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Sometimes you just have to bundle up

January 7, 2010

Building on Kristen’s theme of warmth, I thought I’d share my experiences from a recenti trip. Just after New Year’s, my boyfriend and I traveled with a group of friend to Appalachain Ski Mountain in North Carolina. It was nice just to get away, and we got to experience a great deal of snow.

As someone who has lived in some part of the South my entire life, I’m obviously not accustomed to sub-zero wind chills or hiking through the snow. The cabin we stayed at was within walking distance from the ski lodge, and since none of us had much experience driving on icy/snowy roads, we tried to minimize driving as much as possible.

When you’re traveling into such dangerous conditions, it’s important to be prepared. I had been skiing once before, so I already had ski pants, a heavy-duty ski coat and waterproof gloves. I bought these items years ago, so to be honest, I don’t remember how much they cost. I think most of my ski apparel came from Dick’s Sporting Goods (or it might have been Gallyan’s at the time). But if you do have time and patience to shop around, you can find great deals. For instance, my boyfriend found an Izod coat for 70 percent off at Prime Outlets in Calhoun. He also found his ski bib on sale at Academy in Athens.

If you already know what you’re looking for, you can find good deals online, either on store Web sites or even through eBay and Amazon. Pay attention to words such as waterproof and insulated. But as much as I enjoy and appreciate shopping online, if I’m buying something I’m not accustomed to purchasing, I like to feel the material in person and usually try the item on.

Other pieces to keep in mind: layers of tall socks, clothes for layering underneath actual ski clothes (depending on temperatures), something to cover your ears (I prefer a simple headband I use for running), a hat, goggles and maybe even a face mask. I was skeptical of wearing a ski mask (not cute at all), but after the trek from our cabin to the ski lodge, I was more than happy to hand over $13 for one.

Speaking of trekking, you’ll also need shoes for the snow. My rain boots from Target worked out well for waterproofing my feet, and the rubber even gripped pretty well on ice. For an extended period of time outside, though, I would have needed more insulation than my three pairs of socks and boots.

Although making sure you don’t freeze is the most important factor, there are also ways to work in fashion. Since I haven’t spent much time around the slops, I’m also no expert on ski/snowboarding fashion. But from what I saw, it can be pretty eccentric. You could almost tell who the regulars were (aside from their skill) by how they dressed. Bright colors, crazy patterns and goofy hats especially were donned by seasoned snowboarders. It was pretty cool just to people-watch along the way. (Everything I know about snowboarding/snowboarders, I learned from Johnny Tsunami.) Looking back, I wish I’d taken picture of these getups to share here.

From higashifashion.com

From squidoo.com

From snowshack.com

We all stuck with skiing, though, because it seemed much easier to learn, and it was cheaper. For our ski outfits, my boyfriend and I, as well as several others in our group, stuck with red, black and white for obvious reasons. They are colors we generally already have in our wardrobe, so the coat can be worn in real life.

I don't enjoy being cold, so I made sure no skin was exposed. Click on the image to view it larger, and you can see one of the snowboarders with one of the more tame-colored patterns.

Because I wasn’t looking to spend even more money, and I was more concerned about warmth than looking good, the only purchase I made for my wardrobe was the ski mask. One thing I would have liked, had they not been so expensive, was a patterned hat with ear flaps. To me, it simply wasn’t worth it since I’m rarely in weather that would warrant such a purchase.

Even though I pride myself on being more a creature of warm environments, I had a great time on my ski vacation. And now that I’m back in Atlanta, it seems the cold weather followed us — though it’s not nearly as extreme. The other night when we got back in town to 30 degree weather, our first observation was, “Wow, it’s warm here!”

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