It’s finally starting to warm up- if you can call a high of 20 degrees warm. But it beats -2 which is what Park City’s seen over the last few weeks. Several times I walked into the ski lodge to find little kids screaming for Mommy as their tiny toes began to thaw and the ‘pins n needles’ worked their evil magic.
This week in Park City I’m betting there will be enough moans and groans to rival the party cheers as thousands of Los Angelinos descend on the mountain town for the Sundance Film Festival and experience temps so cold their liquor stashes will freeze in the car.
It’s pure science to get the right balance of comfort and warmth in the winter. You can’t just wear a cotton T-shirt and big puffy coat and call it good.
Starting at the feet, ditch the gym socks. A thick cotton sock is a pure sign of beginner. You don’t wear cotton socks in the mountains. Period. Wear a ski or snowboard sock in your after ski boot even if you’re aren’t on the slopes to keep your toes are toasty as possible. Chemical toe warmer packets are also a good idea but they don’t last very long in an oxygen deprived environment in the super cold. When they do die, yank them out or they will suck away any heat your own body is generating.
Lorpen’s Tri Layer Ski Socks use a Primaloft Eco next to skin layer to wicks moisture, a middle layer of merino wool for effective evaporation and warmth, and an outer layer of nylon knit on high friction areas for extra durability.
Most of the time the warmest boots are not the prettiest. But if you’re wearing a sweet pair of jeans or ski pants, no one will notice. The Greenbay4 from Kamik will keep your foot warm to -40 degrees.
For a more fashion-forward look that still retains warmth, I love my Sorel Joan of Arctic’s:
I can’t tolerate wool- even merino- on my bum – so on extra cold days I’ve got a thin layer of fleece between my and my Calvins. Polarmax makes everything you need under there.
Let’s start with the AYG 4-way stretch bikini brief. The poly and Spandex with Acclimate antimicrobial keeps your long johns fresh to wear throughout your entire trip. It’s a lot easier to wash these quick-dry, silky undies in the sink than your fleece pants and they don’t ride up.
Under ski pants I slither into the Quattro Fleece; under street pants it’s the 4-way stretch tight for warmth without the bulk. BTW, jeans are a ‘don’t’ in subzero temps. There’s nothing warm about them. Cords or a knit dress with fleece leggings will keep you warmer.
On top, I wear the Joy Fleece Sport Bra from Sportees under ski clothes and the Isis Sport Bra with street clothes (regular bras aren’t warm enough).
Over the bra goes either a wool baselayer like the Lifa Dry Classic top from Helly Hansen
or, if can’t stand the itch, a synthetic cotton top from Sport Science. Feels like cotton, wicks like poly. I layer these with a street shirt of choice or a mid-weight fleece and top them with a wool sweater like the gorgeous Lucia sweater from Prana or the wool/nylon/poly Sera pullover from Sherpa Adventure Gear. Both sweaters have that thick wool feel on the outside but a soft, fleeciness on the inside so you won’t itch.
For ultra cold days, I’ve got my Obermeyer Kassady down sweater.
I seal the deal with a full down jacket and scarf (or fleece neck gaitor for skiing). Companies like Mountain Hardwear, Helly, Sierra Designs even Timberland make coats that are both warm and stylish.
Now get out there and stay warm!