The Alpine Action guide to keeping warm when skiing
Cold is a key ingredient that is needed to make a ski holiday great. It helps turn precipitation into snow and also stops the snow melting. The problem is that evolution and fashion has decided that we humans should be pretty much hairless and this makes us poorly designed to deal with extremely low temperatures. The solution to stop getting cold is to stop skiing, but as we have already mentioned skiing is great, which means that we thrill seeking humans have developed many ways of remaining warm while sliding down mountains for recreation. This is the Alpine Action guide on how to keep warm whilst skiing.
According to the US army’s 1970’s survival manual 45% of your heat is lost through ur head. Science has come a long way since then. The truth is that heat is lost in equal amounts across your body. A skier going out in only ski boots will lose as much heat from his head as he will his left buttock, however he will lose up to 80% of his dignity. With this in mind it is important to dress correctly all over.
Head – Wear a hat and a neck warmer, balaclavas are available but there are very few banks to rob in ski resorts, although you may do well to hold up one of the more exclusive bars in Courchevel.
Torso – Layering is the best option for warmth. Use thin, modern, breathable layers that will reduce sweating. If you are warming up remove a layer or two. If you are sweating more than you would in your chalet sauna then the chances are that you will get cold when you are on a chair lift as the sweat starts to freeze.
Hands – Fingered gloves are good for letting aggressive snowboarders know your feelings, mittens are good for keeping your hands warm. When choosing your gloves or mittens make sure you are buying quality and that they are waterproof. Gloves that come with liners are also worth considering for those extra cold days.
Legs – If you are a bit rubbish at skiing or a snowboarder then you will probably spend a lot of time sitting down, if this is the case then you will want to invest in lined waterproof trousers. Also you will want to have at least one layer in the form of thermal underwear.
Feet – Many of us will suffer from cold feet when skiing. An extra pair of socks is not the answer. This our guide within a guide on how to keep your feet warm.
- Snug fitting boots. Too lose they will become cold. Too tight and the blood will stop circulating, causing your feet to freeze up.
- Wear proper socks. A budget pack of five for £2 from Primark will not be good enough.
- Always put on warm dry boots.
Another tip for warm feet is change of socks during the middle of the day, keep a pair warm and dry in your pocket and the swap them over during lunch.
Find a Warm Place
In Meribel and the rest of the Three Valleys there are lot of wonderful mountain restaurants that are warm and cosy. So when you get cold take a moment to stop and warm up. Hot drinks will warm you up and will help bring your body temperature back up. When you have stopped at a lovely mountain restaurant or bar, don’t be fooled into thinking that a quick Genepy will warm you up as it won’t, despite what the locals say.
Plan a Warm Route
If you know it is going to be one of those extremely cold, sunless days on the mountain then plan a route that will keep you warm. Look on your piste map before heading out and stick to runs that you can access from bubbles, cable cars or covered chair lifts. These will give you a break from the cold and help you maintain the heat levels that you have worked up when carving perfect turns on the last run. Also factor in warm stops that we talked about previously.
Final Warming Tips
You could keep a pair of hand warmers in your pocket. These don’t cost very much, typically €3-€5. By bending them you create a chemical reaction that produces heat and will last for about 8 hours, you can then keep them in your gloves or pockets. There are more expensive ways stay warm. If you have the cash, then invest in heated boots and jackets. Always keep an eye on your ski buddy for white spots on exposed skin as this is a sign of frost bite. Always start the day warm, don’t put on damp or cold clothes as you will never warm up enough to keep yourself warm and dry your clothes. And finally,our top tip, don’t fall over. Falling over and rolling around in the snow will make you wet and cold!
If you have got any tips on how to keep warm you would like to share please add your comments below.