Winter recreation in Payson is somewhat limited, if you equate the thought with snow on the slopes or ice on the pond. We have our occasional snowstorms. However, you have to rush out and build the snowman or grab the inner tube within the first 24 hours because when the first rays of sun hit the snow, it quickly vaporizes.
Fortunately, we live under the Mogollon Rim, which has some of the best winter playgrounds in Arizona, especially if you like to cross country ski, snowmobile or build that snowman.
The key word in selecting clothing for winter work and play is "layer."
Anyone who has lived in the Payson area for any length of time knows that our temperatures during the winter mornings can be below freezing and by mid-afternoon you are comfortable in a light sweat shirt.
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.
The three main layers are wicking, insulating and weather protection.
Wicking is the layer worn next to the skin, usually consisting of long underwear. Polyester fabric has "wicking" power, or the ability to move moisture away from your skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. This keeps you warm, dry and comfortable.
Keep in mind, even though its cold, you will sweat especially if you are cross country skiing or snowshoeing.
The middle layer is the "insulating" layer. This might be a sweat shirt, sweater or vest. The purpose of this layer is to keep heat in and cold out.
Clothing made of fleece or wool are highly recommended.
The exterior layer, or "protection" layer serves as a guard. It should repel water from snow and rain, and block the wind while allowing perspiration to evaporate.
Most exterior winter jackets and pants are made to be waterproof and yet breathe keeping moisture out while allowing moisture from the inside to escape.
Up to 80 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered head. Wearing a hat may allow you to wear one less layer of clothing. There are many styles of hats and headbands on the market. If you are buying head protection for your child, make sure it has a nonitch liner or they will be shedding it as soon as they are out of your sight.
Eye protection is as essential as headgear or layered clothing when it comes to winter protection. Most of us who live in Arizona are well accustomed to wearing sunglasses for protection from ultraviolet rays. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes UV rays stronger. This, combined with the Rim country's high altitude, magnifies the danger.
Gloves and mittens
It is recommended you look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mittens are generally warmer than gloves. However, mittens are not as practical if you are adjusting bindings on your skis.
The biggest tip is to not wear gloves or mittens that are too tight. Air space at the tips of your fingers will act as insulation.
Resist the temptation to put on too many pairs of socks. You'll actually restrict circulation and cause your feet to get colder. One pair of light-weight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing.
Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable.
How do I prevent myself from getting injured?
As with any type of exercise, a good warm up helps prevent injuries. It also increases body heat. Research shows that better athletic performances are associated with higher muscle temperatures.
If you suffer from arthritis you should do a longer warm-up.