Hitting the Ski Slopes This Winter? 5 Sun-Safety Tips for Ski Season UV Protection

Written by H. Fishman on January 29, 2013

Did you know that there are people who actually enjoy the cold of winter?

These people don’t make a beeline each January to some warm-weather beach destination, but rather enjoy dressing in so many layers they walk like a penguin.

Do you know what these people are called? Crazy!

(Disclaimer: I was raised in upstate New York, so trust me: I know what a cold winter really feels like.)


Follow our five sun safety tips for ski-season UV protection

Tropical island getaways aren’t the only popular vacation spots this time of year. For those who embrace and enjoy the cold, skiing has long been a great vacation pastime here in the United States, whether you’re hitting the mountains in Utah, Colorado, Vermont or anywhere in between. (Except Wisconsin – sorry Wisconsin, but your mountains are what the rest of us call hills. We love your cheese though!)

What can be more enjoyable than breathing in the brisk mountain air as you ski your way through the perfect powder on a crisp, sunny winter day?

In my opinion, lots of things, but this isn’t an opinion piece!

Heat and cold aren’t measures of UV intensity

Protecting your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays is critical in the summertime – and it’s also essential in the winter months too.

Being outside on a sunny winter day when the thermometer is close to zero doesn’t mean you have a lesser chance of getting sunburned. If you’re out skiing, your risks of sunburn and skin damage are just as high on days like that as they over when at the beach over the summer. The only reason you don’t get sunburned more in the winter is because you have less exposed skin – it’s all underneath the layers of clothes you wear to stay warm!

What’s more, when it comes to skiing and being outdoors on a mountain:

  • UV intensity increases about 5% for every 1,000 feet in elevation you climb
  • Fresh snow is so reflective that it will bounce up to 94% of the sun’s UV rays right back up at you

Ever see someone who just came back from a ski vacation with a “goggle tan”? It’s usually pretty hilarious, right?

No? Oh well, at least I think it is. Although I don’t ski, so I can’t say I’ve ever had one. But I have gotten a line from wearing my sunglasses at the beach all day, which is kind of the same thing.

All kidding aside, your face is one of the few exposed parts of your body during the winter, so it’s the most likely to get sunburned. While it will eventually fade into a nice tan, that sunburn is actually a sign of skin damage.

5 sun safety tips for ski-season UV protection

Skiers dress in so many layers of clothing from head to toe that their bodies are already getting a lot of protection from the sun. Regular followers of us here at JoeShade already know how important clothing is to protecting yourself from sun damage to your skin, but it bears repeating – clothing, shade, and sunscreen are three of the most important ways to avoid sunburn from harmful UV rays.

When you’re out hitting the slopes, be it the Black Diamond or the Bunny Slope (I won’t judge which – who am I kidding, yes I will), be sure to:

  1. Protect your eyes from glare – Wear goggles or sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection to protect your eyes. When buying sunglasses, look for a label that specifically offers 99-100% UV protection, and sunglasses that wrap around to protect from light coming in the sides. This assures that the glasses screen as much radiation as possible.
  2. Wear a mask or bandana – This will help protect your face from the sun and help prevent the goggle tan all your non-skier friends like making fun of so much!
  3. Don’t forget your nose – If you’re already wearing ski goggles and a mask/bandana, the one part of your body still exposed is your nose. Zinc oxide isn’t just for the beach!
  4. Use sunscreen – Sunscreen is essential winter gear, so make it a regular part of your ski gear bag.  Check product labels to make sure you get sunscreen that is “broad spectrum” with an SPF of 30 or more.
  5. Apply it properly – Put sunscreen on 15-30 minutes before you head outside – that’s how long it takes for your skin to absorb it and start protecting you. Reapply often and liberally, and don’t forget a lip balm for your lips!

Bonus tips for any time of year!

Whether you’re skiing the slopes or sitting on the sidelines watching your child’s Little League baseball game, make sure to do the following to keep your skin from getting sun damage from harmful UV rays:

  1. Stay hydrated – Healthy skin is hydrated skin, which comes from the inside out. Drink plenty of water – it’s important to your body’s health, and will help you stay cool!
  2. Use a shade umbrella – Avoid sun damage to your skin by being more conscientious about staying out of the sun when outdoors, especially with products that have high UV sun shade protection, like our shade umbrella does.

The JoeShade portable shade umbrella is unique in its sun safety features. Our shade umbrellas are made with a special fabric specifically designed to block harmful UV rays. Easy to carry wherever you go, and even easier to set up, JoeShade umbrellas are great for sports fans, campers, tailgaters, and anyone that enjoys being outside and wants to maintain healthy skin.

Enjoy the ski slopes, my crazy cold-weather fans! If you need to find me, I’ll be at the beach under my portable JoeShade umbrella!

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