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Wind chill awareness - important even in resort

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
With high pressure systems dominant this year, there is a danger of days with low temperature and high wind. This can be particularly tricky with young ones, who are not so good at closing gaps at wrists, collar, etc. This site below has an excellent chart and calculator to understand and work out the exposure time on exposed skin. Is this a real danger in resort? Yes….the wind doesn’t discriminate between backcountry and resort. I have had frostnip in Arolla and Les Deux Alpes, on piste. LDA was a closed in and miserable day. Arolla was full sun.

If it’s minus 10 and 15kph - not a strong wind, I’ve been in 60kph in resort and higher when climbing - then frostbite can start in under 30 mins.

https://www.calculator.net/wind-chill-calculator.html?windspeed=15&windspeedunit=kmh&airtemperature=-10&airtemperatureunit=celsius&x=70&y=22

Are there hundreds of skiers dying each year because of this? No. And there are no good stats on numbers, even in countries like Canada, a notoriously cold skiing destination. This is the best I can find…

https://academic.oup.com/bmb/article/117/1/79/1744646

But I know a few who have suffered, and I have had three significant episodes whilst skiing (nose, cheek, little toe) so the risk is there. Being aware is a key thing…not only of ice building on your own skin, but being alert to others having white patches with ice build up on the face. Hidden damage to fingers and toes is more difficult, not least since the areas go numb - the pain comes later when things de-frost.

This is a nice article:

https://www.skimag.com/uncategorized/the-frostbite-face-off/

So….it’s just something to be aware of, particularly in children, and being aware that wind is a big factor which can reduce the safety window considerably. Take a look at the chart, and get a handle on what kind of risk level you face on a specific day, bearing in mind ambient temp and wind speed. Hope this all helps.
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@valais2, the problem with wind chill is that it's massively going to be reduced if you are appropriately dressed, so it's hard to generalise what the effect will be. Plus exercise stop/start/chairlifts. So forecasts of "feels like" only apply, really, if you're butt naked.

That said, I've skied (Canada) in -20C and all the lifties were very careful to be asking everyone to regularly check their buddies for frostbite signs (white spots on exposed skin) and one was horrified that one chum was wearing earrings Shocked and told her to take them out. And be aware of numb toes and fingers.

Good point about kids though, my 7 y.o. nephew (who skis every week) is constantly complaining about cold hands because he refuses to keep his gloves on rolling eyes rolling eyes
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@under a new name, …yes absolutely re complexity of good kit, patterns of movement etc…

…very interesting re jewellery…
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@valais2, the only thing I could work out re jewellery was that it would tend to efficiently conduct true ambient to the skin?
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Another difficulty with any calculation is that wind speed varies massively in any real mountain environment, and can be significantly above any forecast average speed in e.g. cols, ridges or on an open chairlift a few metres above ground. In most of these circumstnces you can move out of the most exposed areas realtively quickly on skis, but lifts, especially if stopped, are a big problem
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under a new name wrote:
the problem with wind chill is that it's massively going to be reduced if you are appropriately dressed, so it's hard to generalise what the effect will be.


This is the critical issue. For temps down to -10C, being appropriately covered will all but negate wind chill effect.
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@under a new name, …ah ha! Cold is not a thing…heat is. That is, cold is the absence of heat. The issue thus is how the metal jewellery acts as a radiating thing. I guess just like a cold bridge in a building - where you have for example a metal component which breaches the insulation - such as a metal bolt or component in a wooden window. I assume that jewellery is exactly that…a gradient component which bridges the skin and the air - and has a potentially large surface area to radiate heat into the air - thus cooling the skin to a greater extent than if the skin is exposed without a big heat sink embedded in it. Interestingly the skin around a pierced hold is likely to be poorly vasculated - not sure whether that makes it worse or not. I will have a dig around.
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@viv, ..ah yes, I’ve not put up the chart as ‘law’ ie fixed figures…all important points (which is why we track just below ridges on the lee side, in the wind rotor, to make sure we aren’t exposed when climbing). What I think is important is just to raise awareness - someone waking up and thinking gosh it’s cold in the village - perhaps it will be below zero on the hill, the wind is blowing, so it may be really really cold at 2500m - make sure the kids have their buffs with them….
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@valais2, no, entropy is a thing wink
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@under a new name, 're Jewellery and conduction. The Royal Navy were very careful to make sure that sailors did not have a Prince Albert before going into the fire trainers which get very hot to replicate a ship borne fire.
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@under a new name, ...ah...entropy...a gradual decline into disorder....

hmmm..I think that might describe me perfectly....
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@chocksaway, ...and Levis removed the central crotch rivet (in 1933?) apparently due to people sitting in front of camp fires and then getting a nasty hotspot.
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valais2 wrote:
@chocksaway, ...and Levis removed the central crotch rivet (in 1933?) apparently due to people sitting in front of camp fires and then getting a nasty hotspot.


Ha, when I was a student I once pulled on a pair of Levi’s straight out of the big, powerful tumble drier in the launderette at the halls of residence. Eh oh!
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valais2 wrote:
@under a new name, ...ah...entropy...a gradual decline into disorder....


It's usually best observed in internet forum threads. wink
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@agw, whoooah….that brings tears to my eyes thinking about it….when you can’t easily shed something hurting it brings about considerable panic…

@skanky, …that’s a very good point….
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Back OT
In January 2019 we had a winter holiday in Finland, inside the artic circle.

-20°C or below in the middle of the day.
Obviously we were layered up and I have a thin balaclava which can be worn under a helmet. However one thing I hadn’t thought about was my feet when I was skiing - so I had to stop every hour or so and get inside or go to one of the ‘warming huts’ (a sort of half-hut with a fire pit).
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@agw, we're in Ruka next week (hopefully). Coldest forecast day atm is -12 with a "feels like" of -24. We've bought some of the foot version of the hand warmers you can get. Hopefully we won't need them every day.
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@skanky, Advance warning... IME those foot warmers are entirely useless because they rely on oxygen to drive the exothermic reaction, and there's precious little of that inside a ski boot. Heated insoles are the only reliable solution I've found, tho' neoprene boot covers are some help.

The hand warmers are great in mitts tho, and also very effective between a neoprene cycling boot and cycling shoe.
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@skanky, …current thinking is:

1 cover up - that protects face and ears but also makes the body think it is warm = warmer toes & less risk
2 make sure the core (chest in particular) is warm - that keeps blood in the extremities = warmer toes & less risk
3 don’t wear thicker socks - that can restrict blood flow on the top of the foot = colder toes & more risk
4 neoprene boot covers good - keeps the shells from losing heat = warmer toes & less risk
5 good socks which wick - 24,000 sweat glands in foot - get that away from the foot asap = warm toes & less risk
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@snowdave, I never knew that, but I've never had boots with enough volume to even think of using them, and don't get really cold feet.

These days Mrs U has migrated from heated insoles to heated socks, which are, apparently brilliant (and of course, not restricted to the ski boots they're installed in).
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@snowdave, @valais2, thanks for the tips. We have been there before and the boat warmers were okay at least first thing while people warmed up, even if they didn't last a long time.

Might be a bit late for boot covers now (or it might be an expensive trip to the gear shop), but the other stuff will generally be looked at, if not already (we've got decent socks, for example).
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@skanky, …sounds good.

Really simple things can work. The ‘keeping core warm’ really worked for my rake-like Gromette, who used to skimp on base layers for fear of fashion. And then had freezing hands. We managed to convince her to wear many many thin base layers and that solved the hands problem.
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@under a new name, I've wondered about those socks - how do they cope with frequent laundering, and which did you go for?

My kids seem to like a bit of space in their boots (even when racing) so we've tried cramming the warmers in, but they always come out stone cold 8 hrs later, and then go thermonuclear 10 mins later when exposed to air.

The need for oxygen means that you can seal them in a ziploc and reuse them if they're not exhausted. Not usually necessary in the alps, but when its cold at the dry slope or indoor centre, it's a waste to bin them after a 1-2hr session.

The chemical reaction is essentially accelerated rusting - i.e. oxidation of iron - hence the need for oxygen. As a result, extinct handwarmers are a great source of iron filings for random science experiments with the kids.
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Quote:

I've wondered about those socks - how do they cope with frequent laundering, and which did you go for

My partner has a couple of pairs of the Lenz (5.0) heated socks, and they are very effective, and have each lasted several 10s of washes with no issues. They say 'machine wash' only, which is unusual, but I think that's so you don't damage them wringing them out. They have been handwashed a few times, but carefully and drip-dried
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For cold feet buy either boot heating elements or heated boots, my wife feels the cold and often complained about cold feet, once she even had her feet on my chest under my clothes in val disere, bought her some heating elements which were good and then some heated boots which she loves, if your feet are warm you tend to feel warm all over.
Being pedantic wind speeds are higher on low pressure not high, the difference can be low pressures are normally cloudy so temps can be slightly higher as no sun during the day so you get warmed by the sun but nights will be colder, obviously a lot depends on where the wind is coming from in the uk a winter high pressure based over eastern europe /russia will be dragging air from the artic whereas a low pressure will be drawing air from the Atlantic
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@robs1, …yes exactly…sunny and very cold with high winds a very common scenario in Rhone Alpes - Bise Wind - efffing freezing and associated with high pressure….

http://www.meteocentrale.ch/en/weather/foehn-and-bise/bise.html
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@viv, thanks!
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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
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valais2 wrote:
@skanky, …sounds good.

Really simple things can work. The ‘keeping core warm’ really worked for my rake-like Gromette, who used to skimp on base layers for fear of fashion. And then had freezing hands. We managed to convince her to wear many many thin base layers and that solved the hands problem.


Many years ago on this forum there was a discussion on whether having warmers on the wrists helped with the fingers (where you feel your pulse). The discussion was,...inconclusive, IIRC. The core warmth advice was generally considered better, and I've taken that to heart ever since.
Based on your point 3, we've changed how we're doing the socks. We're going to to try those really short runnig ones you can get that will cover the foot, but no higher, so there's no pressure round the top of the ankle/calf - but obviously under a thinner set of longer socks that will come up to the boot top.
We'll see how that goes.
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Make sure to do up your zip, lads!
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AL9000 wrote:
Make sure to do up your zip, lads!


Was this meant to be posted on the “Dick’s Out” thread?
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@skanky, the pressure point to avoid is over the top of the foot - the big vein which supplies the toes and foot passes over the top there - people who do their two bottom buckles up too tightly often get very cold feet. CEM has quite a bit of experience and detail on avoiding this.
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@valais2, thanks. I'll keep that in mind.
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@valais2, I would add that moisture management inside clothing can be critical too. XC skiing in Finland recently in -25°C, I found my goretex jacket wasn't very breathable in the arms. Sweat was wicking from my skin through 2 layers, but then forming as condensation inside the jacket. This was not so much of an issue when I was working hard, but on a long steady decent where I was having to do very little, I quickly became very cold indeed, and the moisture in my sleeves froze. Fortunately I had with me 2 dry tops, but had I not, I could have been in trouble very quickly.
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@thecramps, absolutely. For high energy such as XC skiing, mountain biking and some mountaineering, I use a non-goretex pile system, such as patagonia speed ascent, rab vapour-rise, and the somewhat dowdy paramo (better styled now than it was). I have had exactly the same as you, and it's very grim....soaking inside. There's a big thing about the vapour gradient which is not well recognised, and when external humidity is high, or the temperature very low, gore tex can stop working as it should.
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AL9000 wrote:
Make sure to do up your zip, lads!
this happens to me far too often. Set off and soon feel the extra ventilation! I don’t even need to stop and deglove to do up my fly any more.
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@valais2, I would add that getting into a cable car or fernicular, all wrapped up, and getting out at the top with an under layer of sweat isn't a great idea in the conditions you have previously described. In such situations, I would say, open your jacket, take off your gloves, and try not to become over sweaty.
Redress at the top though


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Thu 10-02-22 23:16; edited 1 time in total
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The first time I went to Canada it was -20 to -30 and fairly windy. There were warning on the local TV that exposed flesh would freeze in about 5 mins. I grew a beard which I have kept since and invested in a new thick fleece and jacket. I still wear the fleece if it is VERY cold.
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@thecramps, ....that's interesting...I can't find it right now (searches have not produced anything) but when I was visiting a friend in JoBurg I read a book she had of an American who had spent time in the Arctic, and had worked with the Inuit, who worked very slowly and kept on taking off and putting on their clothes whilst working - he realised that they constantly were keeping a carefully regulated body temperature, preventing themselves from sweating, and so their seal skin clothes would remain iced on the outside but supple and warming on the inside - and them never getting damp and so prone to ice or undue cooling through evaporation.
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@musher, conversation between athlete and deep arctic musher...

Musher: 'you don't have husky fur around your parka hood...that's bad...you'll get frostbite. I have some here and you will need to sew it on right now...'
Athlete: 'Ok that's great, many thanks...but where did you get the fur from...'
Musher: 'From one of my dogs...'
Athlete: 'Oh....that's awful, what was its name?....'
Musher: 'Slow Dog....'
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@skanky,

I think valais2’s list is a good one. I’d add glove liners too.
My get up was: base layer, thin fleece, soft mid layer, quilted gilet and then anorak*. Thermal leggings designed to be worn with ski boots under my trousers. Frequent stops to warm up and make sure you eat well - none of this skiing through lunch with just a snack bar on the go nonsense. If any extremities start to feel cold get inside or to a fire.

*I brought my old baggy jacket out of retirement because it fitted well over all those layers, the newer one was way too tight.
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