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Are you looking for what to wear in Colorado in winter for the best outfits to keep you warm? That’s exactly what I’ve detailed in this guide. Heat Keeper Socks
Consider it a checklist or packing list if you’re planning a visit to the state soon.
As a local, I was born and raised in Colorado and have lived here most of my life. FREE EBOOK: Consider Colorado Thinking of living in Colorado? This guide will help you avoid costly mistakes and remove the stress of planning so you can experience the joys of mountain living. First Name Email Address By subscribing, I consent to receiving emails.
FREE EBOOK: Consider Colorado Thinking of living in Colorado? This guide will help you avoid costly mistakes and remove the stress of planning so you can experience the joys of mountain living. First Name Email Address By subscribing, I consent to receiving emails.
Thinking of living in Colorado? This guide will help you avoid costly mistakes and remove the stress of planning so you can experience the joys of mountain living.
The weather can change in an instant, especially in the winter. So you want to be prepared with the right clothes and outfits for cold conditions.
Whether you’ve grown up in the south like Carrie has, or been someone who’s lived in the snow all your life, here is a comprehensive list of what to wear in Colorado in winter.
These are items I recommend based on my years of living in the cold Rocky Mountains.
Please know that you do not have to buy everything on this list unless it makes sense for you. It’s important to have quality winter outfits in order to stay warm and dry.
And I do recommend purchasing at least some of the top winter basics like quality base layers, insulated coats and pants, as well as waterproof boots.
But feel free to pick and choose what you need and make it work best for you.
I hope you find this list of what to wear in Colorado in winter helpful as you begin packing and planning your upcoming trip.
I have included high quality items as well as budget-friendly outfits that won’t break the bank.
The absolute number one thing that you need to wear for cold Colorado days are thermal base layers, or thermal underwear.
Winters in Colorado are unpredictable at best, so it’s always a good idea to wear layers that you can take off or put on throughout the day.
Even if there are many inches of snow, a sunny snowy day will be much hotter than a cloudy snowing day.
Here are some of the top thermal underwear options that I’ve tried and tested from Amazon.
Other great options for thermal base layers can be purchased from Uniqlo (located in downtown Denver). I really like their HEATTECH line of long-sleeved shirts and pants, which are also very affordable.
Or check out DICK’S Sporting Goods, as they have a wide variety of brands, including cold weather compression tights.
Thick knit sweaters are another must-have in the winter. In addition to being warm and cozy they can be layered over longer shirts or flannels.
Plus, they are also perfect for shopping around town or enjoying an afternoon of après ski on the slopes. Have some fun with your knit sweater designs to show your personality and to match your latest winter outfit.
Knit sweaters are incredibly versatile and can be purchased for an affordable price. Here are some of the top knit sweaters on Amazon.
Wool or cashmere sweaters are the best kind as they keep your body temperature regulated even if you start sweating.
Cardigans are also an acceptable alternative to knit sweaters.
Choose styles that are longer with a relaxed fit for a warm and cozy vibe. Or grab a sweater with a turtleneck design to keep your neck and shoulders from getting chilled.
A great layer piece to wear in Colorado in winter is a fleece jacket. Not only do they come in a variety of colors and designs, but they’re thick enough to be worn alone or under a ski coat.
The nice thing about a fleece jacket is the ability to zip up, so you don’t have to pull it over your head like a sweater or cardigan.
Some fleece jackets or hoodies come with Sherpa-lined hoods and tall neck collars to help protect your face from the cold.
Sherpa lined hoodies are also a great option if you don’t want to wear a fleece jacket. They’re incredibly warm and perfect for layering on top of, or underneath, other winter clothes.
If you’re planning to spend any time outdoors enjoying one of the many snowy sports, this next item is essential.
Whether it’s skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, or sledding, you’re going to need a thick waterproof coat.
Thankfully, there are lots of waterproof coats and ski jackets to choose from, all at a variety of prices for any budget.
The main features to look for in a quality coat is that it’s waterproof, windproof, and fully insulated. That way you stay warm and dry while outside in the snow.
Hooded winter parkas and insulated puffer coats are some of the warmest and most popular types of ski coats available.
But you can also purchase a lightweight puffer coat for milder winter days, or for layering clothes.
No winter outfit is complete without a quality pair of insulated ski pants. Much like a ski coat, your snow pants should be waterproof and fully insulated for maximum comfort and warmth.
These days you can get very stylish cargo snow pants that are fleece lined, with multiple pockets and zippers.
They are perfect for snowy mountain days or even quick city excursions in Denver. Plus, you can buy a good pair of snow pants you like for less than $30 on Amazon.
If you’ve never been one to like cold weather or hiking in the snow, maybe it’s because you’ve just never had the right kind of cold-weather clothes.
Do yourself a favor and grab a quality pair of insulated snow pants to match your ski coat. You won’t regret it!
I was never really one to believe in needing different kinds of winter boots for snow, muddy, or wet days. Until I tried waterproof hiking boots for a snowshoeing excursion, where I could really feel the difference.
Winter boots are sometimes the same as snow boots. But they are not the same type as ski or snowboard boots, as those are different.
What you’re looking for is some kind of faux-fur lined boots that can be worn with snow pants or jeans, and anything in between.
It’s essential that they be tall boots to cover your entire ankle and be insulated and completely waterproof.
Don’t skimp on a nice pair of winter boots like I have in the past. You might regret it later.
If you’re planning to walk around in deep snow, you may also want a pair of waterproof wellies. These rubber boots can be worn with thick wool socks and will keep you warm and dry.
Before moving away from some of the cold-weather basics, the final thing you definitely want to have in your winter wardrobe is waterproof gloves.
Most of us already own some form of gloves to keep our hands warm, but cold winter days in the mountains often require a bit more protection from the weather.
Your hands are always going to be exposed, and since you use them so frequently, you want them to be thoroughly covered.
Some great options for waterproof winter gloves include leather or faux leather material, insulated and lined gloves, as well as puffer gloves.
High quality gloves sometimes even come with zipper pockets for you to add hand warmers to for extra comfort.
I personally prefer beanies when I’m skiing or snow tubing, but Carrie prefers a fuzzy headband. Either way, having something warm to cover your head during the cold winter days is a must.
Due to the Rocky Mountains, Colorado often experiences a lot of wind in the winter. This mixed with the cold can be very painful for your head, ears, and general body temperature.
The best materials for a beanie is knit, wool, or cashmere. But you can also find high quality headbands and earmuffs that fit your style and budget.
Also, remember that any decorations on your beanie, like pompoms, may not be a good idea if you’re planning to wear a ski helmet. This is when a headband or earmuffs may come in handy.
You never know what you’re missing until you trade your thick cotton socks for thermal winter socks.
Wool socks in particular help whisk moisture away from your feet to keep you warm and dry while your feet are enclosed in boots all day.
And if snow-melt should get inside your boots, you’ll still be okay because wool is a material specifically made for these kinds of conditions.
I personally go for the Smartwool socks as they provide extra comfort and support in addition to being very high quality wool.
Warm thermal socks are another great option as they will keep your feet warm without having to layer several pairs at once.
Using multiple pairs of cotton socks doesn’t do much except cut off the circulation to your feet, which can be dangerous in cold climates.
If you don’t already know, the sun in Colorado is hot and can be very bright when reflecting off the white now.
Ski goggles or sunglasses (or both!) are great things to pack when figuring out what to wear in Colorado in winter.
But protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays should be a high priority. Not to mention you can save your eyes from flying rocks and other debris while out enjoying snow sports.
Some snow goggles come with anti-wind features or interchangeable lenses so you can customize their fit to your needs.
Ski goggles are a winter outfit item that most people forget about, especially if you don’t live in snowy conditions much. So grab yours now!
Scarfs are another item that you might always use or never use, depending on your preferences.
I don’t always use scarfs or neck warmers, but several of my family members buy them and find them helpful for keeping the cold away.
Scarfs and neck warmers make for excellent layering pieces and can be added to your existing winter outfits for added warmth.
Look for oversized winter scarfs or fleece lined neck warmers to add to your cold-weather items. There are a lot of design options so you can look good and feel comfortable in the snow.
Much like wanting to stay warm when it’s cold outside, you want to be pleasantly warm when you’re sleeping or lounging at night.
This is why I recommend comfortable flannel pajamas, with long pants and long-sleeved tops. It will be really nice to change into something cozy and soft at the end of a cold day.
Cozying up by the fire after a long day in the cold weather with a cup of hot chocolate can’t be beat.
Get comfy in your flannel pajamas while you play some card games or do some puzzles, while everyone is lounging around at night.
The key to a good pair of flannel pajamas is to make sure they fit right. You want them to be a little bit big but not oversized, so they fit nicely.
Yes, I know it may sound strange, but having a swimsuit with you on a winter trip to Colorado is always a good idea. And it’s a ski essential that’s easy to forget to pack.
Most Colorado ski resorts have built-in spas, hot tubs, and saunas that are available to guests at the resort.
In addition, Colorado is home to many different natural hot springs, from big resorts to secluded river-side springs.
After a long day of skiing there is nothing more relaxing and soothing than spending time in naturally hot, bubbling water.
A swimsuit will definitely come in handy whether you’re in a hot tub, spending a day at the spa, or relaxing in one of the many natural hot springs.
I hope you can use this checklist to figure out the best items you need for what to wear in Colorado in winter.
If you’re packing for a ski trip, or simply a snowy destination to soak in the mineral spring waters, Colorado has so many options for everyone to enjoy.
I recommend buying cold-weather items that are high quality and you’re sure will keep you warm.
Your goal is to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience in the snow, whether you’re skiing or simply out exploring.
Ryan Nicholson is a homegrown born and raised Colorado native. Being a rare unicorn to have grown up in CO, he has a unique perspective on the changes here and knows all the hidden spots to get outside in this state. Ryan's a classically French trained chef so he LOVES to try new foods and places to eat. When he's not experimenting in the kitchen or working as a personal chef along the Front Range, he loves to get outdoors and away from it all hiking, camping and backpacking.
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