Find out how to stay warm on the slopes this season
We have over 25 years of experience providing catered chalet holidays and whilst we obviously share the poet Edith Sitwell’s love for a cosy home, an open fire, quality time with friends and family and fantastic food, we differ slightly in her assertion that it’s the only place we want to be.
Winter is, naturally, our favourite season. We start counting down the days from spring! Then after a long wait, it snows and it is finally time to get outside and play! There’s stunning scenery to be explored and fluffy powder crying out to be skied!
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” Edith Sitwell
But all this fun comes at a cold price and if, like us, you want to squeeze out every last second on the slopes during your ski holiday, staying as warm and dry as possible is paramount. Nobody wants to cut their day on the hill short because of the cold.
With this in mind we’ve put together some handy tips to help you stay warm and comfortable on the slopes the whole day long.
Food is Fuel
Start the day right with a good breakfast. However keen you are to get going, you need to put some fuel in the tank first! And eating makes you warmer!
Essentially, you are adding energy which serves to warm up the body. And the bonus is that you don’t have to worry about storing that energy as fat, as you’re sure to burn it all off in the day on the slopes. (Ah, the joys of a guilt-free full English or continental breakfast feast!)
Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but with all that shredding planned, you’re going to need to keep refuelling.
Pack some snacks, (granola or cereal bars are our go-to), and then make the most of a reinvigorating lunch at one of the great mountain restaurants.
Go for something nice and warm but avoid an afternoon energy-slump by skipping anything too rich or particularly carb heavy (we know you won’t), save that for dinner at the chalet!
Verb: To dress in multiple layers before heading out. Done to protect oneself from cold elements or just to look mad fresh. (UrbanDictionary.com)
We’re talking here about urbandictionary.com’s first definition here, but hey, if you want to look ‘mad fresh’ in the process who are we to judge. We’ve seen all sorts of trends come and go!
Seriously though, layers help trap small pockets of air and multiple layers are always better that one chunky ski jacket. Start with a Merino wool thermal layer which, unlike cotton, will still trap air even if it gets wet, then add a down filled mid-layer and a waterproof shell jacket.
Make sure you do up your jacket’s powder skirt and tuck in all those layers carefully, to avoid the dreaded shovel-full of snow up your back when you fall over (hey, it happens to the best of us).
Extremities in Extreme Cold
Cold head, hands and feet are the skier or snowboarder’s nemesis and sometimes, however good the conditions are, can be cause-enough to abandon slope. Combat really cold hands with a combination of mittens along with a silk glove liner and consider using a pair of hand warmers. They’re small, inexpensive and easily inserted into ski gloves and even boots.
Ski socks have come along way from the extra-thick chunky variety that ultimately restricts your circulation and it really pays to invest in some good quality thinner pairs. When it comes to feet, think merino wool again. With its excellent wicking properties, it will help your feet to keep dry and regulate body temperature. And of course, if you have them, make use of your chalet’s boot-warmers! It’s so important to start your day with dry-as-a-bone kit. If you don’t you’ll find it impossible to get warm.
Let’s face it: there are always going to be people that look great in any hat they put on their head and those that, well, just aren’t. But whichever group you fall into, some form of headwear is imperative on the mountain.
There are traditional wooly hats, helmets, snoods, buffs and balaclavas to choose from and the most important thing is that they help you conserve body heat and protect those ears from the wind chill. You can also try neck gaiters to keep out the drafts and snow.
Take A Break
If you’re out on the slopes and you can feel the cold creeping in uncomfortably so, despite good eating and good dressing, we highly recommend taking a break for a hot choc or a vin chaud. Or maybe just take yourself off to the new Legends Chairlift that runs from the Chaudanne area up to the top of the Elements Park. It has covered and heated seats!