Thursday, February 27, 2014

Skiing at Zero Degrees F

The first week of February, a massive cold front settled over Oregon.  My ski bus was scheduled for Thursday, despite a prediction of below-zero temps.  All week I debated whether to brave the cold to get my skiing fix.  (Yes I grew up in frigid South Dakota, but 25+ years of living in temperate Portland has turned me into a weather weenie.)

Who are these mystery men?

Well, you know me - a little cold weather wasn't gonna get in the way of a ski bus day!  I decided freezing my butt off on the slopes was way better than going to work.  I packed all the ski clothes I owned, stocked up on hand warmers, and hoped the wind wouldn't blow too hard.

World of white

Stepping off the bus that next morning, the thermometer registered an even zero degrees F.  Before heading to the lift, I piled on the layers, stuck hand warmers in gloves, toe warmers in boots, and donned a thick face mask.  Meeting up with ski buddies Pat and Glen, I had to laugh.  They were so bundled up, only their eyes were visible (soon to be covered by goggles).

Pat zips down the slope

Once outside, my friends and I were happy to discover the air was still.  At least wind chill wouldn't be an issue.  And a couple inches of fresh snow lay on the ground.  Dry, light, fluffy powder - the kind we usually don't see in the Cascades.

Frozen skiers

Oh it was so fun to swoosh through the new snow!  I was having a ball, floating in the pow, making tracks everywhere.  I had no trouble staying warm while skiing, but the lift ride back up was another story.  Faces froze, goggles fogged, toes tingled.  Lunchtime came early.  Not because we were hungry - it was time for a much-needed warm up.

Yahoo!  It's snowing!

After enjoying our break, and thawing out cold hands and toes, it was time to put those layers back on, slip another hand warmer in the glove, and return to the slopes.  The morning snow was so good, I was looking forward to more powder turns. my buddies and I started down our first run, I noticed the falling snow had turned wet and heavy.  Ice began to accumulate on my goggles.  It became so thick, I had to keep stopping to scrape it off, or I wouldn't be able to see.  Pat and Glen were having the same issue.

My ice-crusted goggles

Lucky for me, my ski gloves have a little plastic ice scraper built into the thumb.  Super handy for clearing frozen goggles!  Poor Glen and Pat didn't have any such gadget, and they had a hard time keeping their goggles clear.  The freezing rain kept falling, and poor Pat's goggles got so icy, he couldn't see a thing, and he ended up taking them off.

Such weird weather - freezing rain doesn't usually happen in subzero temperatures.  We assumed a warmer layer existed above us, and precip fell through the colder surface layer, turning into freezing rain.

Results of skiing in freezing rain

By day's end, my jacket and pants were coated with a thin, white film.  My goggles had a layer of ice around the rim.  Once inside, small shards of frost and ice flew off as I removed my outerwear.

Yes, the weather was frigid.  Yes, skiing in freezing rain was a challenge.  But the snow was wonderful, the company fun, and surviving today's zero temps made me feel pretty bada$$. 

Oh yeah - still way better than being at work!

Sharing with:  Weekly Top Shot.


  1. Linda, I am so glad you braved the cold and shared these beautiful photos!

  2. I wish we could haul some of our snow your way.. You could ski & ski & ski & ski. :) (There's a lot of it.)
    Glad you got out there to show this crazy cold winter who's boss!

  3. Love these. I can almost feel that frozen lung feeling that you get when out doing snow sports in that kind of cold. :)

  4. I presume your talking Fahrenheit which would mean it was about -18 deg C, dam thats cold

  5. Linda, you are brave to go out in the freezing cold. The photos are cool. I am glad your gloves had the handy gadget. Have a happy weekend!

  6. Crazy weather and skiing in the rain is no fun, but it looks like you all had a great day anyway. Looks like a beautiful ski slope!

  7. This confirms it... you're adventurous, brave and just a wee bit nutty. Perfect traits!
    Have a fun weekend, my friend!

  8. Lovely shots and those face covers are great in such cold weather. Thankfully the clothes now are so much lighter that years ago, and makes this outdoor activities much easier than they used to be. Looks like a great ski day to me!

  9. Great that you said dam you to the cold and did what you wanted to do! Love the shots!

  10. Amazing shots. Looks like such a fun time!

  11. Oh for sure it would have been much better than being at work. ;))

  12. Fantastic day. Just love the creativity of an ice scrapper on your glove!

  13. You are an amazing woman-I love your adventurous spirit-beautiful too!


  14. You look like me, bundled up if the wind is gusting! However, we rarely get freezing rain until after the slopes close in April. We've had plenty of below freezing days though - this is an awesome winter for snow in CO!

  15. Well I must say you've got to "really" love skiing to be out in weather like that. Me...I'll stay inside by a nice warm fire sipping hot chocolate and reading a good book.

  16. Oh my girl, you are a die hard skier! Way too cold for me. Glad you had a fun day and got some great photos.

  17. You go with your bad self girl ! lol
    I always love seeing you having such fun.

  18. Gorgeous wintry ski photos ~ Remember it well ~ but such fun even in the frigid cold ~ Happy Sunday ~

    artmusedog and carol

  19. Cold, but that can keep the crowds away too. It looks perfect!

  20. That was one hard core day Linda. Have you thawed out yet?

  21. Makes me wish I could ski! Great shots of a fun day on the slopes!

  22. Hi,Linda. It looks very cold. I have never experienced to go skiing in 0°F.
    It looks a little bit difficult,but very pleasant. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday.

  23. I lived in Colorado mountains where the snow was there nearly 9 months out of the year...and never skied but once in all the 45+ years. Broke two ribs coming off the ski-lift. That was all she wrote for this ol' gal.

    You all look like you're enjoying the pleasure of this sport!! Great photos.

  24. Good for you- and it does look beautiful


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