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Cold Weather Family Vacations - Staying Warm, Looking Cool. What a difference the right clothing makes. Whether skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snow tubing, snowshoeing, free-range sledding or just making snow angels, staying dry means staying warm. Topnotch Resort & Spa Winter Guest

Here's the scoop. According to the experts at a few simple rules will make all the difference. When shopping for winter clothing for the kids the task can become overwhelming. The good news, new fabrics and insulations are constantly making apparel warmer, more breathable and more waterproof. Even though fashions seem to change by the season, basic information about dressing for winter does not.

Think like a sandwich. The best way to dress for winter is to wear layers. This gives you flexibility to add or remove layers, depending on the weather and your activity. In general, the three main layers are wicking, insulating and weather protection.

Wicking layer: This is the layer worn next to your skin, usually consisting of long underwear. The wicking layer should fit snugly (not tight) next to the skin in order to effectively wick moisture. Look for thermal underwear made of a synthetic — usually polyester — fiber that has "wicking" power. This means the fibers will wick (move) moisture away from the skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. Silk is also a good, natural fabric that has wicking abilities. Appalachian Mountain Family Skiing Near Boone

Insulating layer: This middle layer includes sweaters, sweatshirts, vests and pullovers. The purpose of this layer is to keep heat in and cold out, which is accomplished by trapping air between the fibers. Comfort is important for the insulating layer. It should be loose enough to trap air between layers, but not so bulky that it restricts movement. Popular insulation materials include: Fleece, a synthetic material which maintains its insulating ability even when wet and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly. Wool naturally wicks away moisture. Alert! Cotton is great for towels, because cotton soaks up and retains moisture. That's precisely why cotton is all wrong for on-slope snow time apparel. It absorbs moisture (sweat and snow), and retains it. When the wind blows, the result is very, very cold so avoid cotton athletic socks, cotton jeans, cotton sweatshirts, or cotton t-shirts.

Protection layer: The exterior layer, generally a shell and pants, serves as your guard against the elements of winter. It should repel water from snow, sleet or rain and block the wind, while also letting perspiration evaporate. The protection layer should fit comfortably, offering you maximum range of motion. Although less baggy than in previous years, most snowboard clothing is still designed to fit looser than alpine skiwear, giving snowboarders freedom of movement. In addition, many snowboard pants are reinforced in the seat and knees for extra protection when kneeling or sitting on the snow. Remember, don't wear jeans or street pants because once wet there is no hope of staying warm.  Woodloch Pines Resort Family Ice Skating

Headwear: Experts say that up to 60 percent of the body's heat escapes from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat or helmet is essential. There are countless styles of hats and headbands, usually made from fleece or wool. Many have non-itch liners. Helmets are becoming very popular for children becuase they protect from bumps while providing warmth. s an extra benefit add a fleece neck gaiter (like a collar) or face mask for the coldest of days. 

Sunglasses and goggles: Sunglasses do much more than create a cool image.  They also protect eyes from damaging solar radiation. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. Look for 100 percent UV protection in sunglasses. Snow goggles should form an uninterrupted seal on the face, extending above the eyebrows and below the cheekbones. 

Gloves or mittens? 
 Consider the type of activity and look for gloves or mittens that are waterproof yet breathable. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves. Consider the type of activity. Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wrist guards, which are excellent for novice snowboarders. Cross-country skiing gloves tend to be lighter-weight for extra movement.  

Socks:  One pair of light-weight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. The best some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning dry and comfortable feet.
This advice was provided by which is an excellent resource for enjoying the winter season.

Content provided by Winter Feels Good and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images courtesy Topnotch Resort and Spa, Woodloch Pines resort and Spa, and Appalachian Mountain Ski Resort near Boone, NC.  Copyright updated 2017.

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