You love that mountain high of skiing and snowboarding—but maybe not the helmet hair and wind-burn that comes with it. Here's how to deal
Snow is falling and the mountains are calling: 'Tis the season for winter sports! Whether you're blasting through moguls, throwing tricks on the half-pipe, or just enjoying the fresh powder, hitting the slopes is one of life's greatest pleasures. All that fun can come with a cost though, thanks to the harsh winter weather. You've probably experienced all of these things after a day on the mountain—here's how to keep them from banishing you to the lodge for any portion of the day. (Plus, try one of these 7 Winter Workouts to Switch Up Your Routine.)
Skiing and boarding are as much exercise as they are fun. Consider that a full day on the slopes is basically eight hours of holding a squat and those aching muscles aren't much of a mystery anymore.
The remedy: A nice long bath with epsom salts. The magnesium in the salts will help relax taut muscles and the warm water will ease the soreness.
There's nothing like conquering a run to make you a crack a smile. Unfortunately, sometimes your smile will literally crack, thanks to all that wind, cold, and sun.
The remedy: A sport-specific lip balm with emollients to seal in moisture and sunscreen to keep your lips from burning. If it's particularly cold or snowy out, a ski mask or neck gaiter that can be pulled up to your goggles is a must. (We'd like to recommend these 12 Beauty Products for Gorgeous Winter Skin as well.)
Brilliant, white snow is one of the most beautiful parts of skiing or boarding, but all those tiny ice crystals are excellent reflectors, meaning that you're getting hit from above and below with sunshine. Combine that with the thinner air at higher altitudes and you're at serious risk for a sunburn—and not just in the usual spots. Any exposed skin, including up your nostrils, under your chin, and inside your ears is fair game for a burn.
The remedy: Don't forget the sweat-proof sunscreen! Just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't burn. Tuck a stick in your coat pocket; it will be easier to reapply every couple of hours than a messy liquid.
Sitting down for lunch and taking off your helmet (you are wearing a helmet, right?) can transform you from Rapunzel to Rasputin. The top part of your hair is plastered to your head while the bottom part is wind-whipped into a tangle. and the whole mess is static-y from dry air.
The remedy: There's a reason braids are so popular among pro female skiers and boarders! Skip the pony and pull your hair into two French braids. Leave them down or tuck them into your coat. (These 3 Cute and Easy Gym Hairstyles could work too.)
Squinting to see changes in the snow, bright sunlight, blizzarding snow, and dry air can leave you seeing red in more ways than one.
The remedy: Sunglasses may look chic but when it comes to snow sports, goggles are a girl's best friend. Get a pair that's tinted and ventilated along the sides to keep you comfy. A bottle of eye drops tucked in your coat pocket wouldn't hurt either.
Skiing weather means you're covered from head to toe—almost. Unless you're wearing a mask, your nose, cheeks, and chin are getting blasted by the freezing wind. Often you don't even feel how wind-burned you really are until the ride home when your cheeks start stinging.
The remedy: Wearing a mask, scarf, or gaiter pulled up over your face can prevent this, but it can also make you feel claustrophobic. Keep a thick barrier lotion, like Aquaphor, handy to soothe burned skin.
Stiff boots that hold your feet in one position are a necessity for staying steady on your board or skis (unless you're Telemarking, lucky dogs). But your tight footwear can lead to blisters, pressure sores, numb toes, arch spasms, and other unpleasantries.
The remedy: Bring your regular snow boots to the lodge so you can give your feet a break without hiking out to your car. In addition, keeping a Ziploc bag with Band-Aids and athletic tape can keep problems from getting worse.
There's tired and then there's just-spent-a-day-on-the-mountain tired. The combination of using your muscles in a new way, the higher altitude, thinner air, and cold weather can cure even the worst insomniac. But a big contributor to exhaustion is dehydration—and thanks to a lack of drinking fountains on the slopes, dry air, and sweating, you lose water a lot faster than you think.
The remedy: Stay hydrated throughout the day by bringing a water bottle in a backpack or making sure you're making regular pitstops at the lodge to get a drink. And plan an easy night when you get home so you can sack out when you're ready. (You can also start adding these 10 Tips for Everlasting Energy to your regular routine.)
Ever look off the lift and think about how all the little kids look like giant marshmallows in their snow gear? Giant, puffy, delicious marshmallows? If skiing or boarding makes you ravenous, you're not alone. The average woman burns between 300 and 500 calories an hour while tearing up the slopes.
The remedy: Carry snacks. In your coat, in your car, in a backpack, in the lodge: Hide some treats loaded with protein and carbs to help repair your muscles and keep your energy up. And if you're one of those who likes to ski until the lift closes and worry about food later (we get it!), energy gels and gu's, like endurance runners use, can keep you going until you can find a real meal.
You freeze your butt off on the lift ride up and then sweat through your shirt on the run down. Repeat over the course of the day and you have a very uncomfortable underwear situation.
The remedy: Nobody likes to be cold and wet (one or the other is fine, but both together is misery) so layer wisely. Start off with a thin, wicking base layer, add a warm fleece or sweater, and then top with your winter coat and snow pants. You can ditch the middle layer if the day heats up, or just unzip the vents in your coat. Always keep a dry set of clothes in your car for the ride home. (Here's how to Winter-Proof Your Workout Clothes.)
Endorphin rushes during exercise are nothing new, but you haven't lived until you've experienced a mountain high! It's the feeling that makes all the rest of this list worth it, and why you know you'll be back up on the slopes the next chance you get—sore feet, sunburned nostrils and all.