A dozen tips for staying warm on cold winter days in Mt Washington Valley, NH
Good News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce - December 27, 2017
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
WHEN THE WEATHER GETS COLD, MT WASHINGTON VALLEY SKIERS AND RIDERS GET TRACKS
A dozen tips for staying warm when Old Man Winter sends the thermometer plunging
North Conway, NH – When the temps drop, Mt Washington Valley skiers, riders and snowshoers are undaunted. Known as a tough bunch, perhaps this is why North Conway was voted the #1 ski destination in North America.
“There’s no such thing as a day that’s too cold to be outdoors enjoying winter in Mt Washington Valley,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director for the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It’s as easy as dressing warm and dressing smart to enjoy a great day on the mountains,” she finished.
On extremely cold days, while fashion does follow form, the first priority is for warm, the second is to look cool, but not freezing! Here are a dozen tips to share for how to stay warm when the temps drop.
Start warm: Do leave equipment and clothing, especially boots, inside. Don’t leave them in the car overnight, or you’ll start out with your feet in two blocks of ice! Be sure your gloves, socks and any layers that are closer to your skin are at least room temperature when you start out.
It’s all about the layers: Today’s base layers are made of technical fabrics that are moisture wicking while providing warmth. Start there. Choose a thin, wicking, thermal shirt fitted to your body, with synthetic materials like polypropylene. Wool is also be a good option as it naturally regulates heat, and wicks moisture, like sweat, away. Plus, wool will retain 80-percent of its heating properties when wet. Avoid cotton as it doesn't have the wicking power you'll need on the slopes and loses its warming properties when wet.
Warm feet, warm heart: Choose socks with smart wool (or any other wool), then move to a long underwear layer. Your next layer should be a warm fleece or wool layer on top, and then waterproof and windproof insulated ski pants, topped off with a warm parka – ideally with a down layer.
No skin showing: Cover your face and neck with a face mask and/ or warm neck warmer. On cold days, wear goggles with no gaps between your hat or helmet. Remember, no skin should encounter those sub-zero temps.
Keep the head warm: You lose a great deal of warmth through your head. Keep your head warm with a beanie or fleece hat under your helmet. A ski parka with a hood that fits over your helmet adds an extra layer from the wind and cold.
Bring hand and feet warmers: If you don’t already have hand and feet warmers when you arrive for your winter fun, be sure to grab some at the retail shop in the base lodge. These will be your best friends if you activate them right before you go out, to allow them to last the longest.
No waffling on waffles: Manufacturers and winter adventurers all agree. The more it looks like a waffle, the better it is at keeping you warm, especially in a base layer. It is the texture in waffled fabrics which allow synthetics to keep you warm when it’s wet outside. So, technically, the more texture your base layer has, the more easily the liquids and gasses (sweat and air) between your skin and first layer will evaporate. Bottom line: It’s good to stay dry, especially on a very cold day.
Bindings? Check: The extreme cold can impact the mechanics of the bindings, especially if your skis or board have spent the night inside or on the outside of your car. Be sure to click in and out of the bindings a few times before taking off, just to make sure the bindings are working properly.
Face South young man: South-facing ski resorts and XC centers will have the advantage of catching what sun rays there might be, and may be a little warmer. Be sure to choose terrain that is as protected from wind as possible.
Choose the gondola: Any time you can take a break from the cold on the mountain, even just for the time it takes to get up to the top on the lift, will keep you warmer, especially on a windy day. Choose the warmer lifts, if that’s an option. Some mountains have trams (some are even heated!), gondolas or heated lifts which allow a quick warm-up before you go out for another great run.
Break often for a warm toddy: It’ll be important to take warming breaks more often on cold days. Opt for the warm drinks, like hot chocolate, tea, or coffee to warm your entire body from inside out. If you are snowmobiling or winter hiking, and not close to a base lodge or warming hut, bring a thermos of hot non-alcoholic beverages and imbibe often.
Keep it non-alcoholic: While alcohol may make you feel warmer, it doesn't actually keep you warm or prevent hypothermia. In fact, alcohol is actually dangerous in extremely cold temps. Those spirited drinks will lower the core temperature of your body. While alcohol dilates the peripheral blood vessels near the skin, making you feel warmer, more blood – and heat – flows to these vessels, taking heat away from the core of your body. So, while it feels like you’re warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs aren’t as warm. Your confused internal thermometer, added to the clouding of senses and bravado that alcohol can create, can spell real trouble. Stick to the warm non-alcoholic drinks on a very cold day, and you’ll have a much better and safer time.
Snow surfaces can change in extreme cold, and will often harden up. Be prepared for crunchier snow surfaces. Best of all, on very cold days, be ready to enjoy uncrowded trails. Old Man Winter tends to keep fair-weather skiers and winter adventurers at home. If you’re willing to dress and prepare for the cold, your reward will be found on uncrowded slopes and trails.
For more information about planning a winter getaway to Mt Washington Valley’s 13 ski resorts and cross-country centers, hundreds of miles of snowmobiling trails and 660,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest for winter hiking and ice climbing, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call 800-367-3354 (800-DO-SEE-NH). For more information about winter fun in New Hampshire go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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