Dressing for the Elements
I have worked in the seasonal industry for over 14 years, and have seen everything from overdressed, to underdressed, to “what were they thinking?!”. When I was a kid we use to design our Halloween costumes to fit over our snow gear, because there was always a good chance we would get snow in October, now a days we are lucky enough to get snow period. People are always quick to assume that if you are doing a snow sport you should be dressed a certain way while doing that sport, but its not only that you should dress for the sport, more importantly you should be dressing for the weather conditions. Now that “Spring skiing/ riding” is almost an entire season, people need to adjust their garments to ride in “Spring” temperatures.
Especially in recent years in events relating to global warming and climate change, constantly during lessons we are taking off layers upon layers of clothing off our students because they are over heating for the fact they are wearing to many, heavy layers in 50+ degree weather trying to snowboard. Some kids are so over dressed that they can’t even move! Each year it blows my mind what I see, we do our best to educate but it’s hard to change an association. I have kids even tell me they would rather be hot and sweaty because they think they look cool in their gear.
If I am free riding at a mountain and the weather is suitable, I am usually one of the first to go snowboarding in my bikini. Again adjusting the attire for temperature and the sport, I wear snow pant shells (waterproof protection for sitting on chairlifts and on the ground *no one likes a wet bum*), gloves (because you touch the snow) and a brimmed hat instead of a beanie to help shade my eyes from the sun. I do not encourage my students to go snowboarding in a swimsuit (when they are older they can figure that out on their own) but if it’s hot enough, t-shirts absolutely!
Then going to the other spectrum, we have been getting usually one or two deep Arctic Blasts a year, where it is below zero without any snow on the ground. Remember it can be too cold to snow; people always look at me funny when I say its warm enough to snow. People assume that because there is no snow, its not as cold (even though the temperatures beg to differ) OR they trust or know how their snow gear works in the colder conditions. This is when we run into the problem of doubling up of socks (that actually make their feet colder), layering up of cotton (creating a wet, sweat, layer directly on the skin) and wearing multiple scarf’s, balaclava, and hats, even leading to the problem that the kids can’t breathe!
Especially in New England, where we can have all four seasons in one day, it can be difficult to dress for the weather. Remember 50 degrees in the Spring FEELS warmer than 50 degrees in the Fall. It is ok to layer up, only if you remember to take off layers when you get hot, and that you can always put layers back on. It is ok to take breaks if you’re thirsty, hot, or cold. 45 minutes to an hour and a half is a long time to be outside and the weather can change in a heartbeat. Also remember you can get a sunburn in the winter, and you can snowboard/ski in the rain!