Cross-country skiers who dress too warmly and cover themselves with inadequate clothing don't make this mistake twice. To avoid excessive heat during training and shivering during breaks, you should instead prefer multiple layers, each of which plays its role.
“The most important layer is the thin underwear that is glued to the skin (top and bottom of the body) and wicks away the moisture that the body produces during exercise and retains heat,” explains Frédérick Duchesne of Demers Bicycles and Cross – Cross-country ski shop in Limoilou.
Fabrics containing merino wool, this natural antimicrobial fiber that regulates temperature and does not retain bad odors, and polyester (often mixed with a polyamide fabric), which wicks moisture well and dries quickly, are to be preferred and avoided, unlike cotton.
Merino wool underwear, a very important first layer to prevent sweat from sticking to the skin. Photo from the website demersbicycles.com
The middle layer
A second, thicker layer, such as a sweater or sleeveless jacket that protects vital organs (merino wool, polyester, or other synthetic insulation), in addition to retaining heat, continues to wick away the moisture absorbed by the first layer.
The temperature as well as the intensity of the physical activity and the type of cross-country skier (thoughtful skier, endurance skating, rather cool, heavy sweating, etc.) will favor or not the attachment of this optional layer to the upper body. .
“You have to get to know yourself to adjust layers and choose the right clothes,” says Mr. Duchesne.
Photo from the website lecoureurnordique.ca
The soft shell
This third layer consists of a coat and pants that block wind at the front while promoting moisture wicking at the back, behind the legs and under the arms.
Some fairly warm pants can be worn without a base layer or simply with boxers, which provide additional protection at the front. Other cross-country skiers will feel more comfortable in leggings, explains Ms. Jolibois.
It is possible to add an insulated skirt or shorts to cover the hips, buttocks and intimate area, which are more sensitive to cold. And for more protection for the neck and ears on hikes exposed to wind, Ms. Jolibois recommends an adjustable hooded jacket.
The third layer is a softshell with a hood that blocks the wind at the front and breathes at the back. Photo from the website lecoureurnordique.ca
Before leaving, it is important to ensure that soles, boots, socks and feet are completely dry, emphasizes Mr. Duchesne. Appropriately thick and padded stockings made of merino wool prevent frozen toes. Mittens or gloves that are reinforced under the palm for durability and then combined with a moisture-absorbing base layer are a winning combination, according to Hélène Jolibois of Uptown boutique Le Coureur Nordic.
Heated gloves and socks are also very popular. Hoods made of polyester, merino wool or Lycra in different thicknesses for different temperatures can easily be carried in a bag when hiking. And why not combine it with a buff for more neck and ear protection?
It's normal to feel a little cold at the start, because cross-country skiers only know whether they are well dressed after one or two kilometers of sport. If you go outside and feel hot before you even start skiing, that's not a good sign, says Ms. Jolibois.