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Three Tips for Playing Outdoors in Winter

People who spend a lot of time outside in the winter know that it’s never too cold, it’s just a question of dressing properly. A few tips on how to gear up appropriately for winter will help you feel cozy and warm even when the temperature drops well below zero. With the right clothing and accessories, and a few precautionary measures, you can make winter your own and have plenty of fun outside. Read on!

It’s all about multi-layering

Winter sports enthusiasts know the secret is to layer up like an onion, which is proven to work even when it drops below minus-twenty.

The first layer against your skin must both absorb perspiration and evacuate it, as dampness is the thankless friend of freezing temperatures. Because cotton retains moisture, for example, it’s most definitely not recommended as an under-layer—so put away your summer t-shirts for the season. Instead, you’ll want fitted long thermal underwear made of synthetic fibre that’s designed to keep you comfortable and dry.

Over top of the underlayer, add an insulating layer that’s designed to keep in the body’s heat while keeping out the cold. This layer must be comfortable and ample enough so that you can move easily and unencumbered. Fleece, polar fleece and natural wool are great insulators that retain warm air in their fibres.

Finally, cover up with a protective layer that serves as a barrier against the wind, snow or rain. It should be waterproof but made of a breathable fabric that can evacuate perspiration. This shell can also have insulating properties to complement the effect of the second layer, especially when it’s extremely cold or during activities such as snowmobiling that generate little body heat.

Protect your extremities

In freezing weather, the risk of frostbite to your feet, hands, nose or ears is real. To deal with the cold, the body concentrates its energy, and thus its heat, around its vital areas, leaving the extremities in need of cover and warmth.

It’s true what they say: you lose half your body’s heat from your head! So wear a tuque that covers your ears and head well. A headband will only do the job in mild weather.

Keep your throat and neck covered with a scarf or collar. When it’s truly Siberian outside, or if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, wear a mask or full-face balaclava to cover up the face.

When it comes to your hands, mittens are just as comfy as you imagine them to be. They preserve heat better than gloves, although they limit your finger dexterity. Whether you buy mittens or gloves, make sure they are insulated well and waterproof yet breathable.

Last but not least come your feet. You need to keep them dry and well-protected from friction. Get yourself insulated boots that are waterproof. To ensure they’re the right size, slip them on over a pair of insulated, breathable socks when you try them on. For the socks, a mix of synthetic fibre and wool effectively protects your feet from getting damp while keeping them warm and comfortable.

Protect your eyes

The sun’s reflection off the snow can harm your eyes. Photophthalmia, for example, is an eye inflammation with symptoms like stinging, redness and tearing. Before going outside to play, put on high-quality sunglasses that give you perfect visibility of the relief of the terrain, particularly if you’re hitting the ski slopes.

Take the time to select the glasses that match the type of activity, your eye sensitivity and the environment you’ll be in. For example, some sunglasses that bring out colours are perfect if you’re skiing between trees, while other lenses bring out the relief, which is what you need in more “white-out” conditions.

Adaptable clothing, accessories designed for the snow, ski masks or sunglasses: gearing up right means you can play in the snow for hours and hours. There’s no need to fear the winter, when you can embrace it and make it your playground!

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