First of all, the golden rule of Nordic skiing – or any endurance sport for that matter – NO COTTON! When a child gets active, they sweat, and when they sweat, their clothes get wet. When cotton gets wet, it gets COLD. Cotton socks and tops will be a curse on your skier! Wool, poly pro, or any other synthetic material will work for skiing.
Layers are key to success. They allow a child to strip off one at a time depending on how active the child is being. On cold days, kids often come with a parka thrown over the normal layers (described below) so they aren’t cold while they wait for practice to start. They then leave the parka at the stadium area when practice starts and put it back on at the end to keep them from getting chilled.
Feet: wool socks + sneakers/hiking shoes (for dry land) or ski boots (for snow). Toe warmers work well when applied to the TOP of the toes, over the sock. 2&3 Day skiers should purchase boots with a stiff cuff. Boots with laces and flexible cuffs make it extremely difficult to successfully skate ski. Ask for “combi” boots when purchasing your child’s boots. This makes a huge difference!
Bottom Half: long johns/synthetic leggings + light/midweight/heavy fleece pants (depending on how cold it is) + wind pants or xc ski pants. We recommend that kids in 2nd grade and below wear snow pants or, at the least, an outer layer that is water proof. They spend a lot of time IN the snow, and don’t sweat the way the older kids do.
Top Half: long john top/synthetic long sleeve + light/midweight/heavy fleece + wind jacket/hiking jacket/light nordic jacket. We recommend a parka for kids in grades K, 1, and 2.
Hands: During dry land practices, a thin pair of gloves will help keep off the chill and will allow kids to do push ups and other activities on the ground. Once we start skiing, we recommend mittens for grades K-4. Gloves work for older kids who are sure they will keep moving. On cold days, most kids are happier with mittens. We also recommend hand warmers.
Head/Neck: A hat or headband is required at all practices. Buffs are fantastic! They are worn around the neck and can be pulled up over the nose when it’s chilly. We highly recommend one of them for every skier. Go here to check out different styles, or consider buying one from our Ford Sayre Nordic Store.
Oh, and did we already say, NO COTTON!?
Check the racing page for clothes specific for racing.
You don’t need to go purchase a lot of new stuff. You probably have most of it in your home already if you do any sort of outdoor activity.
Thanks for making sure your children learn how to dress properly for this sport. If they dress properly, they’ll be safe in the cold and will also have more fun.