Ski/Snowboard Outfit Ideas for Beginners

What to wear skiing or snowboarding? To start off, I’m not an expert. I’ve been skiing since I was a toddler and only in Northern California (Tahoe/Reno area) which I’m sure doesn’t get anywhere close to the temperatures in other colder states, but I don’t see this done very often so I figured it’d be a good idea to share what I would personally wear to ski/snowboard in California. You don’t have to copy me completely of course, but if it’s your first time or you have no idea what to wear or where to begin when it comes to snow gear, I really hope this helps you out!

What’s the difference between ski gear and snowboard gear?
That’s a good question. I actually don’t know. I’ve worn this both skiing and snowboarding and it worked just fine so an outfit like this would probably work fine for you if you’re new to either activity. I personally get really cold so I tend to layer more but some people who get hotter or tend to sweat more can do without a layer or two, like #10 and #11 pictured below. You kind of just have to find out how many layers is right for you after you go out the first time. Remember, they’re layers so they can be taken off as needed!

Outfit Ideas/Suggestions

Here is what I wore for skiing in 40 degree Lake Tahoe recently, with alternative suggestions in italics:

  1. Goggles or sunglasses 
  2. Gloves/snow glove liners or warm mittens to keep your hands warm in the car
  3. Snow gloves
  4. Scarf or face mask to block the wind and cold from your face and neck
  5. Ski headband or beanie to keep your ears warm
  6. Wool socks
  7. Camelbak backpack or normal small backpack to keep water, snacks, keys, wallet, etc.
  8. DriFit long-sleeve top or thermals or turtlenecks or other tops that can absorb sweat
  9. Leggings or thermals or thin sweatpants
  10. Windproof jacket or fleece or sweatshirt or pullover to keep you warm
  11. Waterproof ski jacket with inner fleece layer or any other waterproof shell jacket
  12. Snowboarding pants or snow bib
Here is a closer look of what each layer looks like on:

A really important thing about snow outfits is that they can get pretty expensive to purchase. Luckily, my parents bought me the jacket (which includes the fleece layer inside), pants, goggles, and snow gloves a few years ago. These are typically probably the most expensive part of the outfit. Jackets and pants are $100+ each, goggles $40+, and gloves ~$40. The tip here is to either borrow from friends or family who aren’t going to use the snow gear at the time or to hit outlets and sales for snow gear.

Looks Aren’t Everything on the Slopes
I’ve realized that looking good in snow gear is hard, and you really shouldn’t try too hard especially if you’re a beginner. Your first time out, don’t feel pressured to purchase the whole snow outfit beforehand. Try to borrow as much as you can, even if all your clothing items don’t match–realistically, a lot of beginners’ clothing doesn’t match and that’s perfectly fine. Actually, “not matching” seems to be becoming more of a thing now because people want to wear colors that will make them stand out so it’s easier for their friends/family to spot them. (Tip: Try not to wear all black or all dark colors. When going down the slopes with friends/family, it’s harder to spot you if you’re wearing common colors others are also wearing. That’s why I chose a pink jacket and white pants!) Also, baggy and loose is good. Barely anyone I see is wearing a tightly fitted outfit because, well, skiing and snowboarding would be really uncomfortable that way. Go baggy, comfortable, and warm! I know the layers may make your body look way bigger but it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re warm and comfortable.

I really hope this ski/snowboard outfit guide helps you in trying to figure out what to wear on the slopes if you’re unsure of what to wear. I’m sure it’s way different in colder climates but hope this helps you California girls!! 🙂



4 thoughts on “Ski/Snowboard Outfit Ideas for Beginners

  1. This is SUPER helpful! I’m going skiing for the first time later this month and am completely clueless on what to wear and also not freeze to death. This might be an odd question- but do girls normally wear sports bras while skiing? Or will normal bras be fine? My boyfriend and his brothers aren’t very familiar with this topic 🙂


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