We do not allow Elementary skiers to ski without a hat or gloves/mittens.
The key here is hat, gloves, and socks. The synthetic shirt can be an old soccer shirt, or polyester top. Target, Army Navy, and Walmart sell synthetic T or long underwear tops for about $8-$14 (and bottoms for about the same price). The following items will increase safety and comfort: Windbreakers make sure that the heat is trapped on a windy day (or as you are blasting down a hill!). Wind pants won’t hold moisture like cotton pants will – get synthetic lined wind pants or wear over long underwear. All of these items are easily purchased for around $10-$20, and are useful for many applications besides xc skiing.*
Here’s how proper dress for skiing works: The layer against your skin moves moisture away from the skin and minimizes evaporative cooling. The middle layer insulates. The outer layer traps the heat in and keeps the wind from stealing it. We dress in layers like layers of an onion.
Dunham’s discount sports sells re-labeled Au Claire xc ski gloves for $10. They are the same thing you’d find in an xc ski store for $35, and are Thinsulate lined. I’ve worn them for the past 5-6 years. If your hands are really cold, don’t be afraid to ski in split mitts or mittens (even chopper mitts). Miserable hands = miserable skiers.
For the racers, we have CANSKI Lycra race tops to lend for the season and turn back in. If you want to keep them, they are $40 (our cost). They should be worn over a long underwear top (or 2 on a cold day). Racers would need to supply their own black tights (about $18 from Eastbay or another mail order shop) or black wind pants to complete the racing suit. Talk with me if you have concerns about this. Those who are dabbling in racing do not have to wear a team skin suit at this point. Non-cotton underwear and bras are important under a skin suit. Wind briefs are recommended for males (or a pair of nylon soccer shorts under your skin suit or other options for extra insulation).