Gang, I have spent years trying to find a ski jacket that will actually keep me warm on the slopes. I’m always cold, ALWAYS. Skiing is often a mental endurance exercise, rather than a physical one: How Long Can One Shiver Without Losing Ones Mind?
Couple my natural tendency to freeze with the short runs/slow lifts that are hallmarks of East Coast skiing, and….misery. It can be misery.
But my boys love to ski (like….crazy love it, never stop skiing EVER love it), and, when I’m not freezing, I DO TOO.
So I finally found a base layer + mid-layer + ski jacket combination that – really and truly – keeps me warm. This combo has been well-tested, both in Colorado and on the East Coast. Best of all? The jacket (and mid-layer, actually) are cute enough for apres-ski AND are currently 20% off.
The Warmest-Ever Ski Jacket (That’s Still Cute)
Spyder’s Moxie Jacket is amazingly warm. The guy at the ski shop said, simply, that it was “the warmest jacket you can still possibly ski in.” His perma-cold girlfriend swore by it, her best friend swore by it….and now, I do too.
Spyder’s sizing is weird. I typically take a size 2 in tops (sometimes a 0 in fast fashion brands like Banana Republic), but I needed a size 4 in this jacket. However…if you have other Spyder jackets, I found this one to fit bigger than the others (in other Spyder styles I preferred a size 6).
It also comes in a little girl’s version, too.
My Fav Mid-Layer
Down. For warmth, I like down (or down alternatives), rather than fleece. Spyder’s Glissade Insulator is the best mid-layer I’ve tried. Not only because it looks cute for an apres-ski cocktail, but it’s so insanely lightweight, yet warm thanks to Primaloft. And for Spring skiing, I ski in just this + baselayer.
This jacket comes in a bunch of colors, and for reference, I’m wearing an XS. It’s pretty fitted. I do appreciate the stretchy panels on the sides.
My Favorite Base-Layers
I have a bunch of base-layers that I cycle through, but if we’re talking serious cold, I turn to Under Armour’s Baselayer 4.0. It works. The one downside is that it doesn’t smell very good after a day of skiing, but I’ve yet to find a baselayer that hits alll of my criteria. So. Here are my favorites, as well as the pros/cons for each.
TOPS (In order of warmth)
Under Armour Baselayer 4.0 Crewneck shirt – This top fits tight (I have the XS), but it wicks, is lined in fleece, and is seriously, insanely warm. Like….TOASTY. The cons? In addition to the smell issue….the fleece lining has a slight diamond pattern….so don’t be surprised if you change into a bikini for an apres-ski soak only to find your skin is now patterned.
Spyder Therma Stretch T-Neck – Another very fitted top (XS), this is almost as warm as the Under Amour, but without the end-of-day smell or the diamond pattern. Personally, I don’t love the half-zip styling, but that’s just me. It’s also pricier than UA (but the 20% off helps).
Lululemon Swiftly Tech Longsleeve – This top wicks sweat beautifully, resists smell, washes and dries perfectly, doesn’t pill, etc etc etc. It’s amazing. The only problem? It’s not *quite* warm enough for the coldest days. For true warmth, I need something a little fleecier.
Merino Wool – I’ve found that merino wool baselayers aren’t warm, they’re just sweat-wicking and resist smell. I don’t wear wool on the coldest days, but because they don’t smell, they’re great for travel when laundry is a problem (or for layering over one of the other baselayers mentioned above – the extra layer helps to trap warm air). For wool baselayers, I like Smartwool’s ski sweater or Outdoor Voices’ Merino wool crewneck.
BOTTOMS (In order of warmth)
Under Armour Baselayer 4.0 Pants – these run really small. I have the XS, but they’re so low-waisted that it drives me nuts. But….they’re still the warmest I’ve worn. And when it’s insanely cold, I’ve layered them over the Lululemon tights, below. (Yes, I have to sort of…work them on. They’ll stretch.)
Lululemon Wunder Under High-Rise Tights, Brushed – The “brushed” term is the key. These pants are nice and thick, and feel like fleece on the inside, thanks to this brushing. I like that the waistline is so high-rise, too – it’s saved me on a few falls when I’ve forgotten to actually snap the powder skirt on my jacket. They’re not quite as warm as the UA 4.0s, but sooooo much cuter when I strip off my snowpants for apres ski.
Outdoor Voices Merino Wool Pants – My legs don’t sweat enough to make merino wool necessary as a baselayer pant, but I have had success layering these over the Lululemon tights. They provide just the extra bit of warmth needed for all but the coldest days. And I find that merino wool is thinner, so layers more comfortably than the UA baselayer pants.