Peeling Back The Layers

Christmas and New Years are just around the corner and for many people, that means ski vacations.  Over the years, we've had many friends and family ask us for advice on the best way to dress, especially for those super cold December and January days.  Since so many people will be heading onto the slopes in the next few weeks, we thought we’d share a little advice, based on our personal experience over the years and our intimate knowledge of technical fabrics and technology.

There are tons of options, but no matter your preferences, it’s all about the layers.  Regardless of whether there’s a frigid biting wind or you luck out with a balmy 30 degree bluebird day, layers allow for heat regulation and adaptation to quickly changing conditions. For winter pursuits, you’re looking at three basic layers: a base layer, a mid layer and an outer layer.

  • The base layer’s primary purpose is to keep moisture off your skin, so any non-cotton, wicking top you like (t-shirt or long sleeve, tight or loose) will get the job done.

  • The mid layer is designed for warmth and protection, so depending on the conditions of the day, we’d opt for a fleece, softshell or puffy.  If you’re opting for an insulated hardshell as your outer layer, the puffy is baked into your outer layer, so you can choose between fleece, which provides warmth and breathability, or softshell, which provides wind and weather protection.  If you are more of a non-insulated hard shell type, a puffy with synthetic insulation is a great choice - it’s thinner than down and provides warmth even when wet.

  • The outer layer is there to keep you dry, so the most important factor is choosing a fully waterproof garment that will provide maximum protection from the elements.  If you’re prone to getting cold, an insulated shell is also a good option, allowing you to get four layers into our three layer system.

Then, the last key is not to feel (and look) like a linebacker with all your gear on!  You still want to keep mobility for your active pursuits, which is why we prefer garments that fit closer to the body, and why Toren will feature a tailored athletic cut.

We've tweaked and perfected our layering system over many years, and we think it works great.  If you've got another system you like, let us know in the comments below - we’re always happy to hear new ideas.

Safe travels and happy holidays to all - we’ll see you in the new year!

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