What to Wear Cross Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is one of the most challenging endurance sports today. It is also a sport that demands the right clothing for you to perform in optimal conditions.

While your garments would need to protect you from the harsh conditions, they should also ensure enough ventilation to deal with the body’s excess body heat. 

This is quite tricky, right? By dressing correctly from the insides to your outerwear, allows you to perform better on the tracks and is better for your endurance. 

Because if not, you could either be overdressed and ending up overheating along the way or underdressed, which means you are spending more energy driving out the cold, which is not optimal for your endurance. 

Kids Cross Country Ski Package w/Kid Beginner Ski Poles

Dress Properly Starting From The Insides

Start by putting on underwear that is made out of 100 percent polyester. No, we are not referring to the base layer. Having a pair of briefs, panties, and a sports bra that is made out of full polyester will help you stay warm and dry. 

Polyester does not bind with moisture, but instead, it gets rid of it. It transports the moisture from the skin out to the outer garment. Many skiers make the mistake of using cotton underwear. This beats the purpose of having a polyester base layer.

1. Base Layer

Sitting outside the underwear is the base layer. There are many types of base layers, but for cross country use, it should be made out of 100 percent polyester. It should also fit tightly, even near the armpits. 

Base Layer

The purpose of having a snug fit is that air pockets will let moisture stick on the skin. This creates a chilly lid effect.  For really cold and windy weather conditions, a base layer with wind protection should be worn. However, a regular base layer would suffice as long as there is extra protection around the genital area. 

For those who like to go slower on the tracks, a mixed undergarment of polyester and wool is more preferable. Wool does not provide effective moisture transport properties, but it does have better thermal protection. This combination would work well for low-intensity activities. 

When talking about socks, it should also be made out of polyester. If you are prone to having cold feet, having a mix of polyester and wool will also do the trick. In lower temperature conditions, skiers usually prefer doubling two thin socks or having mixed socks. 

Just make sure that it does not compromise the fit of your boot. Always make sure your feet are completely dry when putting on the socks. This will greatly reduce the risk of freezing. 

2. The Middle Layer

On top of your upper base layer, you should add a middle layer with thermal properties. The mid-layer provides thermal protection and will keep your body warm in very cold conditions. It is also important that your mid-layer is still made out of 100 percent polyester. 

 The Middle Layer

This ensures that moisture transport continues through all of your garments. However, elite athletes who do high-intensity interval training or who are about to compete only wear light jackets and tights outside their baselayer. 

3. The Outerwear

The last part of your cross country wardrobe is the outerwear. Effective outerwear would have a thin jacket with smooth pants. Preferably, these items should be made out of wind-resistant fabric upfront. It should also be elastic and is made out of breathable fabric at the back. 

Wearing versatile clothing is effective

The result is, the front would protect you from the cold wind while the back provides ample ventilation. It ejects excess heat and transports the moisture from your inner layers. 

4. Accessories With Moisture Transporting Properties

Effectively regulating body heat is the key to an effective cross country wardrobe. Aside from your main wardrobe, the same properties should also apply to your headgear and gloves. 

Your other accessories should have a polyester inner layer. The one that has direct contact with the skin. And a thicker layer of polyester on the outside. 

Hats that are made out of polyester and wool are also a good choice. 

Additional Tips When Doing Cross Country Skiing

Be proactive when it comes to your clothing. Do not wait until you get too hot or too cold to change your wardrobe. Continuing in unfavorable conditions will only make you exert more energy. 

Next is to bring extra layers of clothing. You will never know if your clothes will get to us or if there are sudden shifts in the weather. Having extra dry clothing will come in handy in situations like this. 

Wearing versatile clothing is effective. Choose clothing that lets you regulate your body temperature. Look for features such as vents, side zippers, and zip-necks. This will come hand when you are out on the track and do not have time to have a quick wardrobe change. 


When doing cross country races, always remember that it is always better to wear several layers of thin clothing rather than wearing one thick garment. In effect, this creates several layers of air located between the garments. This is more effective in regulating heat. 

And if ever it gets too out, you can always remove one layer. Many skiers tend to overdress.  Having the right wardrobe will not only improve your performance but also enhances your overall skiing experience. 

A good strategy in preparing for your activity is to look at the weather forecast as well as check the thermometer just before you go down the tracks. While track reading, you can test different layers around until you get your ideal range. 

Another strategy is to wear fewer clothes when warming up. This is around 5 to 10 minutes of workout. It is around this time that the body heats up to its normal working temperature then you decide what to wear. 

Jomar Teves

A blogger by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a downhill mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years experience as a writer and is a graduate of the BSBA Entrepreneurial Marketing program. His work has been published on Clutch Points, Blokt and iTech.