Nothing makes or breaks your day on the hill as much as regulating your temperature. And no other outdoor activity demands a more versatile clothing system than skiing. Let’s see, first you sit on a frozen chair. Then you speed downhill with the wind and snow in your face. Then you push across the flats to the next lift, only to sit again. Then you hike, sweat, ski down, repeat, etc….
It’s no wonder you end up sweating, with frozen digits, foggy goggles, and the shivers all at once! This season, focus on these five tips for staying warm in order to increase your time on the hill and decrease your time in the lodge.
- Stoke the furnace. Your body needs calories to stay warm. Eat a good breakfast, stay hydrated, and continue eating throughout the day. I like to graze all day long vs. eating large meals every several hours.
- Know your Body. Are you hot-blooded? Or do you suffer from constantly cold fingers and toes? Plan accordingly by choosing the right tools for the job. Zippers, breathable clothing, and layering help to regulate the heat. Insulated outerwear (with hood!), mittens, and chemical heat packs are great for the circulation-deficient.
- What’s your Plan? Dress for the day’s activity. On a cold smoke powder day in January, I know that I’ll be lapping the frontside all morning long. A puffy jacket, goggles, and a neck gaiter are essentials. When it’s bluebird, and I’m hiking on every lap, I’ll wear something that allows for ventilation in order to keep from sweating on the way up. Take the time to layer and delayer, and pace yourself to avoid overheating.
- Fabricate. News flash folks. That really expensive waterproof/breathable fabric that we all bow to? Not always the best choice. Purchase clothing for the climate that you generally ski in. Colorado? I like waterproof ski pants with vents and a softshell jacket for breathability. It doesn’t rain here. Just don’t forget your sunscreen. Washington? I might ski with a garbage bag in my pocket. Or at least fully waterproof outerwear and a spare set of gloves in the car. Wherever you’re skiing, stick to baselayers, which help to keep moisture away from your skin. Merino wool and polyester are good choices for this.
- Dry your Gear. If you’re skiing in wet clothing, you’re likely going to be cold. Dry your gear quickly during breaks (budget tip: use the hand dryer in the bathroom) or back at home as soon as you finish up. Boot liners and gloves are the hardest to fully dry. Pull the liner and the footbed out of the shell and leave them all in proximity to a heat source. Your own boot dryer is a very worthwhile investment. Don’t hesitate to swap out wet gloves and socks for dry ones during the day.
There you have it fellow skiers. Five tips for staying comfortable on the hill this season.
These are just a few ideas based on my experience, what can you recommend?