What Do Professional Skiers Wear?

by Alaina Johnson | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

Naturally, you don't want to look like a total beginner when you're hitting the slopes this season. Taking some tips from the pros can ensure that you're skiing with adequate protection (and a bit of style!).

Professional skiers wear multiple layers, including warm undergarments, durable ski jackets, moisture-wicking socks, and a trusted helmet. Some extreme skiers opt for extra protection, such as a compression layer or even body armor specifically designed for the sport. Staying safe and warm are the key components for the pros.


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What Are Professional Skiers Wearing These Days?

black pants

While professional skiers may vary in which brands and styles they prefer, they tend to wear a similar setup across the board and it doesn't vary much from country to country. Over the years, ski style and winter gear technology has evolved and for the most part, the pros evolve right along with what's hot in the industry.

It's no secret that skiing is an expensive sport to get into and to remain a part of, so it may be out of reach for some beginners to spend thousands for top-of-the-line gear.

Many professionals have advertising contracts for certain brands, so they may be receiving their items for free, or in many cases being paid money to wear specific brands.

However, it can be helpful for beginners and even casual seasonal skiers to take note of what the professionals are wearing. You may find that you're missing a key piece of equipment that could make your next ski trip more comfortable - such as a Merino wool layer.

The Main Gear Checklist

Regardless of whether or not you ski professionally, you'll want to pack some basics for your ski trip. Naturally, Olympic skiers and other individuals who participate at an advanced level are going to have items at the higher end of the spectrum.

  • Full-coverage undergarments
  • Light under the jacket
  • Heavy outer jacket
  • Ski pants
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Thick socks
  • Goggles
  • Ski boots

The Importance Of Quality Gear

As you're going through your checklist, you'll want to ensure you have at least the above items. You can opt for socks with advanced moisture-wicking technology that keep your feet dry all day — this is a worthwhile investment as you'll be more comfortable on the slopes.

Regular skiers tend to wear some type of wool or fleece top or light jacket underneath their main outer layer, as this keeps their core warm. This mid-layer provides a great deal of insulation and can allow skiers to enjoy the mountain in comfort.

An important tip is to ensure that your ski boots fit properly. While they're meant to be a bit on the snug side, they shouldn't be so tight as to cause intense discomfort.

Professional skiers often opt for custom molded ski boots and naturally, these are going to be the most expensive option. However, they provide a perfect fit molded to your feet and can provide a greater sense of control over the movement of your skis.

Ski goggles can range in price anywhere from $50 to well over $300. The higher-end versions that professionals often opt for as ski goggles will likely feature anti-fog and glare capabilities to allow the pro an optimal field of vision at all times.

Check Price on OutdoorMaster.com

What Do the Winter Olympians Wear On Their Face?

If you watched the Winter Olympics lately, you may have noticed that some Olympians were wearing kinesiology tape on their face. Should you be adding this curious addition to your skiwear as well?

While the manufacturer of the tape doesn't recommend it be used for facial skin, as it's more sensitive than other parts of your body where the tape was designated to be used, such as the back, knees, and shins, it lauded the Olympians for their creativity anyway.

These professional winter athletes were using the tape as a way to protect their exposed skin against harsh temperatures and high wind speeds. Though, the recommendation would be to choose a balaclava or gaiter for this instead.

This isn't necessarily something that all professional skiers do but there has been a growing number jumping on this trend lately, so it's worth a mention.

Winter Olympics
Photo by Jon Wick licensed under CC BY 2.0

Layering Up With Impact Protection

As the pros know, you can take some pretty nasty falls when skiing or snowboarding. That's why wearing proper protection is such a necessity.

A large percentage of professional skiers wear helmets every time they strap on their ski boots, as this particular piece of gear can go a long way in preventing a serious head injury.

While full-body armor layers haven't quite taken a hold of the popular culture surrounding skiing, the technology is being advanced. Some elite skiers are taking notice of this type of extra protection and adding padded compression layers to their gear.

For those participating in the more extreme freestyle skiing, this added protection can go a long way against injury prevention. Additional protection such as knee pads, back pads, and even wrist guards can help skiers shred the mountain with increased confidence

Bonus Tips From The Professionals


It should come as no surprise that professional skiers simply know all the best tips and tricks when it comes to bundling up for a day on the slopes. Compared to the casual skiers, the pros spend hundreds of days in the snow and they just know what works best.

They know that layers are incredibly important, not only for keeping the body warm but for being able to stay comfortable throughout the day. Wearing multiple layers ensures that you can peel one off if the sun comes out and you get too warm.

You can stuff a few hand warmers into the pockets on your jacket, which can be handy for when you're taking a quick break and want to defrost your fingers. A warm drink or a hot meal can also go a long way in keeping your body at a comfortable temperature.

Dress The Part And Have Fun!

If you want to ensure that you don't look like a total beginner (even if you are!) then you'll want to dress the part of an experienced skier. Of course, if this is your first time skiing — no one will judge you for having rental gear, a friend's borrowed jacket, or wearing Burton as a skier.

You can use the checklist above to ensure that you have all of the proper equipment. The last thing you want to do is forget a key piece of gear and only realize once you're at the top of the lift that you don't have a proper set of ski goggles.

The important thing is to enjoy skiing for what it is, a fun outdoor winter recreational sport. Don't worry about the type of gear you have (so long as you don't try to ski in jeans!) and just have fun.


Expert Skier

Professional skiers tend to wear a higher level of gear, with advanced technology to protect them against injury due to a fall or a collision. If you're wanting to emulate your favorite skier, you can check out the brands that they're donning this season and add them to your own repertoire.

Getting your base layers correct is the first thing, as you'll want to stay warm and toasty on the slopes. The pros understand the importance of layering and without this crucial step — you'll undoubtedly be in for an unpleasant ski trip.