What To Wear
Under Ski Pants

As soon as winter rolls into town, all winter sports junkies inevitably start the talk about all the new tech and gadgets available for their drug of choice – whether it’s ski, snowboarding, hiking, or something else.

But there are questions that need to be asked every season, and they also deserve an answer before you grab your gear and hit the mountain. Here, we’ll answer one of the most important ones: What to wear under skis pants?

We’ll give you the lowdown on all the pieces of clothing you should, and all the ones you shouldn’t put under your ski pants.

What You Should NOT Wear Under Your Ski Pants

It would be weird to hit the slopes wearing just your undies and your ski pants from the belt down. Ski pants have little or no insulation and wearing nothing underneath them will definitely feel really cold.

Like many, you probably just put on another pair of pants underneath. But is it OK to put regular pants under your ski pants?

The answer is no. And when we say no, we say no to jeans, sweatpants, chinos and all other types of pants that are made for casual everyday wear. You need technical pants, ones that are meant to withstand the extreme conditions you might face on a mountain and keep you and your butt warm when on a ski lift or riding down the slopes.

Also, regular pants don’t have the same breathability rating as tech pants do. So when you start going in hard, your body’s temperature will rise, and you will start to sweat. Tech pants have the ability to disperse that moisture and bring it out to the surface, in order for it to get out of the body and your clothes while keeping your skin temperature in balance. Regular pants will retain sweat, and this can lead to you getting cold.  You’ll eventually be forced to stop riding and get indoors to get warm.

What You Should Wear Under Ski Pants

So far we covered what not to wear under ski pants, now let’s get into all the things you should. In short, you should wear base layers, also known as thermal underwear. Now before we get into explaining why they are the best choice, let’s first explain what base layers are.

Base Layer Basics

Base Layers are a piece of clothing that acts as an added layer of skin. They fit on you like a glove, and are best at keeping your body warm and getting rid of the sweat your body produces when exercising. You can wear them on their own, or under a layer of clothing.

They come in different shapes and sizes and can be made with different materials, each designed to be suitable for different weather conditions.

First, when it comes to fitting, your base layers should feel tight when you put them on, but not so tight that they will restrict your body movements or blood flow. When you find the right size for you, move on to the type of base layers you’ll need.

Base layers are divided into three categories, with each category defined by their weight, which is a good indicator of how warm you will be with them. For example, if you decide to ski in not-so-low temperatures, light or medium base layers will do. If you ski in more severe weather conditions, heavy-duty base layers are a better choice.

They are usually made using merino wool, synthetics, or DuoSkin, which is a type of smart-synthetic material.


Merino wool base layers are best for skiing in really low temperatures, as merino wool is known to be a very good body temperature regulator, keeping you warm but not to the point of overheating. Their downside is their weak wicking ability (drying, and removing the sweat from your body).


Synthetic base layers are the type that is mostly used, mainly because of their lower price compared to the other two, but that doesn’t mean they are less effective. Synthetic base layers are great for wicking and temperature control, but they are (usually) not antibacterial, meaning they will get rid of the sweat, but some of the odor may remain, which is hard to get rid of. Also, they are more suitable for milder weather conditions than harsh winters, because they are less warm than merino wool base layers.


DuoSkin base layers are the most expensive ones, but they are also the best. They are great at wicking and temperature control, but they also keep you warm in harsh conditions.

Which Base Layers To Pick For Skiing

Of course, we can blurt out DuoSkin, but the truth is that merino wool and synthetic will do just fine. Which one you pick will be defined by the following factors:

  • How Much You Sweat

Skiing is an intense sport. There will be sweat, and for some, lots of it. But some people sweat more when they are really hot, others when they exercise a lot, and yes, there is a difference between the two. If you sweat more while exercising, go for base layers that are better at heat retention, like merino wool.

If you sweat more because of your body temperature, go for ones that are better at wicking. Why? Some people have a naturally higher body temperature and having synthetic base layers that won’t keep them too warm will do just fine. Some have trouble staying warm, so merino wool or DuoSkin might be better.

  • Weather

If you plan on skiing in harsher weather conditions, go for medium or heavy base layers, if you go to places with a milder climate, lighter ones will do just fine.


Don’t just put any pair of pants under your ski pants. Spend some extra money and get yourself a good pair of base layers, and you will not only feel more comfortable while skiing, but you will also be able to spend more time doing it, as your body will feel fresh for the whole day.

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