The Best Heated Ski Boots and Other Heated Skiing Gear to Keep You WarmPublished on 05/30/2023 · 15 min readDon't let the cold get you down! Deep dive into heated ski gear and the best heated options for you so you can last longer on the slopes.
Photo by Leo Patrizi
Do you love to ski, but hate the cold weather? Are you tired of stinging toes and numb fingers? If any of those statements relate to you, then you have come to the right place. We love skiing, but being cold sucks. In this article, we will go over some of the best heated ski gear and garments on the market that will keep you out of the lodge, and on the mountain during the most frigid of ski days.
My name is Kat Smith, and I’ve been skiing my entire life—since I was two years old! I grew up skiing in Vermont where the moisture in the air makes 20 degrees feel like 0, and now I live in Utah and the winds whipping at 11,000 feet will make the sweat you’ve worked up freeze in a second. I’ve experienced some very cold days in the mountains, and as someone who runs cold (seriously, I am that person wearing a puffy down jacket when it’s 60 degrees out), warm ski gear is a must.
With top-of-the-line ski apparel and gear now adding heating technology, I don’t have to shy away from those bone-chilling cold winter days anymore—whether I’m getting out on the slopes or doing some winter camping and hiking with my pup! I’d love to help others who run cold like me (and even those who don’t) get the right gear so they can spend more time out on the slopes and less time sitting in the lodge!
What Is Heated Ski Gear?
Heated ski gear is exactly what it sounds like—gear that uses a battery-powered, often rechargeable, heating technology to gently warm itself and keep the wearer toasty all day long. Ski boots, ski gloves, ski socks, and even ski jackets are the most commonly seen heated apparel items on the mountain. But there are also plenty of other great heated clothing options, including base layer tops and pants, sweatshirts/hoodies, and even other outerwear options such as heated vests!
What to Consider When Buying Heated Ski Gear
Do you often ski in traditionally cold areas?
When it comes to temperature, not all ski areas are created equally! While all ski areas will see cold days, some see those extremely cold days much more frequently than others, thanks to their geographic location and elevation. Ski areas in the Northeast, such as Maine and Vermont, are known for having extremely cold days. And while the air is drier out West and in the Rockies, which keeps the temperatures feeling milder, some specific ski areas such as Big Sky in Montana traditionally experience cold winters as well. If your home base mountain frequently reports air temperatures in the teens and below, heated ski gear will keep you out on the slopes, and out of the lodge!
In general, would you describe yourself as someone who “runs cold”?
Just because your home mountain is one that traditionally has milder temperatures and plenty of sunshine doesn’t mean you should write off heated ski gear just yet! At a ski resort, “mild” temperatures still mean below freezing, and spending hours outside in below-freezing temperatures are still cold, especially for those who find themselves feeling chilly often. I love winter, but I am not one of those people who are outside in a t-shirt in January!
So if you are like me and hate the cold but love winter activities (or want to give them a shot!), heated ski gear can open the door to an entire season's worth of amazing winter sports, and not just skiing! Hiking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and trail running are just a few ways you can enjoy the outdoors in the winter. Don’t let the cold keep you cooped up all winter long!
What type of terrain do you primarily ski?
Sometimes, the type of terrain you are skiing plays a major role in your body temperature. If you are spending a lot of time skiing through moguls, trees, and other leg-burning terrains, you will likely work up a sweat even on a cold day! On the other hand, if you are cruising down groomers with the wind in your face, you may find yourself getting colder and colder. While this shouldn’t be the primary factor to consider when deciding if you need heated gear, it is something to think about!
Does heated ski gear fit into my budget?
While some heated ski gear is definitely more expensive than its non-heated counterparts (such as gloves and socks), some items are right in line with what you would expect to spend, regardless of the heating technology (like boots and jackets). It’s important to weigh the pros and cons—are cold hands and fingers preventing you from doing something you love? Then they may be worth the extra money! Socks, jackets, and baselayers are super versatile, and can be worn during plenty of outdoor activities besides just skiing, which increases their worth!
Different Types of Heated Ski Gear
As mentioned above, many of the ski apparel and gear essentials have a heated option on the market, and there are many options to choose from!
If there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that there’s nothing worse than cold feet. Finding that perfect balance between warm feet and proper circulation seems to be a science to many skiers. Wearing double socks or really thick socks may seem like a good idea to keep your feet warm, but will actually be a detrimental move as this will restrict the blood flow to your foot and make them even colder. You want to wear warm, thin socks rather than adding more layers to your boot, and you want just a little bit of room for optimal circulation.
Why not skip the hassle of cold feet altogether, and get a pair of heated ski boots? The proper boot will make the difference between a great day on the mountain and a long day in the lodge.
- Won’t have cold feet
- Options for different temperature settings
- Affordable options on the market
- Battery won’t last forever
- Ski boot options will be limited if you’re looking for a high-performance, perfect-fit ski boot
Gloves & Mittens
We all have a preference when it comes to the type of gloves we wear while skiing. Some people swear by mittens, claiming it keeps their fingers warmer. Others will only wear the gloves with fingers for the dexterity and mobility they offer. Sadly, when your typical glove or mitten gets wet, you can almost guarantee a forecast of frozen hands.
Luckily for you, we can avoid that issue entirely! Technology has reached the glove industry, and now you can say goodbye to cold fingers, and hello to heated gloves and mittens. With gloves or mittens that are electrically heated, your hands will feel warm and mobile no matter the weather. Say goodbye to the days of stuffing lumpy hand warmers into your gloves!
- Won’t have cold hands and fingers
- Glove and mitten options available to suit your preference
- Multiple heat settings
- Battery won’t last forever
While some people only struggle with their extremities feeling the cold, others find that their whole body is just downright cold, especially those who ski primarily in colder, wetter locations that see single-digit and below-zero temperatures regularly. The traditional way to combat those super cold ski days is with a heavily insulated ski jacket or with layers on layers on layers, and while this method is effective, it has one major downside: it’s hard to stay mobile when you are wearing 3+ layers, and it’s hard to ski challenging terrain without mobility.
But now, there is a solution! With a heated jacket, you can keep your body and torso warm without having the stiffness of multiple layers. So when everyone else is heading into the lodge to sit by the heaters between runs, you can get more laps on the mountain! And your heated ski jacket doesn’t have to be just for skiing! Wear it when walking the dog or to outdoor sporting events like football games!
- Helps regulate core temperature
- Stylish options with plenty of desired features
- Battery won’t last forever
- Will interfere with avalanche transceiver signal
As mentioned above, cold feet are the worst, and unfortunately, people try to overcome their cold feet problems in all the wrong ways. Double socking it or wearing really thick socks in an attempt to add extra layers of warmth inside your ski boot are common misconceptions that will actually make your feet colder by restricting the blood flow to your feet. It may seem counterintuitive, but warm, thin, breathable socks are traditionally the most effective option to keep your feet warm.
But if your warm, thin socks aren’t getting the job done, then it’s time to look into heated socks! While heated ski boots (mentioned above) are a big investment, heated socks are fairly affordable, are compatible with the boots you already have, and you can wear them for other outdoor winter activities, such as hiking or snowshoeing!
- Won’t have cold feet
- Great option for someone who already has high-performance, well-fitted ski boots
- Multiple heat settings
- Battery won’t last forever
- Some brands have external battery and heating wires that can be bulky
- More expensive than non-heated ski socks
Features to Look Out for When Buying Heated Ski Gear
Just like any gear, not all options on the market have the same features and are the same quality. Below is a list of features to look for to optimize your purchase.
Most ski resorts are open for at least seven hours, and some that include night skiing or early morning openings have an even longer day! It’s important that the battery life of your heated gear reflects how long you plan on skiing. If you’re like me and you like to put in long first-chair to last-chair days on the slopes, make sure your new gear will provide the hours of heat that you need! And don't forget to plug in your rechargeable battery overnight, so you're ready to go again the next day!
Multiple Heat Settings
It is common for heated ski gear to have multiple heat settings or temperature levels. This is important, as not every cold day is equal, and not every hour in the day will be the same temperature! A “wind-chill below-zero” day will be a lot colder than a crisp and clear temperature-in-the-teens day, and early morning runs before the sun comes up will be a lot colder than the afternoon. Having a few heat setting options will give the jacket versatility, so the gear is always effective.
Don’t Sacrifice Standard Features
Your heated ski gear should be the same high-quality and have the same great features that your non-heated gear has. For example, if you’re purchasing a heated ski jacket, it should still be water resistant, have ventilation, be durable, and have ski-specific features such as a power skirt and helmet-compatible hood. If you’re in the market for ski boots, make sure you still get the appropriate size, last width, and flex rating, and still look for features such as walk-mode and grip walk soles, if those are features you desire! Don’t sacrifice the things you need and want in your ski gear just to get the heated version, because if you are warm but uncomfortable, you will still have to end your day early (just not for cold toes or fingers!). And with constant advancements in gear, chances are, you can have it all!
How to Choose the Right Heated Ski Gear for You
Choosing the right heated ski gear for you really comes down to two main things: where on your body you primarily feel cold, and your budget. If your fingers always freeze but your body and toes are fine, then you should focus your search on heated gloves. If you find that you generally run cold and can’t seem to regulate your body temperature, then a heated jacket or heated baselayers would be perfect to warm your core. Just like with any ski or outdoor apparel and gear, there will be a range of prices for heated ski gear. While it will generally be on the expensive end because of the technology, heated ski gear doesn’t have to break the bank.
Once you narrow down the items you’re looking for (socks versus gloves versus jacket etc.), look for specific features, specs, colors, and styles that you want and would look for if you were searching for a classic, non-heated version of that item. Listed below are some heated ski gear options, and an example of who they would be the perfect fit for!
1. Rossignol Pure Heat Women’s Ski Boots
These boots are a great choice for the female skier who hates cold feet and wants a slim-fit, high-performance ski boot. With an adjustable flex, this boot is designed to take on any part of the mountain you throw at them. The liner in this boot combines Merino wool insulation and integrated heating technology with three temperature settings accessible with the push of a button on your smartphone via the mobile app.
2. Salomon QST Access Heat Women’s Ski Boots
The Salomon QST Access Heat Boots are the perfect option for someone who loves the idea of a heated boot but doesn’t want to break the bank. These boots come at a great price point and are a more affordable option, but that does not mean that they lack quality or performance. They boast a fully integrated, rechargeable heating system with an 18-hour battery life, and a simple power button with three warmth settings. With a flex index of 80, this boot provides a soft flex to go along with responsive power transfer suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers. These boots also feature a custom formable foam liner that will personalize the fit around your shins for maximum comfort. Additional boot features include a ski/hike mechanism that allows for a comfortable range of motion when walking to the lodge or hiking to find that perfect off-piste line.
The Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Sensor Mitt is a great heated option for those who have terminally cold hands but love mittens! These heated mittens boast GORE-TEX waterproofing, fleece lining, and a tri-setting rechargeable electric heat source. Often, mitten-wearers complain that their thumbs get the coldest, but luckily the thumbs in these mittens are heated, too! These mittens also have great features such as touch screen-compatible leather thumb fingertips, so you don't need to worry about taking your gloves off to send a text, or take a photo.
4. Raeven Men’s Down Heated Jacket
The Raeven Down Heated Jacket has heat zones at your back, chest, and pockets, and the wearer has full control over the internal temperature. This jacket will be a savior for someone who finds that they are always shivering on the chairlift or ending their ski day early because they are just so dang cold. Plus, it’s stylish and lightweight!
5. Global Vasion Heated Socks
If you’re sick and tired of cold feet and toes but already have a pair of boots that you love, the Global Vasion Heated Socks are the garment for you! With three temperature settings, an extra rechargeable battery and charger included, and a budget-friendly price point, you can have these socks standing by for not just skiing but for other snow sports such as fat biking, hiking, and running on the coldest of days. And to top it off, they are machine washable!
Pro Tips for Staying Warm While Skiing
Once you have the heated gear, make sure you really maximize its effects! Here are some tips and tricks I've learned along the way to ensure I am comfortable on the mountain all day long, with or without heated gear.
- Start at a low heat setting, and go up from there, as needed. You don't want to start sweating right out of the gate!
- If you feel yourself getting too warm as the day gets warmer or you start working harder, turn your heat setting down or off before you start sweating.
- Don’t forget to plug in your heated gear overnight so you have a full day’s worth of battery.
- Hydrating and fueling appropriately throughout the day will help regulate your body temperature.
- Just because you have heated gear, doesn’t mean you can’t still wear layers! Add and remove layers, as needed.
- Make sure your outermost layers are waterproof and windproof.
- Accessories such as a balaclava face covering or a neck gaiter are a must!
- If it’s a windy day, stick to lower elevation and tree/glade runs rather than open bowls and high elevation ridges.
- If you are starting to feel cold, take a run or 2 in the bumps or trees to get your heart rate up.
- Follow the sun! Stick to the slopes and chairlifts that are getting maximum sunshine, and avoid the ones in the shade.
Winter Is Coming!
As the days become shorter and shorter, and the last leaves fall, we start to realize that winter is right around the corner! Don’t wait until it’s too late, because, by the time you realize how cold it is, you'll be 5,000 feet up on the peak of your favorite ski mountain, freezing your toes off. Be prepared! Connect with a Curated Skiing Expert and they will make sure you're decked out in the warmest, most advanced heated ski gear around!