Last Updated: January 4, 2021

The Best Ski Balaclavas & Ski Masks in 2021

Winter has arrived, but the fun definitely doesn’t stop. In fact, this season ushers in a whole slew of outdoor adventures amidst a backdrop of magical white snow. Of course, if you live somewhere like Switzerland, you can be lucky enough to experience this season all year round in the Alpine peaks.

But don’t be too quick to hit the slopes – windburn, sunburn, frostbite, and even precipitation, snow, or small stones pelting your face are very real and sometimes a very painful reality skiers and snowboarders have to deal with. A solid pair of goggles are essential, but it will still leave a big part of your face vulnerable to some harsh elements when you go out and play in snow.


At A Glance: Our Top Ski Balaclavas for Skiing


This is where the best balaclavas for skiing come in handy. And in this detailed review I will cover 6 of the best on the market.

Top Product Overview

Smartwool Merino 250 Pattern Balaclava, Bordeaux, 1FM
  • Lightweight
  • Thin and breathable material
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BLACKSTRAP Hood Balaclava Face Mask, Dual Layer Cold Weather Headwear for Men and Women, Space Green
  • Multi-purpose and multi-way wear
  • Ergonomic fit
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Ergodyne N-Ferno 6823 Balaclava Ski Mask, Wind-Resistant Face Mask, Hinged Design to Wear as Neck Gaiter, Gray
TOP CHOICE FOR RECREATIONAL SKIING
  • Full face coverage
  • Warm and windproof
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Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Hydropull Hood (Black, OSFM)
  • Stylish and polished look
  • Keeps face and hood dry
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CTR Hats Howler Multi-Tasker Pro Black S/M
  • Excellent protection against wind, cold, and other elements
  • Multi-function use
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Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Tactical Hood, Black (001)/Black, One Size Fits All
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Good insulation
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Top Ski Balaclavas for Skiing


Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Pattern Balaclava

Smartwool Merino 250 Pattern Balaclava, Bordeaux, 1FM

The Smartwool NTS 250 Pattern Balaclava is made of 100% Merino wool that is sure to keep your head warm. It provides comfortable face protection and leaves enough space around the eyes to maintain good peripheral vision.

The contoured design, interlock knit construction, and the flatlock seams allow this balaclava to lie flatly and neatly on the face. While it doesn’t have breathing holes, the material is thin and breathable to avoid that suffocating feeling. It’s also lightweight, making this ski mask ideal for both harsh and mild weather conditions when skiing.

It also comes in four colors so you can match it with any kind of outfit.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Thin and breathable material
  • Comfortable fit with good peripheral vision

Cons

  • Not ideal for extreme weather conditions

Product Information

  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Key features: Contoured, breathable design with comfortable flatlock seams
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BlackStrap Balaclava Hood

BLACKSTRAP Hood Balaclava Face Mask, Dual Layer Cold Weather Headwear for Men and Women, Space Green

For a funkier approach to snow sports, the BlackStrap Balaclava Hood certainly delivers. It offers a wide range of both solid and crazy prints without sacrificing performance and protection.

This balaclava has an ergonomic design with 4-way stretch fabric and dual-hinged mouth that allow you to wear it in multiple ways – a ski mask, a neck warmer, a scarf, or even a bandanna. The stretch fabric also means it can fit any head size and will fit comfortably under a helmet.

The 100% USA milled tri-blend fabric used in this balaclava is UPF (UV) Rated for sun protection and blocks 97% of UV rays. It’s also fully synthetic, quick-dry with moisture-wicking technology and anti-microbial so you’ll emerge just as fresh after hitting the slopes as you were before you put it on.

While the fabric is definitely packed with function, the fully-synthetic material doesn’t give the best warmth. The fabric in the forehead and ear area runs thin when stretched. If skiing in colder weather, it’s best to use this as a helmet lining or complement with a neck warmer.

Pros

  • Multi-purpose and multi-way wear
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Keeps the face fresh and odor-free even during heavy activity

Cons

  • Insufficient warmth during extreme cold and against strong winds

Product Information

  • Material: Fully-synthetic tri-bend fabric
  • Key features: UPF Rated for sun protection, quick-dry and anti-microbial fabric, dual-hinged mouth and 4-way stretch
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TOP CHOICE FOR RECREATIONAL SKIING

Ergodyne N-Ferno 6823 Wind-Resistant Balaclava

Ergodyne N-Ferno 6823 Balaclava Ski Mask, Wind-Resistant Face Mask, Hinged Design to Wear as Neck Gaiter, Gray

Rounding up this list is the affordable Endrogyne N-Ferno 6823 Balaclava. At just under $15, you’ll think twice about the high quality of this ski mask. However, it’s Amazon’s bestselling balaclava, and for good reason.

The long neck, hinged mouth, and padded mouth cover creates full face coverage. The opening on the face is cut to contour above the nose and under the eyes for better coverage and protection for both the head and face.

Just like any balaclava with a hinged mouth, this headgear can be used in several ways, from ski mask to neck gaiter. It’s 100% windproof with added fabric paneling over vulnerable areas to keep elements at bay. However, there isn’t enough space to let the breath out, so wearers may experience a bit of fogging when wearing untreated goggles.

The fleece material keeps the wearer warm, but it only comes in one size. While it will fit most heads, fleece is not completely flexible, so fit may be a problem for some people.

Pros

  • Full face coverage
  • Warm and windproof
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Material not flexible
  • A bit of fogging on the goggles if you wear them

Product Information

  • Material: Fleece
  • Key Features: Windproof, unisex
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Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Hydropull Hood

Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Hydropull Hood (Black, OSFM)

The Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Hydropull Hood is done in the classic Nike finish – sleek, polished, and very stylish. It also comes in black for those who don’t want to stand out too much.

Made with a blend of polyester and spandex, this ski mask will keep your face warm no matter the wind and chill. The Therma-FIT material insulates the head without being constricting, while its moisture-wicking and dryPerfect technology makes it ideal for even wet conditions.

The streamlined silhouette is finished with flatlock seams for a perfectly contoured fit. It’s breathable and thin and will fit well under a helmet. The hinged mouth also allows this balaclava to convert to a neck warmer when off the slopes.

The biggest drawback to this balaclava is the short neckline. For bigger heads, it will likely end right under the chin, and will scrunch up if not anchored to a parka. However, with complete gear and equipment, the Nike Pro Combat is a viable option.

Pros

  • Stylish and polished look
  • Keeps face and hood dry
  • Good fit and contour around the head

Cons

  • Neck cover is not there

Product Information

  • Material: 85% nylon/15% spandex
  • Key features: Therma-FIT, moisture-wicking, dryPerfect material
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Best for Technical Sports

Chaos - CTR Multi Tasker Pro Windproof Balaclava

CTR Hats Howler Multi-Tasker Pro Black S/M

Windproof balaclavas tend to collect moisture from breathing and freeze, but the Chaos-CTR Multi Tasker Pro Windproof Balaclava has a solution. The dedicated mesh breathing patch around the mouth lets the breath out without letting too much air in.

With that little issue out of the way, this balaclava is high quality, technical headgear made for 100% protection against the elements. The Lycra binding around the face seals the mask to the face. The bottom also provides full coverage without bunching up around the neck. This can be worn as a ski mask, a balaclava with face mask or as a neck gaiter. It is also completely waterproof.

The fleece material ensures warmth, while the multi-purpose hinge allows you to move the face mask portion up and down easily. However, fleece is not as flexible as wool and spandex, so fit can be an issue. It may run too large or too tight if you don’t get the exact size you need.

Pros

  • Excellent protection against wind, cold, and other elements
  • Multi-function use
  • Long neck and Lycra binding keeps the face completely sealed

Cons

  • Material not flexible

Product Information

  • Material: 100% Windproof Fleece with Membrane
  • Key features: Windproof, Waterproof, Dedicated mesh breathing patch
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Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Tactical Hood

Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Tactical Hood, Black (001)/Black, One Size Fits All

The Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Tactical Hood uses infrared technology to trap the heat and keep the head insulated. The blended material also features a 4-way stretch that allows for perfect fit and easier motion.

The mouth is hinged so it can be worn under the chin or as a neck gaiter for better ventilation. The material is very breathable as well, so goggles won’t fog up when in use. The anti-odor feature of the hood helps you keep fresh throughout the day, and you won’t even have to wash it everyday after use.

The neck coverage is a bit short and doesn’t flare out too much. It can be solved with a jacket or a parka to fill the gap. Overall, it’s a great combination for both the head and face.

Pros

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Good insulation
  • Anti-odor keeps material fresh for days

Cons

  • Neck cover is lacking

Product Information

  • Material: 100% blended fibers
  • Key Features: Infrared technology, hinged mouth, anti-odor
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What to look for

Material

Balaclavas come in different materials that create different levels of warmth. It also dictates how flexible and stretchable the balaclava will be, which will affect fit and mobility.

In general, merino wool is the best material for most kinds of winter sport. It’s odor-resistant, moisture wicking, and will definitely keep you warm. Nylon, polyester, and spandex blend for great flexibility and are extremely lightweight. They do tend to capture odor a bit more and will wear a bit more quickly.

Design

Some are meant to be for full protection, others are meant to be worn under a helmet. Take note of what complementary gear you have to choose the best design for your skiing day out.

Choosing The Best Ski Mask

Balaclavas are important for any outdoor activity in cold weather. As with any gear, the first consideration is the level of activity you will be doing and the harshness of the weather. There is no one perfect balaclava that you can use for both light and extreme weather. It would be best to purchase several types that will best fit your needs.

Hands down, the Endrogyn N-Ferno 6823 Balaclava is the top choice for recreational skiing. It’s completely affordable and provides adequate protection against wind and cold. It also comes in three colors to suit your skiing look.

For more technical sports, the Chaos – CTR Multi Tasker Pro Windproof Balaclava will be your best bet. You’ll be protected against cold weather, wind, and the harsh sun all at the same time. It also provides good coverage and adequate flexibility.