There is a lot to think about when you are buying a base layer for skiing; the condition on the mountains will determine the level of warmth, choice of fabric, whether to choose a fitted, or relaxed style plus which features you need to make the most of your day.
We've broken this blog into five main sections (see below) there is an enormous choice of Women's Ski Base Layers on the market and hopefully we can help you pick the best one for your trip!
Mons Royale Yotei is a 100% merino wool base layer, available in two vibrant colours - pink and mint green for Winter 2021 this hits all they style points as well as being a eco-friendly and technical base layer too.
This lightweight base layer is so versatile and suitable for all outdoor activities, not just skiing and snowboarding; we wear ours on cool days for mountain biking and hiking too.
Available on our website for £89.99
The Eivy base layer range is perfect for skiing and snowboarding. Pick from hooded tops, like the Granny's Couch print above (available on our website for £70); zip-up tops like the Zebra print; and tops with an integrated neckwarmer, like the Bloom print. All of Eivy's gear includes stretchy, sweat-wicking fabric ideal for any mountain sport, and the fabric is lightly brushed on the inside for a cozy feel. This season's product comes in a recycled, reusable travel bag too.
Eivy was founded to develop multi-functional ski and snowboard clothing; so wear this from ski days to apres; chilly autumn hikes to spring biking sessions.
The warmest ski base layer we have found on the market is the Burton Heavyweight X which comes in both a top and leggings. Made from a breathable heavyweight fleece these are ideal on the days when the temperature heads below minus 10 deg. The 4-way stretch fabric and flat-lock seams make this a performance base layer. Burton also adds it's lifetime warranty to this product too. Available for £80, we think this is a great investment piece. Available, in cranberry (shown above), black and dress blue.
For a lightweight base layer the 200 Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe from Icebreaker is a great option. Made from 100% merino wool, the soft fibres naturally regulate body temperature in all conditions and is a sustainable product too, made from all natural wool. The top is slim fitting and the modern colourways for 2020/21 include nightfall (shown above) and redwood. Overall this women's top gets our thumbs up! Available from multiple retailers from £80.
Our favourite innovative hooded base layer is the Patagonia Women's Capiline Air Hoody.
It has an innovative, seamless 3-D knit and uses a blend of responsibly sourced merino wool and recycled polyester to deliver the performance you need on the Mountain. Not just for skiing this would be the perfect base layer for hiking on cool days too! At £140 this is the most expensive base layer on our favourites list, but this is an investment piece, Patagonia guarantees everything they make and has solid environmental credentials being a fellow 1% for the Planet member too!
Ensuring you are not too hot or too cold on the mountain is an important consideration and temperatures can vary hugely, we find minus 10 deg and below days really uncomfortable without the right gear and yet spring skiing can deliver the opposite with temperatures soaring to plus 10 deg and beyond on sunny days!
As such we have two sets of base layers in are wardrobe; a warmer, fleece option for cold days and a lightweight option for spring skiing. Lightweight ski base layers super versatile, we wear ours hiking and biking in the summer too, with long sleeves protecting our arms from falls and branches along the trails.
Merino wool base layers are usually pretty easy to figure out whether they are thicker and warmer or lighter weight as brands usually list the weight of the fabric. For example Icebreaker uses a 150g fabric ie. grams per square metre for an ultra lightweight base layer and 250g as a mid-weight base layer. The higher the number, the more dense the fabric and therefore the warmer the product!
For a synthetic base layer brands use words like fleece or brushed fabric to describe a warmer product.
The other option is to layer up! If you are unsure of the weather, take multiple layers and pop one in your backpack if you get too hot!
We have covered base layer fabrics in detail in our Ultimate Guide to Women's Base Layers, so we will keep it brief here! The main options for base layer fabrics include merino wool, polyester, bamboo and cotton; most ski base layers are made of either polyester (often containing some elastane or Spandex for stretch) or merino wool due to their superior performance properties. Merino wool is the more sustainable option, being made of natural fibres; however polyester base layers are increasingly being made from recycled fibres, including post-consumer plastic bottles. Some merino wool can be a little itchy so make sure you buy from a great brand like Icebreaker or Mons Royale where they use premium, fine and soft fibres to ensure you are comfortable.
These days there is no need to compromise with boring black and grey base layers; many brands are incorporating both style and performance into their products and there are tons of options on the market. Eivy are our go-to brand for patterned ski thermals, their leopard print leggings and tops are one of our best-sellers! And new this year is the Zebra print(below).
Ladies ski base layer tops come in a variety of different styles though, shown above is a zip top, a more basic option is a simple crew neck which you can pair with a neck-warmer on cold days; often these are slightly cheaper too. Several brands including Eivy and Mons Royale also do a range of hooded tops; specifically designed to fit under your ski helmet they can be worn in lieu of a balaclava.
Other features to look out for when looking specifically for a top for skiing is longer length sleeves with thumb loops, there is nothing worse than that dreaded gap between your ski jacket and gloves when it is pelting it down with snow! We also love a slightly longer base layer when skiing to ensure it can be tucked into our snow pants.
A big consideration when choosing ski base layer leggings is the length. Recently we have switched to calf length leggings which finish just above the ski boot; for example the Mons Royale three-quarter length legging shown below. Which prevents any chaffing or uncomfortable areas within our boots. Otherwise we choose a lightweight, high quality full length legging with flat-lock seams that fits well under a performance ski sock.
Another important style feature for base layer leggings is the waist band, our favourite brands have a wide and comfortable waist band which we are happy wearing all day long on the Mountain.
Lastly, ski thermals tend to not have pockets, but there are usually plenty of those in our ski jackets and pants, so this is not a big miss for us!
We're spoilt for choice with the range of women's ski thermals on the market this year; from a range of fabrics to designs we are sure there is something that will suit your mountain style. From mountain to chalet to apres bar the modern base layer has you covered!
Comments will be approved before showing up.