When the mercury drops, keeping your fingers and toes warm can feel like a full-time job. If numb fingers are usually the crux of your ski day, follow these tips.
Tips for warming cold hands.
Bring hand warmers.
Put a pair in your pockets for warm-up poses, or use them to warm up your spare gloves. (Be sure to open the heated packs an hour or two before you start skiing so they have time to activate).
Warm your heart.
Often, cold hands are a symptom of a cold body. Add an insulating layer and/or start skiing. As soon as the blood begins to circulate, your hands should warm up.
Release your grip.
Do your fingers go numb while hiking? You may be holding onto your poles too much. The action of squeezing the poles can impair your blood circulation. Try using a thinner or more grippy glove so you can relax your hands.
Make circles with the arms.
Rotate your arms in circles as large and as fast as possible. The shoulder work will warm you up and the force of the swing will get the warm blood flowing through your fingertips.
Keep spare gloves in your jacket.
Bring another pair of downhill gloves (hiking gloves tend to sweat). While hiking, keep your downhill gloves in your pockets or between your base layer and your midlayer. When it comes time to descend, they will be hot. (Store your hiking gloves in one place to keep them warm until the next transition).
Upgrade your hand clothes.
Do you have cold hands? You may need to upgrade your gloves. A thicker or more wind resistant glove can make a huge difference. Mittens are also much warmer than finger gloves.
Put your hands in your armpits.
When your fingers start to go numb, the tried and true trick is to stop, put on your puffy jacket, take off your gloves, and place your hands against the warmest parts of your body (your armpits, neck, or elder). Keep them that way until they are completely warmed through, even if it takes a few minutes.
Do the penguin.
There are many circulation-promoting dance moves that winter-lovers use to warm up their hands. Or the favorite: The penguin. With your arms by your sides, straighten your palms at right angles to your sides. Shrug your shoulders up and down. You should be able to feel warm blood circulating in your wrists.
Hydration makes a big difference in your circulation. Stop regularly for tea or hot cocoa breaks. Also, be sure to eat plenty of fats and carbs throughout the day so your body has enough fuel to warm up.
Tips for warming cold feet.
Loosen your boots.
Restoring circulation can do wonders for cold toes. If that’s not enough, you may be wearing socks that are too thick or the wrong size boots.
Do the hypothermia dance.
It’s a time-tested classic, you look really cool doing it, and it really works.
First, untie your boots. Then do 10 squats and 10 leg swings. Repeat until you feel warm blood rushing to your extremities.
Add an extra layer of pants.
You can have the warmest boots in the world, but if you lose heat through your legs, you will always have cold feet. The secret lies in the layering. Add thicker base layers or put on shells to keep in the heat.
Bring extra socks.
Nothing absorbs heat like damp clothes. When you make the transition, replace the sweaty hiking socks with a new pair of woolen socks. Your feet will thank you.
Take extreme measures.
Do you have chronically cold feet? Heated socks now exist (and they work). What a time to be alive.