The Best Baselayers for Skiing

Like a second skin, but so much stretchier.
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Just like your outerwear, baselayers need to be comfortable. From there, however, they can do all sorts of things: Keep you warm, keep you dry, prevent stinky odors, or look so good it's hard to believe you have to cover them up with other layers. Whether you're a fan of 100 percent Merino wool or the slick feel of polyester, there's more than one option out there that should work for you. These are just the options we think land at the top of the pile, the ones you'll want to wear every day you go skiing. Just do everyone else a favor and remember to wash them from time to time.

GEAR OF THE YEAR: Smartwool Intraknit Merino Baselayers

Smartwool Intraknit Baselayer

The Smartwool Intraknit Merino 250 Baselayer Top.

Seamless is nothing new, so to say Smartwool’s innovative baselayers are seamless would be passé—and only part of the story. Instead, these 3D garments—which indeed have no seams—are much more. Crafted out of one continuous piece of fabric, Intraknit baselayers are articulated in all the right places for maximum movability as well as body-mapped for the best temperature regulation. The Intraknit baselayers come in two weights: The 100 percent Merino 250 set consists of a 1/4-zip top with terry looping, ribbing, mesh panels, and gender-specific areas on the bottoms, and is ideal for resort skiing on cold days. The lighter Merino 200 is a polyester and wool blend good for more active pursuits and comes in a crew-neck style with ribbed areas and mesh venting. A next-level baselayer that boasts excellent performance on the hill, and leaves zero waste in the production process.

  • Fit: Tight
  • Smartwool Intraknit Men's Merino 250 Quarter Zip Top: $150 [BUY NOW]
  • Smartwool Intraknit Women's Merino 250 Quarter Zip Top: $150 [BUY NOW]

Mammut Vadret Long-Sleeved Top and 3/4 Bottom

Mammut Vadret Baselayer w top

Mammut Vadret Women's Long-Sleeved Top

Mammut Vadret baselayer w bottom

Mammut Vadret Women's 3/4 Bottom

Mammut uses its Phase Knit body-mapping technology in these new baselayers to help insulate and vent where you need it most. Made from a wool and Tencel blend, the Vadret set is a seamless, stretchy, and versatile workhorse that breathes, wicks, and stays odor-free even between washings.

  • Fit: Tight
  • Mammut Vadret Long-Sleeved Top: $99
  • Mammut Vadret 3/4 Bottom: $89

Montane Women's Primino Hybrid Hoodie

Montane Primino Hybrid Hoodie

The Montane Women's Primino Hybrid Hoodie.

So much to love about this versatile baselayer top. One thing is the snug hood that sits right under a helmet, adding another warmth factor on cold days. We also appreciate the Merino/polyester/PrimaLoft construction that keeps it moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and stretchy. PrimaLoft’s Primino Air technology used in the side and back panels goes a long way to help regulate the inner furnace.

  • Fit: Tight
  • Montane Primino Hybrid Hoodie: $100

Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip

OR Vigor Quarter Zip

Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip

This grid-back polyester fleece is made for skiers in search of something warmer than the average baselayer, or for skiers who want just a little more than perforated Merino while wearing a single layer in the skin track or on spring break. There is just enough spandex incorporated to make sure the Vigor Quarter Zip moves with you while you're out and about, but for those who run warmer than average, keep scrolling. This is one hot ticket.

  • Fit: Relaxed
  • Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip: $89

Helly Hansen H1 Pro Lifa Seamless Half Zip Crew and Seamless Pant

Helly Hansen H1 Lifa Pro Top

The Helly Hansen H1 Pro Lifa Seamless Half Zip Crew

The seamless Merino offering from Norwegian brand Helly Hansen incorporates the brand's extremely hydrophobic Lifa material, which means sweat and moisture is shuttled from the skin to the other side of the fabric faster and more effectively than Nicolas Cage stealing cars in "Gone in 60 Seconds." The Merino wool blend means the baselayers are always the perfect temperature and naturally odor-fighting, and we’ve been able to get 3-4 days of strenuous touring out of them before someone else in the group insisted they needed a wash.

  • Fit: Tight
  • Helly Hansen Men's H1 Pro Lifa Seamless Half Zip Crew: $150
  • Helly Hansen H1 Pro Lifa Seamless Pant Women's: $110 

Le Bent Le Base 200 Lightweight Crew and Bottom

Le Bent le base men's top

Le Bent Le Base 200 Lightweight Crew

If there is one softgoods brand you should start to recognize more often this season, it’s the New Zealand-based Le Bent. The brand is making a strong push into the American market by signing a slew of great athletes and putting out some amazing products to back them up. Our favorite baselayer option is the brand's Le Base 200 Lightweight Merino/bamboo rayon blend, which is a perfect fabric combination to be warm, lightweight, and comfortable on the skin, while the brand also focuses on keeping sourcing and production as sustainable as possible. Quite the combination.

  • Fit: Tight
  • Le Bent Le Base 200 Lightweight Crew (Men's): $85
  • Le Bent Le Base 200 Lightweight Bottom (Men's): $85 

BlackStrap Skyliner Crew Top and Outback Pant (Men); Pinnacle Crew Top and Sunrise Legging Pant (Women)

BlackStrap Pinnacle Crew Baselayer W

The BlackStrap Pinnacle Crew Top for women.

BlackStrap Men's base

The BlackStrap Outback Pant for men.

New for this season, the headgear brand BlackStrap is launching a line of baselayers for men and women. The only 100 percent synthetic option on this list, the brand is finally giving guys and gals fabric prints that look like cool yoga pants without the spandex-specific fit. The baggy jersey material is very comfy, but it can feel a little greasy on long hikes. If you prefer to go uphill on chairlifts, however, and you're looking for fresh threads without spending a ton of dough, the new option from BlackStrap is worth checking out.

  • Fit: Relaxed
  • BlackStrap Skyliner Crew Top: $60 [BUY NOW]
  • BlackStrap Outback Pant: $60 [BUY NOW]
  • BlackStrap Pinnacle Crew Top: $60 [BUY NOW]
  • BlackStrap Sunrise Legging Pant: $60 [BUY NOW]

Icebreaker Merino 260 Tech Longsleeve Half Zip and Leggings with Fly

Icebreaker Merino 260 Tech Longsleeve Half Zip

The Icebreaker Merino 260 Tech Longsleeve Half Zip

There’s something to be said for keeping things simple, and Icebreaker deserves praise for doing exactly that. The Merino 260 tech baselayers are 100 percent Merino wool and find the perfect ratio of feeling comfortably lightweight but always warm. The half zip top is especially ideal for trips both in-bounds and out. We’d love it if they would tighten up the saggy crotch region of the men's bottoms, however, as it just looks and feels stretched out in all the wrong ways.

  • Fit: Athletic 
  • Icebreaker Men's Merino 260 Tech Longsleeve Half Zip: $125 [BUY NOW]
  • Icebreaker Men's Merino 260 Tech Leggings with Fly: $115 [BUY NOW]

lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Tights

lululemon keep the heat tight

lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Tights

If you like it tight, look no further than the form-fitting baselayer option from Canadian brand lululemon. The Keep the Heat wool blend is very comfortable above and below, and the corrugated fabric in key spots allows the fabric to fit most bodies well. There's no doubt that these baselayers are very warm, but for some tastes, the form-fitting cut might be a little too much.

  • Fit: Tight
  • lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Long Sleeve: $98
  • lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Tights: $98

Airblaster Ninja Suit Pro

Airblaster Ninja Suit Pro

Airblaster Ninja Suit Pro

Our advice for onesie baselayers? Don’t knock 'em ‘til you try 'em. Airblaster has been making cool stuff for snowboarders for a while but recently started tickling skiers’ fancies by making comfy and warm onesies that anyone can wear. The Ninja Suit Pro incorporates Schoeller Nanosphere fabric at hood, shoulders, and knees to be more durable in key locations, but uses Merino wool over the body to keep things warm. The non-Merino wool fabrics aren't super comfortable, but their function and durability is appreciated.

  • Fit: Tight
  • Airblaster Ninja Suit Pro: $270 [BUY NOW]

Stay on Topic: 

The Best Women's Outerwear of 2020

The Best Mens' Outerwear of 2020 

Our Favorite Midlayers

The first three reviews were featured in SKI Magazine's October 2019 Print Edition. The other reviews were written by Jon Jay.

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