Author Archives: Jim

Tips for Storing Ski/Snowboard Gear

ski storage rackMid-April means the end of another awesome ski and snowboard season for most parts of the country. You’ve had your fun out on the slopes every weekend for the past several months, and are already counting down the days until winter returns and you can get back to ripping or shredding. But in order to make sure you’re ready to go at the first sign of snowfall next November or December, it’s important to store your gear properly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take your skis or snowboard to your favorite pro shop for a full tune-up (or do it yourself if you have the tools and know-how). The purpose of the tune-up is to clean the base, shave nicks, remove burrs, sharpen the edges, and apply a fresh coat of wax to help seal in moisture and inhibit excessive drying.
  • Store your skis or board neatly in a clean, dry place to prevent rust and other damage. We recommend using a product like the wall-mounted multi-storage rack available at instead of simply stacking your gear on the concrete floor of your garage or basement.
  • Wash and dry all snow jackets, snow pants, socks, gloves, and neck gaiters, and store the items together to make them easier to find next season.
  • Scrub your ski or snowboard boots with a soft bristled brush and a mild liquid detergent to remove dirt, mud, grease, and grime. Then thoroughly dry them with an electric boot and shoe dryer from PEET, Chinook, DryGuy or another trusted brand before storing them in a closet or on a wall rack. You might also want to throw a scented dryer sheet into each boot or give them a quick squirt of Febreeze to help maintain freshness.

Taking the extra time and money to clean, maintain, and store your ski or snowboard gear properly is never as much fun as using the equipment on your favorite mountains or trails, but is critical to good performance and durability. Follow the above tips before stowing everything away to help ensure your gear is in great shape next winter.

American Cities with the Harshest Winters

You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know that not all winter weather is created equal. Even if you eliminate places like Florida, Arizona, and Hawaii from consideration, there are still significant differences in average temperatures, wind chill, and snowfall from region to region, state to state, and city to city. Of course, in our statistics obsessed society, organizations such as The Weather Channel track and record every aspect of winter weather so we can see exactly how these locations stack up against each other.

Which American cities can lay claim to having the harshest winters? Well, that depends on the sources you consult and the criteria that were used to arrive at the rankings. But in general, the following 10 urban centers appear again and again on plenty of lists because of persistently low temperatures combined with heavy precipitation and snowfall rates:harsh winter

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Portland, ME
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Columbus, OH
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Hartford, CT

Did your city make the list? If so, then we recommend using some of the heated clothing and household products we carry at CozyWinters. Our battery-heated gloves, jackets, vests, and other apparel will keep you warm when you have to venture out into the elements, while our indoor electric throws, blankets, and heated chair covers can help you save money on home heating bills. We also sell a variety of heated dog beds and water bowls to make the cold season easier on your beloved pets.

There’s a lot to love about winters that allow for outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. But it’s a completely different story when winters are so harsh that comfort and safety are compromised, so take extra precautions against the cold if you live in one of the cities listed above!

How to De-Winterize Your Vehicle

Now that it looks like temperatures are warming up in many places, you should spend a few hours de-winterizing your vehicle to get it ready for spring. This process usually involves reversing all the things you did to winterize it in the first place, plus a couple extra detailing steps to remove any lingering road salt that may corrode sensitive areas such as the undercarriage or muffler. Here’s what we recommend doing:

spring car

  • Remove all floor mats and thoroughly vacuum and/or wash them
  • Vacuum all exposed carpeting throughout the rest of the vehicle
  • Clean the exterior of your vehicle by taking it to a commercial car wash that offers power jets and an under-spray to remove accumulated road salt, dried slush, dirt, sand, and other debris
  • Follow up the commercial wash with a hand wash that focuses on the wheel wells, bumpers, door frames, and other places that might have been missed
  • If desired, use auto detailing clay to remove any remaining contaminants and particles that might damage your paint
  • Change your winter or snow tires back to all-season tires
  • Swap out your winter emergency kit for one that is geared towards summer
  • Remove and carefully store all heated car seat pads, travel electric blankets, and heated pet beds that you may have been using in your vehicle during the winter

There’s no question that the extreme temperatures, road salt, sand, and other chemicals your car is routinely exposed to in winter can really take a toll on its looks and performance. So do yourself a favor and follow the above de-winterizing tips to help extend the life of your vehicle.

Post-Snow Outdoor Activity Ideas for Families with Kids

Many parents find it difficult to keep kids active and entertained in mid-March. For many, the snow and ice are most likely melted by now, which takes sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating off the menu. And yet the weather is not quite spring-like, either, so kids might need some extra coaxing to go outside and do something.



Luckily, there are still plenty of fun activities that the whole family can enjoy despite the cold weather. As long as everyone dresses appropriately (for example, swapping out bulky winter jackets and mittens in favor of heated vests and heated gloves for more mobility without sacrificing warmth) the weather shouldn’t be much of a factor as you try one or more of these ideas:


  • Build a bonfire or campfire (in an approved location, of course) and toast marshmallows, roast hot dogs, or make S’mores
  • Go on a nature hike to glimpse local wildlife, observe birds returning from winter migrations, and see flora in first bloom
  • Pack up a warm lunch and thermoses full of hot chocolate for a pre-spring picnic in your favorite park
  • Visit the nearest big city to walk bustling neighborhoods, window shop, admire the skyscrapers and architecture, and sample treats from food carts
  • Set off on a geocaching adventure to explore new places and find hidden treasures
  • Take in an exhibition baseball game at reduced ticket prices before the regular season starts

Don’t let the lack of snow prevent your family from enjoying some cold-weather fun before spring arrives. There’s still plenty of time to get more use out of your heated apparel, so go out and try one of the above activities this weekend!

Ways to Prevent Pets from Chewing Electrical Cords

chewing wiresEveryone knows that pets have a knack for getting into trouble around the house. Whether it’s snagging an unguarded bit of food from the dinner table or turning a brand-new leather loafer into a very expensive chew toy, dogs and cats of all ages and discipline levels are capable of causing their owners some anguish from time to time.

While most pet capers result in nothing more than annoyance, there’s real danger involved where electrical cords are concerned. That’s because chewing through connected electrical cables or wiring not only compromises high-priced products such televisions and computers, but also poses a significant risk of shock, fire, or even death.

As a responsible owner, you’ll want to safeguard your precious pets as well as your expensive gear by doing one or more of the following:

  • Remove temptation by unplugging unnecessary cords and storing them away
  • Where possible, run necessary cables and wires behind sofas, shelves, and furniture so they’ll be out of your pet’s reach
  • Use a protective cover on exposed cables, such as the CritterCord Cord Protector available at
  • Use adhesive hooks and similar types of cord keepers that attach to walls so wires remain off the ground
  • Gather exposed cabling together behind a raceway or channel
  • Cover cords with double-sided tape to keep cats away
  • Make your electrical cables literally distasteful by lightly coating them with hot sauce, vinegar, chili paste, or something equally repugnant to pets
  • Remain extra vigilant in winter, when you tend to have more cords out because of Christmas lights, decorations, electric blankets, etc

It’s not possible to shield pets from every potential hazard in your home, but you can at least make sure they don’t have easy access to electrical cords. Take the above precautions today to protect your beloved companions from serious injury.

In Review: Sochi Winter Games

With the XXII Olympic Winter Games now officially in the books, it’s time to look back at some of the highlights that came out of Sochi, Russia, during these memorable two weeks of athletic contests.

The host country emerged from the games having won the greatest number of total medals (33), as well as the most gold medals (13). Norway followed with 11 golds and 26 overall, while Canada finished third with 10 golds and 25 total.

The U.S. did reasonably well, amassing nine golds, seven silvers, and 12 bronzes for a total of 28 medals across the 98 sporting events that comprised these Winter Olympics. There were some disappointments along the way — most notably the lack of any individual medals in men’s or women’s figure skating; the failure of the men’s hockey team to medal; and the crushing loss suffered by the women’s hockey team in the gold medal game — but there were some huge surprises as well, including 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin winning Team USA’s first gold in women’s slalom since 1972.sochi mikaela shiffrin gold

Along with Shiffrin, the following Americans left Sochi with a coveted gold medal and the title “Olympic Champion” in their respective disciplines:

  • Maddie Bowman (Women’s Ski Halfpipe)
  • Ted Ligety (Skiing — Men’s Giant Slalom)
  • David Wise (Men’s Ski Halfpipe)
  • Meryl Davis and Charlie White (Figure Skating — Ice Dancing)
  • Joss Christensen (Skiing — Men’s Slopestyle)
  • Jamie Anderson (Snowboarding — Women’s Slopestyle)
  • Sage Kostenburg (Snowboarding — Men’s Slopestyle)
  • Kaitlyn Farrington (Snowboarding — Women’s Halfpipe)

Congratulations to members of Team USA and all the other athletes around the world that competed on behalf of their home countries in the 2014 Sochi Games! The amazing display of sportsmanship and skill was appreciated by fans — both those that braved the elements in their heated jackets and gloves to watch in person and those that followed the action on television from the warmth and comfort of their living rooms.

Skiing vs. Snowboarding: Which winter sport is for you?

snowboard skiWhen you gaze upon the slopes at any mountain resort, you’ll see both skiers and snowboarders zooming downhill, throwing out the occasional trick, and just generally having the time of their lives. Both sports look like a blast, but you only have the time or money to try one of them this winter and must now figure out which it’s going to be. To help you decide, let’s take a quick look at the biggest differences between the two.

The most obvious difference between skiing and snowboarding is the kind of equipment used. Skiers have to have skis, poles, bindings, and boots, while snowboarders must have a board, bindings, and boots. As a beginner, you’ll definitely want to rent these items until you make up your mind which sport you’d like to invest in.

Regardless of whether you choose to ski or snowboard, you’ll need to dress for the weather and conditions, which typically means wearing waterproof snow pants, jacket, and gloves, as well as breathable socks and perhaps a battery-heated vest for extra warmth.

Basic technique
Skiers face forward as they move downhill, and are able to use their feet and poles either independently or together to generate momentum and provide balance. Snowboarders, on the other hand, are turned sideways on the board and move downhill perpendicularly. Moreover, they must use their entire body for navigation and balance, which is a skill some beginners may have trouble with.

Both snowboarding and skiing can take place on a variety of slope styles and terrain, including mountains, hills, and manmade features. Skiing can also be done on highly technical courses and wooded areas requiring excellent control and tight turns, as well as across flat ground (cross-country). As a novice, however, you’ll likely stick to gentle or intermediate slopes until you develop the skills necessary to advance to more difficult terrain.

Although simply reading about the differences between skiing and snowboarding might allow you to make a decision in a pinch, we recommend trying both sports at least a few times before committing to one or the other!

What to Have in Your Winter First-Aid Kit

first aid kitWhen you ski or snowboard in-bounds at a heavily populated resort area, you don’t have to worry much about medical emergencies. As long as you dress for the weather in your heated outdoor apparel, you should be fine. And if you do happen to have an accident or require assistance on the slopes, you can count on receiving thorough, professional attention within minutes.

But it’s a different story when you venture out-of-bounds or embark on a backcountry excursion with just a handful of friends. In a situation like that, it’s critical that everyone in the party carry a first-aid kit packed not only with standard supplies but also with items designed specifically for cold-weather crises. So as you gear up for your next extreme adventure, make sure your winter first-aid kit contains the following:

Standard supplies

  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Medical tape
  • Nonstick gauze pads
  • Ace bandages
  • Wound disinfectant spray
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Moleskin, Glacier Gel, or similar blister treatment
  • Fine-point tweezers for splinter removal
  • OTC pain reliever such as aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Basic first-aid manual

Additional winter supplies

  • Mylar emergency blanket
  • Air-activated hand, body, and foot warmers, such as the Little Hotties products offered by CozyWinters
  • Waterproof matches
  • Safety whistle
  • Instruction manual or cards with information on treating hypothermia, frostbite, and snow blindness

As you can see, adding winter first-aid supplies to your standard first-aid kit won’t result in an overly heavy or bulky pack. Make sure you and your friends include the above items so you’ll be prepared to deal with minor emergencies and will be able to get back to the fun as soon as possible.

Layering Basics for Outdoor Winter Activities

layeringThe key to being able to enjoy outdoor activities in winter is dressing appropriately for the weather conditions. The longer you’re able to stay warm and dry, the more fun you’ll have while snowmobiling, ice skating, hiking, or doing whatever else is on the agenda. Once you become cold and wet, misery quickly follows and you’ll just want to pack everything in and call it a day.

So what’s the best way to dress for the elements? Well, since winter weather can be unpredictable, layering is the approach most people prefer. Dressing in layers allows you to be flexible and add or remove clothing as external temperatures and conditions dictate.

But layering involves a little more thought than simply piling on as many shirts, sweaters, and jackets as possible. Here’s how to do it the right way:

Base layer
The purpose of the base layer is to keep you dry, which means you should wear something made from moisture-wicking fabric that will carry sweat away from your skin. The base layer can be snug or loose, depending on personal preference, and can consist of anything from lightweight thermal underwear to long-sleeved tees or turtlenecks.

Middle layer
While the base layer should keep you dry, the middle layer should retain body heat to keep you warm. Merino wool, fleece, and synthetic materials like Thinsulate are ideal for this layer, as is any battery-heated apparel you may have. The middle layer should be loose to allow for unrestricted movement.

Outer layer
The outer layer or shell is your first line of defense against the cold, wind, and rain, and should therefore consist of the best quality product you can afford. Depending on your intended activity, you should choose a shell that is windproof, waterproof, and temperature rated for expected conditions.

It’s also important to keep your head, hands, and feet warm and dry during your outdoor activities. Fleece hats and toques can help retain heat and repel wind, while battery-heated glove liners, water-resistant gloves or mittens, and insulated boots will ensure your fingers and toes stay toasty warm.

How to Extend the Life of Lithium Batteries

lithium batteryJust like most of today’s portable electronic products, such as laptops, tablets, MP3 players, and cell phones, the heated apparel available from CozyWinters is now powered by Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. That’s because Li-ion batteries are smaller, more efficient, and provide better overall performance than their Nickel-cadmium (NiCad) predecessors.

But all batteries, even those using Li-ion chemistry, have a finite lifespan and must eventually be replaced. While the actual replacement rate is impossible to predict since it depends on such variables as usage, storage conditions, and discharge cycles, there are a number of specific steps you can take to extend the life of your Lithium-ion power cells:

  • Fully charge a new Li-ion battery before using it for the first time
  • Do not make a habit of running Li-ion batteries below a 20% charge
  • Aim to go through at least one complete discharge cycle — charging the battery to 100% and then letting it drain to zero — for every 30 partial discharge cycles (or approximately once a month)
  • Prior to putting a Lithium-ion-powered device into long-term storage, charge the battery to 40%
  • Store Li-ion batteries in a cool, dry place that is impervious to extreme temperatures
  • Never store a fully-charged Li-ion battery for a lengthy period
  • Be sure to turn on and run Li-ion batteries at least once every few months to prevent capacity loss

In addition, using high-quality Lithium-ion power cells like the ones available in our WarmGear Battery Heated Clothing will yield a longer lifespan than cheaper, low-quality batteries. And when you couple the Lithium-ion power cells with WarmGear Global Charging Technology, you’ll be able to enjoy fully-charged Lithium-ion batteries no matter where in the world your outdoor adventures take you.

Remember, nothing will make your Li-ion batteries last forever. But following these tips and using WarmGear Lithium-ion power cells from CozyWinters will help extend the longevity of your batteries so you can get the most out of your heated apparel and home electronics.