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We would estimate, based on nothing more than many seasons of observation,
that 60% or more, of recreational Skiers/Boarders do not take advantage of the
warmth capabilities of the exterior garments they already own. This is largely due to a
lack of either attention or correct knowledge applied to details, particularly around
the 4 perimeter seals of Neck, Waist, and both Wrists.
Any source of heat loss from these critical areas reduces your body’s ability
to retain or distribute core heat to all extremities. Conversely, any improvement
in insulating and/or sealing theses critical areas means everything stays warmer
and takes less energy to do so.
Of all of these, the one that stands out as most critical and sometimes least
understood, is Heat Loss and/or Cold Migration around the Neck/Head.
Total Heat Loss through the top of the human head is estimated at around 70%,
and while the exact percentage is greatly debated, it is acknowledged as the
single largest point of heat loss, so controlling insulation and cold air migration
around, and to the head through the gateway of the neck can be deduced as
an extremely important element in the equation.
What we see there as the biggest functional error is the Improper Use of Hoods
in very cold weather.
It is not uncommon to see people winging down the Mountain with Hood up and
over the head, and wind pressure puffing the Hood out to the full dimensions of
a ballon around the face of the Skier/Boarder. That retained wind pressure within
the hood has no way to go except around the head and/or down the neck and into
the interior cavity of the jacket... exactly where you don’t want cold air, but there it
goes anyway, thanks to Relative forward airspeed of the moving person and the
consequent Cold Air Entrapment of the Hood.
Example Pic: Hood Scoop Air Speed Wind Pressurized...
With all due respect to this person, who is actually an Excellent Skier...
The only place the cold air entrapped by their hood can go, is straight
down their back. There is no other way for the contained pressure to go.
Hoods are impossible to seal correctly at Speed and we recommend they never be
used when in forward motion. The head should be independently insulated and wind
protected by the proper fit of a Helmet and Goggles Interface together with a Balaclava,
and the neck should be independently sealed by either one or two overlapping neck
warmers and the Full Closure of the Jacket Collar Zipper Overlap.
Additionally, even the most basic of Helmets is vastly warmer than any Toque,
not to mention the obvious safety benefits. So, forget the hood... remove it completely
if possible, and concentrate on covering/sealing/insulating Neck/Head separately
to eliminate any possibility of cold air ingress to the Jacket.
In Our Opinion, there are only three appropriate Cold-Winter Ski/Board uses for a Hood.
1) When Stationary with Zero Facing or Cross Wind.
2) When Wind is Only at your Back.
3) When Very Tightly Drawstring Sealed around face if you have no other head covering.
Otherwise, all a hood does is trap forward moving cold air pressure around the head
where there is no other escape for it other that to be forced down into the interior
of the jacket... exactly what you don’t need.
What we see that is especially troubling is parents that bundle up Little Johnny
or Little Julie in hoods with the best of intentions, and then we see these kids
after a half hour of vigorous action, whipping down the Mountain in their
classes with the hoods all loose and puffed out like an air-bag and it’s -15C.
Additional Dressing for “Cool” to follow...
Further to the above:
Dressing for the Morning Cool is not as difficult as you might expect.
Virtually all Price Ranges of currently available Winter Garments have
the benefit of Modern, Engineered Fabrics, Fibres and Features. We think
the most important features are Zippered Vents on the Torso and a Skirting
at the Waist in combination with the subject of this chapter...
TWO Neck warmers to Overlap twice around the Collar/Neck between
Base and Mid layers.
Let’s look more closely at two neck warmer reasons and installation.
Believe it or not... the two neck warmers are a very inexpensive, but potentially
critical element in preventing cold air migration into your inner envelop. Consider
that the stance of a Skier or Boarder in motion is inclined towards the Fall-Line,
i.e. when you descend, you face down the slope. That forward inclination allows
any gap around your collar/neck to act as an air Scoop and at Ski/Board Speeds and
-20C something +/-, even a couple of millimetres, an 1/8th inch, can inject enough
cold air over a run to make you feel cold. If you have multiple small gaps, you can
feel cold in a few hundred yards at speed.
Here’s how you use them...
The first, or base layer neck warmer gets put over the turned up collar
of the layer closest to your neck. For really cold weather, a T-shirt is
insufficient, a “Polo” style collar is what works best, and when covered by
the first neck warmer, makes an effective inner barrier. Next, our recommended
mid-layer is a performance fleece with a stand-up collar, over which the second
neck warmer is installed, but with it’s upper edge above the top of the fleece
collar as close to the lower edge of your helmet as possible, tucked in under
the rear lower edge of the helmet, if possible. Next is the fully zipped up
stand-up collar of your jacket, your outer layer. What you now have is
a quadruple overlapping insulated neck to jacket interface that is extremely
wind/cold resistant, and helps conserve both body and head warmth.
Neck warmers cost “Cheap”, they last “Forever” and can therefore be a huge
value/asset far beyond their cost, for comfort.
Obviously, you don’t need them most of the time, but for really cold days,
$10.00 spent on an extra can make a huge difference for years to come and
if it’s in your Ski Kit Bag, use it or not as needed. Simple, Effective.