As we move into a period of colder weather (may it remain with us for a long, long time), it might be useful to re-cap some important cold-weather skiing tips:†
- Cover all exposed skin!
- Dermatone, balaclava and glasses are a must. You won't win style awards but you will be without frostbite!
- Cold weather, especially
following a period of very warm weather such as the one weíve just
had, often leads to overdressing. Overdressing leads to excessive
sweating, which will lead quickly to dehydration. Bring eLoad
energy drink to replenish liquids and sodium/electrolytes. Instead
of filling the bottle cold, fill it with hot water Ė itíll stay
unfrozen longer that way.
- For the same reason
as above Ė dressing warmly will often lead to excessive sweating.
Stopping to rest once soaking wet will then result in your wet clothing
getting cold Ė even the best synthetic fabrics canít wick moisture
if theyíre surrounded by 2 layers of heavy fleece and a waterproof
coat. And, of course, once the sweat on your clothes starts to
chill, so will you. Dress appropriately for your exercise level.
- Most people start to avoid skiing when there fingers and toes start to freeze. That's smart, but there are solutions to these common problems. Switch out your usual gloves for a pair of mitts. There are ski specific ones that many swear by.†† Gloves allow for a better feel on the pole, and generally more useful when waxing, fumbling with keys, etc..† But they squeeze blood out of the fingers and thus your fingers get cold more easily.† So the best of both worlds is lobster claw mitt covers that you wear over your gloves.† They are generally thin, but don't be fooled they are warm.† Also loosen your pole straps and remember not to squeeze the poles too tightly.
- Your feet donít
have to freeze. Fresh Air Experience sells booties, which
are very warm covers that can slip on over your boots (and yes, still
leave space to clip your bindings in). They can be a very, very
good investment Ė repetitive toe frost-bite can leave you with tingly-toes well into summer. You can also loose toenails..but they do grow back.
- Fresh Air Experience
will gladly sell you a pair. We recommend wearing 2-3p pairs on windy days below -20C. Just to be safe. ;)
- The best way to
stay warm is to wear a toque, as you lose a lot of heat through your
head. Always wear a toque if itís below Ė5C. If itís
very cold, try a toque with some built-in ear coverage Ė frostbite
sucks. Separate ear muffs are good too, but harder to keep track of among all that ski gear.
- This little-known
trick can stop your bottle-spout from freezing. Keeping it immersed
in (above-zero, because itís not ice) liquid will keep it unfrozen.
If you put it up-right, itíll freeze quickly.
- Yes, I can confirm that it can freeze to your tongue. If that happens, donít rip it away, just put the rest of it in your mouth until it warms up.
- The really warm
wax, both grip and glide, will be very slow in cold snow. If you
can, put a layer of colder glide wax on your skis (Vauhti Blue
or Green are good choices). For grip, Vauhti has
a terrific colder-snow hard-wax line. Remember to clean ALL klister
off your skis, as that will grab and be slow in old fresh snow. Itís also good to remember
that you donít need as much grip-wax in cold snow as you do in warmer,
- Although itís
cold with no shirt on in the parking lot on a Ė20 day, itís worth
it to put a dry, warm fleece or down top on. Take off the wet,
sweaty stuff, because itíll get cold very quickly, and keep you cold
as youíre driving home.
- Cold weather will
quickly freeze up open water or streams that cross trails, allowing
for more extensive grooming. It also tends to harden the snow.
Both of these allow Lafleur
to groom more of the Park, and to run heavier machines over the trails,
which will set the classic and skating tracks in deeper and more consistently.
Interesting Reading. . .