A Summer Baby Learns to Deal with Winter…By Buying the Right Clothes, Winter Series 1 of 5
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO- I’ve always been a summer person. Just a year ago, I can distinctly remember telling my cousin during a sweltering, eighty-degree-day in May that I would much rather walk around in shorts and flip flops, sweating my ass off, than be in a place where I needed a coat. Odd statement for someone that was moving to Alaska just a few short weeks later.
I suppose I never really encountered an environment in which I’d enjoy winter. To me, it always meant numb extremities, a biting wind, and a sun that set far too early.
In November I moved to Steamboat Springs to work here for the ski season. I’m a serial hourly weather checker, and I distinctly remember looking at the forecast for Steamboat the day before I left, back in sunny Davis, CA, and almost dropping my phone when I saw that the current temp was 7 degrees. At that moment, I braced myself for an entire new world, knowing that virtually none of the clothes I was bringing with me would make the cut.
It seems antithetical that spending more time in the cold means that I’d like it more…but that’s become the case. You’d be surprised how quickly your body re-calibrates, and what it now can put up with. My job requires me to spend long stints outside in the cold, oftentimes hopelessly soliciting folks for a photograph in what can only be described as blizzard-like conditions. Yet there's really no alternative for me other than to grin and bear it. There is no quitting, or leaving early.
I quickly learned to keep handwarmers and toewarmers in my bag at all times, just in case. I learned that mittens, not gloves, are the key to keeping your hands warm. A good pair of liners doesn’t hurt either. Long underwear is a must: it’s simply not an option to leave the house without them, under virtually any circumstance. Don’t just have one beanie—get three, because you’ll be wearing it every, single, day. A neck warmer isn’t enough; you’ll really need something that goes over your entire head, leaving no part of your body untouched. The difference between spending ten dollars on a base layer and spending a hundred dollars on a base layer is significant; the ten dollar one simply won’t stand up to the cold as well.
Copping out on your gear and buying clothing that is not well made is a short-term solution, and one you’ll quickly regret after a few weeks. As someone that often likes to cut corners in an effort to save a little bit of coin, this proved difficult. Fortunately, the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized that it really does pay off to spend a good bit of money on gear that is sturdy and will last you for a few seasons. Not only will you have it for next year, you’ll be much happier this year because you’ll be prepared.
Winter can actually be fun. Sure, it’s cold…but once you learn how to properly deal with the cold—namely, buying the proper gear, you’ll be fine. You might even learn to like it.