If you haven’t read our article about base-layers; you can read it here.
If you have read it; you’ll know how important your first layer of clothing is, in maintaining your core-body temperature, while skiing or snowboarding in the mountains.
However, what about ‘compression’ base-layers? I think most of us have heard about the benefits of ‘compression’ clothing:
- Reduce injury by keeping muscles warm
- Improved blood flow
- Stabilising joints
- Aid recovery from muscle stiffness and soreness
And we’ve seen athletes using them, even people on long-haul flights wearing them, but are they any good for skiing or snowboarding?
This winter I tried some ‘compression’ base-layers from Skins, both the Skins DNAmic long sleeve base-layer and three-quarter tights. I chose the three-quarter tights, over long-johns, because these would not affect the fit of my ski boots – less crease points! I have invested in quality socks and a custom boot fit, so why would I add another layer inside my boot to mess things up?
First thing first; these are ‘compression’ garments – so they are a very snug fit, if not a little difficult to get on. At first you could feel the ‘tightness’ or ‘support’ the garment gives you – it felt quite good, ‘superhero-like’!
I donned my other layers, and quickly headed out into the cold, because I was starting to get hot in the chalet.
As a base-layer they did their job; keeping me at a comfortable temperature all-day long. Moisture (sweat) generated on the exhilarating decent was wicked away, helping maintain a warm core-body temperature on the cold chairlift ascent. Early morning ski touring was cosy, without overheating.
As the days, and week of skiing, progressed I was pleased with my fitness/endurance. Yes I had prepared for the holiday, by going to the gym beforehand; but I do believe the ‘compression’ of my leg muscles, by the three-quarter tights, had made a difference. Also, after a few stretches and enjoying tea and cakes, sitting around in the ‘compression’ tights helped recovery for the following day’s skiing. I generally suffer with lower back pain; but once again because my hamstrings, glutes etc were ‘supported’ this was eased too.
As for the torso; I felt more stable. Yes I had done some core exercises at the gym, but once again the garment assisted.
So, what about ‘compression’ base-layers? I think they are good, and as a quinquagenarian I will certainly wear them (especially the three-quarter tights) when skiing.
PS The wearing of ‘compression’ clothing does NOT negate the need for exercise/fitness training for your chosen sport!by