December 18, 2009, Newsletter Issue #278: Insulation and Outer Layers for Cross Country Skiing

Tip of the Week

The insulation layer of your cross country ski clothing should be quick drying, lightweight, comfortable and thermally efficient. These layers should also provide freedom of movement. The three most popular materials used for cross country ski clothing are fleece, wool and lycra/spandex.

Wool's popularity is based on its durability, as well as its capacity to keep you warm even when it is wet. It is best for backcountry skiers that ski in poor weather conditions. Fleece is popular because it is lighter than wool and has a faster drying time. It's perfect for skiing in moderate weather. Lycra/spandex is a favorite of racers who want low wind-drag along with limited insulation.

Your outer layer of cross country ski clothing should be composed of a waterproof, breathable fabric. For warmer days, choose a wind/water resistant shell jacket. Gloves should be waterproof or water resistant. Since most heat escapes from the top of your head, be sure to wear a hat. Finally, even on cloudy days, be sure to wear sunscreen.

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