Here Are 10 Tips For Seniors Dealing With Cold Cold Temps.

Ah, a balmy 0 degrees. In New England lately, 0 is the new 40.
Credit: Tamsin Venn

I posted here awhile ago about the benefits of skiing in the rain. Another unpopular time to ski is in extreme cold. The upside is you have the slopes to yourself. Unless you don’t. When skiing in Stowe over the recent holiday in frigid conditions, I was astonished by the hardy crew of skiers out on the slopes. A lot of that comes down to the increased quality of insulated layering…plus high speed quads.

Here are ten tips for seniors for skiing in cold temps.

  • Take frequent breaks inside to stay warm. Wind is the main factor to consider. Your body loses heat faster in the wind and makes it feels colder than it really is. But note that wind chill is a highly variable condition. Meteorologists revised the calculation in 2001 with much less austere conclusions. Ski area snow reports often cite the wind chill factor, but google the formula for a more precise reading. Take gusts into consideration. Ride the gondola, tram, or bubble lift for added protection.
  • Stick ’em up. When it is this cold, you got to mask up.
    Credit: Tamsin Venn

    Dress like a robber. Exposed skin loses heat first. Cover every bit of your face and neck with ski goggles and a balaclava, the best way to prevent gaps. Get one with a ventilation flap to improve breathing. Put your hood up.

  • Keep hands and feet warm. Long-lasting hand (ten hours) and toe (six hours) warmers are a cheap heat supply when bought in bulk at the hardware store. Follow the kids’ lead and put the toe warmers on top of the toes, not the bottom where they get mushed up. Ditch the gloves. Wear mittens. Some mittens have slots for heaters.
  • Invest in a boot heater. Boot heaters have come a long way with battery-operated heated insoles where you use your smartphone as the remote. For low tech, put toe warmers in your boot before you leave for the mountain.
  • Add a layer. A down or fleece vest to heat the core is a good option. Wear wicking layers next to the skin. Avoid, avoid, avoid cotton anywhere down below your outer layer
  • Drink lots of water. Cold air and intense exercise means you lose more vapor when you breathe, which leads to dehydration.
Cold strategies of old: Knitted face mask/racoon coat. From the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum.
Credit: Tamsin Venn
  • Take a friend or family member skiing. To sidle up to on the lift or check for frostbite. Early signs of frostbite include red or pale skin, prickling, and numbness. Discuss bailout options, so no one is waiting in the wind for the other to catch up.
  • Don’t try anything too fancy. You may stiffen up in the cold. Ski early in the day, for fresh grooming or powder. Follow the sun for visibility and warmth.
  • Save the Snuggly Snowman hot chocolate concoction for the end of the day. Alcoholic beverages swipe heat away from your core, as they send blood and warmth to the vessels near your skin. Outside, you lose heat quickly.
  • Make a leisurely day of it. You’re not going to rack up the vertical feet on your app today. Remember when we all went out into the cold no matter what as a badge of honor of being real skiers? Ditch that concept.
Spruce Camp Base Lodge at Stowe, VT, is calling. Time to head inside. Notice no one on the slopes.
Credit: Tamsin Venn

5 Comments

  1. Getting a little wind and coastal flooding there today? Any beach left at the end of Argilla Rd?

  2. joanne lasnier says:

    TY for the valuable tips. I have a 3/4 length coat very light but oh so warm. Will it be too cumbersome to ski in? Skiing Jan 8 at Okemo.

  3. John Christiano says:

    I have the 11th freezing skiing tip.For the last three years I have been using battery heated gloves.. I recommend OR (outdoor research).The Lucent is the only glove that is a mitten.There are a lot of companies that produce them . The great advantage of the OR glove is that the battery is in the cuff and not noticeable. That means that it stays warmer ( longer lasting ). Other gloves have a battery on the outside of the glove and are very large. Oh and yes, they have a heating element in the thumb.. Don’t even think of buying any glove unless the thumb has the ability of warming your thumb. Now for the bad part. All gloves retail between $300 to $400 Yes expensive but stil half the price of a pair of skis Without the bindings. When I let my friends try them they sit back ,look at the ceiling and want to grab the other one and go out skiing.
    Here is thee12th tip. Got cold thumbs. wrap the toe heater around your glove lined finger in a pinch. This really works I get them at Costco.

  4. Norm Reynolds says:

    I bought one of those face covers made of neoprene wet suit material.They don’t get as wet as scarves in case you tend to drool. On the first run down moguls, I ran out of air. The breathing holes don’t let enough air through, so I cut a slit across the holes. It works fine and is so warm that my face is the last part of me that would get cold and make me go in.

  5. I agree on the neoprene face mask. I took scissors and cut out the perforated breathing section entirely, so there’s about an inch-square hole. It’s still nice and warm, but my goggles don’t fog and I don’t get condensation inside.
    Another tip: Start your day with warm feet. I warm up my boots by zipping an electric heating pad inside my boot bag. I activate hand and toe warmers before leaving home and toss them into each boot. And (I love warm feet) I put a microwavable therapeutic heat pad in the bag for the trip to the slopes. Or, get a heated boot bag. The above works fine for me.

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