What to Wear for Cross-Country Skiing

February 3, 2014

The number one mistake made by novice cross-country skiers: overlayering. You generate a lot of body heat as you ski. Here’s what to wear for cross-country skiing.

  • A warm base layer is sufficient to keep you comfortable in all but the most arctic conditions. 
  • Heat-stealing wind is a major concern. Wear a lightweight, wind-resistant top and bottom or invest in a layer designed specifically for cross-country skiing. They often feature a wind-resistant front and more breathable back for optimum comfort. 
  • Form-fitting clothing helps maintain your full range of motion. Avoid baggy jackets, which can interfere with your poling. 
  • Bulky gloves can encumber your pole grip; thinner, wind-resistant styles are ideal for most conditions. If it’s very cold, consider a pair of “lobster-claw” gloves, which split your fingers Vulcan style into two finger pockets, increasing warmth while still providing good dexterity.
(Photograph by iStock.)

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.