Winter survival skills
Dan’s parents are gracious hosts, and all of us, Dan and his sister and bro-in-law keep each other good company while we are together here at Christmas time. This is my second Christmas in Quebec but there is always so much for me to see and learn here because it is not where I grew up.
Snow, in all its forms still attracts me. Powdery snow flakes, crystally warming snow, hard-packed brick snow, icy non-snow, icy snow covering softer snow in a semi-hard shell reminding me of chocolate over ice cream kind of snow. This is probably like someone visiting Florida and seeing its torrential rain and lightning storms for the first time.
Every year I somewhat master one new ‘winter survival’ skill. Last year was me versus the scarf. Every time I turned around I was tangled in my scarf, or it would be flying around, or in my way as I tried to unlock doors, just awkward. I feel more competent in this department now, though no promises.
This year I learned more about insulation.
Winter Survival Lesson 1: Ski clothes and walking around in a snow clothes are not the same thing.
When you ski/snowboard/etc you generate body heat in greater proportions, duh. You need layers, but it’s more important that you have full range of motion and that your sweat doesn’t stick to you (i.e. moisture-wicking fabrics). When you are just going to be walking around and sliding down hills, you need more thickness, ie heat retention. This means generally puffier pants, thicker hats, more insulated underwear. Layers are still a good thing. It wasn’t sooo cold when we went to the Village des Sports, but it was not really cold at all with the proper attire. Dan’s mom gave us these hand and feet warmers which I used after lunch and I was good until when we left, after dark, with those in my mittens.
I had a nasty mishap where I fell off my tube, while attached with the 5 other tubes (it’s really fun that you can ride down together), but I was flipped out of mine as we continued down the mountain, sliding on my left wrist down over half the run. I turned onto my stomach at the end and ended up with some ‘road rash’ there as well. Awesome. Maybe I should have let go, but we were going very fast and my split second decision was to hold on! My wrist is all scraped up and bruised, but no broken bones – luckily.
I guess I got two lessons this year.
Winter Survival Lesson 2: When sliding down a mountain in a tube where you have no control, tuck your feet and hold on to every available handle.
I also felt safer putting my feet in the center of tied together tubes, even if that isn’t most convenient (because of everyone else already has their feet there!!)