Six “Stay Warm” Tips for Skiing and Riding
Kristen Lummis, braveskimom.com
Braving the elements is part of the fun of winter sports. Still, you and your family will have a better ski day if everyone stays warm while skiing and riding. Here are six tips for staying happy and snug on the coldest winter days.
1) Proper dress.
"There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear." Ever heard that saying? Basically, bad gear is anything that isn't specific to skiing and winter sports. Buy your kids ski clothes of the same quality that you buy yourself. While that cute department store coat may be the perfect color, if it isn’t made for skiing, it probably won’t be warm enough. The same is true for trousers. And don’t forget to look for wind and water-resistance. These are a must.
Never wear cotton. Repeat: Never wear cotton. If you're tempted to let your kids ski in their cotton pajamas or socks, don't go there. When cotton gets wet, it stays wet. Wool and other wicking fabrics, such as polypro, take moisture away from the body, making them an excellent choice for baselayers.
As for socks, one thin wool or polypro sock is all that is needed, if your boots fit correctly. Feet need a bit of room to wiggle, but should never be swimming in ski boots. If you think you need two pair (or more) of socks, your boots may be too big.
Mittens are the only choice, in my opinion, for children. They are easier to put on little hands and they allow kids to ball up their fingers to conserve warmth. We use thin polypro glove liners, as well as disposable hand warmers on very cold days. As for adults, really it’s a personal choice between gloves and mittens (but I still prefer mittens. Perhaps it’s the child in me!).
4) Keep the cold out.
Before you leave your car or shuttle, chalet or villa, cover up. This means helmets and mittens on, coat zipped up. Start out warm and stay warm!
5) Banish thirst and hunger.
Hunger and thirst will make you cold. Even the slightest dehydration makes it more difficult for the body to regulate temperature. Especially if you are skiing at high altitude, drink water throughout the day. Bring some snacks along in your pockets. This is especially important if you’re skiing or riding with children.
6) Take a break.
No one enjoys skiing when they’re miserable. If you’re cold, you’re miserable. And if you have a cold, unhappy child, you're doubly miserable. Take breaks before you’re too cold. Take a short break for water, or maybe hot chocolate, and you and your family will keep going all day long.
Kristen Lummis is the owner, writer and head ski tech at www.braveskimom.com. The mom of two boys in a busy outdoor family, Kristen writes about skiing all year round, tossing in some biking, hiking, parenting and even a bit of reflection during the off-season. While her recreational passion is for all things snow, her real passion is for her family. She is based in Western Colorado, USA.