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What to Wear in Winter

Let’s play! We all know that getting your body moving will keep you warm. But how you layer up depends on the activity.
Top image caption: Image credit Mike Derblich

Published on December 20, 2016

Whether taking to the trails on foot or bike, slapping on skates, or standing around as your kids roll in the snow, no one wants to be freezing or overheating when they’re having fun outside.

It’s a balance that Alex Legum, Evergreen’s Project Leader for Active Living, knows well. Our resident layering expert offers these tips on how to gear up so you can enjoy the great outdoors in even the coldest temperatures.

Strolling: 

If your outdoor time is more standing than moving, add some extra layers. Try a base layer (thin and moisture-wicking socks, gloves, shirts and tights), mid-layer (insulating heavier wool) and wind or water-resistant outer layer. Pay extra attention to toes, ears, nose and fingers (it’s not worth texting) as these are the most common areas for frostbite. If you begin to get too cold, a quick walk or hike will bring your core temperature up very quickly.

TIP: Pack a bag. In addition to water, snacks and a first aid kit, a bag lets you layer and de-layer depending on the activity. Don’t forget sunscreen – UV reflection off the snow can be even more damaging than the summer sun, especially with the added dangers of frostbite and windburn.

Hiking: 

Sweat can be just as dangerous as too few layers, so prepared to unzip and vent your outer layer when you’re more active. Consider a liner glove within your mittens in case you get too warm. Gaiters – a water-resistant layer that goes over your footwear and shins - help keep feet warm and snow out of your boots and are better ventilated than a full-on waterproof pant.

TIP: Warm gently when you get back inside so you don’t damage your skin. Try to avoid thawing and then going right back out – freeze-thaw at cold temperatures can increase your risk of frostbite.

Biking:

Thin well-fitted layers are key for riding as bulky clothes can get caught up in tires. Windproof clothing and mittens, or a lobster-style glove that allows easier shifting, will help keep you warmer. Here are more do’s and don’ts when cycling in winter.

TIP: Bike or anti-fogging ski goggles are great for sub-zero temperatures. Helmets are a must as falls on ice are unexpected. Be sure that the helmet, goggles and hat all work together.

Skating:

Warm, wool socks are great but ineffective if they are too tight in your boot. Make sure you can move your toes to keep circulation moving. Take warming breaks indoors.

TIP: New to skating? No problem. Evergreen Brick Works has learn-to-skate programs for kids and adults on its outdoor skating rink.

Just plain playing:

Waterproof outer layers are a must to keep everyone happy in the snow. Bring a change of clothes, especially gloves, if you’re playing outside with little ones. Kids may not tell you when their feet are wet, so inspect for signs of frostbite regularly and when returning indoors. Warm gently and swap in dry clothes immediately.

TIP: Numbness or pain is good indicator that it’s time to get inside for a warming break. With extreme windchill or weather below -15 C, it may be safer to stay indoors.

Need to warm the inside? After embracing the winter in the valley, head over to the Sipping Container at Evergreen Brick Works for coffee, tea, hot chocolate and apple cider, plus some holiday favourites like mulled wine and eggnog.