While ski goggles cover the upper part of your face, a large portion of it still remains bare. This can be a problem, especially if the winds are strong and temperatures are low. By covering your entire face, a ski balaclava helps keep you warm and protects you from frost.
Even though most ski masks look similar at first glance, there are differences in materials and features that greatly impact performance. In this article, you’ll learn more about these features and discover the best ski balaclavas for optimal protection on the snow.
How To Choose A Balaclava For Skiing – Buying Guide
Design and Coverage
The design of a ski mask significantly impacts its performance. While all models we’ve featured offer full-face coverage, other variations are not uncommon. In slightly warmer weather, many skiers prefer using an open-face model that makes breathing a bit easier. If you’re unsure what to get, we advise choosing a modular model that can transform into several different skiing mask types.
Fitting the Ski Mask
Fitting the balaclava properly is key to its efficiency. It should have a snug fit that doesn’t allow warmth to escape or cold air to get in. Additionally, it shouldn’t have any bulk so it can fit under a helmet. In our opinion, it’s best if the model has spandex added to improve flexibility and fit on your head.
When it comes to performance, the fabric is one of the deciding factors. However, we can’t say outright which material is best, as each of them has some advantages and disadvantages.
Merino Wool: Often used in ski masks, it does a really good job of keeping you warm. Additionally, it doesn’t retain any odors. However, it’s not as soft as fleece, and it tends to cost more.
Polyester Fleece: It’s warm and incredibly soft, very pleasant to wear on the head. However, it can have problems with wicking moisture so you can get sweaty inside.
Silk: These ski masks feel incredible on the skin, and don’t cause any irritation or chafing. On the other hand, heat-retention isn’t very good so they won’t be optimal for very cold weather.
Mesh: Doesn’t retain heat, so it’s used only over the nose and mouth. However, it’s the best option for breathing under the mask and prevents your goggles from fogging.
Neoprene: An addition in the face area of some ski masks, neoprene provides extra protection against water and wind, so it’s a good choice for harsher weather conditions.
Integration With Ski Goggles
All ski masks have openings in the eye area, but their size can differ from one model to the next. If you want the best performance, make sure there isn’t a gap between the mask and the edges of your goggles. This can cause another problem though (fogging), which you can solve by getting a mask for skiing with a mesh nose and mouth.
Q: How Should A Balaclava Fit?
A balaclava should fit snuggly on your entire head so it can retain heat and protect you properly. If a mask is too large, it leaves gaps and air pockets that cool you down. Luckily, most models contain spandex that ensures a good fit in all critical areas.
Q: What Is A Balaclava Used For?
A balaclava is used for added protection and warmth under a ski helmet. Thanks to its full-face design, it blocks out wind and keeps your entire face warm. However, the best balaclavas for skiing are highly versatile and can also be used on their own as neck gaiters, dust masks, or bandanas among other things.
Q: What Is The Difference Between A Balaclava And A Ski Mask?
In a more traditional sense, balaclavas are open-face masks that are used in motorsports, while skiing masks are full-face models that you use for skiing. However, you’ll mostly see these terms used interchangeably nowadays.
Globo Surf Overview
A well-made ski balaclava can make a big difference on days with freezing temperatures. Besides being soft and warm, a balaclava mask should also allow moisture to escape and dry quickly. We hope that our guide and reviews have helped you pick a balaclava mask that will protect you even in harshest winter weather.