23 February 2014

How To Dress For -27F

Recently went skiing and at the start of the week it was shockingly cold. Before it warmed up and dumped a bunch of lovely fresh snow on us the second half of the week, we had to adjust to being outside in temps as low as -33C. That's properly cold.

What eventually worked for me:

  • three layers of wool: long-sleeve tops, each outer layer progressively thicker, outer two layers with zip-up necks
  • wool head covering under helmet
  • stretchy sleeve covering neck, chin, mouth
  • helmet with padded ear pieces and vents closed
  • goggles
  • another stretchy bandana thing covering face, nose, ears
  • ski shell
  • wool leggings
  • ski trousers
  • wool ski socks
  • ski boots [duh]
  • silk glove liners
  • insulated lobster claw ski glove/mittens (thumb, forefinger, then mitten for remaining 3 fingers on each hand)
top half

That was still kind of cold. Normally when moving I have no problem warming up, but even at moderate speeds through -30C air will wick the heat right out of your extremities. Some lessons learned: 
  • snow gets really slow and grippy when it's that cold
  • cover up all the skin in the car before getting out
  • wool is wonderful stuff
  • that said, silk glove liners seem to outperform wool ones at identical thickness
  • thicker ski socks do not necessarily mean warmer feet -- good blood flow is key; some people double up on socks and that seems like a bad idea to me
  • ski instructors recommend boot heaters and chemical packs for the toes
  • heated seats and the heated steering wheel in the rental car were brilliant

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