Elizabeth shouted to her little brother when she caught him sitting in a wind row eating snow with his bare hands;
“Put your gloves back on James. Poppy always says the best way to keep your hands warm is not letting them get cold!”
God love her, for no truer words were ever spoken nor any reminder offered more frequently in our camp.
Nice to see they’re learning something anyway.
You can have the best technical outerwear in the world but if you can’t look after it properly and aren’t alert to its limitations, you’ll be just as miserable as a K-Mart shopper.
Here are some things to think about when you’re introducing winter sports to the world;
2. Make certain everyone’s clothing is dry before you start the day. Gather all the gloves and boots, hats, jackets, pants and socks, and be certain to hang them in a warm, well ventilated space with a direct heat source for drying
3. Take the time to ensure all zippers, flaps, gators and seams are closed and secured before heading outside – There’s nothing worse than getting snow down in a boot or filling your gloves with ice
4. Minimize skin exposure to cold and wet – There are lots of times when you’ll need to shed your gloves, but the minute your hands start to feel cold, take a break from the task and warm your fingers in the gloves or by tucking them inside your suit cavity for a minute.
5. Tuck mitts, gloves and hats inside your jacket and near your chest cavity whenever you take them off. This helps keep them at body temperature so they’ll be comfortable when they go back on.
6. Keep moving – Circulation is the key to comfort and movement is the mainstay to warmth. Ride hard and ride constant. Minimize break times to a quick breather, and get going again as quickly as possible
7. Ensure your underlayers match the quality of the outer shell. Gore-Tex and Thinsulate can only work as well as their undergarments – avoid cotton at all cost and try to layer with technically superior materials. Ironically, wool works best.
8. Plan for the ages – Keep younger children at closer range to the camp and the comforts of a roaring fire. Older children and adults can obviously endure greater distances but warming breaks are still a great idea – think trail shacks, hot thermos, bon fires, or harder miles.
9. Extra Extra – Make certain everyone has a second set of gloves, balaclava, socks and goggles. Guides should also carry several extra pairs for double down emergency purposes.
10. Cock Pit – Get children and guests in the driver’s seat as often as possible. The exhilaration of controlling and driving a sled will keep their adrenaline on max and their exothermic reactions on bust.
‘Sweat Your Brains Out’ takes on a whole new meaning this week