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Article GE4

Dress for the Snow

 When selecting what to wear, think functional.  Your garments should be durable, fit well to allow freedom of movement, keep you warm and dry.

 Dress in layers.  In the mountains, be prepared for changeable and extreme weather.  Wear layers of clothing, rather than one thick item.  You can always take a layer off if you get warm. 

 Layering:  Three key layers

 First layer (Base Layer):  wick moisture away from your skin and to the outer layers, where it can then evaporate, thus keeping your skin relatively dry.  Base layer garments are available in various weights to match activity level.  Lightweight layers when it's warm or when you are really working up a sweat; medium or expedition weights when it's really cold or when you aren't exerting yourself, and thus generating little body heat.  Note: wet garments that are in contact with your skin conduct 25 times more heat away from the body than dry ones.  Avoid cotton- it absorbs many times its weight in water and loses its insulating qualities when wet.

 It is recommended that the first layer consist of a polypropylene shirt and pants or long thermal underwear made of a synthetic fiber such as polyester that has 'wicking' ability to move moisture away from your body.

 Second layer or  Middle layer trap warm air next to the body.  The thicker the layer of trapped air, the warmer you'll be.  Two or three light weight layers are preferable to a single heavyweight one, because you can  adjust the amount of insulation you're wearing to your activity level and to fluctuating temperatures.

A good rule of thumb is: shed a layer before you get totally steamed - it'll help to keep your garments and goggles moisture free.    The same applies when temperatures drop: Add a layer before you start shivering.

 Second layer would be to wear a light weight wool sweater or fleece pullover and pants. Note: Cotton clothing and blue jeans are not recommended because they won't keep you warm when they get  wet.

 Third or top or outer layer is your protection from the elements, minimizing heat loss from wind and cold.  Remember that even the gentlest breeze can pull warm air from your body through the process of convection.  Regarding the top layer look for a waterproof, breathable outer shell that lets perspiration escape while protecting you from wind, snow, and rain.  The outer layer should consist of a water-resistant snowpants and a jacket to protect you from snow, sleet, or rain and to block the wind.  Snowboard jackets are expensive, but you can wear them all through the winter.  Look for one that is loose fitting, comfortable, long enough at the back to cover your bottom to keep snow out of your pants, and high enough at the neck to keep out the wind and cold.  Pants need to be comfortable and loose fitting.  It may be nice to look for a pair with extra padding around the knees and bottom to protect you when you fall.

 Key features to look for in clothing.

 Generous cut:  This allows freedom of movement and provides warmth and protection.  A jacket shell with a long cut down to your hips will keep your midriff warm and dry when fastening bindings, or on deep powder days.

 Tough, breathable fabric:  Look for tough, waterproof, breathable shell to stand up to plenty of abrasion and abuse.

 Zippered vents:  Under your arms, these vents help regulate your temperature.  Open when hot; close when cold.  Storm flaps covering all zippers help keep wind out.  Zip-pulls (attached to zippers allow you to open and close the vents without removing your gloves.

 Reinforcement at stress points;  Look for double or triple-stitched seams, and reinforced material on the sides of the jacket shell, and knees and rear end of your pants.  Be careful as you carry your board: its sharp edges can cut through the stitching and material on the sides of your jacket or pants, or through your gloves.

 Other Important Clothing Items

 Sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, the wind, and to keep ice pellets or snow from stinging your eyes.  Remember bright sunlight reflecting off the snow can be just as bad as direct sunlight.  Select goggles that allow for appropriate range of peripheral vision.  Look for wide-angle frames or sport shields.  Sunglasses and goggles also come in specific tints to help you see dips and bumps in the snow on a dull day.

 You can lose a tremendous amount of body heat through your head: cover it, and your feet and hands will be warmer.

 Hat or Cap for warmth (although it won't provide protection).  Make sure that the hat or cap can cover your ears.  Some jackets have a useful hood tucked into the collar.

 Wear a helmet to protect your head and for warmth.

 Fleece neck gaiter or facemask to protect your face when it's really cold.

 Wrist guards for snowboarders to prevent wrist injuries.

 Gloves or mittens made of waterproof but breathable fabrics.  Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm and fingers to stand up to the wear caused by balancing on the snow.  Some also have built in wrist guards. Long , elasticized wrist or strapping on cuffs to keep out snow is a good idea. 

 Socks with flat seams and stretchy material that doesn't wrinkle against your skin will minimize sharp pressure points against the foot.  A thin liner socks (synthetic socks) covered by a thicker wool or pile socks or snowboard/ski socks works especially well.  Avoid extremely bulky socks that can keep you from feeling connected to the ground, which is necessary for good control.

 Sunscreen should always be used to protect you from sunburn and chapping in cold winds.  A lip balm will prevent your lips from cracking.


Suggested Clothing Check List

 ___            Hat/cap/helmet - warm and must cover ears

___            Thermal underwear - for added warmth on cold days

___            Sweater, vest, wool shirt etc…

___            Water resistant warm-up pants or ski pants

___            Parka or ski jacket - insulated, usually worn over a sweater.  (most parkas and jackets are not water       proof and will soak through on wet days.

___            Waterproof & Windproof jacket or poncho and pants - for those wet days

___           Sock liner/Sock

 ___           Gloves or mittens - water resistant

___            Waterproof Sun Block - #15 or higher

___            Face Mask or Scarf - protection from wind and snow

___            Sunglasses - for sunny days

 ___           Duffel Bag/Daypack/Knapsack - to keep your small things together

___            Clothing and equipment identification.  Many ski items look alike.  Mark all your equipment with your    name.  Use masking tape with your name for all rental gear.

 ___            Skis/Snowboard - Correct length - Binding adjusted for you by an authorized technician

___             Ski brake for skis, Retention device for Snowboarders

___            Boots - properly fitted

___           Poles - proper length

___            Ski/Snowboard Bags or straps - to protect and/or hold skis together during transport

___            Ski/Board Lock - to secure your equipment when not skiing