This may sound like a title of a cheesy pop song, but it is one of the most important things to enjoying your ski day. When I got back into skiing a few years ago, I, like most people, wondered about keeping my hands and feet warm. Having cold hands or feet is a big factor in people not even trying skiing or giving up skiing after 1 day, but with the help of boot warming technology, we can overcome this problem.
For me, it was a slight problem with my hands and more so with my feet since I did some damage to them in high school. I was able to manage my hands by wearing a good pair of mittens, which tend to work better than gloves. Sometimes, if conditions warrant it, I will wear a light liner glove underneath the mitten to provide some extra warmth.
Keeping the feet warm was going to more difficult. Everybody you talk to has a solution and the internet has even more solutions, but what would be best for me? I had several ideas, but now I had to try them where it mattered the most — on the ski hill.
I went for a full season trying different ideas trying to figure out how to keep my feet warm while skiing. During that season of trial and error, my ski day was as follows: I would usually start skiing right when the lifts opened and after one and half hours maximum, I would have to go into the lodge to warm my feet. Now this may not sound so unreasonable for a lot a people, but this was unacceptable for me because I would only pick warm days on which to ski. If it was minus 25, I would be okay with this, but most of my ski days were only around minus 5, which is normally a perfect winter day. Once in the lodge, depending on how cold my feet were, I would often take my boots off and walk around in my socks for a total of 30 to 45 minutes to regain warmth and circulation. I would use this time in the lodge not only to warm my feet, but, also, to complain about my cold feet to any one that would listen. I would get either a nod from people or blanks stares. For the rest of the day I would alternate one to one and half hours skiing and then 30 minutes to warm up and complain. Usually the warm ups after the initial one in the morning would not involve taking my boots off but still plenty of complaining to no one in particular. I would often find that the first time I came in was the worst. I was not sure if it was the colder temperatures in the morning or the gaining heat throughout the day with activity that led to this difference.
The following was my solution after a year of skiing in the aforementioned manner:
- Boots in the car, not in the trunk.
- Boot warmers on in the car while driving to the hill.
- Heated socks.
The first thing I would recommend is bringing your boots into the vehicle. The inside of your vehicle is a lot warmer than the trunk. I would put my boots on the front floor with the heat turned down to the feet. This not only warms the boots, but also makes them a little bit softer flexing to put on.
The next thing to help warm the boots while in the car was a Sidas boot warmer/dryer, which has a regular plug and 12v for your vehicle. I would first use this in my boots while getting dressed in the morning. This helps get the unit warm for the cold car. Then plug the warmer/dryer in while driving to the hill so that the boots would be nice and warm when arriving for the skiing day. After the ski day, I would also use this on the way back from the hill to help dry the boots.
The third and most important thing for me was getting heated socks. I was not sure whether I should go with the heated insole method or with the heat sock method. I was leaning towards the heated insole method because I have big feet and a large calf, which I was quite certain would make the socks a no go. I was surprised when the Therm-ic sock fit and I ended up going this direction to warmer feet.
The socks I got came with a battery that lasts 5 to 12 hours (this has improved even more now) depending on the setting. How high you turn the socks up is a trade-off with how long the battery will last. The new socks have improved battery times. I usually use the lowest setting, but often have to turn them up to the second or third setting for periods during the day for a little boost if I feel my feet getting colder. I have not had the batteries go dead before the end of the ski day.
I now begin each ski day by putting the socks on and turning them on to the lowest setting. This is done either before I leave or once I am at the hill. Do not wait to turn the socks on once your feet have gotten cold – this is not the intent of the product. Often the lowest setting is good enough to keep my feet warm throughout the day.
Now my ski day consists of staying out longer. When I do come in, I usually do not have to remove my ski boots and I complain much less than before. More time is spent skiing, and less time warming up and complaining.
Finding a method to keep your feet warm will lead you to enjoy your ski day more by having happy, warm feet.