Skiing and snowboarding in Canada is some of the best in the world with deep powder and views to make you weep. If you’re skiing during January it can be super cold, but if you’re prepared ahead of time then you’ll ensure you have the best time on the slopes.

The blue skies can be deceiving so keep an eye on resort mountain reports for the most up-to-date conditions on the mountain.

And, when you’re feeling cold, don’t push it. Give yourself a warm-up break with a hot chocolate.

Layer Up

It’s all about the base layers when it comes to warmth, keep that core warm with quality thermal under or base layers. This helps by wicking sweat away from the body keeping you dry and warm.

The next layer is a good fleece or puffy mid-layer to add extra warmth. The last and final layer is your coat and snow pants. This layer is important in stopping the elements.

“When you’re getting cold temperatures and wind chills in the minus double digits, no exposed skin,” says Kris Hawryluik, Director of Ski Patrol at Big White.

“Start at the base layer. No cotton against your skin. And buy good thermal layers.”

Hawryluik also says it’s also important to look out for signs of frostbite on yourself and on your ski buddies.

“The early stages of frostbite is frostnip – when the skin is red in appearance,” Hawryluik explains.

“Frostnip can be re-warmed with an ungloved hand. Frostbite is when the skin becomes translucent, almost see-through in appearance, and it is a medical emergency that must be treated indoors and not exposed to refreeze afterwards.”

If you suspect you or one of your friends has frostbite, seek medical advice immediately.

The big five

Besides your basic outerwear, we recommend the following five items as essential during cold snaps: Merino wool or synthetic thermal underwear; face and head protection such as a balaclava or neck tube; warm and waterproof gloves or mittens; hand and toe warmers; and goggles not sunglasses, as they protect the face from wind burn.

And, it’s important to remember that in cold like this, looking “steezy” (ski lingo for stylish) takes a back seat.

Pee before you ski!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but your body takes up an incredible amount of energy to keep your pee warm. Use that energy instead to warm up your fingers, toes and nose!


Invest in heated ski boots. While they may seem like a luxury, if you have bad circulation, these will be a lifesaver.


Use hand and toe warmers. Available for purchase at most on mountain retail stores,  one-time use hand and toe warmers can turn your chair lift rides from miserable to manageable.

Stay warm, and we’ll see you out there!