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How cold is too cold to ski? January 23, 2011

Posted by Wendy in Uncategorized.

It differs for everyone.

Right now I’m in Sugarloaf, Maine, a resort known for its extremely cold temperatures. The high today is forecast for -1°F, the low tonight, a bone-biting -22°F.

Yeah, that’s cold.

This is tough. I hate to be  cold, but I love to ski. So yes, I’ll still go out there. I’m not sure how long I’ll last, and I’ll probably have on everything I own to stay warm.  But this is New England. It’s January. The alternative is to stay indoors and wait for summer.

In case you’re interested, here’s what I’ll have on, from bottom to top:

Feet: Thin pair of ski sox, Hotronics boot warmers, Boot Gloves (these go over my boots) with a toe warmer heat pack placed underneath it.

Legs: three pair of base layers (Hot Chilly’s micro-fleece, Smart Wool, Mountain Hardware Power Stretch Tight), Cloudveil Madison Pants.

Torso: Thin baselayer followed by heavier one; Patagonia Nano Puff pullover; EMS Prima-Loft layering piece; Cloudveil Down Patrol jacket

Face: Definitely a face mask & goggles

On my head: My Smith Variant helmet

Whew! Sounds like a lot to go through, just to have some outdoor fun. I feel kind of like an astronaut gearing up for a space walk. Or a scuba diver getting ready for a big dive. Will I look beautiful? No. Will I stay warm? Hopefully. Am I crazy? Probably.

As I said in the beginning, everyone’s tolerance of the cold is different. There’s even a discussion about it on TheSkiDiva.com.

The bottom line is you have to do what you can to stay as warm as possible, avoid frostbite, and have fun. Let’s hope that’s in the cards for me today.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.



1. Maureen - January 23, 2011

I went skiing at Cannon yesterday in New Hampshire. It started off at -14 degrees. We dressed warm and it turned out to be one of the best skiing days so far. The cold scared off the crowds. There were no people, no wind, blue bird skies and awesome conditions

2. Wendy - January 23, 2011

Agreed. A beautiful day yesterday. I skied at Sugarloaf, and it was great! Sunny, blue skies, no wind. Not bad crowds, either.

3. Harvey44 - January 26, 2011

You can cross country ski, or telemark at lower temps. Alpine skiing (and boots) combined with lift-served skiing is definitely the coldest combination. Seems like 40 below is the outer limit. Hope your day was great.

4. My Life Outdoors - February 9, 2011

I recently skiied at Ski Cooper in CO with a high of -22F. The wind chill was -40F. I don’t get to ski but once or twice a year so I wasn’t going to miss a day! I was the first on the lift and the lifty said “your crazy” as the chair departed! I got in 9 runs that day. Had to take a break after ever three runs to warm up! Still a great day of skiing!

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