How cold is too cold to ski?

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 01/23/11 •  2 min read

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 and 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

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.


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