Intermountain Health logo

We need your location

Please enter the city or town where you'd like to find care.

Get care nowSign in

Health news and blog

    How to Dress for Winter Sports: Stay Warm When Playing Hard

    How to Dress for Winter Sports: Stay Warm When Playing Hard

    How to Dress for Winter Sports: Stay Warm When Playing Hard

    Winter hibernation isn’t an option during these cold months, and why should it be when there’s so much fun to be had outside, even in the snow!! Dressing for the weather is key to keeping frostbite from ruining your fun, and we’re here with some helpful tips to keep you warm from snow day play to icy (but still fun) competition.

    Layers Are Your Best Friend

    Winter Clothes Inline 1 

    Layering your clothes is the best way to stay warm when you’re out playing in the cold. Avoid looking (and moving) like a snowman by layering up the smart way. The National Ski Patrol has some great tips on staying warm in the great outdoors (and they should know). When layering, use the rule of three: a base layer, a middle layer and an outer layer.

    Your base layer is your inner moisture-wicking layer and should fit snug to your body but still allow you to breathe. Materials like wool or Thermax are great options. Cotton? Not so much because it can trap moisture and make you colder faster, which is NEVER a good thing! Base layers come in different weights, so pick yours based on the activity you’re doing and the length of time you’re doing it.

    Your middle layer is your insulation layer. It should be looser than your base layer (obviously, since it needs to fit OVER your base layer) but not too loose. These two layers work together to trap your heat to keep you warm. Fleece or wool make great middle layers. 

    The outer layer is your wind (rain or snow) blocker. Look for materials like GORE-TEX or wind- and water-resistant fabrics and ventilation features that can help keep you comfortable while keeping the  cold out. If you do it right, your layers should keep you warm and dry during your cold weather fun. 

    The best part about this layering technique is that it’s flexible. If you get too hot, you can always peel back a layer or two. The National Ski Patrol recommends exercising with a pack that can hold your layers if you need to lose them (so you don’t ACTUALLY lose them). 

    Don’t Forget Your Extremities 

    Once you’ve got your layers nailed down, make sure your head, hands and feet are covered too!. Keep your activity in mind when choosing accessories: If you need dexterity in your hands, don’t opt for mittens, or if being nimble and quick is the goal, skip the heavy snow boots. 

    Remember, cotton is just not a winter-friendly fabric, and that goes for socks too. Avoid blisters and soggy toes by choosing fabrics like drynamix or mohair. And forget what we said about layering when it comes to socks — one good layer is better than multiple (less is more). And look for water-resistant shoes or boots to minimize your risk of soaking wet feet.

    And though the myth of losing the most heat out of your head has been debunked, you still need that hat. And if it’s really cold, go for full-face coverage.

    Safety First

    Winter Clothes Inline 2 

    If you or the kiddos are planning on racing down the slopes, a helmet and ski goggles are important pieces of your winter wardrobe. Helmets protect you if you take a tumble, while goggles shield your eyes from the sun and snow. The National Ski Areas Association is a great resource for helmet information. As they say, “A Helmet-It’s a Smart Idea,” and we definitely agree. 

    Indoor Workouts

    Winter Clothes Inline 3 

    Are you one of those people who takes their workouts indoors when the weather gets cold? Layering is important for you, too. Bundle up for your trip to the gym, lose ’em as you warm up and pile them back on for your trek home.

    OK, pop quiz: what’s the biggest takeaway of dressing for winter sports, exercise and activities? That’s right — LAYERS. What are your favorite winter activities and how do you stay warm while you’re enjoying your time outdoors?

    SCLCONTENTBADGE