What to Wear at a Ski Resort When Not Skiing

When you’re at a ski resort but not planning to hit the slopes, it’s important to dress appropriately for the winter weather and the activities you have in mind.

Whether you’re enjoying the cozy atmosphere of a lodge, exploring the resort’s surroundings, or engaging in après-ski socializing, dressing appropriately is crucial for comfort, warmth, and style.

Understanding the Climate:

Before packing your bags, familiarize yourself with the climate of the ski resort and check the weather forecast for your stay.

The climate in the towering mountains of Colorado is quite different than that of northern California or the low altitude mountains of New England so keep that in mind when packing.

Either way though, ski resorts generally experience cold temperatures, snowfall, and occasional winds, making it essential to dress in layers for versatility and adaptability.

Building a Solid Foundation: Base Layers

Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to manage perspiration efficiently. Thermal underwear or moisture-wicking long-sleeve shirts and leggings are excellent choices. These layers will keep you dry by wicking away sweat from your skin, preventing discomfort caused by moisture.

Adding Insulation: Mid Layers

To retain body heat, add an insulating layer. A fleece jacket or down-filled vest is ideal for this purpose. Choose garments that provide warmth without bulkiness, allowing you to move comfortably and adjust your outfit based on the temperature.

Outer Layer: Protecting Against the Elements

The outer layer is your shield against snow, wind, and moisture. A waterproof and windproof jacket is a must-have.

Ensure it has ventilation options like pit zips to regulate your body temperature when needed. Pants with similar qualities, or even insulated snow pants, will keep your lower body protected from the elements.

Bottoms: Staying Warm and Stylish

Opt for insulated pants or thick leggings to keep your lower body warm. Jeans may not provide sufficient insulation in cold and snowy conditions.

While you don’t need to wear ski pants or snow pants when not skiing, pants that are warm and not made out of cotton are best. Choose bottoms that allow freedom of movement and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor activities.

Accessorizing for Comfort:

A warm hat or beanie is essential to prevent heat loss from the head. Choose one that covers your ears for extra warmth.

Invest in insulated and waterproof gloves or mittens to protect your hands from the cold. Look for options with adjustable cuffs to prevent snow from entering.

Keep your neck and lower face protected from chilly winds with a scarf or neck gaiter. This versatile accessory adds both warmth and style to your ensemble.

Shield your eyes from the intense glare of the snow, even if you’re not skiing. Sunglasses or goggles with UV protection are essential for eye safety.

Choosing Footwear Wisely:

Opt for waterproof and insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry. Ensure they have good traction, especially if you plan to walk on snowy or slippery surfaces. Comfortable footwear is essential for both indoor and outdoor activities.

Leave the high heels at home since they won’t hold up in the snow and don’t offer the stability and traction you need in snowy or icy conditions.

Choose moisture-wicking, warm wool socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Avoid cotton socks, as they tend to retain moisture, increasing the risk of cold feet. Invest in quality ski or thermal socks for optimal warmth.

Versatile Casual Wear:

Pack comfortable and stylish casual clothing for indoor activities such as dining, shopping, or relaxing in the lodge.

Cozy sweaters, comfortable jeans or leggings, and stylish winter boots can strike the perfect balance between comfort and fashion.

Outerwear for Exploring:

If you plan on exploring the resort’s surroundings, consider packing a warm and weather-resistant parka. This outerwear should be functional, providing protection against the cold while allowing you to move freely during outdoor excursions.

Popular Ski Brands:

Several popular ski and winter sports brands are known for producing stylish, high-quality and performance-oriented clothing and equipment.

These brands are often recognized for their innovation, durability, and style. Such brands include the North Face, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Columbia Sportswear, Spyder, Salomon, just to name a few.

Remember that personal preferences, fit, and specific needs play a significant role in choosing the right winter clothes. It’s advisable to try on different brands and styles to find what works best for your comfort.

Color Palette:

Wearing bright colors is recommended when on the slopes to increase your visibility to other skiiers but it isn’t necessary when you’re not skiing.

Most winter clothes tend to have dark, rich tones such as burgundy, emerald green, chocolate brown or navy blue.

That being said, winter white is definitely a thing too and wearing light colors such as ivory, off white, cream, beige or sandstone can create a beautiful winter look.

Pack a Backpack:

Bring a small backpack to carry essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, lip balm, hand lotion and additional layers. A backpack is not only practical but also adds a touch of convenience during your non-skiing activities.

Dressing for a ski resort when not skiing requires a thoughtful approach, considering the climate, planned activities, and personal style.

By layering strategically and selecting the right clothing and accessories, you can ensure comfort, warmth, and a dash of style throughout your stay.

Whether you’re enjoying the warmth of a cozy lodge, exploring the resort’s surroundings, or partaking in après-ski festivities, the key is to be prepared for various weather conditions while expressing your personal flair.

Carrick, Evie. “The Ultimate Après-ski Guide — From What to Wear to Where to Go.” Travel + Leisure, 20 Oct. 2023, travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/skiing-trips/the-ultimate-apres-ski-guide
Jackson, Laura and Christina Holevas. “ 7 Ways to Master the Always-Chic Winter White Outfit.” Vogue, vogue.com/article/winter-white-outfits
“The Best Colors to Wear in the Winter Season.” Autumn Love, autumlove.com/blog/best-winter-colors-to-wear

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