Inevitably, when you walk uphill with skis on your feet, you’re going to sweat. Temperature regulation is a tricky monster to tackle in the backcountry and the best outerwear in the world means nothing if your next-to-skin layer isn’t up to par. While other backcountry skills take much longer to hone, choosing the right baselayer for your activity level is a quick and easy way to keep performance and spirits high on the skintrack—and on the down. Here are a few of our favorite women’s baselayers for everything from a quick backside lap to a sunny spring sufferfest.
Simplicity runs the show with the Ridge Merino Aspect—no hood, no zipper, just a clean, simple crewneck. The Aspect is great for layering, with a slim fit that I don’t even notice under my midlayer. The Aspect is constructed with Ridge Merino’s (m)Force Technology, using a merino base that’s wrapped around a nylon filament in order to up the durability while keeping the soft and breathable merino wool next to your skin. The lightweight design is perfect for springtime corn missions when you spend half the day down to your baselayer, and the cut is slightly longer, so it stays nice and tucked while bootpacking or setting a steep skintrack.
Mons Royale Cornice Rollover LS
The Cornice Rollover is a little heavier than the other baselayers on this list, but it’s definitely both the softest and warmest, plus it transcends your ski day as a cute top to wear during apres. That’s the primary goal of the New Zealand-based company—quality pieces that function just as well on the mountain as in town. My favorite part of the Cornice is the oversized rollover neck. It makes for a cozy neckwarmer on extra chilly days and it rolls down nicely so you don’t overheat while you’re walking uphill. I’m usually not a fan of turtlenecks since they can feel a bit suffocating, but the neck on this top is just right.
It doesn’t make sense that one garment can be equal parts light, comfortable, breathable, and warm, but Patagonia’s Capilene Air Baselayer somehow does just that. Since I started skiing in this top, I honestly haven’t reached for another baselayer. Unsurprisingly, the Capilene Air top is well, almost as light as air. It honestly felt a little bit too light when I first picked it up, but it’s deceivingly durable and quite warm. The hood pulls up to fit comfortably under a helmet, and I love the high collar for spring days where you don’t quite need a Buff, but still want something around your neck. The merino and Capilene polyester blend is soft, stretchy, and best of all, it doesn’t seem to ever smell—I’d be embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve worn it between washes. The only thing I would add to it if I could would be thumbloops, since I sometimes lose track of my sleeves when I layer up with more than two jackets.
Although merino seems to reign king in the world of winter sports, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for synthetic materials. Obermeyer’s Catalina Hoodie has become my go-to baselayer for warm spring tours, with a stretchy polyester and elastane construction that breathes well on the skintrack and feels sturdy enough to wear on its own. The kangaroo-style pocket is easy to access with a pack on, serves as a great spot to stash snacks for quick access without taking a break, and the hood is perfect for blocking the sun.