How to Choose Base Layers and Thermal Underwear

Proper layering can mean the difference between skiing for hours or calling it quits early because of the cold weather. Base layers will differ from your everyday outfits, as these are designed specifically to keep you warm and dry while dealing with unpredictable weather while on the mountain. This guide will help you select the correct size, fit, and types of base layers that The Ski Bum offers.

Base Layer Weights

The base layer is what you will wear under your jacket and pants that touches your skin directly, providing extra protection against the elements. When choosing your base layer, it is important to note your general activity level, as you can layer on top of the base depending on the weather conditions. The three layer weights are:

  • Lightweight - This is the next-to-skin layer, or the actual base. This layer is very important because it is the one that is in contact with your skin. As a result, these must feel comfortable and have a tight fit to allow moisture to escape your body to keep you warm. On mild and particularly active days, the lightweight layer alone may be enough.

  • Midweight - The midweight layer is your common everyday clothing. It can either be used as the layer that touches the skin on very mild days, or be placed on top of the base layer to provide extra warmth.

  • Heavyweight - Always worn over a lighter layer, this is suited for extremely cold, wet and windy weather. The main purpose of the heavyweight base is to add insulation, so they do not necessarily have to fit snuggly on your body. If you are also going to spend a lot of idle time on a cold day, then adding a heavyweight layer will be your best choice.

Generally, we would suggest that it is better to be warm than cold. It is far easier to over-layer and remove clothing later if you start feeling warm. But again, much of this is about personal preference and activity level.

Base Layer Fit

If your base layer does not fit properly, then it will not correctly manage your body temperature. When you are purchasing base layers from The Ski Bum, it is important to take into account these aspects in regards to fit:

  • The top layer of your base should be worn tight and cover the core areas of your upper body. Remember, it is important that these fit tight against your body, allowing the moisture to escape.

  • You should buy the same size that you normally wear; do not think you need to size down because these need to be tight. These are already properly scaled to fit your normal size.

  • When buying pants, use the same as your underwear size. These should run from your waist to the bottom of your ankle and again fit snuggly.

Base Layer Types

All base layers will be directly in contact with your skin and should fit tight so they will correctly manage your body temperature through moisture wicking. When you are purchasing base layers from The Ski Bum, it is important to take into account these aspects in regards to fit:

  • Long Sleeve Top – As it’s name suggests this is a top with long sleeves to keep your upper body protected against the cold.

  • Long Leg Bottom - Long leg bottoms run from your waist down to the top of your ankles. On cold days, these provide the necessary protection for your entire lower body.

  • Three Quarter Leg Bottom - These fit like capri pants, running from your waist to just below your knee. Although they do not provide the protection of the long leg bottom, but some skiers and snowboarders prefer these because they do not run into the boot, thus preventing discomfort.

  • One-Piece - For the coldest, windiest, and wettest days, a one-piece suit covers your whole body so they are the best at keeping you warm.

As you can see, The Ski Bum offers many base layering options because it is a very important component to enjoying your day on the mountain. The proper layering ensures that you can spend all day outside in the cold without ever feeling uncomfortable. Be sure to follow these tips and you will be ready to ski in any condition!