The best days for snowboarding are the ones where you get to cut through new powder with the warm sun glinting off of your designer goggles. Unfortunately, these are also the worst days to dress for, because you're carving through cold snow, but the temperature rises and dips as much as your favorite slope. Never fear -- smart layering means you'll be properly dressed for a range of temperatures so nothing comes between you and a full day of boarding.
When you're on the slope, you don't want to stop and constantly adjust your clothes, so it's best to layer up before you head out to the lift. Layers are important because each serves a specific purpose, all without being so bulky or warm that you lose mobility or get too hot while you're being super active. Whether it's snowy and cool or you're into spring boarding, it means you're dressed for a range of conditions, even if they're all in the same day.
The wicking layer refers to the clothes that are right next to your skin. Even if you're a casual girl at heart, jeans won't cut it for your when you're in the snow. Instead, look for performance fabrics that wick sweat away from your skin. If it's warm in the sun, you'll sweat. Leave that sweat on your skin or wear clothes that get soggy and you'll start to get cold when the sun ducks behind the clouds or you stop for a breather. Choose thermal or athletic fabrics to keep your bod dry.
Newsflash: the insulating layer doesn't automatically mean your puffiest coat. Instead, it means a layer that is meant to keep heat in, like one made of wool or fleece. Because you'll need tons of flexibility, thinner layers are best. Reach for a half-zip fleece sweater or a reflective, thin jacket to keep you warm without totally suffocating you and your skills.
Finally, top off your snowboarding layers with a jacket and pants that are completely waterproof. The last thing you want is damp clothes to ruin your ride and leave you chilly. Nylon is usually best for your waterproof layer, as it's almost completely impervious to the elements. Just make sure your outer layer isn't too heavy. If you get too hot, look for a jacket that combines a fleece inner with a nylon outer for one layer that does both jobs.
Don't forget to protect that pretty little head of yours. Sure, a helmet might mess up your hair, but it'll also keep you safe in the event of a crash. The good news is that there are cute options, too -- pink helmet, anyone? Most snowboarding helmets have removable ear pads that protect your head and keep your ears warm and protected from the cold. Look also for for a helmet that easily accommodates a pair of goggles or a full face shield, especially because the snow and ice can target your face on really cold days. If you're boarding sans crash helmet -- and you really shouldn't be -- you'll still need goggles and some type of ear warmer.
Don't forget to hit the slopes with the right accessories. Even if it's overcast, you need a pair of goggles. Overcast light can make obstacles hard to see and you don't want to be caught sans goggles when the sun comes out to play. You'll also need a pair of gloves that'll protect your hands, no matter what the temperature. Suit up your feet with warm socks and you'll be decked out to face any type of weather as you head out for a ride.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.