For the Snow First Timer: What do I wear?

Updated: May 27

You've liked photos of breathtaking snow capped mountains on other people's Insta, you've dreamed of having snowball fights and making snow angels ever since you watched your first American Christmas movie, you've spent an evening watching the Winter Olympics and it all looks easy, you've seen 'Frozen' with your kids about 100 times...and now you want to build a snowman. Unfortunately, a blue silk dress and a pair of ballet slippers (Elsa style) just aren't going to cut it when it comes to staying warm and dry.


Here's my list of items to wear to ensure that, even if you do spend the day slipping and sliding on your bottom (which is half the fun), your teeth won't be chattering, your body won't be shivering and you will be able to feel your fingers and toes.


The List

  • Waterproof Boots eg. Leather hiking boots or snow boots. Runners are not suitable for walking in snow as they soak through very quickly. Gumboots provide little warmth and have a large opening at the top which allows snow to get in and soak socks, so snow boots are better.

  • Thick socks – several pairs are handy (if one pair gets wet you’ll have a spare to change into). Wet socks may not necessarily mean that your boots aren't performing. Sweat will also cause dampness so buy breathable socks where possible.

  • Waterproof Pants – no pants tucked into boots otherwise the snow can easily get into the boot and make your feet wet. Secure the gaiter of the snow pants over the opening of the boot to stop water getting in the top.

  • Waterproof Jacket - Specially designed snow jackets have a powder skirt that does up around the waist to stop snow going up your back or down the waist of your pants. This is your best option for keeping dry especially if you are being active in the snow. See our blog on whether puffer jackets are suitable https://www.backtotheslopes.com.au/post/can-i-wear-my-puffer-jacket-at-the-snow

  • Helmet for snow sports – snow and ice can be very hard (not soft as some people imagine)

  • Beanie and Scarf or neck warmer - these do go a long way to keeping you warm

  • Waterproof Gloves – Woolen or fabric gloves will get wet very quickly. Do not tuck jacket sleeves into the gloves as this will allow snow to get under the top of the glove. Kids may also need a spare pair of gloves in case the first pair gets wet inside. Having breathable gloves is also important. This reduces sweat which can make your hands feel wet. Try to avoid taking your gloves on and off. Cold hands placed back into warm gloves will cause condensation which will make your gloves damp inside.

  • Layers of clothing eg. singlet, thermal underwear or long sleeve top, leggings or long pants under waterproof clothing will keep you warmer. You can also wear another jumper under your jacket for colder days. Remember you can always take layers off if you get too hot. Tuck all undergarments under your waterproof clothing. Any exposed clothing will get wet.

  • Sunglasses or Ski Goggles to stop snow getting into your eyes and protect against glare (even for kids). You should take care when wearing sunglasses though during snow sports as they are generally quite stiff and can hurt your face if you fall.

  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm (even if it is cloudy). The reflection from the snow plus the high altitude makes sunburn and windburn highly likely even on overcast days.

  • Waterproof Bag for storing spare clothing items, snacks, phone or discarded clothing layers. Most ski resorts offer locker storage - so you won't have to carry this around with you all day. Check availability before you go.

  • Spare clothing to change into at the end of the day (you can leave this in the car if you are on a day trip) to ensure a warm, comfortable drive home.

Remember snow melts, so as soon as it gets under your clothing, your body temperature will turn the snow to water which will ultimately make you wet and cold. This can be avoided by having the right gear and dressing appropriately. You can find a range of great snow gear that won't break the budget at www.backtotheslopes.com.au


Take care out there, dress right, keep warm and I'm sure you'll have fun and take some amazing Insta photos of your own (tag us, we'd love to see them).