Nordic Skiing and Cycling: a match made in sport heaven. Both disciplines are the perfect complimentary off-season training companions for each other, considering cardio and also which muscles get a workout. It’s why we turn into your local nordic nerds once the snow hits, and why you’ll see us on Blow Me Down’s Ski Trails on evenings and weekends when we aren’t snowshoeing or spinning!
When it comes to apparel, Cross-Country and Cycling gear also mix and match perfectly.
Let’s go through it all, from the top down.
Excess heat escapes through our noggins, so our hats can’t be too hot. Something low-profile to the head has the combined advantage of not being excessively thick while still insulating, so it will fit underneath a helmet and stay sleek on the ski trails! Depending on how hot you get, a headband or buff might work well for either sport. We recommend something wooly, because chances are you’ll sweat a lot and still want this hat to retain its function in the cold!
Proper eye protection is often just as essential as a helmet! If you can’t see, either from cold air or a branch in the face… well, you can’t participate! This is why we carry a wide selection of quality eyewear at various prices, from Suncloud, Smith and Oakley. Vented lenses mean your vision won’t be impaired by misty glasses during the winter or summer, since all the condensation can escape!
One of the most versatile pieces of fabric you can buy. Seriously. An investment in a scarf, a hat, a balaclava and a headband all at once. Wool buffs (or chutes, as Icebreaker call them) have the added benefit of wicking away sweat and letting it evaporate into the chilly air, leaving you nice and warm.
Baselayer/ Mid-Layer/ Shell Combo:
Let’s start on the outside! Shells need to breathe, but cut through the weather. Water proof isn’t a necessity unless you plan on goin’ into some pretty hard conditions (though it is also an option). The basic function you want is something not too heavy, and windproof with a light brush on the inside for warmth. You’ll fill it with more warm and functional insulators, and the basic outer function is something to cut the wind and the cold as you descend a hill on two wheels or two planks! After a windy ride down the hill, what goes down must always go up again. Right? (right). When you work hard up the hills, it’s got to let the heat escape and the moisture evaporate.
Keep in mind: The cut. Sometimes you may want to shoot for a tighter cycling-specific shell, and cut down on wind resistance while on the road. If you’re not overly picky about this, though, then either/ or should work perfectly fine!
The Mid-Layer. Your baselayer’s backup. Something to keep you warm when your baselayer is wicking away the sweat, and let the moisture escape further. It should also keep you toasty if you need to unzip the shell at all. Sometimes heat just isn’t getting out fast enough and you’ll need to ventilate, but cutting directly to your wet baselayer may do more harm than good! In the case of cycling, a mesh baselayer for the moisture with a 260 or 200 Icebreaker should do the trick, depending on the temperature outside. For Cross-Country, the same does apply but you may opt for a 200 base with 260 mid, depending on the conditions!
The baselayer should serve the dual purpose of providing warmth while still taking the sweat off of your body. Wool is best for this, since it still retains its insulating properties when it’s wet!
It’s not often you’ll shed your pants while you’re on the trails or roads, so for here you should be good with two layers to keep things simple. The basic functions remain the same as your ideal tops/ bottoms, but here is where these outfits differ the most between cycling and skiing. Cycling tights can get away as a single shot item depending on their level of warmth. You’ll want to continue the insulation with a thermal bootie, or straight up winter cycling boot. You can wear skiing pants when you’re cycling depending on their girth, but keep in mind you’ll also want a chamoix for the bike seat!
100% interchangeable between sports. You’ll want to figure out which cushion and thickness works best depending on the sport, and your footwear! Again for this we personally rely on Merino, for all the same properties listed above AND the added bonus of being odor-resistant. Wear them multiple workouts without washing in between and they still won’t knock out your training buddies or family members when you shed your footwear.
Back up top for a quick second! Cold hands make for a crappy ride and ski, so be sure to get the right gloves. Something to cut the wind, and keep your fingers from freezing. Getting a pair of Lobster Claw or four-fingered gloves would be beneficial for both shifting gears and working your ski bindings on a cold day! Believe it or not we would also recommend layering your gloves as well, especially for cycling. In the event you ever have to juggle with a detrailleur or some bindings, and shed your big mitts to do so, a baselayer for your hand is essential.