How to Protect Your Skin While Skiing
Use the best sunscreen to protect your skin while skiing
A trip to the snow this winter just didn’t happen but I was lucky enough to head to Mount Hutt/Ōpuke down South at the start of September for my first ever Spring snowboarding. We had bluebird days, decent snow and I experienced my first ever mountaintop spa pool.
I saw some seriously bad burns; mostly on the older generations as many of the younger skiiers wore bandanas, big googles that covered most of the face and even helmets with small peaks on them to cover the forehead. However, all that gear came off as we sat outside for lunch and apres-ski beersies in the afternoon sun so there was plenty of skin exposure time where sunscreen was the only form of protection. With all that sunshine, how did I manage to protect my fair skin while skiing?
Three reasons sunscreen is essential while skiing
You are more likely to get sunburnt while skiing so sunscreen is essential. Here's 3 reasons why:
- The sun's rays reflect off the snow so you're getting more UV exposure
- UV exposure at high elevations is significantly greater than at sea level.
- Sunscreen can help to protect against windburn as well as sunburn
Sunscreen is a must while skiing but it's only effective if you choose the right one and apply it correctly. A broad spectrum sunscreen that's SPF 30 or higher and highly moisturising is the best sunscreen for skiing and also creates a protective barrier against windburn as well as sunburn.
Top Tip: In cooler temperatures, warm up a amount of Seasick Sunscreen in your palms before applying to the skin. This helps you to get an even coverage. Re-apply at least every 2 hours and more often on your lips.
What else is there to do at Mt Hutt?
We stayed at an Air BnB in Mount Somers – if you want to mix up your trip with a bit of hiking then this sleepy little village is a great place to stay. If we had more time I would have definitely hiked up to Woolshed Creek Hut for an overnight stay or even as a day trip. If you are after a bit more action or nightlife then Methven is the spot to stay. Here are some other cool things I'd recommend doing:
Sustainability and Skiing
Shout out to Mount Hutt for ditching single use plastic cutlery and single use cups. I took my keep-cup but didn’t need it as the cafes only serve drinks in real cups!
The hike up the mountain is pretty decent so I’d recommend taking as few cars up the maunga as possible or booking one of the shuttle busses that leave from Methven. The road up is pretty dodgy so take a shuttle bus if you aren’t an experienced driver on steep, unsealed roads.
When is the Best Time to Ski in NZ?
The weather was beautiful - blue skies and warm temperatures. The snow was decent on the groomed slopes but there was a fair bit of ice. However, as promised, as the day warmed up the snow went a bit slushy and it was actually really fun cruising down the slush. Having boarded in some pretty epic winter conditions I wouldn't say Spring skiing was better but it was a lot of fun if you don't take yourself or the conditions too seriously!
Spring rates seem to start at the beginning of September...I wouldn’t leave it too much later than early September for a ski trip though as the snow was disappearing really fast and there was a lot of rock exposed.
If you are with the right people and have a the right attitude, anytime is the best time to ski in NZ!! I had a blast and most importantly, I protected my skin from sunburn and windburn while on the snow.
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