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What's your cold storm skiing gear for head?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been enthusiastically skiing during storms for many years. Storms vary primarily in windiness, temperature which relates to snow quality, and intensity of snowing. When forecasts are for high winds with storms, or storms at or above freezing level, I usually opt out from skiing for obvious reasons I won't address in this thread. In this thread I wish to address storms with cold temperatures below 20 degrees F which is a point at which cheaper less functional head gear tends to become noticeably non-functional. Storms with such temperatures are most common in the Rockies and East.

Each of us who ski storms has our own personal style to cope with the negative elements. Among those elements to contend with are cold temperatures and falling snow against one's face and eyes. There is a lot more to outerwear than just protection for face but I will suggest limiting comment in this thread to just head areas. What works for one person may not work for another as we all have somewhat different thresholds to discomfort. For instance thin wiry builds like myself tend to get cold more easily especially at extremeties like fingers.

One thing I learned early in my storm skiing life was to protect every tiny bit of exposed skin possible. Still I often see other skiers in storms with say just a helmet and goggles and nothing to protect their chin. What do you helmet users do when temps get down into the single digits or worse? For the upper face, a well fitting functional goggle with a dual lens, coating to reduce fogging, ventilation system, and color to reduce flat light. Of course we all see people skiing cold storms still wearing sunglasses but after an hour or two most have retired from skiing. Nothing like cold blowing snowflakes while skiing at speed down a trail, passing around the edge of one's sunglasses then hitting your eyeball to get a novice's attention on why goggles are a must. Goggles additionally protect skin of the upper part of your face. There are many mid to higher priced orange to gold lens goggle models which work fine.

Many today are wearing helmets though I have not yet joined them. Would be interested in some comments on how those wearing them do. I have a top end North Face parka with a good synching hood for protecting the top and back of my head. A hood IMO is much better than any classic wool cap type setup. Underneath the hood, I bought a Seirus Hoodz which is far and away the most functional balaclava type headgear I've ever worn:


The key design which separates it from any others I've used in the past is it has two seaparate sections each with a cordlock draw string which allow custom adjustment for the face and chin openings. And that makes a surprising difference in fit which helps keep out the snow and cold. It is also quite thick and soft fleece for serious weather. I'm continually moving the chin section up when on the chairlift, and often down while skiing. With hood, goggles, and the balaclava, I recently storm skied all afternoon at mid teens temperatures and have never felt more comfortable.
post #2 of 21
First of all, I say temperatures below 20 degrees F is not limited to

Originally posted by dave_SSS:
In this thread I wish to address storms with cold temperatures below 20 degrees F which is a point at which cheaper less functional head gear tends to become noticeably non-functional. Storms with such temperatures are most common in the Rockies and East.
Well, that might be true in the Rockies. In the East, however, 20 degrees is NOT cold. 20 degrees is a nice and warm and almost reason to celebrate by skiing hatless! Almost. When you get below 0 (without wind chill), that's cold!

The warmest thing I can wear on my head is my helmet. Kid you not. On really cold outings, e.g. under 10 degrees, I pull my neck gator up tight around my chin. That's all.
post #3 of 21
Hat? Why wear a hat? I only wear one at Eldora because it's in the dress code...

Actually, it was cold enough a week ago to wear a hat. I have a TurtleFur balaclava, too, and a Marker M3 helmet on order. I skied the M3 earlier this year, and it was quite warm, as well. I used the balaclava last weekend under my knit hat, and it helped keep me warm when the kids threw snow down my back! (Ah, the fun of teaching five 4-year-old kids! )

Normally, my storm wear has been a pair of goggles. The strap keeps my ears just warm enough, and the fact that I have a thick, wooly head of hair is enough to keep me warm. Reminds me; I gotta get a haircut... [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

[ January 06, 2004, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: ssh ]
post #4 of 21
Helmet/neck gaiter for sure. When it's ridiculously cold, I put my hood up (fits perfectly over my helmet) and it really warms things up.
post #5 of 21
I have an old Boeri Axis Rage helmet (the half shell) that's warmer than any hat I've ever worn. It has that Outlast stuff as the lining. Not sure if that really makes a difference but my head's never been cold since I got the helmet and I've skied during bitter January snowstorms in Vermont (60-below wind chill!!! friggin' insane...).

Occasionally, the wind will get between the ear flaps and my ears and my lobes freeze but this only happens on lifts. So, I just scrunch down, and push the flaps in with my hands. The nice part about the brain bucket is the removable ear flaps. Skiing in warm weather I just remove the flaps and I'm good to go.

My friends and family have other helmets and they've all been cold. They wear little beenies under their helmets for added warmth and they seem to be happy.

For my face, well, I use a turtle fur neck gaiter. I never found those neoprene face masks comfortable so on really cold days I just pull up the neck gaiter over my nose and clasp the helmet strap around my chin. This seems to keep everything in place nicely.

Anyway...just my 2 cents
post #6 of 21
pull my hood up and drop the helmet over it. goggles, of course. and a balaclava (shee't, however ya spell it) that takes care of the remaining exposed skin up to the goggles. also, my Brand New Goatee helps.
post #7 of 21
I too love skiing in storms and have a similar set up. North Face Shell with a hood and I wear a hat and neck gator or a balaclava underneath depending on temps.

I just started wearing a helmet this season and haven't tried it out yet in serious weather. I'll probably experiment with putting it on over my hood. Either that or abandon the helmet on hoody days.
post #8 of 21
I use a head sock or head liner under my helmet. It has a hole in it for your eyes and covers everything down to and including your neck. They are cheap, usually under $15. As long as your goggles are tight, you will have little problem with fogging. The helmet itsef keeps me quite warm.
post #9 of 21
Most jackets used for skiing, climbing, etc. have hoods which are designed to fit OVER a helmet. This usually works really well since the hood and collar can be sealed around the lower part of your face leaving only the nose exposed. I usually only do this when it's really wet.
At 20F I think a helmet and goggles should be sufficient since for most Eastern skiers this is a normal and comfortable skiing temperature. I usually hunker down on the lift and pull my jacket collar up to keep the cold air (and snow gun mist) out.
post #10 of 21
I also use a head condom I mean head sock under my helmet. on really cold days like we are getting right now. Todays high is about 18 degrees low was -8 this morning. I also use a face mask.
post #11 of 21
20 deg ain't cold if you grew up skiing in the East, as I did. but in Montana, it's enough to make people spend most of the day in the lodge or driving back home.

if it's just cold (down to 0 deg), my Boeri Shorty helmet + goggles is fine.

if it's bitter cold and windy or snowy, I wear my Marmot shell and pull its hood over the helmet, then put the goggles over the whole deal. my Marmot shell's hood is designed to fit over a helmet.
post #12 of 21
Turtle Fur lightweight balaclava under my helmet. Worked great in the single digit temps. we had at Crystal last weekend.
post #13 of 21
Definitely a helmet and goggles. When it's really cold and blowing (-10F on top at Breck on this past sunday morning, for example), I pull my hood over the helmet (Arcteryx SV jacket, hood designed to fit over climbing helmets), and use a windstopper fleece face mask. The one I have (made by Manzella) fastens with velcro behind your neck, so it is easy to put on or remove without taking the helmet off. The worst part is on the lift, not skiing down!

[ January 06, 2004, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: dp ]
post #14 of 21
Skiing storms might be my favorite skiing "environment". When skiing the bigger dumps I ski will more likely ski the trees and launch off hits I would not otherwise due to softer landing so for me a helmet is important. I stay roasty toasty warm in my Boeri helmet / Smith Triads, layered up and topped with Arc T Sidewinder w/hood, best storm glove - Marmot Ultomate ski glove and Arc T MX bibs. In fact,looks like at least a foot tonight in the Cascades.
post #15 of 21
Agree, 20 degrees in the East is a happy, warm day. Cold day (0 deg. or less or 10 degrees with 20 mph wind) head gear: Boeri Helmet with thin "SmartWool" liner, goggles, Serius face mask, neck warmer hood over all if truly extreme.

post #16 of 21
Boeri 'cross helmet (inch thick foam!), ultrathin cycling-grade balaclava, windblock or ACT gaiter, Carrera Cups with goggle moustache.

As a side note: my helmet is more comfy than any pillow whatsoever on 12 hour road trips. lean anywhere!

[ January 06, 2004, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: comprex ]
post #17 of 21
hahah for a second I thought he said "20 below zero" not "temperatures colder than 20"

but yeah, these guys are right. A 20 degree day in the east is the type of day we break out the shorts to play a little soccer in the parking lot after skiing.
post #18 of 21
I always wear my helmet now, and have never been so comfortable. No itchy toque (wool cap to most of you), no hood obstructing vision like blinders, and no cold ears or forehead. Neck tube and goggles, of course, complete the outfit. The colder it gets, the higher I pull up the neck tube. Only on the warmest days the tube gets left off. "They" say you lose most of your heat through the head, and it seems to be true. Now if I could find one of those turtle fur tubes like Lucky has, for the wet days...
post #19 of 21
I also use a Boeri helmet with Outlast and a windbloc gator.

I have a Arc Teryx shell that I doubted at first for the cost but now I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I have to say that a helmet is extremely comfortable and the outlast regulates body temps very well.

I also have Level gloves with outlast and love them.

So what I am saying is Gore Tex XCR, Outlast, and Windbloc.

The coldest I have skied in was about negatibe 20-30 F with windchill at Tremblant last January.

Of course I didn't have my Arc jacket last year.
post #20 of 21
I must say that a helment is the warmest hat.

When it get to -23C with wind chill I wear a beanie from cycling. The beanie keeps my head warmer.
post #21 of 21
They sell very thin ski beanies to wear under helmets.

I personally use a Nike running one that fits nicely under my helmet.
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