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Spring Break Ski Trip Tips

spring break skiSpring break is virtually synonymous with places like Daytona Beach, South Padre Island, Cancun, and other warm weather destinations. However, not everyone desires the sand, surf, and teeming hordes of students at this time of year, which is why ski trips are becoming increasingly popular among spring breakers. If you’d rather party in the mountains than in more traditional locales, check out these spring break ski trip tips we’ve collected here.

  • Gather the whole gang together: Try to book travel and accommodations for as large a group as possible to reduce individual expenses. Once at your destination, you can decide whether to break up into smaller groups and go your own way or stick together.
  • Look for lift ticket discounts: Paying full price for lift tickets can really eat into your budget, so look for discounts wherever you can find them. Buying in advance, purchasing group packages, and taking advantage of birthday specials are just a few ways to get a better deal.
  • Check the weather forecast frequently and dress for the conditions: Being underdressed for a day of skiing or snowboarding is the quickest way to kill the fun. Avoid this problem by checking the weather forecast before you go out and dressing in layers. Wear a battery-heated vest or gloves for adjustable warmth all day long, and use an electric boot and glove dryer to make sure your gear is ready for the next day as well.
  • Take lessons before hitting the slopes: Chances are not everyone in the group is a competent skier, so we recommend taking lessons first in order to help prevent injuries. Most resorts offer beginner classes for complete newbies, as well as refresher courses for those that simply need to review the fundamentals.
  • Spend time away from the mountain: Many top ski destinations offer a wide range of off mountain activities at this time of year. From beer, film, and food festivals to shopping, sightseeing, and a variety of nightclubs, you’ll find something appealing for everyone in the group.

Do you and your friends want an alternative to the usual spring break scene? Then skip the beach and use the above tips to help plan an unforgettable ski trip instead.

Safety Tips When Working in Snow

march 1 ice cleat snow-safety-2016Working in extreme cold puts you at risk for hypothermia, frostbite, and similar health emergencies. When snow is also involved, the risks expand to include slip-and-fall accidents, dehydration, exhaustion, and more. To prevent succumbing to any of these hazards, we recommend implementing these safety tips when working in snow.

  • Wear ice cleats to provide extra traction and stabilization on icy or snowy surfaces. Take shorter steps than usual, but otherwise maintain an ordinary gait.
  • Use proper lifting form (bend at the knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs) and remove small amounts of snow at a time when manually shoveling sidewalks, driveways, and parking spaces.
  • Wear sunglasses when working outdoors on bright days to eliminate snow glare and improve visibility.
  • Use a bright orange or yellow reflective safety vest over your clothing to help drivers see you.
  • When working near roads or driveways, be on the lookout for skidding or sliding cars since it’s easy for drivers to lose control of their vehicles in snowy conditions.
  • Use extra caution when climbing or walking on ladders, roofs, and other high places. Be aware that heavy snow adds weight that can weaken structures and cause a collapse.
  • Wear a flashing light on your safety vest or helmet when working outdoors at night. A flashing light attracts attention from motorists and other pedestrians more quickly than a steady light.
  • Dress appropriately for the elements by wearing battery heated vests, gloves, and socks, and take frequent breaks within a sheltered space.

Whether you are an employee whose regular job duties take you outdoors in winter or are an individual performing maintenance and upkeep on your own property, working in the snow can be a dangerous activity. Ensure your safety by following the tips listed here and using good judgment when laboring outdoors.

How to Recognize and Prevent Frostbite

All too often, frostbite is portrayed as something that happens only in very extreme conditions, such as when a person is stranded in an inoperable vehicle for a couple of days in the midst of a blizzard.

But while that kind of dire situation certainly increases the chances of becoming frostbitten, the fact of the matter is that frostbite can begin to occur in a matter of minutes given the right temperature (below 20 degrees) and wind speed (more than 20 mph). In other words, exposed skin may be susceptible to frostbite even if you’re just shoveling the snow in your driveway or walking to the store to stock up on supplies.

To protect yourself from frostbite, it’s important to learn how to recognize and prevent this dangerous wintertime threat. Here are the basics:

Feb 4 recognize and prevent frostbite 2Common symptoms of frostbite

  • Redness or soreness of exposed skin
  • Pale yellow, white, or grayish skin appearance
  • Numbness, prickling, or tingling in the affected area
  • Hardened, waxy looking skin
  • Blister formation
  • Complete loss of feeling in the affected area
  • Darkening or blackening of skin in the affected area

Frostbite prevention tips

  • Dress in several loose layers of clothing, including a moisture-wicking base layer, a wool or fleece insulating layer, and a wind and water-resistant outer layer.
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves to keep hands and fingers warmer. If engaging in an activity where manual dexterity is required, use battery heated gloves for consistent, long lasting warmth.
  • battery heated socksProtect feet and toes with insulated waterproof boots and wool socks. You may also consider wearing battery heated socks that provide up to 14 hours of warming power on a single charge.
  • Cover your head with a knit or wool cap, beanie, or hood to help retain body heat.
  • Since dehydration can speed the onset of frostbite, be sure to drink a glass of water if you plan to be outside for longer than 45 minutes.
  • Take frequent breaks in a sheltered area away from the wind and snow or end your outdoor activity if the weather degrades into dangerous territory.

Frostbite isn’t something that only happens to isolated individuals in remote locations. Anyone can become a victim if the conditions are right, so take the above precautions and be on the lookout for early signs of frostbite whenever you go out in bad weather.

Ice Cleats Guide: Spiked vs. Spikeless

If you’ve never shopped for ice cleats before, then you’re probably wondering if you should choose a spiked or spikeless product. The answer depends on several factors, including how often you or your employees intend to wear the cleats and the environmental conditions in which you expect them to be worn. For example, the kind of traction required for daily use in deep snow and slush is quite different from what’s required for occasional use on packed snow. To help figure out which model is best for your needs, check out this brief guide.

Spikeless ice cleats

Yaktrax Walker ice cleatsSpikeless ice cleats are typically made of a rubber compound and may be reinforced with steel coils for added traction. They are intended for use on packed snow or ice, making them ideal for light outdoor activities such as walking the dog, shoveling the snow, jogging, crossing large parking lots, or for employees working on shipping docks.

Some spikeless models to consider include:

  • Yaktrax Walker
  • Yaktrax Pro
  • Yaktrax Extreme
  • WinterTrax

Spiked ice cleats

Spiked ice cleats are fitted with steel or tungsten carbide spikes or studs that give the wearer maximum stability and traction even on deep snow, ice, and slush. Spiked ice cleats may be classified into medium-duty products that are suitable for urban walkers, amateur hikers, and outdoor runners or heavy-duty products that are intended forWinter Grips Ice Cleats law enforcement officers, postal workers, serious hikers and climbers, and even emergency rescue teams.

Some bestselling spiked models include:

  • WinterGrips
  • GripOns
  • MonsterGrips
  • STABILicers WALK
  • STABILicers MAXX
  • STABILicers RUN
  • Get-A-Grip Due North Advanced All-Purpose
  • Get-A-Grip Due North Ultra Everyday G-3

For more detailed product information on all the spiked and spikeless ice cleat models listed here, or to view our entire inventory of winter traction devices and warming products, visit the CozyWinters website. We also offer special volume pricing on ice cleats for government agencies and corporate entities, so contact us today.

How to Have a Cozy Valentine’s Date at Home

cozy valentine dateTraditional Valentine’s Day celebrations usually involve going out: to dinner, to the theater, to the cinema, on a carriage ride through the city, for a night of dancing, or any number of other activities. But spending the evening at home for some quiet one-on-one time with your love can be every bit as fun and romantic as going out, especially if you put some effort into the planning. To help get the creative juices flowing, here are some ideas for having a cozy Valentine’s Day night at home.

Food and drinks

No matter what other activities are on your agenda, you’ll require sustenance at some point. Stock the fridge with snacks and finger food and prepare a home-cooked meal to share. Even if you barely know your way around the kitchen, you can pick a simple recipe from an online cooking site and do your best. Your date will appreciate the effort—and you can always order takeout if things turn out badly.

Acceptable beverages can run the gamut from a nice bottle of wine or champagne if you want to feel fancy to beer or cocktails if you’re keeping things simple. Depending on your tastes, nonalcoholic options such as coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and soft drinks may also be considered.

Ambiance

Creating a romantic ambiance is critical for getting into a proper Valentine’s Day mood. Dim lighting, candles, and soft music are a must, while heart-shaped decorations or red and pink embellishments can add to the effect. Other ways to create the right ambiance include decorating around a particular theme, such as “A Night in Paris”, or setting up a picnic blanket in front of a roaring fire. No fireplace? No problem; just lay out an Under Area Rug Radiant Floor Heater from CozyWinters under the picnic blanket for a similarly cozy effect.

Activities

Having some activities planned for after dinner can help make the evening more fun and memorable. Playing board games or video games, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, exchanging gifts, or simply talking without the distraction of phones or other electronic devices are popular choices, as is snuggling together under a heated electric throw and binging your favorite TV series on Netflix.

Whether you’re staying in for Valentine’s Day because you couldn’t get reservations at your favorite restaurant, want to save some money, or merely wish to enjoy each other’s company in private, these ideas can help make your at-home celebration more special.

5 Reasons to Go Outside This Winter

family in snowIf winter isn’t your favorite season, then you probably need lots of coaxing to even consider venturing outdoors. After all, what possible benefit could there be to leaving the soft, luxurious warmth of your heated electric throw or the soothing coziness of your heated mattress pad only to endure the freezing temperatures, biting wind, and gloomy skies that are all too common in February?

Well, as it turns out, there are actually numerous benefits associated with making an effort to spend more time outside this winter. Here are five of the most important ones:

  • Getting out of your home or office can alleviate feelings of cabin fever and help reduce stress.
  • Taking a short walk and breathing in some fresh air has been shown to clear the mind, improve focus, and increase both creativity and cognitive ability.
  • Exercising outdoors in winter is more challenging than exercising indoors, which can result in better workouts, a higher calorie burn, and greater energy levels throughout the day. Just be sure to dress appropriately for your activity and wear battery heated gloves or other heated apparel to retain body heat.
  • Going outdoors on sunny days not only stimulates vitamin D production, which is essential for strong bones, but also helps combat the “winter blues” (aka Seasonal Affective Disorder).
  • Spending quality outdoor time with your kids will create memories that last a lifetime. They won’t remember that PS4 game they received for Christmas and played for two weeks, but they will always remember the snowmen you build, the snowball fights you have, and the wild rides that you take together down the local sledding hill.

Sitting in front of a crackling fire with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate while the winds swirl and the snow falls is a perfectly acceptable and altogether appealing winter pastime—as long as you don’t let it become your only winter activity. Be sure to go outside for a short time every day (or at least several times a week) so you can enjoy all the invigorating benefits listed here.

Cold Weather Activity Tips

running snowIf you find it hard to stay motivated to move in winter, you’re not alone. The low temperatures, icy conditions, and short daylight hours combine to derail many a New Year’s resolution or fitness program for folks living in colder climates, especially among those that prefer outdoor activities to indoor substitutes. But you don’t have to resign yourself to the treadmill or wait until spring comes to resume your active lifestyle; just try these tips instead:

Check the weather forecast for the duration of your activity and prepare accordingly.

Although the weather is not likely to change much over the course of a 30-minute walk, you cannot say the same for an activity slated to last several hours or the whole day. Winter storms can brew quickly and unexpectedly, so keep your weather app fired up on your phone and check it frequently while you’re out.

Dress for the activity as well as the weather.

While layers are always a smart idea, the number and kind of layers needed for skiing or snowboarding are quite different from what’s needed for shoveling the driveway. For example, whereas you’d love having our Zanier HEAT-GTX Heated Ski Gloves for the former activities, our battery heated glove liners would be sufficient for the latter.

Similarly, you’ll require more layers and warming products if you’re planning to be a spectator rather than a participant, so consider packing a heated seat cushion if you’ll be spending lots of time sitting and watching.

Keep safety in mind at all times.

Whatever activity you choose to participate in, it’s important to keep safety uppermost in your mind. So, if you’re driving somewhere, make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is well stocked. If you’re going hiking or skiing on little used trails, take a GPS device, your smartphone, and extra food and water with you. Try to use the buddy system for all outdoor activities, or at the very least, let someone know where you’re headed and when you plan to return—even if you’re just going for a run around your neighborhood. In addition, consider breaking up your activity into smaller chunks of time (for example, two 15-minute walks instead of one 30-minute walk) to limit exposure to the cold.

Don’t take unnecessary risks.

If the weather is particularly inclement or the temperatures are dangerously cold, it’s perfectly okay to stay indoors until things clear up. At that point, snuggling on the couch with your favorite CozyWinters electric throw would be preferable to risking life and limb for the sake of burning a few extra calories.

 

Staying active in the cold is doable when you pay attention to the weather forecast, make battery heated apparel from CozyWinters part of your layering system, and always keep safety in mind, so make this your mantra for the next few months!

Safety Tips While Wearing Ice Cleats

yaktrax_walkerAs a business owner or safety director at your company, you’re naturally interested in reducing the number of slip-and-fall accidents among your employees this winter. The first step was taking advantage of the volume discount pricing available at CozyWinters to supply each worker with a pair of ice cleats. Now the next item on the agenda is to impart the following ice cleat safety tips to your employees at an upcoming team meeting or via internal memo:

  • Get in the habit of wearing ice cleats whenever walking outdoors—even if only for a few minutes—because accidents can happen at any time. (Employers may refer to the strategies outlined in our previous post on the topic for ideas on promoting and enforcing ice cleat usage.)
  • Walk with a normal gait and stride length when wearing ice cleats.
  • Use extra caution when walking on outdoor stairs and ramps, particularly if carrying packages or pushing a heavy load.
  • Remove ice cleats to climb ladders or traverse non-ice or non-snow surfaces, such as concrete, granite, or marble sidewalks and stairs.
  • Avoid stepping on manhole covers when wearing ice cleats or other snow traction devices.
  • Remove ice cleats prior to going into stores, office buildings, and restaurants since the studs or coils can damage some types of indoor flooring, including linoleum and carpeting, plus those surfaces can be slick to a pair of ice cleats.
  • Be sure to put ice cleats back on before heading outdoors again.
  • Periodically inspect ice cleats to ensure that the studs are still intact. Replace any damaged or broken studs immediately.

Ice cleats are the most affordable and cost effective tool for preventing employee slip-and-fall accidents. But winter traction devices only work if they are worn regularly and if proper safety protocols are followed, so take the time to educate your employees about the tips listed here.

Tips for a Better Ski Season

couple_skiAre you going skiing for the first time ever this winter or are you returning to the slopes after a long absence? Did you get some new ski gear for Christmas that you’re looking to break in? If so, you might be tempted to book a room at the nearest lodge and get on the mountain as soon as possible. But rushing out before reviewing our tips could lead to discomfort, disappointment, or maybe even injury, so read on to learn how to enjoy a better ski season.

Give yourself time to acclimate to the environment
When spending several days at a ski resort, it would be a good idea to give your body time to adjust to the cold weather and higher altitude. Instead of skiing on the first day, try alternate activities such as taking in the sights, walking around town, or even running or stretching in the lodge gym. Then turn in early for a good night’s sleep to be sure you’re completely refreshed and ready to ski the next morning.

Use gift cards instead of carrying cash
These days many resorts offer gift cards that can be used for everything from equipment rentals to food and drinks. Gift cards are better than cash because they do not get soggy or unusable after being in your pocket all day long and are more convenient than credit cards because they don’t yield personal financial information if they get lost or stolen.

Pack light and pack well
No one wants to be encumbered with a bunch of suitcases as well as skis, poles, helmet, and boots, so pack light but well for your trip. To reduce bulk, wear battery heated apparel like our heated base layer, heated puffy vest with zip-on sleeves, heated socks, or heated gloves. And use our heated boot and glove dryer to ensure you don’t have to pack double the gear in order to have dry equipment every day.

Ask for resort packages, discounts, and coupons
Most resorts offer special deals—even during peak season—to entice skiers to their slopes. For example, some places will throw in free rentals when you book rooms, while others might give lodging and lift ticket discounts for large groups. A few resorts even provide checked baggage reimbursement vouchers for guests to offset the extra fees airlines typically charge for checking skis.

Keep safety in mind
Beginners should take lessons before attempting any run on their own, and regardless of skill level, nobody should try to get in “one last run” when they are tired or sore or the lighting or weather conditions are poor. For a successful ski trip, safety must remain a priority at all times.

Tips for Raynaud’s Sufferers

Raynaud-hand2Raynaud’s disease (or Raynaud’s phenomenon) is a condition in which poor blood flow to the extremities results in coldness or numbness in the fingers and/or toes. Cold temperatures and stress exacerbate the effects, which means Raynaud’s sufferers can be especially uncomfortable in winter. And while the causes of the condition are not well understood, many treatment options are available, including prescription medication and, in the most severe cases, nerve surgery. Home remedies may also be effective in controlling symptoms, with the following management tips for Raynaud’s particularly encouraged:

  • Refrain from using tobacco products and do not expose yourself to secondhand cigarette smoke.
  • Limit or completely eliminate caffeine from your diet, as some studies have shown that this stimulant may restrict blood flow to the heart, brain, and extremities.
  • Protect fingers and toes when going outdoors in winter by wearing battery heated socks or gloves. Unlike ordinary gloves and socks, the battery heated apparel we have at CozyWinters come with variable heat settings that allow you to instantly crank up the warmth if temperatures drop unexpectedly.
  • Use heated slippers when walking around in the house to keep your toes warm even on cold flooring.
  • Replace ordinary blankets with electric blankets for consistent warming power all night long.
  • Consider using a heated foot warmer near your favorite couch or armchair and a heated floor mat in the kitchen to protect feet when relaxing or cooking.
  • When cooking, protect hands from cold or frozen meats and vegetables by wearing a thin pair of cotton gloves underneath a pair of disposable food preparation gloves. You can also keep a bowl of warm water standing by in case the gloves are not enough and you need to quickly warm your hands.
  • Soak hands and feet in warm water when you feel a flareup coming on, and then follow with a soothing moisturizer to prevent skin from cracking.
  • Monitor the frequency and severity of symptoms and flareups, and see your doctor if your condition begins to worsen.

If you suffer from Raynaud’s disease, you know how challenging it can be to complete even simple tasks like making dinner, going out for fresh air, or merely sleeping soundly through a winter’s night. Still, there are a variety of things you can do to manage your symptoms and live more comfortably, so give the above suggestions a try to prevent or alleviate future flareups.