Sure, it's time to start thinking about spring skiing but dressing in layers is essential on any cold..or warm ski day. On the top of the mountain, it may be windy and cold, and you need to be prepared for this.
The thermal layer is the layer of clothing that is next to your skin. The main purpose of a thermal or “base” layer is to help you with moisture management. Although I find myself choosing different “base” layers depending on the weather, they all “wick” away moisture which in turn helps to keep me dry, comfortable and warm.
The best thermal layers are most commonly made out of two fabric types: merino wool and synthetic fabrics. Rather than absorbing moisture, these fabrics all transport, or "wick" perspiration away from your skin, dispersing it on the outer surface where it can evaporate. The result: You stay drier even when you sweat.
Is there a difference between the merino wool and synthetic fabrics?
I find that this really comes down to what you find more comfortable to wear and what your budget is as I have used both and they both provided me with dryness. Personally, I find some of the merino wool products a little itchy on my skin. However, I know many skiers who would never wear anything other than the merino wool products.
Cost wise, the merino wool products, such as Smartwool, Ibex and Icebreaker can be up to two times more expensive than the synthetic products such as Hot Chillys and Pategonia Capeline.
Where do I buy a good base layer?
The good news is that base layers are pretty easy to find. This time of year is a great time to think ahead and invest in your thermals. There are great sales around and thermals are less of a fashion item so you need not worry about being in “last season's” gear. You will be able to find base layers in most retail shops that sell ski, hiking or sport related products. But I find that online is a great way of shopping around and finding the best deal.
The other good news is that I have found with the correct care of your thermals you can get a lot of wear out of them and they can be with you for many seasons. This is particularly good to know when purchasing thermals for your children as they will no doubt out grow them before they wear them out.
Remember, a base layers purpose is to keep you dry and warm. It pays to invest in some good quality pieces, as there is nothing worse than feeling damp and cold when you are out on the slopes. Plus, there's nothing like stripping down to your base layer on a warm spring skiing day.
PS: A good thermal layer also helps keeps your kids warm when they decide to have a little sleep on the snow!
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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' authors have or will receive a paid trip to Park City Mountain Resort or will receive other compensation for their participation as an author.