The Winter Series II
Jim and I have just come back from a week skiing in the French Alps. Unfortunately the snow wasn't great but this is the risk you take for a last minute December deal. A November storm had a lot of people hopeful, but alas it has not really been enough. However, you can’t get better than Les Troi Vallees for linked runs at an altitude cold enough to keep a good amount of pistes open. The best part- beautiful sunshine whilst amidst stunning alpine panoramas. I love being in the mountains no matter what the weather.
Anyway, this short break provided good opportunity for me to reflect on how skin handles the elements when skiing or snowboarding (I love all mountain appreciators equally!). It’s not just the cold that affects your skin. Being higher up, the air is thinner and humidity is low. This all adds up to very dry skin. Here are a few recommendations to help your skin cope with your ski holiday.
Sunscreen: Not much of your skin sees the sunlight whilst you're skiing, but you should make sure your face and neck have been covered before hitting the piste. Take some to reapply whilst on the slopes, especially in Spring. Sunscreen stops UV light damage which causes wrinkles, sun spots and skin cancer. The atmosphere is thinner at altitude so less of the harmful UV rays are filtered before reaching your skin. The best sunscreens are made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, not oxybenzone. Try Green People’s Scent Free Sun Lotion.
Lip Balm: Lips get so dry on the slopes! As you whiz down the mountain, wind further reduces the moisture on exposed parts of your body (which is usually just the lower half of your face). Don’t let them chap and flake. A good chap stick is a pocket essential. Burt's Bees and Naked Organics wind up sticks are easy to apply in the extreme cold. My favourite Rohr Remedy lip balm is amazing too, but make sure you keep this one close to your chest. Your body heat will keep it soft enough to use.
All body moisturiser: Get a heavy one with shea or coconut butter and use it everywhere. My legs get really itchy in the mountains from the dry air. It's not just the exposed body parts that need moisture. Apply at the end of the day as thermals and sallopets tend to stick uncomfortably to the cream.
Face balm: I apply in the morning before breakfast- a good hour before sunscreen goes on. And then again at the end of the day after a shower. It protects from the cold and the wind.
Hair oil: Hair doesn’t escape the harsh dryness of the alpine environment. My long, thick hair gets quite damaged whilst skiing- it knots around my buff and flattens under my helmet. I try to brush it out at the end of every day, but the dry air makes it brittle so brushing can damage it further. A good hair elixir applied to the ends can make all the difference to maintaining great locks on the slopes. I use Three Organics Restoring Hair Elixir.
Water: Last but not least, water intake is essential (as I’ve blogged about before here). It can be tricky to drink enough whilst skiing. Luckily most cafes have drinkable tap water so if you are not carrying your own, make sure you stop regularly to hydrate. Keep those fluids up, not just for the sake of supple skin, but it is easy to forget that you are respiring and sweating out a lot of water whilst you carve down the mountain.