We are well aware that this isn’t your first winter – snow and ice has been part of your life for a long time. You won’t be surprised to hear that you should dress according to your planned activity and its cardio intensity level (as in, “are we going to sweat a little, or a lot?”). But the reality of winter sports is that you can be cold, then feel very hot, then very cold. It's not easy to manage our temperatures in these circumstances! Here are a few things to do and to avoid.
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As you’re planning an activity with a high degree of movement, you should avoid the full “Michelin Man”-type of winter jacket. This will help you prevent from sweating heavily during your efforts – since water turns to ice in cold temperatures, your sweat will undergo the same phenomenon when you slow down.
Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves. Choose an insulated, waterproof pair. If the temperature is very cold, wear a neck warmer or a scarf to cover your nose and mouth.
Your mother has always told you to cover your head when you go outside. She was right – we lose a lot of body heat through our head. So, cover your head, and don’t forget to cover your ears as well.
Make sure that you can move your feet in your boots or ice skates – if it’s too tight, you’ll freeze.
We love cotton for its comfort, but this material becomes our worst enemy for winter sports – it doesn’t breathe, doesn’t dry quickly, and becomes cold as soon as it’s damp. It’s the worst choice you can possibly make! However, it’s a good choice for relaxing after your activity.
Yes, wool can sometimes be scratchy, but that's in spite of itself. It’s an especially great choice in winter because it provides warmth even when damp. A must-have? Merino wool, the super-fabric! This natural fibre is light, compact and warm, and wicks away moisture and bacteria. In short, it has it all!
Strong, compact and light, these fabrics stay warm even when wet. The only downside is that they can absorb odours quickly. Nothing is perfect in this world! The ultimate secret to not being cold or too warm in winter: the famous multi-layer or onion system.
The principle of this system is quite simple – you simply add or remove a layer according to the temperature and intensity level of your activity.
LAYER 1: THE BASE
This layer is the closest to the body, so it must have a second-skin effect in order to play its role of heat conservation. We are thinking of the combination-type of long underwear. Yes, you read that right - the famously seductive garment! Obviously, since we know we're going to sweat, this layer must breathe in order to wick moisture away. Choose synthetic fibre or merino wool, and think of having a spare if you expect to sweat a lot.
LAYER 2: THE INSULATION
This layer’s role is to insulate the body against the cold, i.e., preventing heat from dissipating while wicking moisture. This is the layer to remove if you get too hot during your outdoor activity. Polar vests or shells, ideally made from synthetic fibre or wool, are a great choice.
LAYER 3: THE PROTECTION
This layer will protect you against the elements and can vary according to the activity – in general, it should be windproof and waterproof.
Don’t be afraid to try a few combinations to find the best one for you!
The more intense the physical activity, the higher the body heat. This heat has to be evacuated quickly; otherwise you'll sweat and then feel cold. Therefore, you should dress a little lighter to account for your body heat generated during your activity. Depending on the severity of the cold, choose a combination of layers 1 & 3, 1 & 2, or 2 & 3 if you have a tendency to be cold all the time. The goal is to stay dry without getting cold.
Synthetic fibre or merino wool garments are a great choice, since they provide a lot of heat while helping wick moisture away. The best of both worlds!
If it’s a frigid day, don’t hesitate to take out your sexiest long underwear and don’t forget your snow pants for activities where your butt may end up in the snow (cross-country ski falls, anyone?)
The goal here will be to keep the body warm for the entire duration of the activity. Since you’ll produce less heat than during a high-intensity activity, you should dress more warmly! Ideally, choose a combination of layers 2 & 3, or 1, 2 & 3 for very cold days. Wool clothing and a warm insulating layer should be preferred.
If you’re expecting to play in the snow, snow pants are a must. You may not look all that great, but you’ll be warm!