Winter Tricks and Tips

This time of year, motivation to get outside and stay active often goes in the direction of winter temperatures. Namely, down. We're fortunate here in Vermont to have a tight community of adventurous outdoorsy folks, who don't see winter as an obstacle, instead as an opportunity. We reached out to three Vermonters across a variety of sports to see what gets them going.

If you've ever nearly extracted a tooth with a frozen bar or gone to drink only to discover it's a block of ice, then this is something you'll appreciate. Winter Nutrition is a topic on the tip of the tongue among this intrepid crew. "To help stay fueled in the cold of winter, choose calories that aren’t prone to freezing and keep your liquids protected" suggests Aliza Lapierre, a professional ultra-runner and Vermont native. She then jumps straight to the point, "Fueling in the winter, I rely a lot on maple syrup or UnTapped stroopwafels because they just don’t freeze and the consistency remains constant. I can easily get an UnTapped packet open without taking off my mittens, which is key when it’s really cold."

What was that about "protecting" those liquids? Aliza, who at any point in the day is likely to be found atop Vermont's highest peaks, says, "To help prevent my hydration from freezing I run with my hydration vest under my outer layer. This keeps it protected from the elements plus it's being warmed by my body heat." And one more hot tip on hydration, "After taking a sip, with a big breath of air, I blow any remaining liquid back through the hose when I use a hydration bladder, or if using soft flasks I still blow gently back into them so the remaining liquid gets out of the cap, since these are the two places that are prone to freeze first."

Dressing for the elements always brings about a variety of opinions. There exists the idea that you need to bundle up in a dozen layers to stay warm, but Mirna Valerio suggests otherwise, "Get yourself some light, technical, and warm gear." It might take some extra searching, but this shouldn't be an expensive barrier. "Invest in good, quality, durable gear, and you can totally get used or recycled gear!" 

This outdoor maven suggests seeking out "outerwear that is waterproof, plus some good mid-layers and baselayers -- my favorites include any Smartwool Baselayer, and anything that is technical wool." 

Echoing the idea to dress light, "Be bold, start cold!" says Bill Harmeyer. This born and bred Vermonter is a professional nordic skier with the powerhouse Stratton T2 program. "Nine times out of ten you'll warm up once you start moving. So if you dress too warmly, odds are you'll be sweaty, wet and cold in fifteen minutes."

Bill keeps his engine topped off as well. "Bring snacks. Any outdoor activity can be easily ruined by a little hanger. Keep it light, bring something easy to eat -- the UnTapped Lemon Waffle is an absolute go-to of mine."

Exposure to the elements is more than just cold temperatures. Staying connected to the ground is a key piece of advice. "If there is snow or slush consider a shoe with more traction and less mesh. And remember to pair it with a good sock that will keep your feet warm while wicking away wetness. My favorite go-to shoe when conditions are slick and variable are the Salomon Spikecross Gore-Tex shoe." That's Aliza's recommendation as she continues running through the winter.

Mirna thinks highly of the same. "Waterproof footwear with great traction, a hat or head band, and sunglasses to prevent eye-fatigue when it's a bluebird day."

Sooner or later, you're heading back indoors and Aliza has important advice there too, "After your workout, change quickly! Get out of your wet clothes from head to toe as soon as you can. I always change immediately following a run, I put on warm comfy clothes and make sure that I have dry socks plus a warm beanie. After I have completely changed everything, I like to have steamed oat milk with Salted Cocoa UnTapped, as this helps with recovery and with warming me up."

All photos courtesy of these UnTapped athletes. Racing photo of Bill Harmeyer is courtesy Zach Caldwell.