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Spring Skiing| kari traa

How to Dress For Spring Skiing

We had a chat with experienced adventurer Iselin Næss to get tips on how to dress for the spring skiing season.

What's the deal with spring skiing?

Spring skiing is some of the best skiing in my opinion. The temperature is nice and when the sun is shining, you might only wear merino wool baselayer on the way up. The snow is usually a little more stable than mid-winter, so you don’t have to worry too much about avalanches either. Life is extra good in the spring!

Packing Guide Skiing| kari traa

Iselin Næss skis in nothing but wool base layer:“When spring gives you days where you can ski in just thermal underwear, life is extra good," Iselin says.

What mountains are you seeking out to ski this spring? And where do you dream of travelling when the world opens back up?

I have rented a fisherman's cabin in Lofoten, Norway for the entire month of March! Right now, the snow isn't exactly falling up there, but I have a small dream of northern Norwegian powder at the start, and spring vibes towards the end of the month. Otherwise, Western Norway always delivers on mountains and fjords in the spring season. There is nowhere else I would rather ski at this time – especially in May. When COVID-19 restrictions subside, my dream is to take the Trans-Siberian railway to Japan to ski the powder in January.

Skiing in sun | kari traa

Backcountry magic:The ski season is not over after Easter. In fact, the best time is often in May, says Iselin.

For those of us who don't have much experience with spring skiing, can you share a packing list with us?
What to Wear:

Skis and Skins
Ski Boots
Merino Wool Baselayer
Shell Ski Pants (with venting)
Wool Socks

What to Pack:

Shell Ski Jacket
Thin Puffy Jacket
Ski Goggles
Extra Wool Baselayer Top
Shovel and Avalanche Probe
Mini-Tools (Gerber)
Mini-First Aid Kit
Food (Oranges are a favorite when I tour!)
Drinks (I like to bring coffee or tea, in addition to water, just for the sake of ‘’kos’’*)

Skiing in sun | kari traa

Packing List:If you are a beginner, you may want to follow a packing list to ensure that you bring everything before you set out on a trip.

Can you tell us a little more about how to dress for skiing in the spring compared to winter?

I actually dress quite the same in the spring as in the winter, since I still follow the layer-on-layer principle. The biggest difference is I have more of the layers in my backpack than on my body when I move in the spring.

Iselin Næss | kari traa Sport Bra Wool | kari traa

Wool Sports Bras: Remember that socks, panties and sports bras are also part of the "first layer" that sits closest to your skin, therefore choose those made with a wool material for maximum comfort.

The First Layer

The first layer is always merino wool baselayer. It adjusts my body temperature – regulating with the intensity and temperature, and it’s also warming. This happens even when I'm sweating or getting wet for other reasons. Keep in mind that wool socks, panties and wool sports bras are also part of the "first layer" that sits at closest to your skin. This is why I always choose merino wool material for these items, as I find they offer the most comfort.
As temperatures change from winter to spring, I tend to vary between thicker and thinner merino wool baselayer. That is precisely why Kari Traa has different wool collections for winter and summer. My summer wool favorite is Smale, which means ‘small sheep’ in Norwegian and symbolizes less wool. After Easter, it may be enjoyable to just wear a merino wool singlet or tee on the way up, but then it’s important to remember sunscreen on all exposed body parts!

The Midlayer

The middle layer can be a fleece, a vest or a thin jacket made with down or an insulation such as PrimaLoft. And when it comes to spring skiing, the middle layer is usually left in the bag all the way up. But despite good weather and warm sun, wind can always blow on the peaks – and you just don't go on a trip without something to keep you warm if weather rolls in. This spring, my favorite is the Voss Midlayer Jacket. It is super light and thin, but warms well thanks to a blend of lofty down and synthetic fiber.

If I have space and I know it will be a long walk, I sometimes bring a spare wool baselayer in the bag the change into. I like a slightly thicker merino wool top for the skiing downhill than the summer-weight wool baselayer top I hiked up with.

Skiing in sun | kari traa

Midlayer Jacket: Despite the good weather and scorching sun, it can always blow on the peaks. Iselin swears by packing an extra midlayer jacket in her backpack – you’re gonna need it, trust us!

The Outer Layer

The outer layer is usually a shell or windproof jacket. Sometimes I start the trip with shell clothing on – depending on the weather – but it usually always ends up in the backpack during ascent, and gets put back on at the peak. If it's a really nice spring ski day, you don't really need shell clothing until you're on your way down. When you’re descending, the shell acts as protection for any falls, more so than it does for weather protection. You risk scratching your skin on the snow if you fall, so it's nice to have an extra protective layer on your body when you turn your skis downwards.

Hope these tips get you excited for the next season. Happy Spring Skiing!

Skiing in sun | kari traa

Follow @wildernaess for more spring skiing inspiration.

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