My current series of articles offers advice on how to make a ski trip or vacation a fun experience instead of a stressful and fearful one for those who are new to winter sports. My last blog dealt with the “paperwork” involved with planning your trip and what to do when you get there. This time, we are following the Boy Scouts’ matra “Be Prepared,” so are not left out in the cold!
Preparing for your Trip
Dehydration, frostbite, hypothermia, fatigue, and improper gear and clothing can not only cause discomfort, but can be dangerous as well.
What you can do:
-If you will be skiing at high altitude, which I would call 4000 feet above sea level or higher, increase your water intake a few days before you leave. Drink frequently during your trip even when you don’t feel thirsty- you are. Most people do not drink enough as it is; the increase in altitude plus the additional physical exertion of skiing will bring you to dehydration faster than you think!
-Pack extra layers of clothing, and dress so that adding and removing layers is always an option. Technical clothing (such as thermal underwear) when fitted properly, is thin, and will help keep you warm, and you will not have to look like the Michelin Man. Having even one set will be worth the price.
[adinserter block=”1″]-Avoid cotton! Cotton has virtually no moisture-wicking properties when you sweat, and will not protect you from the cold nearly as well as wool and synthetics. Skiing in jeans is the number one reason locals make fun of novice tourists! Not only does it look entirely goofy, but it is absolutely ineffective for winter sports. Jeans are not waterproof, nor windproof, so all it takes is a few falls and you risk frost bite on your butt (it will turn weird colors)! Jeans also do not allow the same freedom of movement as ski pants do. The best snow pants cost a lot of money to be justified by the occasional skier, but I got through two 100+ day seasons on mediocre $40 dollar ski pants from a sporting goods store chain. If you want your kids to enjoy skiing with you, make sure they are properly clothed. Ski pants can be rented at a very reasonable price in most places for those who are concerned about their kids growing out of their pants too fast.
– Your body loses 20% of its heat through your head. Wear a hat for warmth on the cold days, and wear a cooler hat for sun protection on warmer days. Sunburned scalps are gross. Mittens are warmer than gloves, and ski socks are worth the few extra bucks (I wear mine for several days straight).
-Sun protection is mandatory! All that snow reflects the sunlight and makes it more intense, even on the cloudier days and especially at altitude. Apply your sunscreen frequently, and wear some form of eye protection. Sunglasses are acceptable to ski in, but goggles are preferable, as they keep your face a bit warmer, and have a better chance of staying with you during a fall.
[adinserter block=”2″]- Believe it or not, helmets are in. Wear one that fits snugly. While helmets are still optional for those over 18, they are the warmest hat you can buy, and one extra precaution you can take in a sport with inherent risks.
The above advice should have provided you with a sufficient packing and shopping list to stay warm and comfortable while you ski. Look for my next article that will provide some advice on ski gear, whether you own skis or not.
This will be Veronika Frenkel’s fourth winter with the ski industry. She has worked as a ticket checker, a mountain safety attendant, guest services crew, and as a waitress to pay the bills. She skiis for work, she skiis for fun, and she is always learning what the mountains have to teach her.
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