Typically there are over 40 inches of snow every year in almost all parts of Massachusetts, but especially in the mountainous areas, the interior and the east coast. Winter storms, called “nor’easters”, are a legendary occurrence. While wintery conditions and snow accumulations cause headaches for everyday commuters, they are also the backdrop to a host of vibrant outdoor activities. Explore the possibilities offered in the many exciting venues for snowboarding and skiing in MA.
You can choose weekend get-away resorts for a relaxing, romantic time-out. Perhaps your family is looking for facilities with more organized activities and instructional classes for kids for an extended vacation. Most resorts offer equipment rentals, so first ventures into a new sport can be experienced relatively inexpensively. If you are planning time in the snow, also take time to plan the precautions you will take to keep safe from the dangers of the sun’s UV rays.
Winter Sun Risks
Everybody is aware of the skin cancer dangers associated with sun exposure. However, most need a reminder about the increased risks from winter sports:
• enthusiasts tend to spend a considerable time on the slopes, increasing exposure
• most skiing and snowboarding resorts are located at higher altitudes where UV radiation can be up to 45% stronger than at sea level; there is an increase in UV exposure of about 5% for every 1,000 foot increase in elevation
• the snow can reflect up to 80% of the UV radiation, increasing exposure because the skier is bombarded by the rays twice; this will happen even on cloudy days
• the colder weather masks your feeling of any damage from the sun
• even if protective lotions are used, wind and snow tends to quickly wear off these safeguards
You definitely want to enjoy the thrills and splendors of skiing and snowboarding, but you should be realistic about sun protection tips so you do not suffer painful consequences.
Protection from Winter Sun
There are a number of common sense safeguards you can follow to ensure protection from harsh winter sun and cold winds:
- choose the time of day for extended outings; skiing early in the day and in the late afternoon avoids the periods of most intense sunlight
- for the dedicated who want to spend as much time as possible on the slopes, take the time to reapply sunscreen frequently
- as with any intense sport, be sure to drink fluids often to avoid dehydration
- be sure to wear appropriate clothing; covering the head will help keep the body warm and will protect the scalp; a ski mask will help reduce the amount of skin exposed to the elements
- wearing proper goggles is critical; they should provide 99% or greater UV protection, wrap around to protect sensitive areas around the eyes, and reduce glare for best visibility
- be sure to apply sunscreen liberally and frequently to all exposed skin, including lips, around the eyes, under the chin and all other areas often missed
Of course you will want to take advantage of winter sporting activities available in Massachusetts, and doing so safely just increases the enjoyment.