Getting dressed for snow sports is a sport unto itself. It is one of those sports where you get points for degree of difficulty which are combined with points for time in the course. Welcome to Competitive Winter Dressing.

This sport developed out of competing with your fellow snow sports enthusiasts. Historically the competition grew out of humans pitting their skills against mother nature. In a nod to historical accuracy, all of the competitions take place on a porch of an appropriate facility such as a ski lodge.

The degree of difficulty is determined by external factors of three kinds. First, there are the climatological factors. Second, there are the economic factors and third there are the cleanliness factors. There are two internal factors. Unlike most competitive sports the cognitive aspects of competitive winter dressing is not about planning the course or psyching out the opponent, it is about the continuum of cockiness to whimpiness.

The speed factor is determined almost entirely by external forces. At the core of the speed factor is the location at which the dressing is taking place. The second speed factor is related to how dry your clothes are from the last time you wore them.

As a former ski patroler and cross country ski instructor I feel competent to address dog walking in neck deep snowthese issues. In addition to my patrolling and instructing I logged many hours winter backpacking. I have spent hours on snowshoes and hours and weeks and decades shoveling snow. If you can apply the principals offered here you can be a quality winter dresser. If your fellow snow sport enthusiasts are impressed with your speed and your skill you may be nominated for a winter dressing race. These races are held each year, typically when one reaches your peak performance in winter dressing having had all winter to practice. The prizes for the races range from long underware to boxes of hot chocolate for those who do poorly in the dressing races and need to be treated for hypothermia.

In Competitive Winter Dressing the degree of difficulty accounts for 60 of the 100 possible points. Each factor is scored from 1 to 10 and then weighted by a factor of 2. A perfect score for degree of difficulty is 60. The speed factors are scored on a 1 to 10 scale and then combined and added to the degree of difficulty score. A perfect speed score is 20 and a perfect overall score is 100. Three things are grounds for immediate disqualifications: (1) getting frost bite and (2) getting hypothermia and (3) sharing clothes unless (1) or (2) have occurred.

Let us begin with the degree of difficulty.

Degree of Difficulty Factor 1: climatological factors. This is perhaps the most challenging factor although arguably Factor 3 can be difficult if combined with Factor 2 and Factor 1.  Competitive winter dressing is divided into four categories. 1. Below 20 below, Between 20 below and 10 above, Between 10 above and 30 above and between 30 and 40. Each temperature range must be addresses taking into account other climatological factors including sunlight, snow vs. ice vs. gravel or bare ground. The most challenging of the climatological co-variates is the wind. A perfect score on Factor 1 is achieved by (a) your glasses or goggles not steaming up, (b) lack of shivering, (c) not having to spend your whole day dressing and undressing.dog up to belly in snow

Factor 2: Economic Factors: Economic factors are important but do not drive choices for Competitive Winter Dressing. Cotton thermal underwear are for fashion henely shirts. It is not for actually wearing in the cold. The top end companies have recently developed high-tech underware that are financially out of reach of mere mortals. Those who are lucky enough to have a sponsor will have these products. Mid range underware can be found at most sporting goods stores as long as the store also sells dog food and Horse Drinkers. Outer wear is similarly organized. A nylon and wondertec fabric jacket with a very expensive label is better made and thus easier to don than less expensive jackets but are not always the warmest.

Factor 3: Cleanliness factors: This factor applies mostly to avid competitive winter dressers. Are your clothes wet? Do they smell? The judges will be impressed with wet. smelly clothes that were hanging over the radiator the night before but it will not earn you extra points. A A competitor cannot receive a score above 5 if their clothes are wet and above 4 if they are wet and smelly. No points are deducted for spilled food on the clothes unless it contributes to the smelliness of the garment.

Let us now undertake an examination of the speed factors. As previously noted, The speed factor is determined almost entirely by external forces. dog walking in deep snow with face covered in snow

Factor 1: Location of Dressing At the core of the speed factor is the location at which the dressing is taking place. While the competitions take place on the porches of winter facilities, dressing inside can present its own speed factor depending on how cold it is outside. When many clothes must be donned, speed if of the essence because you need to get outside before you feel like you have to pee. The cold weather will remove the urge thus avoiding removal of layers of clothes. Some of the newer competitions have added a warm-environment dressing fuction. There is an automatic deduction of 2 points if you have to stop to pee before going outside. Experienced expert dressers know this is enhanced by not drinking beer or herbal teas prior to the competition.

Factor 1:  The second speed factor is related to how dry your clothes are from the last time you wore them. Cold wet clothes are slower to do for two reasons. First, there is the competitor-ick factor. A competitor must overcome his or her repulsion over putting on cold, wet stinky clothes. The second concern regarding speed is that wet clothes get hung up when you try to put them on. Your wet socks are more likely to twist and fit poorly into your boots.

If you are new to Competitive Winter Dressing, you can find more information at http://www.competativewinterdressing.com. At that site you can find more about scoring as well as being a polite fan. You will also find applications for competitors. Additional coaches are listed. dog walking in deep snow with face covered in snowSome coaches have special facilities, induing meat lockers, for year round practice. Practice will improve your Competitive Winter Dressing Score and reduce the number of times you find yourself face-first in the snow.