How to Dress for Winter Sports in Quebec


If you dress well for winter sports, you will never want to come back inside! Please note that this advice is for sports like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing where you will be moving around a lot and generating some body heat. For downhill skiing and snowmobiling, you would be moving less and would be much more exposed to wind, so you would need a different strategy.

Golden rule number 1: LAYERS. You’ll be sweaty and uncomfortable in a big, heavy winter coat, so leave it at home. Instead, we recommend wearing a few different thin layers of clothing, so you can put layers on or take layers off as needed during the outing.

Golden rule number 2: NO COTTON. You will get a bit sweaty doing these sports, and cotton gets very cold when it is wet. Only wear clothing made of wool, silk, bamboo, or synthetic materials such as fleece or acrylic.


Long, warm socks: Make sure you leave room to wiggle your toes in your boots/skates with your warm socks on. Your feet will get cold if your boots are too tight. For skating, it is good to have a thick pair of socks to cushion your feet.

Thermal or synthetic long underwear (top and bottom)

Ski pants or snow pants or some kind of shell layer for your legs

A wool or fleece sweater

An additional sweater, fleece or vest (this will probably stay in your backpack, but just in case)

A shell or outer layer to stop the wind, ideally a bit water resistant. No big, heavy winter coats! (See Golden rule number 1)


Scarf or neck-warmer

Mittens, ideally thick or in two non-cotton layers. Note that mittens are MUCH warmer than gloves.

When snowshoeing, the bindings attach right to your own winter boots. Bring comfortable, reasonable boots that you can walk in. The bindings rub a bit so avoid suede or anything too chic! The boots should come up above your ankles – otherwise you will get snow in your boots.

Optional items to bring/wear:
Ski googles
Small backpack for an extra layer of clothing
Extra pair of mittens
Gaiters (to prevent snow from entering your boots)

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