Merino Wool Rocks helps you find the merino wool clothes you need, whether to conquer the outdoors or find premium daily wear.

Snow and ski merino gear

Skiing and Snowboarding: Our Selection for Merino Gear

Whether you’re spending the day cross-country skiing or taking the chair up to zip back down a double diamond slope, Merino wool is, in our view, an essential piece of your gear.

Often described as nature’s high performance fabric, merino will breath to prevent overheating and clamminess, keeping you warm and dry without the weight of other fabrics. It fits under other out layers, providing you with freedom of movement.

Below, we’ve taken our years of experience in the Austrian Alps as well as our love of merino wool to find the best garments to keep you out on the slopes for longer.

If you’re already familiar with merino wool, and you just want to see the best 2018 picks, jump directly to our recommendations.

If you want to dig a bit more into why merino and figure out what matters when it comes to choosing the right gear, have a closer look at the FAQ section just below.

What to consider when choosing merino wool for snow activities:

These days, there are a massive amount of options when it comes to merino wool snow gear and even more when it comes to snow gear in general. Here’re some tips we put together for finding the right gear.

There’s an old debate in the outdoor world whether merino wool or synthetic fabric are better choices for base layers.

It’s obvious where we stand at Merino Wool Rocks – merino! We choose merino because it is highly insulating, meaning that it will keep you warm when it’s cool outside. However, insulating materials such as merino will also keep you cooler when it’s warm.

So that means when you go from icey outdoors into a warm environment – say a Bavarian Gasthaus with a roaring fireplace – you won’t start overheating.

The key to moderating your body temperature is to use multiple layers that work together. A good base layer will wick away moisture from the skin, keeping you dry and therefore warm. A mid layer will provide insulation, while an outer layer provides protection from wind and rain.

This system makes it easy to regulate warmth whether having lunch inside a ski hut or taking the chairlift up the mountain in freezing conditions.

Merino wool comes in a range of weight. This weight is typically expressed in terms of grams per square meter of fabric.

You’ll find fabric weights ranging from 120 g/m² on the very light side up to 400 g/m² for extremely cold conditions.

Heavier is not, always better, however. The key is to layer multiple layers. For skiing or snowboarding 200 g/m² is a good option for a base layer, while a mid-layer might be 260 g/m².

You could consider the heavier fabrics if you’re spending a lot of time sitting around in extremely cold conditions. Hunting or fishing can be good examples where it makes sense to go for a 300-400 g/m² base layer.

Flatlock seams don’t have a protruding seam, unlike regular seams. These “flatlock” seams result in less chafing and irritation when you’re active. Having such seams is particularly important for the layers that are the closest from the skin such as underwear or baselayers.

So for your skiing or snowboarding gear, avoid regular seams, which tend to create some chafing and irritation of the skin by rubbing against it repeatedly. The same goes for labels that stick out: they quickly cause chafing and irritation when you’re on the slopes.

Style and function don’t have to be at odds when it comes to active gear these days. While choosing the look that you like best, it’s also good to look out for drop-tail tops, which prevents the back of the top riding up and getting cold snow down your pants, which is never fun.

Thumb-hole sleeves can also be good options when you’re skiing or snowboarding.

For long top and bottom thermal underwear, resist to your natural habit of washing them often. There was no need and hanging them in the sun can be as efficient as washing them!

Best socks for skiing and snowboarding

For skiing or snowboarding, you’re best served with a mid-weight socks that go above the cuff of your boots, so you don’t get chaffed, but don’t extend past the knee.

The reason is that socks that are too high will reduce your mobility. Otherwise, heavier is not necessarily better, as overly thick socks can cause your feet to sweat, which in turn will give you “cold feet” feeling. Very thick socks also reduce the feedback you’ll get through your boots.

Darn Tough Yeti OTC Cushion Socks – Women’s

  • Material: 68% Merino Wool, 28% Nylon, 4% Lycra® Spandex
  • Rating out of 5 stars: 5
  • Price range (estimate): $25
  • Designed for: skiing and snowboarding

Very cute mountain socks with a perfect amount of cushioning along the bottom of the foot. These will keep you warm. Some people have reported feeling tight around the calves though.

Check these socks on Darn Tough’s site | Check Price on Amazon


Minus33 Men’s Ski and Snowboard Socks

  • Material: 78% Merino wool, 15% Spandex, 4% Nylon, 3% Polyester
  • Rating out of 5 stars: 4.4
  • Price range (estimate): $16
  • Designed for: skiing and snowboarding

Minus33 is a US-based company that has exploded onto the merino wool scene in recent years. They combine high quality with reasonable prices, and these ski socks are no exception. They offer full cushion for comfort and 78% merino wool to keep your feet warm and dry no matter how many runs you get in.

Check these socks at Minus33’s site | Check Price on Amazon

Leggings

  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Fabric weight: 200 g/m2
  • Best for: Ski and snowboarding
  • Price range (estimate):$49.59 – $99.99

Oasis is Icebreaker’s technical range of baselayers. These leggings are perfect for under snowpants thanks to their 3/4 length. We love how they come in all sorts of graphics.

See on Icebreaker | Check price on Amazon

  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Fabric weight: 200 g/m2
  • Best for: snowsports such as skiing and snowboarding
  • Price range (estimate): $52.83 – $80.00 9

This recommendation is based on my own personal experience with Icebreaker leggings. I’ve had my current for over four years now, and I love wearing them snowboarding or camping in chillier conditions. They also work great if you’re cycling in very cold conditions.

See on Icebreaker | Check price on Amazon

Upper body base layer

Typically a long sleeve merino wool base layer is all you’re going to need to wear under your fleece and jacket. That is why we go with long sleeved baselayer when recommending base layers for winter sports.

Now, a couple of things matter to make sure you are comfortable on the slopes: First, flat seams to prevent shaving – especially around the shoulder and armpit and a slightly longer cut so you can tuck it in your leggings or pants and longer than usual sleeves to tuck it into your gloves and make sure no snow sneaks in.

You can even consider thumb loops, but we have found them uncomfortable in the long run to wear on top of the thumb loops already provided by our ski jackets.

Other than that, you can either go for a higher neck neck and additional 3/4 zip like Tom as it allows him to regulate easily his body temperature between rides, or go with a normal one with an additional neck warmer tucked in the baselayer like Caro.

  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Fabric weight: 185g/m2
  • Fiber: Fine 18-micron fiber
  • Best for: Ski and snowboarding
  • Price (estimate): $110.00

Ortovox is a brand specialised in clothing for winter sport athletes based in the UK.

See on Ortovox | Check price on Amazon

  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Fabric weight: 250 g/m2
  • Feature: Flatlock seam construction designed to eliminate chafing.
  • Price range (estimate): $94.95 – $100.00

250 g/m2 is on the heavier side for merino. It means that this base layers is best suited for winter conditions and should be enough to be worn direclty under your snow pants and jackets if you stay active. It has a ight fit with a slighly longer torso cut than usual, which makes this baselayer particularly suited for winter sports.

See on Smartwool | Check price on Amazon

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