The Best Bras and Underwear For Skiing

Is merino wool underwear really necessary? Quick answer: yes.

Is underwear the first piece of gear you have on your mind before a nip-deep pow day? Probably not. But once you’ve got the rest of your kit dialed and your avy gear stowed in your pack, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you’ve got your most sensitive areas covered. Not all underwear is created equal, so here are a few sports bras and shorts that made the powder day cut.

Photo Credit: Ortovox

Soft and functional, Ortovox’s 185 Rock N’ Wool Sport Top is exactly what I want when I’m getting ready for a day in the mountains. The pure merino wool construction breathes well while ski touring and doesn’t itch or chafe like many sports bras tend to do during a long backcountry mission. The synthetic band holds the top securely in place, although the fit is a little looser than I had anticipated—size down if you’re on the fence.

The Rock ‘N’ Wool is an ideal sports bra to take on a longer ski trip, since it can go scary long between washes before it starts to stink. I’m currently eight wears in since its last rinse and haven’t gotten any negative feedback from my housemates or coworkers.

Photo Credit: Icebreaker

Hot Pants make you go faster, it’s the truth. Icebreaker’s Sprite Hot Pants are our vote for best all-around undies when it comes to skiing. The low-profile design fits perfectly under any baselayer tights, although these shorts have enough coverage to wear on their own under your shells for sunny hot laps with the thigh vents wide open.

The merino wool jersey fabric is breathable and odor-resistant, while a touch of nylon and spandex boost the stretch and durability. Offset seams eliminate chafing or rubbing, while the elastic waistband holds everything in place for a comfortable, barely-noticeable fit on the skintrack.

Kari Traa
Photo Credit: Kari Traa

Kari Traa never disappoints with fun, colorful pieces that can handle their fair share of wear and tear. The bright, unique design of the Ness Sports Bra is no different. While not as soft or odor-resistant as merino, the synthetic construction is incredibly breathable, with a snug, elastic fit that feels secure while maximizing mobility. The longer torso design provides extra coverage, which adds a little more warmth to your layer system. Body-mapped panels maximize breathability in certain areas while maintaining support in others and the smooth, seamless design doesn’t rub at all.

The medium-impact support is great for skiing, while removable cups let you customize the top to your own needs and fit. It’s also a great year-round top, since the extra material lets you rock it on its own for hot summer hikes.

Photo Credit: Smartwool

For days when you want to rock your bibs sans-baselayer, these shorts are my go-to. The merino and synthetic blend is ultra light, with a soft and stretchy feel that wicks moisture and breathes well. Merino-covered elastic waistband is soft yet secure, while the snug fit hugs your body in all the right places and doesn’t ride up.

The seamless construction enhances natural mobility while eliminating even the slightest amount of rubbing, and the minimalist design pretty much disappears once you’re wearing them. Plus, they fold up so small, there’s no reason not to take an extra pair on your next hut trip for a quick way to stay fresh on a multi-day mission.

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