How to look cool out on the ski hill

Every sport has a culture around it that includes a particular look. People tend to dress a certain way. Certain brands of clothing are more popular, and you can just tell if that person is a skier versus say, a soccer player. Different styles and brands make clothing for different sports. Cultural rules are a little annoying, but they are there for a reason: to keep you comfortable and safe. There are a few that are important for downhill skiing, for example, and here are just a few.

The goggle gap

The gap is created when there is a space above your goggles and your helmet. The bare skin looks odd to begin with, plus it’s uncomfortable, but most importantly is usually an indication that your helmet is too far back. If it’s too far back, it likely means that it’s loose, making it an issue if you take a spill.  The goggles should fit right under the rim of the helmet. The best way to ensure you don’t have this ‘goggle gap’ is to buy your goggles and helmet at the same time, or to bring your existing goggles when you buy a new helmet (or vice versa) to try on before buying. 

No jeans

Of course, ski clothing is expensive, and saying that you need to have certain look while skiing sounds pretentious. But ski wear is designed to keep you comfortable, and this is something that jeans just don’t do.  While fine for closing day at the hill in the spring, jeans should be avoided every other time. Cotton is the worst possible thing to be skiing in because it’s not insulated, it doesn’t dry when wet, and it doesn’t breathe. Plus, jeans don’t cover your ski boots either and snow can get in your boots. Ski a day in jeans and you won’t be happy.

Skip the hooded sweatshirts

Clothes should be layered and cotton in general should be avoided to keep you from getting cold and clammy since it doesn’t dry, but hooded sweatshirts also come with an extra problem of the bulky hood. The hood needs to be tucked in and will be bulky underneath your ski jacket, pushed between your shoulder blades, restricting movement and making you uncomfortable. Pull it out from behind your jacket and you’ll find it will just get wet and caked with snow. Save that hooded sweatshirt for your apres ski outfit.    

How to carry your skis

This is a comfort and efficiency thing as well as a ‘look’ thing!  Skis together and tips forward, rest one front binding on your shoulder blade and hold on to both tips with one arm. This leaves your other hand free to carry poles, boots and ski bag around the other shoulder. Your hand on the tips serves as a counter weight for the back of the skis, giving you some leverage that takes stress off your body. Be careful of your surroundings however, as it’s very easy to hit something or someone with the back of your skis. Don’t carry your skis this way in a crowded area or indoors.

Hold them differently, and you’ll find it will be heavier, and your skis will come apart: dropping them is a huge pain. It’s easier to trip, and falling in the parking lot in downhill ski boots can hurt. 

Keep your turns tight on a powder day

It’s just a nice thing to do – enjoy the powder but don’t shred the entire run. Leave some fresh snow for others. The same thing goes for backcountry skiing and is just a nice courtesy.

Safety first, Instagram second 

Yes, we love Instagram too and love setting up for those cool mountain action shots as much as anyone. But don’t let posing for, and setting up for photos dictate your ski day. Take a few photos here and there

Ski with snacks

At some point in the day we all get hit with uncontrollable hunger, and it seems to happen to everyone at the same time, and the cafeterias get jam packed with huge line ups and long waits until your eating, provided you can even find a place to sit. A smarter way to do it is to bring a snack with you in your pocket, like a granola bar or energy bar. Eat one of these on the lift to keep hunger under control and head inside to eat after the rush.



Alicja is an economist, enjoys climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, cycling and gets out into the backcountry as much as possible. See all of Alicja's Blog Posts