The Best Wool Layers for Skiing and Snowboarding

September 05, 2023 3 min read

The Best Wool Layers for Skiing and Snowboarding

While this blog post is set to be published in mid-August, a particularly warm month even by Montana standards (though, last year in 2022, winter arrived hard just weeks later in October and did not let up until April), we’re here to talk about the best wool layers for skiing and snowboarding. It’s never a bad idea to stock up on the very best Merino Wool layers for winter a few weeks to months in advance, just so they are there and ready when you need them once Old Man Winter comes through town. 

Specifically, we’re going to chat about the best wool layers for the two most popular downhill mountain sports, skiing and snowboarding, but the same basic principles apply when picking out the Merino Wool base layers, mid-layers and outer layers for cross country skiing, winter running, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice climbing, and more (essentially any winter sport where the athlete is bound to work up a sweat getting after it). 

Why Merino Wool is Perfect for High-Intensity Winter Sports

Starting with a few common questions we see come through:

What is the best Merino Wool layer for skiing?

Are Merino Wool socks good for skiing? 

Who makes the best Merino Wool baselayer?

The answer to the last question should be fairly obvious: Duckworth, of course, the world’s only Montana-grown, USA-made wool clothing company. We live in a state where temps range from the 90s to minus 40s, so we know a thing or two about staying nice and comfortable in our very own natural fibers. 

But starting from the top, the best Merino Wool layer for skiing is a bit subjective. What you’ll want to do is a little bit of reflection on some basic questions: Do I run hot or cold or somewhere in the middle?; Do I sweat a lot or a little or somewhere in the middle? These can help determine the best layering kit to put together. If you need a little nudge in the right direction, try taking our layer finder quiz.

Essentially, any good wool skiing layer system should have a base, mid and outer layer covered by a shell. A lightweight and sweat wicking Merino Wool base layer, like our 100% Merino Wool Maverick or ultra-versatile and lightweight Vapor is a good starting point - for some, doubling down on the base layers with an additional layer of breathable, yet insulating, Polaris wool waffle is a good idea. 

Then, follow that up with a nice, cozy midlayer - our proprietary Merino Wool midlayer, Comet, is designed to further wick that sweat up and away from the body while staying nice and thermoregulating. Why is sweat removal so important? If you let sweat stick to the body in cold climates, eventually the cold will seep through to the moisture and sap the heat from your body (a potentially life-threatening phenomenon due to hypothermia). 

Finally, toss on something heavy and cozy, like our Merino Wool fleece line, Powder. Powder is a great wool layer, thanks to the unparalleled lofty, lightweight and warming properties it boasts. Toss on a shell, and you’re ready for anything. 

Of course, you’ll need some leggings and some Merino Wool socks

Our Maverick Leggings or Comet Leggings make for an excellent addition to any below-waist system, with a Powder Pant extra layer for especially cold conditions, and our Lightweight Ski Socks are the best wool socks for skiing out there - designed with Montana colds in mind. 

Last, but certainly not least, a good Merino Wool neck gaiter or balaclava and/or Vapor beanie to keep the face, head and/or neck thermoregulated and warm. 

To reiterate, it’s a matter of preference when putting together a Merino Wool layering kit for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter mountain sports, so we again encourage you to take our layer finder quiz for custom results.