What To Wear Under Your Ski Helmet To Keep Warm? Balaclava Vs. Skull Cap

Skiing can be chilly, especially when you’re up on the mountain. So one of the most important things to consider is what to wear under your ski helmet to keep your head and ears warm. Plenty of options exist, but choosing the correct choice can make or break your skiing trip. So, what to wear under your ski helmet to keep warm?

Balaclava and skull caps are both excellent options. There are many benefits of these items. However, it is more of a preference for what makes you feel comfortable while skiing.

Staying warm during your skiing trip is essential for reaching the ultimate level of fun and enjoyment. Read on to determine which one is right for you.

Related: How Much Weight Can A Ski Lift Hold?

The Importance of Keeping Warm While Skiing

What To Wear Under Your Ski Helmet To Keep Warm

Before diving into the different types of headwear, it’s essential to understand why staying warm while skiing is crucial.

When you’re out on the mountain, the temperature can drop quickly, and the wind can make it feel even colder. If you do not dress appropriately, you can become uncomfortable or even put yourself at risk for hypothermia

Keeping your head and ears warm can prevent heat loss and stay comfortable throughout your ski day.

What Are Balaclavas?

A balaclava is a type of headwear covering your entire head, neck, and face. It has a stretchy, lightweight material that fits snugly against your skin. Balaclavas trap heat, keeping you warm and dry

They’re also versatile, as you can pull them down to cover your neck or pull them up to cover your entire face depending on the weather conditions and your needs.

Are Balaclavas Good For Skiing?

There are many benefits to wearing a balaclava under your ski helmet, which makes them suitable for skiing. Here are a few:

Full coverage

It provides complete coverage of your head, neck, and face, so you don’t have to worry about any exposed skin getting cold. 


Balaclavas are also lightweight and breathable, so you can wear them comfortably for long periods.

Increases drying area

A balaclava will keep you dry and will help you fight moisture accumulation. In addition, it will enhance your comfort and confidence while you shred those slopes.

Maintains temperatures

The item’s warming material helps maintain the skier’s core temperature. If your core temperature is adequate, your body will have ease while fighting harsh weather.

Increases helmet pads durability

Staying in direct contact with your helmet’s inner side can be rough, as friction can damage the material and decrease your helmet’s life. Wearing a balaclava can solve that problem.

Prevents rashes

The rigid padding of the helmet can cause rashes and skin allergies to your neck, scalp, and side of the face. A balaclava can be a barrier between your skin and the helmet, preventing skin irritation. 

Easier to handle the helmet

With a balaclava, wearing and removing your helmet will be easier without worrying about injuring your face and head.

What Are Skull Caps?

A skull cap is a close-fitting cap covering your head and ears, from your forehead to the back of your neck. It comes in various materials, including wool, fleece, and synthetic blends. Skull caps can be worn under a helmet, providing extra warmth and protection from the elements. 

They’re also lightweight and breathable, so they won’t add extra bulk or weight to your gear.

What Is The Purpose Of A Skull Cap?

Like balaclavas, skull caps have many benefits for skiers:

Less bulky

They’re less bulky than balaclavas so they won’t interfere with your helmet fit. They’re also easy to wear, as you can slip one on and go.


They’re often less expensive than balaclavas, making them a more budget-friendly option.

Keeps warm

The head cap will keep you warm and dry during your skiing tour, increasing your joy and comfort.

Which One Is Right for You?

The answer ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs.

A balaclava is a way to go if you want maximum coverage and protection from the elements. It’s also a great option if you tend to get cold quickly or enjoy the versatility of covering your face.

On the other hand, if you want something lightweight, easy to wear, and won’t interfere with your helmet fit, a skull cap may be the better choice. It’s also a more budget-friendly option.

The best way to determine what is right is to try them out. Consider the weather conditions, your comfort level, and what feels best. Remember that you can always switch between the two depending on the weather and activity level.

Material Is The Key When Choosing Headwear?

When you buy headwear for your skiing adventure, there are some things you should keep in mind, which will help you get the most suitable equipment. When choosing headwear for skiing, giving importance to the material is essential. Look for moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to help regulate your body temperature and prevent sweating. Common materials for ski headwear include:

How to Layer for Maximum Warmth

In addition to choosing the proper headwear, it’s essential to layer appropriately to stay warm while skiing. 

  • Start with a base layer, such as a long-sleeved thermal shirt or a moisture-wicking t-shirt.
  • Next, add an insulating layer, such as a fleece jacket or a down vest.
  • Finally, top it off with a waterproof, breathable shell jacket to protect you from wind, snow, and rain.
  • Wear thermal leggings or ski pants for your lower body, followed by an insulating layer like fleece pants. Make sure your ski pants fit comfortably over your base layers.
  • Choose pants with waterproof or water-resistant outer shells.
  • Finish off your layers with a good pair of gloves or mittens, and remember warm socks.

Alternative Options Of Headwear For Skiing

While balaclavas and skull caps are the two most popular options for headwear under a ski helmet, there are a few other options to consider:

Neck gaiter

A tube of fabric that covers your neck, and you can pull it over your chin and mouth for added warmth.


Another option is a buff, a stretchy, seamless tube of fabric that you can wear as a headband, neck gaiter, or full balaclava.

Final Word

Wearing the proper headwear is an essential part of staying warm while skiing. Balaclavas and skull caps are two great options for keeping your head and ears warm under your helmet, and there are other options to consider too. 

When choosing headwear, the material is the key, and consider your personal preferences for coverage and warmth. Furthermore, layering correctly and selecting headwear can keep you comfortable, warm, and dry throughout your skiing trip. What else can be better?

Mitchelle Lynn