Layers are undisputably the best way to keep warm on the slopes, and this all starts with nailing the basics. Your base layer is there to manage moisture, so should effectively move sweat away from your body and keep you dry from the inside. But remember, layering systems are as individual as your ski boots or favourite runs. What works for someone else may not work for you - and that's where we come in. We've created this guide to everything there is to know about base layers, so you can choose the right one for you.
Merino wool base layers offer excellent heat retention and fine fibres, which allow freedom of movement and feel soft against the skin. Merino has naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, due to the lanolin and keratin wax produced by the sheep - which basically means merino base layers can be worn for days without needing to be washed. Merino is also great for breathability, whch means sweat vapour can easily escape, keeping you dry while you're working hard on the mountains.
Synthetic base layers are usually made from polyester or polyester blends. They're also great for breathability and moisture-wicking, and are quick-drying, reducing uncomfortable sweat against your skin, but they don't tend to be as warm as merino base layers.
Whichever material your base layer is made from, something to look for is ventilation, such as a quarter zip or mesh panels on the underarms or down the spine. These help improve air flow and keep your temperature consistent when you're switching from intense shredding to waiting for the lift.
Your base layer should be close-fitting to effectively trap body heat and wick away moisture.
A base layer top should cover all exposed areas, and you should be able to tuck it into your outer layers to stop the cold from getting in. Choose your usual t-shirt size, as the fit will be snug by design.
As with top base layers, a close-fitting bottom base layer will offer more warmth. They should reach the bottom of your lower leg and rest around your ankle. Like with tops, choose your usual size.
Layering is the best way to keep warm on the slopes because it traps air between each layer, so having the right layers is much more effective than one thick jacket. A basic layering system consists of a base layer, mid-layer and outer layer, and they're all as important to get right as each other.