Nordic Ski Clothing Tips

These are a few tips on what to wear while cross-country skiing. From your core, to your extremities, it's important to be dressed for comfort and performance.

Rob Lang | Park City, UT | Photo: Sam Rice

Wear Technical (Not Bulky) Layers

Unlike downhill-only alpine skiing, Nordic skiing is a true aerobic activity. You’ll be warmer than you think. Don’t dress in all the bulky clothes you’d wear alpine skiing. Instead, opt for streamlined, technical layers.

Start with a lightweight base layer to wick moisture away from the body when you sweat—which you most certainly will. And avoid cotton since it traps wetness against the skin, making you cold and clammy. On the outside, go with a slim-profiled, stretchy jacket and loose tights.

Both should offer wind protection in the front, but breathability in the back, so that moisture can get pushed out, keeping you warm and dry even in chilly conditions.

Choose Lightweight Gloves

Whether you’re skiing in classic or skate style, you’ll generate a lot of heat, so you’ll likely want gloves that are lighter weight than your normal alpine ski gloves. Under your Nordic ski boots, a thin wool or synthetic sock will wick moisture and prevent odors. On colder days, a thin wool or synthetic hat will provide ample protection, while many Nordic skiers choose visors on warmer, sunny days. And speaking of the sun, a pair of quality sunglasses is critical to protect your eyes from the strong, high-altitude sun reflecting off the snow.