A good ski mask is an essential part of any winter-sport enthusiasts’ ensemble. The best ski masks will offer protection from the wind, cold, and the occasional rogue bug. As North American ski resorts hit full swing this season, they now require face coverings when in lines, on the lift, and around the public. There are some ski resorts requiring you to wear a face covering while actively skiing or snowboarding, too. Any single-layered mask, such as some neck-gaiters, may not be permitted. (Always check with your specific resort for restrictions or requirements before you head out.)
Without giving up on style and efficiency, top companies have created some of the best hybrid ski masks. With a mask that protects you from the elements, and COVID-19, you can cut out the hassle of keeping several masks on you all day.
Because of the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 updates, regulations, and resort requirements, be sure to double check with the specific resort you plan on visiting, so you can be properly equipped. The last thing you want is to be turned away over a face covering misunderstanding, or not having proper and effective equipment. Whichever ski mask you choose to bring with you, whether new or already owned, it should securely cover your mouth and nose while still being comfortable.
Looking for the best ski masks on the market? Here are a few of our favorites:
The Protective Essential Midweight Balaclava is taking its place up front and center this year with its performance styled design and checking off the COVID-19 approved box. This mask is heralded as “the best, most breathable protection from viruses and cold temperatures.” In addition to keeping your head, neck and ears warm and concealed from the wind, its polyester material repels moisture, and is stain resistant.
This balaclava features an inner pocket to insert and filter, further increasing your and others’ safety. When worn with the Medium Essential Filter, the mask has a filtration rate of over 95 percent of viruses and bacteria, meeting the ASTM standards. The kit comes with three Medium Essential Filters.
If you prefer a neck tube instead of a balaclava, the Protective Essential Midweight Ubertube is a prime choice. This neck-gaiter is multi-layered while maintaining extreme breathability. Outdoor Research makes the Ubertube with all the same protective specs and features as the balaclava, including the option to use a filter.
For those warmer days, the Protective Essential Bandana is a great option. This bandana’s versatility shines through when you have to make a quick stop before hitting the slopes. It wears comfortably for the everyday errands, and when you’re challenging your skills on the mountain. Don’t be mistaken, this is not at all like the old cotton bandana that’s been in your closet for years. Made from 100 percent polyester, its water repellant, and quick drying, keeping you fresh all day.
The Protective Essential Bandana slips right over your head with ease. Thanks to soft ear loops, and an adjustable nose piece, readjusting is a thing of the past. If desired, you can insert one of Outdoor Research’s ASTM-compliant filters for an extra defense against unwanted bacteria and viruses. Three filters come with the bandana upon purchase, and you can purchase replacements if you wish.
Outdoor Research also makes traditional style face masks with all the protective benefits as the Protective Essential Bandana that makes another great option for the “store to slopes” days. Kids’ sizes are available in face masks, also.
All of OR’s Protection line of ski and face masks are treated with HeiQ V-Block®, an antimicrobial technology that aids in fending off microorganisms, and preventing bacteria growth. If you choose to purchase additional replacement filters for masks, don’t forget to double check which filters are compatible with which masks.
Buff’s Filter Mask is an exceptional “hybrid” joining high levels of protection and a performance geared ski mask. Buff designed this mask for serious levels of activity, emphasizing breathability. The quick-dry, moisture wicking material keeps you dry, warm, and fresh. This mask is treated with HeiQ V-Block® technology, but to adhere to COVID-19 mask guidelines, replaceable filters must be worn with the mask.
The Buff Filter Mask is one of the higher filtration masks, guaranteed to filter 98 percent of bacteria. When you purchase this mask, you will receive five filters. Each filter has a lifespan of 24 hours, though it is recommended to change the filter sooner depending on level of use and environmental factors such as heavily crowded areas, or the filter becomes wet or damaged.
A nifty feature is the lack of ear loops. In their place are two adjustable straps. One strap goes behind the center of your head, and the second behind the nape of your neck. These straps provide stability and comfort, eliminating the distraction of irritated ears, or a slipping mask. Buff offers this mask in a variety of colors, and even children’s sizes.
For the days when the forecast dips to frigid temperatures, be prepared with the Expedition Hood, Blackstrap’s warmest ski mask. Although it does not have a filter, this balaclava is made with 360° dual-layer antimicrobial material. The contoured fit makes this balaclava suitable when wearing a helmet, minimal restrictiveness, and stays in place all day.
The Expedition Hood is a superb choice for resorts that are not requiring you to wear a face-covering while riding downhill. The hinged face-piece easily slides down and back up over your mouth and nose when needed. As for care and washing, this balaclava stands out amongst others.
The Expedition Hood is both machine washable and dryer friendly, whereas most other ski masks can only be put in the washer, giving you more time out on the mountain, and less time waiting for it to dry.
Catering to the loyal neck-gaiter fans, Buff is keeping true to who they are with their high quality neck-gaiters. This season they introduced a new tub that is also filtering. Even though it is new, the valued original style fit, feel and breathable lightweight material is not going anywhere. This is still your favorite neck-gaiter, but now with an added inner pocket for Buff’s replaceable three-layer filters, capable of 98 percent filtration of bacteria. The favored REPREVE® fabric is now treated with Hei-Q V-Block® technology for an extra layer of protection.
Each Buff Filter Tube comes with five replacement filters, each with a lifespan of 24 hours before needing to be changed. You can purchase additional filters in packs of 30 for around $25. Covering all their bases, Buff offers both adult and kids’ sizes and a multitude of designs, making sure the whole family is covered.