If you're an avid skier who spends a lot of time on the mountain, you've probably skied on all types of snow - powder, corn, hardpacked, and spring snow. One thing that these different types of snow have in common is they're all made from water that inevitably finds its way through your gloves and clothing, leaving you soggy, wet and cold. Wet gear is not only comfortable, but 25 times colder than dry gear and breeds harmful fungus and bacteria.
The secret to staying warm and dry when you're frolicking in winter weather is to start with quality equipment - especially your gloves. Although you can find inexpensive winter gloves in department stores at the mall, the best place to buy gloves that are designed for skiing is in a ski or outdoor shop. Ski gloves are typically a little more expensive and bulkier than those you'll find at The Gap but are made to endure the stressors of outdoor play. Made with high-grade leather and rugged stitching, ski gloves also are made with special fabrics that repel water on the outside while absorbing moisture on the inside. Look for gloves made by Grandoe, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Spyder, Swany or The North Face. If your budget will allow for more than one pair of gloves, leave a spare pair down in your car or locker. Change into them as soon as your gloves get wet.
To prevent cold, wet feet, start by examining your ski boots. Ski boots should not have cracks or seams in the shells that allow water in, regardless of how old they are. If your boots do develop cracks, stop by your local ski shop. They may be able to repair them by repairing the shells or sealing the fissures with silicone glue.
Even something as mundane as your socks can mean the difference between a great day on the slopes and a miserable day in the lodge. Most professional skiers use specially designed socks made from blends of nylon, wool and other synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your feet, keeping them warm and dry. Skisocks.com carries a variety of quality ski socks by Salomon, Defeet, Rhino, Bridgedale, Wigwam, and Thorlos. Buy several pairs and carry a dry pair in your parka pocket.
After all of your best intentions have still left you with soggy gear, it's time to break out the big guns - glove and boot dryers. Glove and boot dryers are a staple in the locker rooms of professional ski instructors, ski patrolmen, and anyone else who spends their career working in frigid weather. Dryers come in a variety of models from lightweight, portable designs to heavy duty dryers meant for mounting to a wall or the floor.
Cozywinters.com sells a wide variety of glove and boot dryers at affordable prices. One of the most popular home models is the DryGuy. The DryGuy Widebody boot and glove dryer will accommodate one pair of boots and one pair of gloves (or two pairs of boots and two pairs of gloves). You can dry your boots with or without heat using a 3-hour timer. It's lightweight and easy to store for the summer.
If you're looking for a glove and boot dryer that you can pack in your suitcase, try the Seirus QuickDry or the DryGuy DryStix. The QuickDry dries one pair of boots and gloves, collapses for easy packing and weighs 1.5 pounds. It sells for $44.95. DryStix are 5 inches x 1 inch diameter tube-shaped driers that are small enough to slip into an overnight bag.
A nifty item by Point Dry combines the features of a boot-carrying bag with a boot dryer. At the end of the day, stow your boots, gloves and socks in the bag and wake up to warm dry gear. The Point Dry bag comes with anti-slip shoulder straps and a handy 12 volt car adapter for those impromptu road trips.
For families, DryGuy makes the Thermanator 2+2 Radiant boot dryer that can handle up to 4 pairs of boots at one time. For even larger groups, try the Chinook 6-pair boot and glove dryer or for REALLY big groups, get a Kwik Cyclone 48-pair boot and glove dryer.
Finally, one of the most versatile dryers accommodates not only boots and gloves by your pants, jackets, and hats. The DryGuy Gear Tree dries all of your gear at the same time using two settings (heat or no heat) using a 3-hour timer.
Don't let wet, soggy gear spoil your day on the mountain. Pack one of these affordable boot and glove driers and start the day out right.