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Dumb *** how cold will that feel question...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Right I am ready to be flamed for what on the face of it might seem a daft question but here goes.

Going to Arabba this Saturday and currently suggesting could be as cold as -15c feeling like -19c with the windchill. We have been skiing at this time of the year for the last 6/7 years and pretty sure it has never gone into negative double digits.

So question is "how cold is that really going to feel?". I think I am fairly average when it comes to feeling the cold and normally ski in base layer, medium quality fleece of some sort and a fairly inexpensive high street (Trespass I think) ski jacket and tend to regulate heat by undoing jacket if too hot and doing up and putting face mask/scarf on if a bit colder.

Obviously can put another layer on if a bit colder but is -19c so cold that any skin exposure is going to be really unpleasant or am I worrying about nothing and just need to make sure we pack a couple of spare fleeces? Was thinking about buying some of those cheap disposable hand warmers?

It is just me and my 17 year old son so no small children to worry about and we don't sit or stand around much except obviously for lifts.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Was thinking about buying some of those cheap disposable hand warmers

Yes, definitely do that. If you can wear a balaclava or thin buff under your helmet - and of course a fleece neck warmer pulled well up - it'll make a big difference. Yes to extra layers - that's the key. And be prepared to stop to warm up with a coffee or hot chocolate (best ever, in that part of the world). Use gondolas rather than chairs if you have the option. Do lots of energetic turns, rather than just whizzing straight down.

The key issue is the wind - if there's not much wind, skiing well wrapped up in temperatures down to minus 20 is OK.

If you really get cold; herringbone up the slope for a bit..... Skullie
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@RobWa, It's not as daft a question as you would imagine. -15c on a windless, bluebird day is great...until you get on a slow chairlift, or if your feet start to get cold, or if you don't have the right amount of the right layers on.

If it less than perfect then it is the same as above, but with a lot more drink stops Very Happy

The best bit of kit , IMHO, is a Buff which can be pulled up to just under your goggles (a must), another thing for your pocket is a thin beanie type hat for under your helmet, or a really warm hat if no helmet.
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@RobWa, @pam w and @Frosty the Snowman give good advice. I have skied in -20ºC and had an enjoyable time - but there was not much wind, and our group was well wrapped in suitable layers including round our heads and faces.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
You'll be fine.

A slow chairlift into the teeth of the wind will be chilly but once you're moving you'll warm up

Looks like it should be a brilliant week of good snow and sunshine
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Thanks all, I will get hold of a couple of thin beanies for under our helmets and some disposables hand warmers to stick in our backpack just in case.

Don't think extra hot chocolate/coffees breaks are going to be much of a chore Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Glove liners also make a big difference at these temperatures - I have silk ones which I really needed at -20 last week, even though my gloves already had an inner and an outer layer!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
motyl wrote:
Glove liners also make a big difference at these temperatures - I have silk ones which I really needed at -20 last week, even though my gloves already had an inner and an outer layer!


Plenty of padding when you wipeout spectacularly too. wink
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@RobWa, You quote -15C feeling like -19C with windchill. I’m assuming that is a static temperature. Once you are skiing at 30-40mph it will feel much colder. A quick fiddle with a windchill calculator shows -15C at 30mph will feel like -27.5C.

You need to check each other for white patches on any exposed skin, tips of noses, cheeks under goggles etc, and if spotted revive with body heat.
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I'm fine on my face down to about -10C, I then tuck a buff over my chin for -15C and it it's windy and below -15C one of those thin neoprene face masks works well, I've only ever had to use it once though in Sweden. I normally just have a base layer and a softshell on top as I ski hot but this season I put on an additional layer as it was down to -15C in the morning. I think you will be fine if you have something to pull over your lower face.
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The rules apply in particular number 5. Very Happy
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
geepee wrote:
Plenty of padding when you wipeout spectacularly too. wink

Yep, that helped! Toofy Grin It would also have helped if I'd done up the wrist straps - snow finds a way in everywhere.
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I am a huge wimp when it comes to the cold.
I have found the best way to enjoy the skiing when it gets down to the minus 10ish temps is lots of layers, I usually have a sleeveless vest, ski underwear, a base layer a down jacket and then my hardshell jacket,a buff for my neck, a neoprene face mask, disposable hand warmers and many stops for hot chocolate with rum.

Yep, then I am toasty warm Madeye-Smiley
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@RobWa, one thing to add, stopping for a hot chocolate before you get too cold.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
As mentioned above, it’s fine if you’re out of the wind and not on a slow chairlift. I have a fairly thick jacket so only wear a base layer underneath. A buff is a must for me, I have a fairly thick fleecey one that I wear in nearly all conditions.

Try to avoid getting damp hands too, once fingers on gloves start to get cold/freeze it can get a bit miserable.

Mostly though I don’t think you’ll notice a big difference unless the wind is strong or you spend a while stopped.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@RobWa, It's not a dump question as the feels like -19/it's -19 with windchill is something people say but no one actually knows what it means, as -19 when totally still will feel nothing like -15 plus some wind "to feel like -19".

The addition of wind means those bits of your body that are covered up won't be that affected (your salopettes/jacket will be reasonably windproof, but your exposed skin will suffer so take care and as another poster mentioned, look out for white patches of skin.

As to it being cold generally, just take plenty of extra jumpers, liner gloves, hand warmers, hats etc and then work out how many of each you need when you get out there.

re the disposable handwarmers, it's worth just cracking them out and putting them down the back of your gloves from the start of the day as they last about 6hrs......
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person

It can of course be a lot colder, this was -22C with a static windchill down to the mid -30’s Shocked
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@RobWa, another obvious one,but here goes. Get all your zips, cuffs and cords adjusted before you get into the cold and keep it like that. Allow the outer shell to keep wind out. You don't want to open your coat or even the pockets if you can help it. Protect your face. Keep an eye on each other's noses for frost nip.
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Hi, a very good question. My observation would be that you can get hypothermia come on very gradually, without realising it. So make sure that you have regular breaks in the warm, even if you feel OK pressing-on.

I was skiing with a couple of friends who were determined to get to the far side of the ski area and back in a day, so no breaks before lunch. Temp was around -17° but it felt warm in the direct sun. In the end, I decided to turn 'round as I wasn't comfortable with the pace they were setting (you know the type). When I stopped for a hot drink it was like hitting a brick wall. I could hardly breathe. It felt like I had a block of ice about 5cm³ buried in my chest. It took about an hour and multiple hot chocolates for it to go away.

I just hadn't realised how cold I was getting and although uncomfortable, I hadn't recognised the symptoms. I've skied in -24°C with the children, and with lots of warm breaks we were fine. Plus the right layering as mentioned.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Tue 12-12-17 13:09; edited 2 times in total
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I'd agree that the windchill estimation is a bit meaningless in a skiing context, other than if it's windy and you're on a chair without a barrier.

-15 is quite cold though ...

where's the forecast from though as https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/forecast/week/arabba_italy_3182936 suggests sunny and not nearly as cold (in the town).
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All good advice here and those hot chocolate stops are essential, and doing them in good time, just like getting a reef in the mainsail or the chains on the tyres, almost before you really think you need them.
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For a thin beanie, I picked up a running beanie from Decathlon that worked really well under my helmet. I tried skiing without it briefly and the difference was noticeable, mostly around my ears where the wind and cold had a good go at trying to get into and around my ears - helmet ear flaps never seem quite close enough on my melon, and it covers the 0.1mm gap between helmet and goggles.

The buff is essential, I would reccomend a thick buff to keep the cold from around your neck, I have a thick fleece one which works very well, then a thinner one inside that you can pull right up around your chin and back of your neck that keeps the cold off.

If you feel the cold, and from your description of layers it sounds like you might, I'd look at an Air Hole face mask. They are the dogs. Genuinely worth the money, or get a similar mask and cut a mouth hole in it - when it gets really cold the condensation inside can make them actually colder and if you have any kind of facial hair ice can form inside.

All are relatively inexpensive, and the reuseable handwarmers the same, worth having in a pocket for any trips in the future too, so not a big outlay to know you won't be losing skiing time due to cold.

Final more expensive suggestion from me if you get cold feet (I seem to, since I am now officially old) is Boot Gloves. Various similar products available, they are just a neoprene cover for your boot, and they probably make a 5 degree difference to how cold I'd be in my feet. Again, a small investment if it saves a day of skiing or general discomfort.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
No...good question. I've skied in actual -23 f conditions, and it was ... bearable.

My strategy for very cold weather (anything below -8 or so) is to add one extra layer to legs and body. For legs, I'll start with think silk long johns, then heavy polypro or merino under softshell or shell pants. Don't add extra socks unless your boots are optimized for that -- you'll get numb feet very fast. For tops, I add a merino sweater to underwear/fleece/lightly insulated jacket. I have long gauntlet-style gloves that I can seal around my forearms. Start with a fleece balaclava and put a buff in your pocket if that's not enough.

You want to keep out the cold, so no unzipping/futzing with goggles etc...
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My feet are also very old now and two years ago I spent my winter fuel allowance, and a bit more, on underfloor heating for my ski boots. Worth every penny. I also take out the teabag hand warmers practically every day until the very end of the season. My buffs are the type with a thin section at one end and fleecey at the other end so it goes round my neck and the thin bit gets pulled up under my helmet. No gap then.
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the worst part about skiing in that weather is being on a long or slow chair lift, the wind cuts right through you, and as you aren't moving then your body isn't generating heat to compensate, so make sure you have a buff or something similar for your face, and get well zipped up before getting on the lift.

I ski hot so I'm generally ok, and I've skied in -30 degrees in Are in Sweden without having to wear more layers than usual.

The one mistake I did make however was not wearing long johns under my jeans when we were heading out for a few drinks in the evening. As I'd been fine with the salopettes down the slopes and in the wind, for some reason I assumed I would be ok walking through town in just jeans, I nearly froze my knackers off just getting to the first pub, and that was running!
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@RobWa, You can get frostbite in below if exposed for to long (not long at all) without keeping warm.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Warm feet are also a must and I love these https://www.sportpursuit.com/catalog/product/view/id/953806 Never had cold feet in them.

Coldest I've been was in -40c on a long chairlift up to the Grand Motte. Face froze and I dribbled everywhere when trying to speak (or sing Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys which was the challenge at the time). No one had buffs in those days.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thank you all for the information and suggestions, I will pop out tonight and pick up a few extra bits. Would rather take too much stuff and not need it than spend all week feeling uncomfortable.

Saying that son went out the door this morning when it was -3c and declined all offers of a coat - t-shirt and jumper was enough apparently. Hope I can talk sense into him for next week.

@under a new name - got the forecast here but might be misreading it http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Arabba/6day/mid
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@RobWa, I'm not a huge fan of that site...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
under a new name wrote:
@RobWa, I'm not a huge fan of that site...


Whats bad about it?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
under a new name wrote:
@RobWa, I'm not a huge fan of that site...


Whats bad about it?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@ster, I find it consistently over-forecasts and under-delivers.

I prefer http://chamonix-meteo.com/chamonix-mont-blanc/weather/forecast/morning/5_days_weather_forecast.php for my local forecast and https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/forecast/week/chamonix_france_3027301

meteociel also apparently good but there are only so many places you want to have to hit!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Make sure there is plenty of room in your boots. My nephew got frost bite in his toes. Fortunately not too bad and he kept all of them, but bad enought for a couple of bad months as the dead flesh came off.
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@ster, it’s consistently wrong. Always forecasts lots of snow and revises it as you get nearer the time. You’ll see them forecast about 12 inches 5 days out, then with 3 days left it’s down to 8 inches and by the day of the snow it’s down to about one or two.

I never trust snow-forecast more than a day or two out other than to give an idea of the general trend.
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@ster, I tend to flit between bergfex.com and snow-forecast, and trust whichever one is telling me what I want to hear. Smile
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, +1

@RobWa, Short turns, lots of them. Blush
Or add a neoprene face mask + gilet.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

it’s consistently wrong. Always forecasts lots of snow and revises it as you get nearer the time.

Absolutely not the case. I have been comparing snow-forecast with the empirical evidence outside my apartment for the last 15 seasons. It under-forecasts just as often as it over-forecasts. It's funny the way that people attribute some kind of malicious intent to a load of computer model outputs and algorithms. Laughing
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
pam w wrote:
... It's funny the way that people attribute some kind of malicious intent to a load of computer model outputs and algorithms. Laughing


Like Russian ones Madeye-Smiley

(Shhh...Don’t tell Stanton)
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I expect snow-forecast has been hacked by the Russians - yes, that'll be it. To undermine morale amongst British skiers. Laughing
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@pam w, haha! I suspect that's some form of confirmation bias - as in, I donàt care what it forecasts when we have lots of snow and only do when we haven't. actually, these days I rarely check it.
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