Dress for Spring Skiing Success

Oh the many layers of skiing. We start off in the cold, dark, wintery months where depression is kept at bay by heading out to the mountains to get some fresh air and soft powder. Usually we are layered up thick with insulation, covering our faces with balaclavas while nesting in our Primaloft and down, and warmth is key to our enjoyment of the day.

But after a few months, the days start getting longer and we get to lighten up a bit—figuratively and literally. In March and April, you can often really feel the sun and should dress accordingly. While many have moved on to mountain biking, hiking, or golf, the diehards know that often the best snow is still to come in these two blessed months while the days are longer and warmer. Get the most out of the spring ski and snowboard season with these spring apparel tips.


Wear Lighter Layers

Typically we believe in the three-layer rule: a great base layer, a fleece or technical mid layer, and a protective outer layer. However, in spring conditions sometimes that’s just too much. Feel free to lose that mid layer completely or swap it out with a technical fleece that breathes. For your base layer, instead of wearing merino wool, a great idea is to exchange it with a lighter-weight piece made of polypropylene or polyester. It still pulls moisture away from your skin, which is important because you may be sweating more due to warmer temperatures. Finally, ditch that insulated jacket for a shell.

Always Bring Options

The mountains are a fickle place. One minute it can be forty degrees out and sunny and then the next second it’s snowing and cold. When packing your bag for the day, it’s not a bad idea to bring all types of layers.


Photo of couple skiing in 90s apparel.
Have fun with what you wear. // Photo: Rachel Harding

Consider Your Eyes

Apparel is not the only factor to think about—wearing the right goggles this time of year is key. In the PNW we deal with so many changes in light. It’s a great idea to have goggles where you have the ability to switch out lenses. SMITH I/O (Interchangeable Optics) are a great solution for this. Don’t want to switch out lenses? Then you should definitely look into the PRIZM lens from Oakley. After 15 years of lens technology in the making, Oakley found ways to block out certain colors of light to give you better definition; in other words, one lens covers a broader spectrum of light. Also, be sure to find helmets that have proper ventilation.

Have Fun with What You Wear

Spring skiing is fun, and the apparel can be fun. You start to worry a little less about survival and a little more about glamour. Got that Anorak from the 80’s? Heck yeah, you should wear it! A little neon goes a long way in the mountains. Show a little skin and get a goggle tan. // (Rachel Harding)


Rachel Harding owns the Spokane Alpine Haus and spends her free time skiing as much as possible at one of the five local resorts. She recently wrote about winter fashion trends in the December issue of Out There.


Feature photo: Rachel Harding


To find out which styles are are popular on the slopes, be sure to reach Rachel Harding’s article originally published in the December 2017 issue of Out There Outdoors.


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