How to keep warm when snowboarding or skiing

Hands up who thinks snowboarding and skiing are cool?

What you don't want, however, is to experience the wrong kind of cool on the slopes, right? Shivering on your snowboard or ski poles is just not fun. Here's how to keep warm on the slopes.

Plan before you go

Ready to shred!

Plan before you go

You might be itching to get on the slopes, but hold your horses. A bit of planning and preparation beforehand will keep you toasty warm out there. Check the forecast and decide what to wear according to the weather conditions. A sunny, still day demands a different set of clobber compared to biting winds and blizzards. Are you generally warm blooded or do you shiver at an open fridge freezer? Base your ski wardrobe on your body type.

Winter fuel

That's what we call a sandwich!

Winter fuel

You might be raring to get out there, but keep energy levels topped up to maintain your body temperature. A carbohydrate- and protein-rich meal beforehand will do the trick. Drink plenty of fluids, too, especially if après-ski drinks from the night before have left you dehydrated. Regular indoor breaks during skiing sessions are just the job for refuelling with snacks and a hot drink, stopping heat and energy reserves from flagging.

Importance of layering

This guy is a layering expert

The importance of layering

Kiss the chill factor goodbye on the slopes by layering your clothing.

Start with insulating, breathable, weatherproof base layers, preferably made of polyester or Merino wool, to stop sweat from sticking to your skin. Follow this with a windproof and waterproof exterior layer, such as a ski jacket. Choose breathable, light fabrics that offer insulating protection, but still allow your body to freely move.

Ski pants that cover the length of your boots keep your legs warm, while gloves, a single pair of thin ski socks and a helmet should also be added to your must-wear list. Some people opt for hand and foot warmers, or liners added to gloves or socks, for additional warmth.

Your skiing outfit should be as windproof as it is waterproof and insulating. A windproof neck warmer is a must-have for plugging up pesky gaps between the head and body, and even zipping up pockets can slash heat loss.

Warm-up excerises

Warmed up and ready to go

Warm-up exercises

Get the blood flowing with a few simple warm-up exercises before you bust your skiing moves. Stretching is a no-brainer for waking up muscles and joints, but a short walk or jog, a few squats, lunges, knee lifts or heel kicks can also get your body ready for action. Keep those vulnerable extremities warm too, by rotating wrists, ankles and your neck.

Once on the slopes, keep legs warm on the chair lift by swinging them backwards and forwards. Don't be tempted to clench your toes, especially if they feel cold - this only restricts blood flow, making them feel colder.

Warning signs of cold

Don't over do it on the mountain

Warning signs of cold

Don't let the cold spoil your fun. Your body won't be happy if it gets too cold, and you could end up with chilblains, frostbite and even hypothermia. It might not be your top priority, but staying cosy on the slopes could be a matter of life or death!

Your hands or feet will probably be the first to let you know something's up, as blood flows less in your extremities when it's really cold.

Chilblains cause burning and itchy skin, which might turn red or even blue. Frostbite shows as numbness, a prickly sensation and waxy skin. Hypothermia is one to avoid, and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness and confusion.

With any of these symptoms, get out of the cold pronto, but warm up slowly. If you warm up too fast, it can damage the skin.

Hopefully, with these tips, you'll have the right kind of cool time!


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