Cross-country ski clothing essentials

I am freshly back from my first ever cross-country ski experience, three days on the tracks in Kvitfjell, Norway, brilliantly organised by SkiSafari.com.

It was a short, try-out visit, but required an almost complete overhaul of my piste wardrobe. Ski clothing rental is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to our friends at ecoski.co.uk. However, cross-country, aka Nordic skiing, is still a minority interest for UK skiers. That meant no chance of hiring clothing for this ski mini-break.

Luckily, my husband and I both absolutely loved the sport and can’t wait to return, so our kit will be going back in the cupboard until we can get back to the trails.

Buy pre-loved if you can

I am certain that in future it will be possible to buy pre-loved cross-country ski clothes here at WhoSki.com, but these are early days for our peer-to-peer marketplace, so on this occasion, off to the (online) shops we went.

For downhill skiing, clothing needs to both breathe and keep you warm on ski lifts. The way most of us ski makes for short periods of extreme exertion followed by longer stretches of trying to avoid getting cold hands, feet etc.

In contrast, cross-country skiing is physically much tougher, especially for a beginner with poor technique. Bear in mind that you are likely to work up a sweat pretty quickly, so you would roast in your downhill ski jacket and pants. You do, however, need to stay warm while stopped or in bad weather. Yup: we are talking layers.

Lower body

Go for two layers on your legs: a pair of thermals with over-trousers on top. The thickness of your thermal base layer will depend on the outside temperature: thick for colder winter weather, thinner for spring-like temperatures. In late spring you might even drop the thermal layer, or choose a shorter three-quarter-length / Capri style pair of tights or thermals. These will allow more air to circulate and help prevent you from over-heating.

I wore the same thin base layer leggings which I also wear under my usual downhill ski pants, and they were just fine.

If you’re looking for a higher-intensity cross-country ski workout, ski tights alone – similar to running leggings – will suit. Those aiming for gentler touring on skis will also need a pair of shell-type Nordic ski pants to wear over your base layer.

I bought mine from Daehlie, a well-known Norwegian brand, and was very pleased with their performance; wind-resistant micro-fibre material at the front and stretch material at back with tailored legs, elasticated ankles and a small zip pocket. Warm and cool and comfortable.

Upper body

Think three layers, with a thin base layer next to your skin that will wick away sweat, a fleece on top of that and a lightweight over-jacket designed specifically for cross-country skiing. Odds are the fleece will come off as soon as you start working harder on an uphill stretch, so it’s as well to wear a small backpack for your trip out on the trails.

Your over-jacket needs to be windproof, and you might appreciate having a micro-down jacket that weighs light and packs small in your backpack too. You can slip this on for extra warmth on a cold day if you find yourself taking a chairlift or stopping for a prolonged rest.

I found a half-zipped base layer was perfect under my jacket: the zip allowed for extra air circulation when working hard on climbs. It’s the same top I use when downhill skiing, so that was one less item to buy.

Day one began with me wearing a mid-layer fleece – which came off very quickly – and I only wore it again to keep the wind off when we took a chair-lift to the start of a more distant trail. My Halti soft shell jacket also performed beautifully and looked good.

Accessories

Many cross-country skiers wear a headband/ buff to keep their ears warm yet allow heat to escape – a thick hat will be too hot for most of us. However, a thin beanie or cap with ear-flaps that fold up will also suffice.

Your downhill ski gloves are likely to be far too thick / insulated for cross-country skiing, so you might want to invest in specific cross-country touring gloves. Thicker running gloves would also do the job on warmer days. Mittens are recommended for those who suffer from cold hands. I do, but suffered no chills in my new cross-country gloves on this trip (bright spring sunshine, temperatures hovering around zero).

Regarding socks, alpine ski socks are fine although of course you don’t really need the padding or length. My husband was happy in good quality woollen socks. Cross-country ski boots are light yet warm and windproof – and so easy to walk in compared with their alpine equivalents. Heavenly.

As for all skiing, good quality sunglasses are essential (not goggles – too hot for cross-country) as snow glare can cause optical damage.

Make sure you carry a water bottle – cross-country skiing is energetic work. And the little Nordic ski straps provided by our hire shop were genius for holding together the skis when carrying them (which is a joy – they are so light).

Get in Touch

If you’re thinking about trying out cross-country skiing, do drop us a message on social media : @WeWhoSki on Twitter and Instagram. I’d be happy to share tips from our experience.
Nicola

Schuss into spring 2022 with new-look WhoSki.com

Welcome to new-look WhoSki.com. We’ve had a marketplace makeover, making it quicker and easier to buy and sell pre-loved wintersports wear on our UK-based website, with transactions powered by Stripe for financial confidence and security.

What’s new?

  • upload technology SO SIMPLE that you can list your no-longer-needed clothing by mobile as you travel to and from the piste
  • reliable click-to-buy transactions powered by trusted provider Stripe
  • focused ski and snowboard community: no trawling through page after page of irrelevant content
  • #SkiGreen Directory to help you make eco-choices when you visit the slopes

PLUS we continue to donate a quarter of our commission to teen mental health charity stem4 on every sale.

Think green as you head for the mountains

Sustainability is the No1 reason why we set up WhoSki.com. Extending the lifetime of textiles is the most environmentally friendly way to keep clothing in circulation and out of landfill. It’s a step that we can all take, by passing on our good quality, secondhand clothes to other enthusiasts.

Experts calculate that extending the active life of clothing by just three months per item, leads to a 5-10% reduction in the carbon, water and waste footprints of your family’s no-longer-needed ski and snowboard outfits.

Find out more about sustainability in winter sports and the fast business on our Eco page here.

Meanwhile, around three-quarters of clothing donated to charity shops fails to find a home – especially specialist items like ski wear – and a mere 15% of our textile waste is recycled.

The good news is, every one of us can make a difference. So why not put sustainability on your to-do list this back-to-ski season? Selling through WhoSki.com instantly reduces the carbon footprint of your wintersports habit, helps you earn a bit of money and keeps down the cost of kitting out yourself and your family.

Sell simply and safely in our dedicated community

So whether you’ve fallen out of love with your wintersports wardrobe since you were last on the slopes, or had a clear-out and realised those ski and snowboard clothes no longer fit, the WhoSki.com shop is the place to sell them, simply and safely.

We look forward to welcoming you to our refreshed online marketplace – join us too on social media, @WeWhoSki on Twitter and Instagram.

Join us at the National Snow Show!

The slopes are re-opening, the kit is being dusted off, so rather than filling up landfill with your old ski and snowboard clothing, come and see us at stand D70 at the 2021 National Snow Show and discover how you can ski greener this season.

We are revamping our website, but – like your favourite pistes! – we will be back in business soon, with our eco-focused peer-to-peer marketplace where wintersports fans can buy and sell pre-loved ski wear. Saving money and supporting the circular economy.

We are the UK’s only website dedicated to helping you pass on secondhand ski and snowboard clothing, enabling you to ski green AND look good on the slopes for less.

It’s been a long time since we were at the last Ski Show in Battersea Park, but we are looking forward to meeting skiers again in person at the NEC in Birmingham, Saturday and Sunday October 23-24. You’ll find us between the Snow and Shred Stages, at stand D70.

Do pop by and say hello: we’d love to hear how you’re planning to reduce the carbon footprint of your ski or snowboard trip next season #SnowShow

Before you visit: current NEC guidance here: https://www.thenec.co.uk/visitors/plan-your-visit/

Stay warm outdoors this winter

Covid-19 tiers are in near-constant flux, but there is one thing that remains consistent: exercising outdoors. We are all encouraged to wrap up and step outside.

Transmission risks are low provided you don’t mingle, and maintaining/improving fitness levels will help you fight the virus or remain healthy.

Since first lockdown all those months ago, there has been a rise in numbers of people discovering the great outdoors. Now winter’s here, it is as important to ever to keep venturing out – safely – but this time around you’ll need to be well wrapped up.

Thankfully, wintersports wear from base layers to waterproof outers is perfect for hiking, walking, rambling – or simply taking the kids to the park.

Pull on your ski and boarding clothes to defy the wind, rain, frost and snow. Not only will you feel toasty and dry, you’ll look great – and have plenty of pockets for mask, phone, keys and snacks.

 Check our listings for everything from socks (perfect to keep your feet warm and dry in walking boots) to thermal underwear and wind resistant overwear for the whole family. #PassItOn

Dress like a Norwegian to survive Covid-19 winter

It’s the new hygge: ‘friluftsliv’, literally free-air-life, or the art of living an outdoor lifestyle.

Apparently, it’s what has seen Norwegians through lockdown. More than one in three citizens have spent even more time than usual outdoors this summer.

Typical friluftsliv activities include relaxing, fishing, hiking and sleeping in “camping hammocks”, the Guardian reports. If you too have enjoyed getting out and about or simply hiking in local countryside Norwegian-style over recent months, you may be wanting to continue through autumn and winter.

Great idea! Just make sure you are properly equipped to enjoy rather than endure our colder, damper, darker months.

Wintersports clothing is perfect UK winter wear as it’s breathable and waterproof. Importantly, it also has plenty of pockets to store face mask and hand sanitizer too. A pre-loved ski jacket is just the thing: low cost and high value. Check our listings for everything from socks (perfect to keep your feet warm and dry in walking boots) to thermal underwear and wind resistant overwear for the whole family.

You’ll stay warm and dry, look stylish, do your physical and mental health a favour, and give good-as-new textiles an extended life. #PassItOn

3 reasons to sell with WhoSki

1 A proportion of our commission on EVERY SALE goes to support teenage mental health via our charity partner stem4. 

Among the reasons we love skiing are the fresh air, feeling of freedom, connection with nature and sheer joy of exercising at high altitude: all brilliant wellbeing boosters. That’s why when we were looking for a charity to support, we chose stem4 whose goal is to help foster good mental health in teenagers.

We guarantee that on every commission we earn, we pass on a percentage to stem4.

2 When 300,000 tonnes of textiles goes to landfill EVERY YEAR, surely it’s time to find a more sustainable way of dealing with no longer needed ski clothing?

Predictably, more than 99% of skiers own ski clothing (SkiClub of Great Britain consumer research), almost half of us buy at least one new piece of clothing every year, and 80% every two years. Those of us with kids know it’s a rare year when you don’t need to update their ski wardrobe. But when you give no longer wanted kit to the charity shop, be aware: the odds are it is trashed rather than re-sold.

Think sustainable: sell it on WhoSki instead and reduce the carbon footprint of your ski gear.    

3 It’s low cost and eco, so why not make this the season you update all or part of your ski wardrobe?

Resale value is the buzz-phrase among savvy fashion-lovers who no longer simply shop for clothes, but trade them in. It’s the way to feed your desire for a new look, while ticking the eco box, ensure your kids have got gear that fits but doesn’t cost a fortune. We all know: ski clothing is generally expensive to purchase, worn for a week a year and much of it shows little or no signs of damage.

So whether you’re a piste fashionista or a ski mum looking to clothe the kids, visit the WhoSki.com marketplace to exchange last year’s gear for a guilt-free outfit update.   

Kids Ski Wear

Kids ski wear that lasts: we like!

Perfect Scandi brand ski kit for kids 1, 2 … and 3?

Nice to see a new (to us!) kid on the block in the children’s outerwear market: Swedish brand Polarn O.Pyret.

If anyone knows how to keep the little ones warm and weatherproofed, it’s the Scandis, right? So it was lovely to see that they are about to launch their new range of ski jackets, ski trousers and ski gloves, in practical unisex reds, camo and black/white.

Warning: it’s going to be limited edition, so keep your eye on their website to be in with a chance of grabbing a set (jackets £105; pants £85; age 2-12). Sounds costly? It’s tough stuff, built to last two children or more. And that means high re-sale value, so remember to recycle via Whoski.com when you’re ready to pass on your children’s outgrown ski clothing..

As Polarn O.Pyret agrees: “Handing down or selling is better for the planet… and for your pocket!”

Cold feet skiing solutions

Having cold feet can ruin your ski experience. What’s the answer for those of us who find chilly toes an issue on the piste?

Invest in quality socks

No 1 investment for cold feet sufferers should be quality ski socks. Investing in a few pairs of really good ski socks should definitely be top of your list of solutions if cold toes are your problem.

If there’s room inside your ski boots, you may find wearing two pairs of thinner socks in place of a single thicker pair will make a difference. Do always make sure, though, that you have space to wiggle your toes and move your feet: this will aid circulation and help keep your feet warmer.

TIP: Warmer socks will contain a higher percentage of Merino. Choose the right size for your feet, and opt for a pair with specific right and left foot options as padding, compression etc will be in the right place for comfort and heat.

Choose boot heaters

Ensure boots are warm and dry when you put them on. You can’t always rely on hotel/chalet boot heaters which are often insufficient/non-existent/non-operational, so packing your own device is a good idea. Portable boot heater options include the Sidas Drywarmer shoe warming and drying appliance (cost c £20), a mains-powered device that pops inside your boots and gently dries them overnight. UV light helps zap bacteria. These mini-warmers are super-versatile, so you could also use them for running shoes, wellies, walking boots etc, as well as for larger ski gloves. Recommend.

For those with serious cold feet issues, including Reynaud’s Syndrome or diabetes sufferers, consider investing in an on-board heating system. You have a couple of options here: boot heaters or heated socks.

Therm-ic PowerSock heated socks: costly, at approaching £200. Battery pack tucks into the top of the sock, can be adjusted via your phone using Bluetooth connection. Socks should be washed at max 30degC. You’d probably need at least a couple of pairs for a week-long ski trip, pushing up the price even further. Also, socks need to be long in order to fit battery pack above boot top level, thus increasing bulk.

From personal experience, we believe the better option is a Therm-ic in-boot heating system, powered by rechargeable battery packs. You’re recommended to get the insole installed at a ski shop so the wires are correctly located, though you can do it yourself. Leads poke out of the top of the back of your boot and plug into powerpacks which click securely onto your boot straps. Buttons on the powerpack enable you to switch the device on/off and adjust the heat levels.

We recommend:

One of our founders Nicola has skied with Therm-ic boot heaters for more than 10 years, and refuses to ski without them: “I’m a February half-term skier, when conditions can be cold, and barely a day goes by without me switching on my boot heaters. I am amazed you don’t see more of them around. For me, they are a ski essential.”

Got warm ski kit you no longer need? Keep it out of landfill, pass it on via our online marketplace.

Piste style: Chanel goes skiing

In the market for a dash of Chanel? Glam up with the fashion house’s first ever capsule ski wear range ‘Coco Neige’, which serves up a selection of monochrome quilted parkas and shearling jackets, salopettes, ski suits and mittens.

It’s a range that screams Eagles Nest more than Mark Warner chalet hotel, so perhaps a must for Courchevel 1850 ski kittens, but for apres-ski inspo alone it’s worth a browse. We particularly like the padded mini skirt: a great look teamed with thermal leggings and snow boots. Is there really a need for a Chanel ski handbag, though? The jury’s out on that one.

Who and what is WhoSki.com ?

Hi! We are Sally and Nicola: WhoSki.com foundersWe LOVE skiing. We love looking good on the slopes.

But we don’t like spending a fortune on ski gear. And we absolutely HATE to see perfectly good ski kit go to landfill.

Sally: Why do I love skiing? It’s freedom, family time and the time of year when I can fill my boots with cheese fondue and hot chocolate and STILL feel healthy. That’s why skiing is my kind of holiday!

As for WhoSki.com: why is it so expensive to get stylish ski wear online – especially for children? You buy ski clothing for the kids that fits and clearly has a bit of growing room, but within MONTHS they shoot up, lanky legs, gangling arms, and boom! You’re left with one barely worn, almost new ski suit that no longer fits.

And ski stuff? Well, the industry’s recycling credentials are poor so we want to grow the world of #PassItOn: reuse, recycle and reduce the impact this fabulous sport has on our planet.

Nicola: As the mum of teens who have both been on skiing holidays every year since babyhood, I have accumulated and passed on shedloads – literally – of preloved but outgrown ski gear. But the number of ski families in my immediate circle is limited, so there’s not always a ready secondhand market for my kids’ high quality, good as new snow gear.

(I must admit I’ve also got a bit of a weak spot for a new ski jacket and love to upgrade probably more often than I should…)

WhoSki founders Sally and Nicola

Life’s too short not to look good on the slopes: buying and selling via WhoSki.com makes a piste fashion refresh affordable AND sustainable.   

  •         RECYCLE your secondhand ski clothing
  •         REFRESH your piste style every year
  •         MAKE money
  •         SAVE the planet
  •         CLEAR OUT your clutter
  •         LOOK good on the slopes for less

How it works: we’re an online community of people who ski, who want to pass on ski kit that still has more to give, who want to pick up a great deal on good quality, pre-loved or end of line ski gear.

  • Got a cupboard full of children’s ski clothing that no longer fits? List it on WhoSki.com.
  • Fancy a new ski jacket but can’t justify paying full price? Search on WhoSki.com.
  • Looking for ski gear for your first ski trip? Buy it on WhoSki.com
  • Fancy an affordable ski wardrobe make-over? Style up with WhoSki.com.