What to wear snowboarding. A snowboarder riding powder. Photo by Ben Kitching on Unsplash

The Best Guide: What to Wear Snowboarding in 2024

Last Updated on 27 January 2024

Are you heading to the mountains this season? Looking for a no-nonsense guide on what to wear snowboarding? We’ve got you covered. From thermal layers to the cosiest of accessories, we’ve got your checklist ready. Discover the essentials for maximum warmth, safety, and style on the hill.

Having spent many seasons enjoying the mountains, we know exactly what to wear snowboarding to make your snowboard trip the best. Avoid being left out in the cold and learn how to stay warm on those cold days when you need to do one more run.

To give you the best information, read on to uncover all you need to know about the best snowboarding attire for the season ahead.

Read more: Snowboard Helmet: 9 of the Best For Men, Women & Kids in 2024
Read more: Your 2024 Guide: 5 of the Best Snowboard Boots for Kids

Key Takeaways

  • Layering is crucial for snowboarding with a sweat-wicking base layer, warm mid-layer, and weatherproof outer layer – each piece should fit well for comfort and unrestricted movement when considering what to wear snowboarding.

  • Essential snowboarding accessories enhance comfort and safety, from headgear like helmets and a warm hat to keep your head warm to goggles for vision protection, and a good pair of waterproof gloves or mittens that balance warmth and dexterity.

  • Choosing the right snowboarding footwear is key – well-fitting boots and moisture-wicking socks are necessary for warmth and dryness, while adaptability to weather conditions maximises comfort and performance on the slopes.

Read more: 5 of the Best Kids Snowboards: Your 2023 Guide
Read more: 10 Best Skiing Resorts in Austria: Discover the Alpine Paradise

What to Wear Snowboarding: Mastering the Layering Technique for Snowboarding

What to wear snowboarding. A snowboarder catching some air. Photo by Alessandro Maculotti on Unsplash

You wouldn’t run a marathon in flip-flops, right? I’ve done a few trail marathons and I couldn’t think of anything worse!

Similarly, you wouldn’t want to embark on your snowboarding journey clad in just any attire – although saying that, one year when it was incredibly hot in St. Anton, I did see people snowboarding in sleeveless tops (I just hope they were wearing suncream and lip balm as the glare from the sun on the snow can be pretty intense).

But, I digress!

The technique of layer clothing is a method as integral to your snowboarding adventure as the snowboard itself. It’s all about achieving that sweet spot of warmth, comfort, and style, perfectly tailored to your personal needs and the ever-changing mountain weather.

But it’s not just about piling on clothes haphazardly.

Picture this: you’re in the lift line, bundled up in multiple layers, but something’s off. Your movements are restricted, your jacket’s too tight over your fleece, and your lift pass keeps getting caught in your zippers – not the start you envisioned for your snowboarding trip, right?

The secret to knowing what to wear snowboarding is in achieving a proper fit and harmony across all layers, leading to unrestricted movement and overall enjoyment on the slopes.

A typical snowboarding outfit comprises a moisture-wicking base layer, an insulating mid-layer, and a protective outer shell snow jacket (ideally with pit zips) as the layer giving you more warmth, along with snowboard pants, each playing its part in your symphony on the slopes.

Base Layer: The Foundation of Comfort

Let’s start at the beginning, the base layer – the unsung hero of your layering system when it comes to what to wear when snowboarding.

It’s like the rhythm section of your symphony, setting the pace and tone for your performance on the slopes. Serving as your first line of defence against the cold, the base layer plays a pivotal role in wicking away sweat and keeping your skin dry under a variety of conditions. Think of it as your climate control system, working tirelessly to keep you comfortable as you carve your way down the slopes.

So, what makes for a good base layer? The answer lies in the power of materials like merino wool and synthetic fibres such as polyester. These materials are champions at moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and durability. High-quality base layers are breathable, warm, and lightweight, all without relying on chemicals or petroleum. It should fit snugly, but not too tightly, facilitating the need to pull moisture away from your body.

Remember, avoid cotton as it retains moisture and can cause discomfort and chill, something you want to avoid when in the mountains.

Mid Layer: Balancing Warmth and Breathability

Moving on to the next layer in our what to wear snowboarding layering symphony, the mid-layer.

Imagine this as the melody of your performance, providing warmth and breathability, harmonising with your base layer to keep you comfortable and dry. Fleece is a popular choice for mid-layers, offering a balance of warmth and breathability while remaining lightweight; merino wool offers natural temperature regulation and maintains insulation even when damp.

But we’re not just talking about your average fleece here. Thanks to technological advancements in materials, your mid-layer’s performance gets a significant boost. Some key features to look for in a mid-layer include:

  • Polartec Power Air fleece, which reduces microfiber shedding;

  • PrimaLoft P.U.R.E. synthetic insulation with lower carbon emissions;

  • Breathable fabrics like Patagonia’s Nano-Air facilitate the escape of vapour to maintain comfort; and

  • Front zippers for additional ventilation.

These features will enhance the functionality and comfort of your mid-layer.

Whether you prefer hoodies, fleece jackets, puffy vests, or insulated jackets with venting features, mid-layers come in a variety of choices, allowing you to choose the right one for you. Keep in mind that a fit that strikes a balance between snugness and freedom of movement is key to achieving optimal performance and warmth on the slopes.

Outer Layer: Shielding Against the Elements

Last but not least, our three-layer system has the outer layers for your upper body.

This is your fortissimo, your powerful ending that shields you against the elements. Your outer layer should be waterproof, windproof, and breathable to protect you from harsh weather while allowing body moisture to escape through materials like Gore-Tex and innovative fabrics like Helly Hansen’s LIFA Infinity Pro.

However, protection is only the beginning. Imagine you’re on top of the mountain, wind howling and snow flurrying. You’re warm and dry, thanks to your layers, but you’re struggling to find your lift pass. With outer layers like a snowboard jacket and snow pants designed for snowboarding, you get features like:

  • Vents for temperature regulation;

  • Wrist gaiters;

  • Lift pass sleeves; and

  • Goggle wipe toggles.

These features enhance functionality and comfort. And the choices are plentiful, from a shell or an insulated snowboard jacket depending on weather conditions, to options like bib pants offering added protection and comfort.

In the end, the what to wear snowboarding goal is to have an outer layer that effectively shields you from the elements, equipped with features like durable water-repellent (DWR) coating and insulation. All of these are things to consider when thinking about what to wear snowboarding.

Essential Snowboarding Accessories

A snowboarder holding his snowboard. Photo by Max Kukurudziak on Unsplash

Now that we’ve mastered the art of layering, it’s time to explore the accessories that complete our snowboarding ensemble.

Much like a symphony isn’t complete without the nuances of rhythm and harmony, a snowboarding outfit isn’t fully equipped without its accessories. These are the small, but significant players that make a big difference to your safety and comfort on the slopes.

From protecting your head with helmets, beanies, and balaclavas, to keeping those fingers warm with snowboard gloves or mittens – the right accessories can enhance your snowboarding experience by leaps and bounds.

And let’s not forget the importance of warmth preservation – hats and gloves are not just accessories, they’re essentials when it comes to protecting against the cold. For those particularly cold days, extra accessories such as warm gloves, a neck gaiter, and a face mask become essential.

Headgear: Helmets, Beanies, and Balaclavas

Let’s start with the top, quite literally. Your headgear can be a game-changer when it comes to winter sports. Think of it as the conductor of your symphony, keeping everything in sync while protecting your most valuable asset – your head.

A well-fitted helmet with adjustable vents can regulate temperature and increase comfort while on the mountain. When choosing a helmet, factors to consider include:

  • Fit;

  • Incorporated safety technologies;

  • Weight; and

  • Possibility of audio integration.

But what about those extra chilly days or when the helmet alone just doesn’t cut it? That’s where beanies come in. Worn under the helmet, they provide an extra layer of insulation, with options for different thicknesses and weights to suit various conditions.

And let’s not forget balaclavas – these combine a mask and hat, efficiently keeping the head and face warm especially during extreme cold. You can also add a neck gaiter for extra warmth by covering the face and preventing cold air from entering the neck area. There have been a few white-outs when you snow is pelting my face and I could have done with a balaclava or neck gaiter to protect my face.

Goggles: Protecting Your Eyes

The next accessory on our list is goggles. They’re not just about looking cool (although they do add a certain flair!), but also about protecting your eyes from the elements.

UV-blocking goggles provide essential protection for snowboarders’ eyes against harmful sun rays, which is far superior to wearing regular sunglasses. Plus, they should fit snugly with the helmet, shielding your face and forehead from cold air and adding comfort.

But here’s the nitty-gritty: visibility. When you’re snowboarding, clear vision is paramount. Many goggles come equipped with two lenses suitable for different lighting and weather situations, enhancing visibility on the mountain – an absolute game-changer when you have changing conditions during the day.

So, not only do goggles protect your eyes, but they also ensure that you can see the slopes clearly, making your snowboarding experience both safer and more enjoyable.

Gloves or Mittens: Keep Your Hands Warm and Dry

Last but not least in our accessories line-up, we have gloves or mittens.

Picture yourself attempting to snowboard with hands that are cold and numb – hardly a pleasant experience, wouldn’t you agree?

But choosing between gloves and mittens can be a bit of a conundrum. Mittens offer the most warmth, but the least dexterity, making them the preferred choice for cold conditions. They can even be enhanced with liner gloves for additional warmth.

While warmth is important, so is staying dry. Therefore, when choosing gloves or mittens, they must be waterproof or water-resistant. Snowboarders must consider their personal preference, balancing the need for insulation and waterproofing with the level of dexterity required for their activity.

Ultimately, the choice between gloves and mittens should factor in individual comfort, performance needs, and the conditions one expects to encounter while snowboarding.

Selecting the Right Snowboarding Footwear

Snowboard boots. Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash

As they say, if the shoe fits, wear it – and this couldn’t be truer for snowboarding. Your boots form the cornerstone of your snowboarding gear, and securing a comfortable, well-fitting pair is essential for optimal performance and enjoyment on the snow.

And let’s not forget the unsung heroes – your socks. They may seem insignificant, but the right socks can significantly enhance the warmth and dryness of your feet when you wear them. Imagine spending hours on the slopes with cold, wet feet – not exactly a recipe for an enjoyable snowboarding trip, is it? And if you’re really cold, you can always wear two pairs, but opt for thin socks so you don’t get a tight and uncomfortable fit inside your boots.

Snowboard Boots: Finding the Perfect Fit

Let’s delve into the details of how to find that perfect pair of snowboard boots. A well-fitted boot is like a well-tuned instrument – it can significantly enhance your performance when you strap your snowboard on. They should fit snugly without being too tight, as the liners will soften and increase in volume with use.

When trying on snowboard boots, while they should feel snug, they must not be painful. Another tip is to try them on in the afternoon or evening when your feet are typically most swollen. In a proper-fitting snowboard boot, your toes should lightly touch the end when standing, but shouldn’t be cramped, and pull back slightly when your knees are flexed.

Sounds like a lot of factors to consider, right? But with a little patience and the right guidance, you’ll find the perfect fit for the best snowboarding experience.

Socks: The Key to Warm and Dry Feet

Once you’ve found the perfect boots, it’s time to pair them with the right ski and snowboard socks. These snowboard socks should:

  • Be made from merino wool or synthetic blends for excellent moisture-wicking capabilities and warmth retention when wet;

  • Have a proper sock fit that is snug to prevent movement and bunching; and

  • Have a balanced thickness that does not restrict circulation.

To maintain dry and warm feet, here are some tips:

  • Avoid using cotton socks and wear into ski socks to prevent dampness;

  • Regularly wash your socks inside out and store them flat;

  • Use cedar as protection against moths for wool fibres; and

  • Always check the fit with your boots for comfort and protection against shin bangs.

Adapt Your Snowboarding Attire to Weather Conditions

Les Deux Alps. Photo by Rebecca

With our layers, accessories, and footwear sorted out, it’s time to tackle the big issue: the weather. Mother Nature can be quite the wild card, and adapting your snowboarding attire to the weather conditions is key for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

From spring conditions that call for lighter layers and a water-resistant outer layer to variable weather that requires a range of gear, such as an insulating layer, to adjust as needed, being prepared for different weather scenarios can significantly enhance your snowboarding experience.

It’s all about finding that sweet spot between comfort and protection with snow-specific jackets.

Cold Weather Clothing Tips

When it comes to snowboarding in cold weather, it’s all about insulation and layering. Wearing wrist guards is something snowboarders wear to protect against wrist injuries from falls, and snowboarding impact shorts protect the hips, thighs, and tailbone. When I first started snowboarding, I wore bum pants (in fact, I still do) to protect my derriere.

Face masks or balaclavas provide versatile face and neck protection, offering warmth or breathability as needed. Layering insulating garments like wool turtlenecks, fleeces, or pullovers underneath the outerwear enhances warmth and can be adjusted according to temperature.

If you seek additional warmth, think about incorporating a vest as an insulating layer to keep your core warm while allowing free movement of the arms. Finally, insulated, wind-resistant ski pants and jackets, especially those with down insulation, are necessary to maintain body heat in cold conditions.

Warm Weather Clothing Tips

But what about those snowboarding adventures on sunny days? When the weather’s warm, it’s all about breathability and sun protection. In such conditions, you should wear a base layer and a windproof shell, possibly complemented by gloves or mittens for hand protection.

To avoid overheating, here are some tips:

  • Choose a light fleece as a base;

  • Choose a shell with good ventilation; and

  • Apply a higher SPF sunscreen more frequently to protect against increased UV exposure from the sun and reflective snow surface.

Water-resistant or waterproof gloves are essential to keep hands dry from melting snow and provide additional comfort.

Choosing Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Snowboarding Gear

A less CO2 sign focusing on sustainable fashion on a chair in a room. Photo by Cherie Birkner on Unsplash

As our awareness grows about our environmental impact, the snowboarding industry is also progressing towards being more eco-friendly and environmentally aware. Some ways in which brands are doing this include:

  • Incorporating sustainable materials in their products (e.g. Arbor Collective, Holden, and Burton);

  • Focusing on ethical sourcing; and

  • Funding environmental initiatives.

Companies such as WNDR Skis and Lib Tech are pioneering in the use of biotechnology and eco-friendly materials to create sustainable, high-performance snowboarding gear. Even snowboarding accessories are getting the eco-friendly treatment, with plant-based, biodegradable, and petroleum-free compositions that offer alternatives to traditional products.

So, as you gear up for your next skiing and snowboarding adventure, remember – you can enjoy the thrill of the slopes while also caring for our planet by choosing the right ski and snowboard clothing.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it – the symphony of snowboarding attire and gear.

From mastering the art of layering and choosing the right accessories and footwear, to adapting your attire to weather conditions and opting for eco-friendly gear, every piece plays a significant role in your snowboarding experience.

The right attire doesn’t just protect you from the elements or enhance your performance; it’s an extension of you, your style, and your respect for the sport. So, gear up, hit the slopes, and let your snowboarding symphony play!

Now you know what to wear snowboarding!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you look cute when snowboarding?

You can look cute while snowboarding by wearing a waterproof and warm jacket, and opting for a matching jacket and pants set for a chic look.

Do you wear clothes under snowboard pants?

Yes, it’s a good idea to wear a base layer under your snowboard pants for extra warmth and moisture-wicking properties. Thermal or moisture-wicking long underwear can help with insulation and regulate body temperature.

Why is layering important in snowboarding attire?

Layering is important in snowboarding attire because it helps you stay warm, comfortable, and stylish while allowing you to adjust your clothing for varying weather conditions and personal temperature regulation. Stay cosy and stylish on the slopes knowing what to wear snowboarding!

What materials are recommended for snowboarding socks?

For snowboarding, go for socks made from merino wool or synthetic blends as they wick moisture and keep your feet warm when wet. Avoid cotton.

How can I choose the right snowboarding helmet?

To choose the right snowboarding helmet, focus on finding one with a good fit, built-in safety features, a comfortable weight, and the option for audio integration. These factors can enhance your snowboarding experience and keep you safe on the slopes.

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