Dressing For Cold Weather in The Mountains

| 3/7/2017 1:16:00 PM

Tags: cold weather clothes, high elevation, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,

airborne snow

Dressing for the mountains and higher elevations can be difficult because at high elevations the weather changes unexpectedly and rapidly. In our twenty winters living at 9,800’ elevation we have realized that weather forecasters seem to have a difficult time successfully predicting weather in the mountains. They are generally closer in determining the high and low temperature but otherwise they often miss the mark. This is not to disparage our weather people but due to the mountains with its valleys and changing wind direction it is difficult to accurately predict weather. More often than not we will have predictions of 1-3” of snow and end up with two feet of snow. When we purchased our property back in the late 70’s the HUD report stated our average snowfall was 264” per season. We have found that moderately accurate and that raises the issue of how we dress to be outside in such variable conditions.  

Flexible Winter Clothing Options

For those who enjoy skiing, either cross country or going down a slope, the clothing choices are pretty consistent and a wide range of ski clothing is available. For those who live in the mountains and work outside shoveling snow or walking behind snow throwers in the winter the options are different. Our class of people tend to go inside when we get uncomfortable so having clothing that doesn’t require several minutes to put on or take off is essential if there is outside work to be done. Layering for outdoor recreation is a good idea but when you are shoveling snow it can be a burden so we use clothes that don’t require a lot of time to prepare going outside or coming inside. We prefer clothes that don’t require being changed frequently. 

Clothing Choices

I have chosen for my wardrobe that are durable that can overlap different seasons. I prefer flannel shirts and I have a few of the heavier types as well as the lighter weights. Flannel is a good garment to allow air circulation under my coat and still keep me warm without working up a sweat. I also prefer blue jeans both lined and unlined and have when needed I use insulated underwear under them. The wind doesn’t blow through the fabric and they keep me warm but not to the point I sweat. Sweating is perhaps the worse thing to have happen when outside in the cold because when taking a break I chill fast. I also prefer turtleneck long sleeved cotton  tee shirts and heavy cotton socks in the winter.  


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