Cross-country skiing is a very effective and versatile sport. During the sport arms, legs and the core muscles are used and at the same time lungs are filled with crispy fresh air and the mind is also refreshed. Cross-country skiing is one of the most popular sports in Finland and a great form of exercise in the winter which is known to be long and snowy in the Nordics. There are also indoor skiing facilities in many of the larger cities in Finland and technology allows for cross-country skiing and training in winter-like conditions around the year.
Halti has dressed the Finnish national teams in men’s and women’s cross-country skiing for years. The sets altered for each athlete, warm up and race suits have been seen in Finnish as well as international medias. With the feedback from professional athletes Halti is able to develop the products for all levels of skiers.
The right gear is key in cross-country skiing; skis, boots and ski poles are of course the most important but clothing matters as well. In this guide we focus on choosing the right clothing for cross-country skiing.
“Is this warm enough?”,” How cold weather is this outfit for?”. These are some of the most common questions when thinking about clothing for winter sports and activities. The honest answer is that we don’t know. People are different and some feel cold easier than others so there is no absolute and correct answer for what is warm enough. Start with considering what is the nature of the planned skiing or sport. Are you skiing for an intensive workout or a relaxed trip with a focus on enjoying the outdoors? Will you take a longer trip or catch some fresh air quickly?
BASE LAYERS AND SOCKS
What you wear directly against your skin is very important when you want to stay warm. In skiing and all other winter sports and activities that cause sweating, it is important to choose a base layer that will keep your skin dry. In other words, prefer technical materials, wool, or a mixture of these and forget about cotton on the base layer.
Active skiers often prefer technical materials in base layers. Technical materials transfer moist most efficiently to the next layer and are breathable. Active skiers usually have a fast-paced trip and the heat from the body is enough to keep warm during the exercise. As the pace of the exercise becomes slower more wool should be included in the base layer, a mixture of technical material and wool will keep you warm when the body doesn’t generate as much heat as in high pulse training. 100% Wool base layers work best in low tempo exercise and on longer trips that include breaks. On longer trips many prefer wearing a technical base layer directly on the skin and adding a layer of wool on top. In this way the skin stays dry the whole time and the wool releases heat back.
Socks should fit very well and tight in the ski boot so that the sock doesn’t cause abrasions or blisters during the exercise. Modern ski boots are not very warm which is why many skiers prefer socks with merino wool and fit well. In warmer weather technical socks are also a good choice. Ski socks should be chosen according to the same guidelines as base layers and cotton should not be used as a material because it transfers moist poorly. When the weather is very cold or you plan on a very long trip, ski boot covers are recommended to help keep feet warm.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI SETS
When choosing the cross-country ski set pay attention to comfort. If you choose the right outfit for your exercise, it might even feel like the skis glide on the tracks a bit easier! On a casual and more relaxed ski trip a windproof or insulated ski set is comfortable and will keep you warm – it’s not mandatory to invest in the most expensive set to be able to enjoy this sport.
The right kind of clothing will bring additional comfort to the activity. It is important to avoid feeling cold, but at the same time it is important that the gear is breathable. A guideline commonly is that when you are starting the exercise you should feel a little bit cold. In this way you won’t get too hot during skiing once your body starts creating heat.
Pay attention to these three things when choosing the ski suit: is the material windproof, breathable, and elastic? In Halti cross-country ski sets the front parts are made from Stormwall® Softshell fabric, which is 100% wind and waterproof. The back side is made from an extremely breathable and elastic stretch fabric. The trajectories of skiing are considered when designing the sets and for example the sleeves of the jackets are longer. By combining the mentioned materials and adding accessories from our collection you can find suitable clothing options for cross-country skiing for all skill levels of the user and intensity of the sport.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI PANTS
The design of cross-country ski pants for active & fitness skiing is narrow, so that the wind resistance is low. On the front part the pants are windproof, and the backside is breathable and elastic. To ensure the best fit for the pants in use, the leg part is designed taking into consideration that during skiing the knees are a bit bent.
Some styles in the Halti cross-country ski sets have pants with detachable suspenders and a brushed, fleece-like inner surface. The brushed surface on the material brings additional warmth and comfort. The styles designed for active skiing don’t include suspenders, but the waist can be tightened with a tie and there is a silicone grip to ensure the pants don’t slip.
For those who enjoy longer ski trips and want to stay extra warm our collection includes for example, ski pants with light insulation panels on the front side. Notice that even though the pants are designed specifically for cross-country skiing, they are great options for other winter sports as well, running, cycling and many other outdoor activities.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI JACKETS
Just like the pants, Halti cross-country ski jackets are made with windproof Stormwall® Softshell material on the front and the back is more elastic and breathable. The sleeves in the jackets are longer and the sleeve ends are made from an elastic lycra material. The length of the sleeves is an important detail so that there is enough room for movement during skiing and that the sleeve ends don’t rise, and hands and arms stay warm.
The jackets designed for active skiing are light, breathable, and windproof on the front. On the back side and for example in the arm pits an elastic stretch material is used. The features of the cross-country jackets designed for active skiing are carefully chosen and they have a slimmer fit and design. With this design the heat and moist can be transferred most efficiently from inside the jacket. In winter conditions this type of jacket feels cold when not moving so it’s important to be able to go inside after skiing.
Our collection also includes warmer cross-country ski jackets with a brushed back, fleece-like surface on the inside and/or light insulation panels. On the back of these jackets a breathable and elastic stretch material is used. Especially when skiing in the mountains of Lapland, in Northern Finland, the jacket needs to be windproof all around, and a hood is also a good feature. These types of jackets and anoraks can be found in the Halti cross-country ski collection.
Just like with cross-country ski pants, the jackets are also great for different sports and activities.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI GLOVES AND HEADGEAR
Good cross-country ski gloves have a slim fit, are windproof, and breathable. Too big or loose fit gloves may cause abrasion and blisters when holding the ski poles and are therefore not recommended. In high quality ski gloves leather is used in the palm, the top part is windproof, and the finger parts are designed in shape for holding ski poles. With these features the feel is optimal when holding the ski poles and the glove stays in place well.
For colder weather ski gloves have a mitten or “lobster” design. In the “lobster” gloves there is a place for the thumb and two separate sections for the index and middle fingers as well as for the ring finger and pinkie. The lobster gloves are more functional than the traditional mittens and warmer compared to gloves. Choose the gloves for cross-country skiing based on the intensity of the activity and taking into consideration the weather conditions.
People release body heat most from the top of the head and this should be considered when choosing headgear for skiing. Light, breathable, and windproof beanies from technical materials are preferred especially among active skiers, as well as other types of beanies that are breathable on the top and combine technical materials and wool for more warmth. Tube scarfs are commonly used to protect the neck and they can be used to cover the face and ears if needed.
Consider the weather, intensity, length, and your own personal preferences while choosing they outfit and gear for cross-country skiing. The right outfit and level of warmth play a big part in how enjoyable your ski trip is. Whether your outfit is a windproof or insulated set, a tight race suit or something completely different, it’s most important that you feel good in the outfit and can focus on enjoying skiing.
We wish you great ski trips this winter!