No matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, if you’re snowboarding the right outerwear and gear make all the difference; not just when it comes to your comfortability, but your performance on the slopes as well!
If you’re unsure of what to wear before your next snowboarding adventure, we have you covered, with a comprehensive list of what to wear snowboarding. Keep in mind, most of the items on this list are meant to keep you warm, but that’s the point — the warmer you are, the more comfortable you’ll be out there and the better you will perform! Let’s get into it:
Thermal Base Layer
The purpose of this base layer is to wick sweat off of your skin and keep you warm. Stay away from cotton; wool, synthetic, or silk are all superior options. Depending on the outside temperature, you will want to select a light or midweight thermal undershirt and pants for your base layer.
Top Made of Warm Material
A light fleece or wool top to wear over your base layer is a great layer to wear around the lodge, and layering under your jacket will add warmth on the slopes.
Snowboard socks are taller than your boots and are made to be warm without a lot of thickness, and some include padding at the shins. Thick socks can make your boots too tight and restrict blood circulation, leading to cold feet. Wool or synthetic fibers work best as cotton retains moisture rather than wicking it away from the skin.
Specialty snowboarding jackets are either waterproof or water-resistant and are designed with pockets and features specific to the sport. If investing in a new jacket is not in your budget, a waterproof or a breathable jacket over your fleece or wool top will work, just be aware that its slickness may prolong any slides you make after a fall.
A key layer to skiing or snowboarding comfort is wearing waterproof or water-resistant snow pants or bibs. These insulated pants are designed to keep you dry and warm on the slopes and have venting and other features to help keep snow out of your boots. Waterproof/breathable rain pants are another option, and adding fleece pants underneath will give you better insulation.
Mittens or Gloves
The choice between gloves or mittens all comes down to preference. Mittens tend to be warmer than gloves, but you sacrifice some dexterity. Whichever you select, be sure they are waterproof or water-resistant and well insulated. Ski or snowboard specific hand coverings offer nice features such as built-in goggle wipes and longer cuffs to help keep snow out.
While not required, snowboarding helmets are highly recommended to protect your head. Additionally, they help keep your heads and ears warm and dry. Most ski resorts rent helmets, so don’t fret if you don’t own one. If you decide to forgo the helmet, be sure to wear a warm hat.
Goggles protect your eyes from wind, snow, and glare. You will need to ensure they have a snug fit and work with your helmet and face shape. For glasses wearers, it is important to make sure the snowboarding goggles fit comfortably over your glasses. If it isn’t snowing, sunglasses are a fine substitute.
Neck gaiters to pull up and cover your nose are a good option in icy temps, but if you want even more coverage, a balaclava is your best choice.
How Does Snowboarding Clothing Differ From Ski Clothing?
Traditional skiwear is sleek due to the sport’s Olympic heritage and need for speed. On the other hand, snowboard clothing is slightly looser. Both function well and offer the same benefits, so select your clothing based on your fit and style preferences.
Things You Should Consider When Dressing For Snowboarding
The Climate You’re in
Know your slopes. Skiers in the Pacific Northwest benefit greatly from fully waterproof gear with less insulation. In drier and colder states, such as the Rocky Mountains, the need for waterproof gear isn’t as great, but more insulation is needed to keep your body at a comfortable temperature.
The Amount of Layers You Wear
Layers that can be easily removed as the day gets warmer are key and can be added back on if you become chilled.
Think About What You May Already Have
If new ski gear is not in your budget, you can be creative and use what you have on hand. It may not have all the ski-specific features but will do its job to keep you warm and dry.
Only Buy New Gear & Clothing When it Makes Financial Sense
If you have a season pass to ski, investing in premium gear may make sense. For the casual skier, there is no need to splurge. Renting gear is a great way to save money and figure out what pieces are worth future investment.
Look For Synthetic & Waterproof Materials
Jackets, pants, gloves, and mittens should be waterproof and have synthetic insulation. This combination ensures that damp conditions and sweat don’t compromise your warmth. For drier conditions, selecting water-resistant materials with down insulation is a suitable choice.
Consider Hand/Foot Warmers
Many skiers consider hand and foot warmers to be an essential part of their snowboarding gear. These packets or insoles provide hours of heat when removed from their sealed pouch, providing hours of heat even when your socks and gloves have gotten wet.
Protect Your Skin
Sunscreen in winter sounds silly until you end up looking like a sunburned raccoon from your day of skiing. Sunlight is more intense at higher altitudes and snow glare reflects and intensifies the sun, causing sunburn and skin damage. Don’t forget your nose, ears, and the underside of your chin.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into snowboarding outside of your technique, skill level, and board itself. If you don’t know what to wear snowboarding, then all of the above become irrelevant as you’ll be freezing your buns off instead of enjoying yourself on the slopes.