6 Tips for Staying Dry on the Slopes
Staying dry on the mountain is synonymous with staying comfortable on the mountain. It doesn’t matter how warm you are—if you’re wet, you’re miserable.
There are generally two ways to get wet on the mountain: from the inside out, and from the outside in. The former happens when you work up a sweat on the mountain and that sweat gets trapped inside your snow gear. The latter occurs when you’re shredding in soggy snow or in the rain.
Of course, you can sweat up a storm and/or ski through a storm without sacrificing your comfort. Here’s how to do it.
Layers + Pack = No More Sweat
Your body temperature fluctuates a ton on a ski day. You build up heat and energy when you’re flying down the mountain, but then you cool down quickly when you’re sitting idle on the chairlift. Plus, conditions can change on a dime—it might have been a bluebird day when you left for the mountain, but winds in the alpine can make things seriously chilly.
The solution is layers—layers that you can add when you’re feeling cold, and peel off when you’re feeling hot. A pack is an important component of the layering strategy: you’ll need somewhere to put the layers that aren’t in use.
Base Layer With Care
The layer that’s closest to your skin—your base layer—is what’s going to wick the sweat away from your body. Invest in long johns and a base top that fit you properly and feel comfortable against your skin. Don’t forget undergarments: they make specialty sports bras and underwear with moisture wicking merino blends. They’re a little pricey, but they’re worth it.
Go For GoreTex
Your base layer matters for keeping you dry from the inside out, but it’s your outer layers that will protect you from the snow and rain. Look for waterproof, breathable fabrics like GoreTex that will keep the wet stuff out.
Clean Your Gear
Even GoreTex pores can clog with dirt, so be sure to clean your gear regularly. Pick up some specialty cleaner—NikWax does the trick—and follow the directions on the bottle. Cleaners generally last longer than waterproofing sprays, but those will work in a pinch if you’re working on a timeline.
It’s next to impossible to dry off on the mountain, so do your best to avoid getting wet in the first place. Keep your hood up on the lifts, and avoid taking your mittens off—once the inside of your gloves are wet, they’ll stay wet all day.
Dry It Out
Similar to the previous point, you’ll have trouble staying warm if you start the day off with even slightly damp gear. If you’re skiing back to back days, be sure to lay out all your gear at night to give it a chance to dry off—don’t forget the face mask in your jacket pocket. If your boots are wet, remove the liners so they can air out. Stuffing newspaper inside will help absorb the moisture, but beware the temptation to rest them against a baseboard heater—direct heat can melt synthetics.
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