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What cross country ski clothing do you need?

Cross country skiing is in many ways equivalent to running. The clothing has to be light and give you the optimal range of movement of the legs. But the big question is what to wear skiing when the ski clothing also have to keep you warm and dry on those cold days in the backcountry?

A regular ski jacket and insulated pants will make your body overheat sooner than you can say cross country skiing, but a light jacket and running tights will on a cold day leave you “freezing to death.” The answer to survival is in the layers.

Do you need layers when skiing cross country?

Wearing multiple layers of ski clothing gives you the opportunity to take layers off and on depending on how warm you are. For example a layer of ski underwear underneath a fleece mid layer underneath a vest underneath a jacket. Many thin layers also provide you with more air pockets between the clothing which retain the warmth.

When choosing ski clothing for cross country skiing, we recommend choosing clothing that’s made of synthetic fibers because it transports sweat away from your skin so you can keep dry all day. Remember to add an outer layer when you stop for longer breaks, so you don't get cold.


Base layer: Is the layer of ski clothing you’ll wear next to your skin and is responsible for keeping you warm and dry. The base layer consists of ski underwear and should be made from a material that transports sweat away from your skin. We recommend that you choose underwear that’s made of either synthetic fabric, merino wool or silk.


Mid layer: This layer is used not only to keep you warm but also to regulate your temperature. Keep in mind that the weather out on the slopes varies a lot and you can both find yourself caught in bad weather in very cold temperatures, but also in sunny and nice weather. We recommend a mid layer of either polyester or fleece.


Outer layer: Consists of a ski jacket/soft shell and pants. Many skiers also prefer to wear a vest underneath. Their main function is to act as a shell and to keep you dry and warm. Good outer layers are both water resistance and wind breaking, but at the same time allow moisture to evaporate through the fabric, so you keep warm.

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