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Tell Us About Your Coldest Ski Trip Ever.....We've ALL Had at Least One.

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 

Not sure if anyone has started this thread before, so how about some chilly stories.


I have two, one here in the east, and one out west.


Killington Dec. 25, 1980. Something like 38* BELOW in Pittsfield, and the  only car that will start is a Chevy Nova. Go figure! Out of a house of 10 skiers only my buddy Neil, who's car started, will go. We decide on Bear Mt cause of the southerly exposure.


So we show up and about another 6 or so hearty souls show and the patroller. We made a couple of laps and went into the old bandbox to warm up and discuss what a shitty idea this was. Prbably did 4 runs and called it a morning. That date is still the record cold temp for that date. Rutland, VT.


Second time was in January 1984 at Steamboat. Something similar in temperature to my Kmart day, but it was reported to be 44* BELOW to the west in a town called Dinosaur.


Highlight to that day was trying to start my brand new rental car. Finally got two or three cylinders to fire, so we cruised around Steamboat Springs with our completely frozen suspension. It was like driving a horse and buggy, very stiff.


I know that ski clothing has come a long way since then, but I think I'll stay in bed next time.

post #2 of 121

Alpenglow AK. 1996. Minus 40 with wind chills that brought it to -triple digits. I went to buy a lift ticket but the woman wouldn't sell me one until I took a run. So I went to take a run and as I got off the lift my clothing cracked. I got down to the bottom took my skis off and thanked the woman very much. At least it was a "dry cold". 

post #3 of 121
Originally Posted by snokat View Post


Second time was in January 1984 at Steamboat.

I was in Summit that Jan. It was cold enough that the bottle of blue windshield washer fluid I had in the trunk froze solid one night.

post #4 of 121

I recall it was just below -40 without the windchill.  I had a one-piece snowmobile suit, fur hat, warm mitts, scarf and goggles, but I still had to come in every hour or two to make sure I kept all my toes.  Damn Race boots!  PS wind chill is a non-issue; I always end up skiing 40 to 60 mph anyways.

post #5 of 121

I don't have any -40 days to brag about but the coldest day I can remember skiing was back in January of 2007 on a trip to Winter Park.  We took a bus to Loveland for the day and the air temperature was a chilly -7 but then there were those pesky winds.  Gusts of 20-40 mph were recorded throughout the day.  You basically would take 1-2 runs and head for a warming hut or the lodge to warm up.  As always in these conditions, I tried to seek refuge in the trees.  Never did make it all the way up to the ridge.


Howver that is not the coldest I have ever been while skiing.  That distinction goes to Seven Springs in PA, my home resort for when I lived in Pgh.  The temperature was in the single digits, maybe 6 or 7 degrees, sunny but breezy and then the Gunnar Chair crapped out, with me on it of course.  I was about 1/2 way up, no trees around me to block the wind, and there I sat for at least 30 minutes while the lift workers tried frantacly to restart the electric motor to no avail.  Then they tried the backup diesel engine but it was so cold the fuel had jelled.   After 30 minutes or so they finally got the diesel heated up enough to fire and then we were on the slow crawl up the mountain.  Upon getting off, I pointed my skiis to the lodge to thaw out my frozen fingers and toes. 


Rick G

post #6 of 121

Mammoth, early or mid-eighties. -79 with windchill, I never heard the temp without windchill. Was a bluebird day.

post #7 of 121

Deer Valley, February 2008:
It was the last day of our vacation, so despite the horrible weather report, we went.  It was 0 degrees when we hit the mountain, but that wasn't the real problem.  Wind gusts hit 90 MPH!!!! Prompting them to shut down every peak but one.  We were on one chairlift that was swaying to 45 degrees on either side...that was scary.  To make matters worse, it was near blizzard conditions, but without the snow accumulation that would have actually made it fun.

post #8 of 121

last january at bridger bowl, we enjoyed some extreme cold.  so cold in fact, us minnesotan's didn't even venture out on one of them.  while we're always up for the cold, the wind-chill was too much to endure.  ironically, while watching tv, we were watching tv we saw a show about two climbers stuck on a rock outcropping in the alps and one of them died.

post #9 of 121

Last year, Summity County, the last week of January into February.   Arrived in Denver and was greated by people in flip flops and t-shirts with a high temp of 60.  Ended the week driving to the airport, temp in the car -36.   The day before skied A-basin.   -23 summit not including the windchill. I have never experienced that drastic of a temperature change in my life.

post #10 of 121

Sunshine Village 2002

-40 with wicked winds every day, Out of 4 days i think i skied about 5 hours

post #11 of 121

The coldest ski trip was January 2007.

We had a couple days in a row that the temps were so  cold that we made a few runs and went in the mid mountain lodge for a warm up, didn't get many pics because it was too cold to take out the camera.

Can't remember how cold it was, exactly, but I recall consuming a lot of hot cocoa



Miss Olivia during a hot cocoa break.

post #12 of 121

Stowe, mid to late 70s.  I was probably 9, which would mean 1977.  High temps were under -20° at the base, before windchill.  They were throwing heavy wool blankets on us as we loaded the chair to the top of Mansfield.  If you survived the ride up, you thawed out in the warming hut, rode down, and thawed out in the lodge.  Repeat until you couldn't.


My kids have it easy.  I don't think they've ever skied single digit temps, much less negative numbers.  Although they've dealt with triple-digit winds....

post #13 of 121
Originally Posted by snokat View Post

Not sure if anyone has started this thread before, so how about some chilly stories.


I have two, one here in the east, and one out west.


Killington Dec. 25, 1980. Something like 38* BELOW in Pittsfield, and the  only car that will start is a Chevy Nova. Go figure! Out of a house of 10 skiers only my buddy Neil, who's car started, will go. We decide on Bear Mt cause of the southerly exposure.



Holy crap! I saw this thread title and was thinking, "that day Xmas break sophomore year." I didn't recall that it was Xmas day, but it makes sense since I always ski Xmas day - then get Chinese food on the way home - Jewish family tradition. I recall that walking from the parking lot to the Bear lodge I had little white flecks (frostbite precursor) on my cheeks. My dad took one look at me and we headed back to the car and drove home. It was the only time I ever remember me and my dad wimping out because it was too cold.


Other than that I remember a day in France when I first learned that -40 is -40, regardless of whether you measure temp in C or F. I met some English nurse in the pub and re-proved an old adage/joke:


Q: What are two things can you do in the last 5 minutes of the world?

A: 1) Buy a French car and watch it rust, and 2) Wine, dine and seduce a nurse.

post #14 of 121

The coldest single ski day I've experienced was January 3, 2000 at Breckenridge.  It was -5 in town and up on the mountain it was about-45 with the wind.  My feet never get cold skiing and they freezing within 1 run.  One of the coldest ski weeks I've ever had was wen I went Jackson Hole in late March 2008.  It was zero every morning when we left the condo, and we thought it was going to be a regular spring trip.  The trip was probably my best ski trip ever despite the cold.

post #15 of 121

This is a thread I started some time back called: I can remember the coldest I've ever been skiing was the time...., or something like that, if you want to read more icy tales  eek.gif

post #16 of 121

Tremblant ... Dont remember year.... Everything was frozen solid.. Including me....  Spent a lot of time in the bar that trip... 

post #17 of 121

Buck Hill, winter 1977.  Temperature of about 35 below wind chills reading 80 below.  A high school buddy of mine and I showed up.  The ticket window "comped us," they said if you're gonna do it, it's on us.  Cycles of one run and in (and Buck Hill's runs are short).  We lasted about two hours.

post #18 of 121

Skiing Whitewater near Nelson B.C. in early 80's. Temp was -42 before any wind chill. Saw only 3 people actually skiing all day (including the two of us) . At one point the liftee at the top chair hut came out to talk - and question our sanity. As we spoke the coffee he was drinking actually froze in his cup. Later I was out skiing a steep isolated trail by myself, feeling very stiff from the cold (and skiing poorly as a result) when it suddenly occured to me that if I made a mistake I likely would shatter on impact and be frozen long before they found the body.  Back to the lodge picked up the more sensible girlfriend and called it a day. The old vw van started but the never reliable gas heater packed it in yet again. We had to get into our sleeping bags for any warmth and I drove into town from the inside of the bag while the girlfriend scrapped the ice off the inside of the windshield. Enroute we picked up a hitchiker that we had felt sorry for, but he complained that it was colder in the van than outside. Eventually we found a motel which fit the one request  from the girlfriend, a tub big enough for both of us to be in and lots and lots of hot water to thaw out with.         

post #19 of 121

I am glad sunny buffalo doesnt get that cold.  the coldest at holiday valley I skied was 2 years ago which temp was around 0 or so.  That seems balmy compared to these stories.  



post #20 of 121

New Year 1984 Solden Austria. -25 and chair stopped for 15 minutes on an exposed ridge with wind howling. We finally got off and skied in pain and in poor control because of it to the restaurant 600 metres below. Took half an hour until my hands regained feeling and when they did the pain.......


In the same week me and my wife rode a slow 3 man chair with a young Austrian boy of about 14. He leaned forward and put his lips against the bar. He lifted his head back up and screamed. When we looked we could see the top layer of skin from his lips left on the bar...ouch!

post #21 of 121


Originally Posted by snokat View Post

Killington Dec. 25, 1980. Something like 38* BELOW in Pittsfield


I remember that exact day vividly. I was not skiing, but I let my parents' cat outside in the morning, then got distracted by Christmas activities. Forgot about the cat. Later in the day we realized she was out. She came in barely able to walk, being so cold. She lived for for several years after that, but was never quite the same. One of my worst memories - the kind of thing I think about lying in bed in the middle of the night, reviewing my life, including the things I am not proud of.

post #22 of 121

Lake Louise.  The temperature dropped to where F and C are the same.

post #23 of 121


sugarloaf maine late 90's.. got off superquad and the wind was blowing so hard it pushed us back to the unloading area. temps in the - 20's. barely made it down to the base lodge and it took awhile to thaw out. called it quits and went back to the condo. condo was frozen too. the infloor radiant heat couldn't  keep the place warm and we spent the night in our neighbors condo. sugarloaf brought over 3 portable electric heaters and ran them the next day and the condo still didn't get up past 62. It was a cold midweek stay  that school holiday

post #24 of 121

Crested Butte in the late 70's on a Christmas ski trip with my uncle and his family.  It was -60 in Gunnison and -40 on the mountain.  None of us kids wanted to ski but my uncle said by God he bought the tickets and we were going to ski (you would think a doctor would have more sense).  Any way ski we did.  It was so cold that you really didn't feel cold, you just hurt.  We had to go in between each run.  I remember my cousin's face was rock hard after each run.  We were lucky none of us got frostbite.

post #25 of 121

Not skiing, but my experience of how cold is relative... I used to go to Fairbanks, Alaska for work, but I never hit it when it was really cold.  I remember one trip when it was about zero (F).  When we went out for dinner, I had some sort of stomach bug so I stayed in the car to suffer and try to nap while my coworkers went into a restaurant to eat.  I watched a local pull up, get out of his truck (leaving it running of course), and stand around chatting with someone else for about 15 minutes before they went inside.  The thing is, all he was wearing was jeans and a short-sleeved shirt.  Seemed perfectly comfortable.


post #26 of 121

Growing up in Wisconsin, really cold days seemed to be par for the course.  I remember tying bandanas around our face...we'd be cold until the exhale from our breath froze them so no air could get through.


I do recall one specific REALLY cold night though.  I remember it b/c da' Bears were busy winning the Super Bowl.  We'd come in to warm up and watch them destroying the Pats. 





post #27 of 121

last year at stowe -38 with windchills much much lower.

post #28 of 121

January 2004, Okemo. My first season working as an instructor, and I'm pretty sure the high temperature for the entire month of January that year was somewhere in the vicinity of 5 degrees F. One day the temp at the base was hovering around -20, with the temp at the summit probably around 10 degrees lower. And the wind was at about 25 knots at the base, around 45-50 knots at the summit. As a first year instructor, I got shafted with a lesson that day. I believe I wore 3 thermal layers, 2 or 3 fleeces, my civilian jacket, and my instructor jacket. I was frozen solid after one run, and my 6 year old students were popsicles. Their parents came to pick them up at the end of the day looking warm and cozy, obviously having just spent the day in the condo.

post #29 of 121

President's Day 2004 or 2005.  The free Warren Miller ticket for Mt. Snow mis-printed the dates of President's Day week (the dates were off by a day), so we called ahead to confirm that our WM tickets would be honored on the Monday, which was President's Day.  We were stoked when Mt. Snow told us that they knew about the error and intended to honor the passes on President's Day.


I remember that the five of us were all watching the thermometer that showed the outside temp in the Jeep Cheroke that we were driving to Mt. Snow in. It was reading anywhere between -5 and -17 degrees fahrenheit during our drive east from upstate New York, through Bennington to Mt. Snow.


When we got to Mt. Snow it was between - 5 and - 10 fahrenheit at the base of the mountain (with no wind).  With wind chill, the top of the mountain was -45 degrees fahrenheit. 


Although the lift rides were punishing (I remember I closed my powder skirt just to keep the wind from blowing into my jacket on the lifts), we actually skied a good 6 hours or so.  I would estimate 3.5 hrs in the morning, followed by a long lunch, and 2.5 hrs in the afternoon.  The mountain was pretty empty (no lift lines), as was the lodge.


It was my first time ever at Mt. Snow and I remember I enjoyed skiing Bear Trap.  The lift was relatively sheltered from the wind (and a short ride), and the music was good.



post #30 of 121

I was there...it was bad.

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