Wearing Merino Wool for Winter Sports

September 05, 2023 5 min read

Wearing Merino Wool for Winter Sports

Here at Duckworth, we’re obsessed with winter sports. When you live in Montana, you have to be - you won’t survive the cold months without them to pass the time. Favorites include snowmobiling, winter trail running, ice fishing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding, among others. Skiing and snowboarding especially are a natural fit for our squad, considering the vision and mission behind Duckworth was conceived on a local ski hill near the ranch in Dillon, Montana.

Is Merino Wool Good for Skiing & Snowboarding?

The answer is simple: of course! Merino Wool is extremely popular with skiers and snowboarders for so many reasons, most notably when applied in a Merino Wool layering system to keep the wearer warm, dry (wicking away sweat and kicked up snow chunks) and odor-free after a full day of physical exertion. By comparison, cottons and synthetics don’t keep out the cold because they hold water like a sponge (which can be very dangerous, depending on the temperature), and hold that stinky sweat odor long after a wearer has layered down for the day.

Not sure where to start with choosing the right Merino Wool base layers for snowboarding and skiing? Keep reading! Duckworth has a variety of Merino Wool fabrics that you can use to create the perfect layering system. Duckworth carries both men’s and women’s base layers for skiing. Notably, the same basic principles apply when picking out the Merino Wool base layers, mid-layers and outer layers for winter running, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, ice fishing and more.

How to Choose Merino Wool Layers for Skiing & Snowboarding

Starting with a few common questions we see come through:

  • Is Merino Wool good for skiing?
  • What is the most important Merino Wool skiing layer?
  • Are Merino Wool socks good for skiing? 
  • Who makes the best Merino Wool skiing 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. 

    Starting from the base layers to 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.

    Best Merino Wool Ski Socks

    A common misconception among consumers looking for Merino Wool ski socks is the thicker the sock, the warmer the foot. That's sometimes true, depending on the boot and the way the skier boots up. But if you’re an intermediate to aggressive skier, keeping that boot tight to your foot, ankle and shin is essential in getting the reactivity and performance you’re capable of. As such, a thick sock could threaten to inadvertently cut off some of the circulation to your foot, and you won’t notice until the foot is (ironically) freezing cold or in pain.

    Instead, if you need tight boots for optimal performance, a thin Merino Wool sock is essential for proper blood flow. Look no further than the Duckworth Lightweight Ski Sock, a performance-oriented Merino Wool sock for skiers and snowboarders, forged from our ranch in Montana. If you are enjoying other winter sports besides skiing don’t fret - Duckworth carries Merino Wool socks in a variety of styles and lengths to keep your feet warm and dry when temperatures drop.

    Merino Wool Leggings & Base layers for Skiing & Snowboarding

    No muscle group is more engaged and in more demand when careening full speed down a groomer, powder run or through the bumps than the legs. As such, they are relatively easy to keep warm, even in freezing conditions. However, a good Merino Wool legging for skiers and snowboarders remains as essential as layers worn on the upper parts of the body.

    For most people, a single Merino Wool legging under their snow pants is enough to stay thermoregulated and comfortable. Our Comet Merino Wool Leggings for Men and Maverick Merino Wool Leggings for Women are the perfect choice. For those needing a little extra warmth, doubling up on legging layers or throwing on our bestselling Merino Wool sweatpants over a base layer is never a bad idea.

    Merino Wool Hoodies & Top Layers for Skiing & Snowboarding

    Choosing the right upper-body Merino Layers for a skier or boarder is where a proper layering system becomes a bit more technical, but remains dictated both by the preferences of the skier/boarder and the expected conditions.

    The Comet Tunnel Hood is one of the best layers suited for ski clothes for women. Made with our proprietary bi-ply fabric, this highly technical design is geared toward removing sweat straight from the body and pushing it into the other layer, where it quickly evaporates. Plus, the hot air trapped between the two layers only serves to keep a wearer nice and toasty without sacrificing much weight.

    Additionally, the Powder Hoodie is available in a men’s hooded variety or women’s high neck cut. Just like our other heavyweight layers, the Powder fabric is a great wool layer for skiers and snowboarders given the loft and warmth, anti-odor properties, moisture-wicking profile and ultra-soft feel (which is especially important considering this layer will brush against the neck and chin).

    Merino Wool Accessories

    Last but certainly not least, the accessories. It’s always a good idea to have a  Merino Wool neck gaiter handy to keep the chin, mouth and nose warm and dry. Don’t settle for a cheap synthetic or cotton piece, as those underperforming items notoriously become water-logged, mushy and icy - the exact opposite of the intended effect (not to mention, just plain uncomfortable on your face). A proper Merino Wool balaclava or neck gaiter for skiers or snowboarders is always the right choice, as that water vapor is quickly wicked away and evaporated off of the garment.

    It’s no secret that winter sports can be harsh on your body if you aren't prepared with the right layers. Merino Wool is a great choice because of its thermo-regulating properties, ability to absorb and wick moisture away, and natural anti-odor capabilities. With the right Merino Wool layers, you are in for a safe and enjoyable ski or snowboarding experience. Get out there and hit the slopes with confidence!