QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Whether you’re a new skier or seasoned snowboarder, you may have stepped outside in the last couple days and asked yourself the question. How cold is too cold?
With temperatures in the single digits on Tuesday and set to cap out in the 20s on Wednesday, it’s a good time to ask. NEWS10 asked West Mountain ski center if the mercury dipping too far below freezing can lead to any changes in terms of what winter sports lovers should expect. If that point exists, it hasn’t come this week.
“These temperatures are not out of the ordinary for the winter season, and especially considering temperatures of years past and what would be experienced out west or at higher altitude mountains,” said ski center owner Spencer Montgomery. “In the Rockies, it would not be out of the ordinary to start the day skiing in mid-winter above zero degrees.”
The New York State Ski Code lays out guidelines for safe skiing on state mountains. It includes rules such as only skiing in designated areas, and abiding by rules set by whoever is running the slopes. The code doesn’t include any specific mention of temperatures dipping to a level that could make enjoying a mountain unsafe, but does advise skiers not to go too far beyond their limits, either in trail complexity or weather conditions.
Some more thoughts on how to keep the icy temperatures from impeding on the fun do, however, come from the North Country’s neighbor to the east. Ski Vermont has a page of information dedicated to taking on the slopes, no matter how long temperatures get.
For those headed to West, Gore, Whiteface or elsewhere, the advice is as straightforward as it is essential. Ski Vermont, which lists mountains and ski conditions across the state, recommends wearing a base layer that wicks moisture, followed by one to two insulating layers, capped off with an outer layer that resists water and wind. A beanie under the helmet can make a world of difference, and covering any exposed skin can keep one from a world of frostbite-induced hurt.
Outside of what you wear, it’s also important to think about what you eat. The site warns against skipping breakfast, because the strength to ski and keep the body regulated at the same time burns a lot of calories.
“Think of that stack of pancakes and cheeseburger as a bundle of kindling and a chunk of cordwood,” Ski Vermont advises. “Eat adequate meals and keep an energy bar or two in the pocket of your parka for a between-runs boost.”
If you’re planning a trip to West Mountain or anywhere else, those are the tips that will keep you warm and ready for your first run of the day, or your 12th. The mountain operates daily. Weather conditions are expected to climb back up for a couple days, and then plummet down to the single digits again come the weekend. But Montgomery isn’t worried.
“For us at West Mountain, it is a welcome, crisp blue-bird day, and an opportunity to make dry, powder-like snow in large quantities. No complaints here.”