Whether you’re a regular skier or a total beginner, it’s important to dress for the season. Sure, it’s going to be pretty chilly whenever you go. But skiing in spring can be far milder than skiing in winter.

The best time to go skiing is between December and April – which is the main ski season in most resorts. And while the winter months are typically colder, not all days will be freezing cold on the mountain. If you get a clear day and the sun comes out, temperatures can get to above 0°C in spring, so you need to bear this in mind to avoid becoming uncomfortable on the slopes.

There are advantages and disadvantages to skiing in certain months, so you’ve got to pick the time that suits you best. Winter skiing brings fresh powder and crisp air. While in spring, you can expect slightly higher temperatures, longer days, and softer snow. But whenever you decide to go, you’ll need to dress according to the conditions.

Are you new to skiing? Before hitting the slopes, read our detailed guide on: Everything You Need to Know Before Skiing for the First Time.

Skiing in December

If you’re new to skiing, the first few weeks of the ski season are some of the quietest, so you’ll have plenty of space on the slopes to learn. Though snow conditions can be less reliable in December, so it’s wise to choose a high-altitude resort to get the best cover. Val Thorens in France is a good option. At 2,300m, it’s Europe’s highest ski resort, and a safe bet for December skiing. Skiing at Christmas is also a great way to get into the festive spirit, with decorations, twinkling lights, and markets selling local crafts and treats. Plus, with fireworks displays and light shows, it sure is a magical time to enjoy a family ski break.

Skiing in January

January brings plenty of snow and colder weather, so you need to pack the right ski clothing to enjoy those powder days. January is also the quietest month overall, so it’s a good time for beginners to plan their first trip. Ski schools are also less busy, and there are usually lots of sales and offers on, so you can expect to pay less for your trip.

If you’re a beginner skier, it might be a good idea to get some practice in before hitting the slopes. There are lots of indoor ski slopes all over the UK where you can have a few lessons on real snow before heading off on your first ski trip abroad.

Skiing in February

Half term is prime time for family ski holidays, so there will be lots going on in February. Though you should expect busier resorts and higher prices. The best ski resorts for families will have great ski schools, family-friendly accommodation and amenities, and lots of winter activities. And a good kids club will provide a safe environment for the little ones to have fun and make new friends, while you enjoy some adults-only time on the slopes.

Are you planning a family-friendly ski holiday? Read our guide on the: 10 Best Family Ski Resorts in Europe.

Skiing in March & April

Springtime means longer days and warmer temperatures, a great time of year to enjoy long lunches on slopeside sun terraces. The snow will be softer which may suit beginner skiers, and the slopes will be quieter, meaning there will be some great last-minute deals to be had. If you do prefer the crisp snow, stick to north facing slopes and tree-lined runs which are out of the sun. Or choose a high-altitude resort. Spring is also a great time for slopeside festivals and parties on the piste as part of the end-of-season celebrations.

Check out the: Best Ski Resorts for Late Season Skiing.

What to wear when skiing in winter

The perfect temperature for skiing is around -6 to -1 degrees Celsius. This is cold enough that snow will not melt and get slushy, but warm enough that you will not freeze on the lift up the mountain.

A group of skiers embracing on a snowy day.

The perfect temperature for skiing is around -6 to -1 degrees Celsius. This is cold enough that snow will not melt and get slushy, but warm enough that you will not freeze on the lift up the mountain.

Keeping warm while skiing is much easier nowadays thanks to the huge range of quality ski clothing available. Waterproof, warm, breathable, wind-resistant: there’s lots to choose from, and it can be pretty affordable too.

Warm layers work best in cold and windy conditions, as this will allow small pockets of air to be trapped between each layer. This will be much better than wearing one big chunky jacket that makes you look like Michelin man, and which will restrict your movement on the slopes. Consider a:

  • Thermal base layer: made from Merino wool or polyester, both of which are able to trap air even when wet. Avoid cotton as this will stay wet if you sweat. Find thermals for men, women, and children.
  • Sweatshirt/fleece: to be worn over your long-sleeved thermal top when inside, and underneath your jacket to add warmth on the slopes.
  • Ski jacket: which is insulated, and water resistant or waterproof. It should also have handy pockets for your lift pass, phone, and all your other essentials. Shop ski jackets for the whole family.
  • Ski trousers: or salopettes should also be insulated and water resistant/waterproof. They usually come with pockets, vents to stop your legs getting too hot, and features to prevent snow from entering your boots. Discover our range of warm and functional ski trousers.
  • Ski socks: should be longer than your boots and not overly thick (socks which are too thick can make your boots feel tighter and restrict your circulation). Choose wool or synthetic ski socks rather than cotton which take a long time to try. And ideally go for socks with padding on the shins for extra comfort.
  • Gloves: should be insulated and water resistant/waterproof. Generally, thicker gloves tend to be warmer, and mittens are usually warmer than gloves (though they are more restrictive). Ski gloves will also have some nice features, like built-in goggle wipes and long cuffs that go up to mid-forearm to keep snow out.
  • Neckwarmer: which can also be pulled up over your nose when it’s cold to keep you cosy and warm. Avoid a scarf as it can become loose when you’re skiing and can get tangled round your skis.

And not forgetting the all important ski helmet and goggles of course to keep you safe. Speed, combined with mountainous terrain is a recipe for injury, but following a few safety rules can help you stay safe on the ski slopes.

For colder temperatures of -7 °C and below, you’ll need to upgrade to a quality ski jacket specifically designed for snow sports so you don’t freeze. Like the Wed'Ze Downhill Warm Ski Jacket with a water repellent outer fabric. In addition to the jacket's warm lining, it has adjustable cuffs, a high collar and a snow skirt to prevent cold air from getting in and warm air from escaping, and a 75% down/25% feathers filling for extra warmth.

Wed'Ze Downhill Warm Ski Jacket link

When choosing a warm jacket, it’s good to understand the different types of insulation so you can buy something which suits your needs. Find out more about: Down Vs Synthetic Insulation.

To keep you warm in freezing temperatures, you might also like to wear:

  • Thermal trousers
  • A balaclava
  • Glove liners
  • A woolly hat
  • Hand/foot warmers

Around 10% of our body’s warmth is lost through the head, so wearing a hat or a balaclava with your helmet will prevent wind getting through the little holes in the helmet’s ear pads.

Take a look at: The Best Ways to Stay Warm When Skiing for more tips and advice.

What to wear when skiing in spring

​​Many people consider spring skiing the most ideal ski condition. The weather is warm but there’s usually still plenty of snow around. And what you need for skiing in spring is a little different to what you need for skiing in winter.

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A young child taking a break during a ski session.

You won’t need to wear so many bulky layers for a start, meaning you can pack a little lighter. You’ll still need a good pair of ski trousers and boots, but then it’s really down to you how many layers you want to wear.

  • Base layers: You might think thermals are just for really cold weather, but in fact, base layers keep you cool too. When the temperatures are a little higher, you need ski clothing that’s light, breathable and which keeps your body at a constant temperature. Go for Merino wool or polyester base layers that are quick-drying, and which wick moisture away from your body. Avoid cotton which will stay damp if you’re a little sweaty.
  • Jacket: Do you wear a jacket or just stick with a hoodie? If you’re skiing in spring, you’re likely to get a little too hot if you wear both. Stick with a thermal base layer and pop on a windproof softshell jacket, which is a nice middle ground between a fleece jacket and a waterproof jacket. Made from soft, comfortable materials these breathable jackets are the ideal outer layer for a spring day to shelter from the wind.
  • Ski pants: Trousers with zip open thigh vents keep your legs protected without making you too hot. Waterproof/breathable rain trousers would be fine as well. And you can add thermals underneath for greater insulation if you’re a little chilly.
  • Accessories: You want to go for a few key accessories in spring so you don’t get weighed down by things you don’t need. Goggles are a must, but make sure yours have all-weather lenses or are suitable for use in the sun. You’ll need some lightweight gloves (ideally smartphone compatible) with no padding or insulation as no one likes hot sweaty hands. Carry a good pair of après ski sunglasses, and don’t forget the sunscreen! With warmer temperatures comes less layers and more exposed skin. The sun is usually up for longer and at a more direct angle, so wear plenty of sunscreen and lip-balm to protect yourself from UV rays.

Whether skiing in spring or winter, layering is key when you’re hitting the slopes. Wear ski clothing that can be removed if the day warms up and added if it’s cold. If you’re a beginner skier or you only plan to go occasionally, you may not need to go out and buy lots of ski-specific clothing. You could make use of your existing winter jacket and waterproofs, and maybe just get yourself a few breathable base layer tops to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. You can also hire ski gear to save yourself some money and avoid the need to store it somewhere at home afterwards. But if you do want to invest in something, get yourself a good quality waterproof ski jacket with good insulation, a snowskirt to stop snow from getting in, and lots of handy pockets to carry your essentials.

Are you heading on a ski holiday? Wondering what to take on a ski trip? Check out: The Ultimate Ski Packing List for Your Next Ski Holiday which includes ski essentials as well as handy tips for getting it all on the plane.

At DECATHLON, we have everything you need to enjoy skiing, whatever the temperature. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, take a look at our extensive collection of ski wear, ski equipment and accessories, courtesy of our in-house brand Wed’Ze. They've designed everything from jackets and trousers, to skis, boots and poles, keeping prices as low as possible without compromising on quality, because we believe sport should be for everyone. Plus, get help and advice from our expert sales assistants in store.