Having been to an outdoor NHL game a couple of years ago not only did I have a great time but I also learnt a few valuable lessons about how to prepare for 3-4 hours sitting outside in winter weather in a stadium setting. The two things you need to be aware of here are frostbite and hypothermia. As much as you want to represent your teams colours, being warm should be your first priority.
Frostbite is a localized injury where skin begins to freeze typically happening to our extremities such as finger, toes, earlobes and nose. Indicators of frostbite are feeling cold, followed by pain, numbness and finally nothing. It is important if you begin to feel numbness you must do something to change this. Adding extra layers, moving the extremities if possible, heat packs and temporarily moving to a warmer area are all possible solutions.
Tips to avoid frostbite
- Wear mits instead of gloves
- Make sure boots, cuffs etc. are not too tight to impede circulation.
- Wear socks that wick moisture (avoid cotton)
- Bring extra socks and mits to change out if they become sweaty
- A good toque and balaclava can help cover head and face
Hypothermia is a lowering of the body’s core temperature. The two most common ways our body loses heat is conduction (direct contact with a cold object) and convection (the windchill). Although it may seem warm when you leave the house it is always better to be over prepared with extra layers because if the weather changes, the sun goes down, or the extended time in a bleacher setting starts to make you cold, this awesome event will no longer be fun.
Tips to avoid hypothermia
- Dress in layers (Base moisture wicking layer, thermal layer, and wind breaking layer)
- Avoid wearing cotton ( It holds moisture and robs your body of heat)
- Keep extremities (hands, feet, head) well insulated.
- Bring a piece of foam, lifejacket, or an insulated cushion to avoid sitting on a cold bleacher chair for an extended period of time.
- Keep moving (Cheering for your team is a great way to do that)
- Eat and stay hydrated but avoid excessive alcohol.
- Get to a warmer area from time to time if needed