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There's a beauty and simplicity about winter. What I tell friends who hate winter is that they need to invest in activities and gear to make it more fun. The clothing next to your skin really matters, and we have ten great winter base layers for women that will get you ready for you next snowy adventure.

Related: Mom recommended ski travel gear

great base layer

Embracing the Cold

Winter isn't a thing to be dreaded. It's a season to take on its own terms. You can't bend and shape winter into summer. There's no need to run from it. There's no need to moan about it. 

You're only given so many daylight hours, so you have to make the most of them. I've found the trick to loving winter is embracing the cold and getting outdoors.

Ten Great Winter Base Layers For Women

Ten Great Winter Base Layers For Women

When it comes to what to wear for winter sports, layers are key. Someone wise once told me, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing options. True story for this Maryland girl. My problem with winters wasn't the cold it was two-fold. I didn't have any winter activities and I had ALL THE WRONG GEAR. Here are ten solutions for your top.

  1. KARI TRAA Lune 1/2 Zip: Form fitting, half zip, cute patterns and good for a variety of temps. Get the Kari Traa top on Zappos here. ($60)
  2. Under Armour Women's Base 4.0 Crew-Neck T-Shirt: Very warm base layer. Get the Under Armour Base Layer Top on Amazon here.($100) note: this is an Amazon Affiliate link
  3. Odlo Women's Performance Warm ECO Crew: Very comfortable, optimal moisture management and breathability during cold temperatures made out of recycled yarn. Get the Odlo ECO Baselayer on Amazon here. ($82) note: this is an Amazon Affiliate link
  4. Icebreaker 250 Vertex Half-Zip: Women's: warm and soft merino wool with a cozy jacquard knit; fabric wicks moisture and dries quickly when wet. Get the Icebreaker Base Layer on REI here. ($150)
  5. Hot Chillys Women's Micro-Elite Chamois Crewneck Top Midweight Body Fit Base Layer: Perfect mid-weight base layer option. Soft and comfortable fit. Get the Hot Chillys Crewneck on Amazon here. ($77) note: this is an Amazon Affiliate link
  6. Patagonia Women's Capilene Midweight Crew: Classic base layer that lasts forever, good for a range of temperatures, fun color options. Get the Patagonia Capilene on Patagonia here. ($79)
  7. Polartec® Power Grid™ Base Layer Half Zip Pullover from Montcler: Ideal as a base layer on the chilliest days, Polartec Power Grid fabric, roll right into apres looking chic. Get the Montcler Polartec top at Nordstrom here.($595)
  8. Kaskade Zip-Neck Top: Cozy merino wool blend offers ultra-soft, breathable insulation. Get the Kuhl Kaskade top on here. ($118.95)
  9. Smartwool Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Long-Sleeve Top: Great basic light weight base layer top, variety of colors. Get the Smartwool Classic top at REI here. ($85)
  10. Terramar Women's Cloud Nine Long Sleeve Turtleneck: This is my go to base layer top. Long, flattering cut. Very soft, warm but not bulky, turtleneck and thumb holes. Get the Terramar turtleneck on Amazon here ($54.99) note: this is an Amazon Affiliate link.
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best base layer bottoms

Best Base Layer Bottoms for Women

Now let's take a look at the bottoms. These are my picks to keep your legs and bottom toasty on your ski adventures. 

  1. Smartwool Women's Intraknit Thermal Merino 3/4 Pant: 3/4 length leggings keep bulk out of ski boots. Get the Smartwool Intraknits here. ($115) Sizes up to XL.
  2. Patagonia Women's Capilene® Thermal Weight Very warm breathable base layer keeps you warm in cold conditions. And you can pick from some fun colros in this Polartec® Power Grid® fabric. Get the Patagonia Bottoms on here. ($89). Sizes up to XXS to XL.
  3. Hot Chillys Chamois Capri Tight: My favorite base layer pants, I own 2 pairs. Mid-weight, very comfortable, capri length is perfect for keeping bulk out of ski boots. Get the Hot Chillys Midweight Body Fit Base Layer on Amazon here.($55)
  4. Kari Traa Legging: The Kari Traa Voss Cashmere Mix Pant is a slim-fit women’s baselayer pant designed for next-level comfort and functionality. Made using ethically sourced Merino wool, they’ll keep you warm even in the wet. Get the Kari Traa Legging here. ($140) Sizes up to XL. 
  5. Sweaty Betty Base Layer LeggingsComfortable and very warm, stylish enough to wear on and off the slope. Get the Sweaty Betty Leggings on Zappos here. ($78). Sizes up to XL.
  6. Ortovox Fleece Light Short Pant: Women's. Slim fit for low bulk, cropped to keep extra material out of ski boots. Get the Ortovox Fleece Light Short Pant at here. ($84). Sizes up to XL.
  7. Odlo Merino 200 Baselayer: A nice warm fabric with a more roomy fit. Get the Odlo Baselayer Pant on Amazon here. Note: this is an Amazon Affiliate link ($117). Sizes up to XL.
  8. Icebreaker 250 Vertex Base Layer Leggings: Women's Fun patterns on this 100% merino wool fabric in a cozy jacquard knit. Get the Icebreaker 250 Vertex Base Layer Leggings - on REI here. ($140). Sizes up to XL.
  9. Terramar Women's Below Zero Tights: Designed for high energy outdoor adventures they are perfect for skinning or warmer ski days Get the Terramar Women's Below Zero Tights on Amazon here.  Note: this is an Amazon Affiliate link. ($55). Sizes up to XL.
  10. Montcler Polartec® Power Grid Pants: Ideal base layer for the chilliest days, made of Polartech Power Grid Get the Montcler Base Layer Pants on Nordstrom here. ($505). Sizes up to XL.
Best Plus Sized Base Layers

Plus-Sized Options for Base Layers

While I wish I could say all the above layers are offered in inclusive sizing...I can't. So we've sourced some additional options.

  • Lululemon: While not strictly a thermal tight, lululemon tights work well for temps in the 30-40's. I like the bright colors and the high waist. This will feel great under all your ski gear. My pick is the Wunder Train cropped tight that comes up to a size 20. Again, this top is designed not for skiing but for workouts on cold days. That means it is meant to move. The sleeves feature thumbholes and Cuffins™ to keep sleeves down and chills out. Again, you'll get beautiful colors to pick from and sizing up to 20. My pick is the Rulu Run Long Sleeve Top ($98). 
  • Duluth Trading: I love crowd-sourcing solutions for ski moms. When I asked for favorite base layers in our group, I got this recommendation. I've never heard of Duluth Trading, but now this is a go-to resource. Try the Women's Plus AKHG Meltwater Leggings. Ultra high waist and internal drawcord for a comfortable fit. They are sized up to a 3x ($69.50). Add the coordinating crew top ($74.50) on top and you are ready for a long day in the cold.
  • LLBean: I'm not surprised that a company from Maine understands that EVERYONE needs base layers. These are very well-priced and come in sizing up to 3x. Try the Women's L.L.Bean Midweight Crew Base Layer, Long Sleeve, Print ($54.95) and the coordinating legging ($54.95) (also up to 3x)
  • Smartwool Tops: Hands down, you've got to celebrate Smartwool for giving women what they want in the Classic Crew Neck Thermal. These tops come in AMAZING colors, like honey gold heather. Sizes up to 3x. ($110). The thermal pant also comes in a 3x, but only available in black. $110
  • Minus 33: This small brand made a smart decision to size up to a XXXL in the core Merino woll top called the Ossipee ($79.99) I like the shaped silhouette (it's not baggy) and the tagless label. Plus the colors are amazing. Pair it with the Franconia legging (also Merino, also available up to a XXXL). ($79.99) 

The right gear, the right attitude and the right activities will have you thinking about winter in a whole new way. 


  1. Try Ski Butler the Next Time You Rent Skis
  2. Listen to the Ski Moms Fun Podcast
  3. 12 Ways to Recycle and Resell Old Ski Gear


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