is made of soft fleece to keep you warm without feeling too warm.
Best Thermal Phone Case: PHOOZY Apollo Series Thermal Phone Case
You probably shouldn’t take your phone out on the slopes, but that has never stopped anyone. If you’re bringing it, know that the super cold temps can easily cause battery issues (and it can even shut down if it gets too cold). This PHOOZY Apollo Series Thermal Phone Case insulates your phone to extend battery life in cold conditions. It’s also created with military-grade shock protection so that your phone is protected from drops up to six feet, and it’s water-resistant and splash-proof.
It’s versatile, too: in the summer, it will protect your phone from overheating in the sun. Pretty much any phone will fit in there as well.
PHOOZY Apollo Series Thermal Phone Case - Insulated, Ultra-Slim Pouch Protects Your Phone from Overheating in The Sun & Extends Battery Life. Floats in Water. AS SEEN ON Shark Tank [Silver - Medium]
This PHOOZY case insulates your phone to extend battery life in cold conditions.