Rochester, New York City Guide
Rochester, NY City Guide

© 1996-2015 Max Lent Communications




What to wear when cross-country skiing

By Max Lent

What you wear to cross-country ski can make the difference between enjoying skiing and hating it. If you go out and get extremely cold or overheated, you will probably not go cross-country skiing again. Fortunately, keeping warm is easy and relatively inexpensive. The secret is to wear the right kind of clothing in the right quantity.

Novice skiers stand out because they usually wear cotton blue jeans, wet cotton blue jeans. Although you can't see it, they probably have on cotton long underwear under those jeans, if they have on long underwear at all. Cotton, while a wonderful fabric, does not provide adequate insulation for cross-country skiing. Wool pants work much better. Synthetic fabrics also work better as outerwear and underwear. Wool gloves work better than cotton or inexpensive winter gloves. Wool sweaters warm better than cotton or acrylic sweaters. Wool socks with synthetic wicking liners work better than anything.

Layering several garments works better than a single thick garment. Lose garments provide better insulation than tight fitting garments with the exception of high tech garments designed for the sport.

Intermediate skiers stand out because they wear too much clothing. They probably got very cold once and swore never to let that happen again. They are usually wearing wool everything several layers deep. They are also sweating on the coldest day of the year from the exertion of skiing well. Once you learn how to ski moderately well, (This means that you have learned how to kick and glide rather than lifting your skis and putting them down like snow shoes.) you will become warm very quickly and will find you have put on too much clothing. This is when the layering technique becomes handy. Take off layers until you are comfortable. Put them back on when you stop or fall down. A fanny pack is great for storing unneeded clothing when you are zooming along at almost running speeds.

While you are online, stop by the L.L. Bean Home Page. I have personally bought and have been favorably impressed with L.L. Bean products I have purchased over the years. Their prices are not as low as I have found by waiting for sales at local stores or other mail order companies, but their service and reliability are unquestionable.


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