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There are several types of ski masks that you may consider when looking for the right accessory to keep your face warm. A standard ‘neck warmer’ ski mask is a tubular construction and can be pulled up from the neck to cover the face. A hooded ski mask covers the head and ears, with a hinged portion that covers the face, and a full or balaclava-style mask is form-fitted and designed to cover as much of the head and face as possible.
Most ski masks are made from an acrylic or polyester blend, but may also feature materials such as elastane or even neoprene depending on the style. The primary function of a ski mask is to protect the wearer from wind and cold, so a windproof fabric is essential. However, with so much moisture being exuded through the face as sweat and via the mouth in your breath, high breathability is also vital.
While most masks aren’t waterproof, synthetic fabrics like polyester and acrylic do offer a natural water resistance in that the fibres don’t absorb moisture as wool or cotton might. Fabrics are often DWR coated, too, to help repel moisture and prevent the ski mask from becoming damp, degrading its ability to keep you warm.
Most ski masks can be pulled up over the bridge of the nose and then it is a simple case of placing the goggles over the top to keep it in place. However, some riders prefer to wear the mask loose over the nose, or even to wear it under the nose to allow for easier breathing. Balaclavas may be ergonomically fitted to remain in place without having to be ‘pinned’ by the goggles, ensuring maximum comfort.
While sunburn is a major risk while skiing, windburn and skin damage thanks to the cold weather are also risks. A mask will protect your face from the elements, and keep you safer on the mountain. But aside from the physical benefits, there’s also a question of comfort and style at play. A ski mask is a great way to accessorise, and we stock a wide range that caters to every look.
When you’re choosing a ski mask, the question of need is what should be considered. A more casual rider or those riding in colder conditions should choose a thicker, warmer ski mask like a knitted or fleece mask, as it provides maximum heat retention. If breathability is more of an issue — for those who are skiing more intensely — a lighter fabric with either air holes or a highly breathable construction, is definitely the right choice.