Quite simply put, the best way to enjoy a cold day in the mountains is to not get cold. It's an elementary concept and to be honest, not that hard to achieve. Here are my top 5 ways to keep from letting the cold ruin your day on the slopes.
1. Start off warm If you head to the lift cold and it's cold outside, then chances are you are going to stay cold and become more so as the day progresses. To avoid this, keep your gear inside overnight allowing it to dry out and warm up. Jackets, gloves, helmets and especially boots that have been left in the
car or other unheated space are useless in the fight against chilly weather.
2. Layer appropriatelyI know it is cliché but dressing in appropriate layers will ensure your ability to regulate your core temperature and prevent the cold from setting in. To do this properly you should start thin and build according to how cold it will be outside. In the winter cotton is a bad choice. Instead choose wool (Patagonia makes a great Merino Wool thermal layer) or any number of other moisture wicking insulating layers. Polyester and Polypropylene are both popular. If given the choice choose like John Travolta and go Polyester. You'll stink less.
From there add on a medium weight sweater, fleece or down layer followed by a wind and weather proof shell on mild days or down jacket for more blustery occasions. The same goes for the lower body, though usually two layers are good there. Almost as important as the layers themselves is using them correctly. Unzip your vents or coat a bit when working hard on the mountain and then zip back up for the chairlift rides. This will allow the heat you created on the slopes to be your furnace on the ride up.
3. Sip on warm drinksWarm fluids will heat your body from the inside out, increasing your core temperature and helping to stave off cold weather issues like frostbite and hypothermia.
4. Eat oftenKeeping your body warm takes lots of calories. It is important to maintain high caloric levels by eating continuously throughout the day. Choose foods that taste good, are easy to carry and don't freeze solid in the cold. Pop Tarts, candy bars, nuts and cheese are all good options. In addition to providing calories, food in your stomach will maintain your metabolism resulting in further inner warmth.
5. PeeWhen your bladder is full your body is actually programmed to prioritize its warmth over most of the rest of you body. This means that when you've got to go your body will actually work harder to keep your pee warm than your hands, feet, arms or legs. When you've got to go, in order to stay warm, you've got to go.
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-- Ryan Sutter