Lessons learned while standing in snow
Hello friends in New England and beyond waking up to several inches of snow. While I plan my next beach day in South Florida, I am sending #ThoughtsAndPrayers as you hunker down and dig out this weekend. It's a routine I know all too well after spending seven years in Maine. Chances are, if there was measurable snow in those seven years, I was in it and reporting live. When I first started at WLBZ in Bangor, I was abysmally unprepared for the conditions and had to learn a lot by trial and error. Here's a list of the gear and strategies I swore by to get through the long and brutal winter -- and a note: NONE of this sponsored content. No one asked me to peddle products or endorse any brands. These are my honest recommendations!
1. Better to be dry than warm. I'm starting with this advice first because it's the most important. I used to layer sweaters on sweaters -- and I thought the more layers the better. But if you're outside and active, all those layers might start to make you sweat -- which is a really uncomfortable feeling in the cold. And if those layers are not waterproof, then you're sweating and wet and cold and miserable. It's the quality, not quantity of your layers that count. I usually only needed to wear one base layer, like an Under Armour turtleneck and leggings, under my winter coat and snow pants.
2. Speaking of snow pants -- these are non-negotiable. True story: I once wore multiple pairs of LEGGINGS to report in a blizzard. A few times I wore jeans over my base layer. I later upgraded to rain pants -- but it wasn't until I gave in and invested in actual snow pants that I truly achieved some level of comfort reporting in the snow. I bought mine at the L.L. Bean outlet in Freeport. I feel like the Michelin Man every time I wear them but they do the job and now I'd never go out in a storm without them.
3. Don't get cold feet! But more importantly, keep them dry. These snow boots by SOREL are my favorite. They are waterproof, sturdy, and dare I say pretty cute with the fur at the top. For storms with more rain than snow, I highly recommend these Muck Boots. They are so well-made and worth every penny. The top comfortably seals so that rain water won't get into the boots, and the bottoms are so waterproof that you can stand in a flood and stay dry. On top of that - they are so comfortable I truly feel like I'm walking on a cloud when I wear them. When it's dangerously cold out, buy a few pairs of these adhesive foot warmers by Hot Hands. If you apply them to the bottom of your socks, they will keep your feet warm for hours! The gear I am linking to is not cheap. I used to buy cheap things, because I was a poor reporter. But if you save some money and invest in high quality, water proof gear, YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.
4. Get some goggles. I fully appreciate how ridiculous they look but when the wind is whipping, and freezing rain is flying in your face, wearing a pair of ski goggles will help you see and keep your face protected. This will increase the amount of time you can be out in the elements. I bought mine at Play It Again Sports for less than $20.
5. Forget about your hair. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I used to CURL MY HAIR and put on a cute winter hat and leave my hair down to try and look good for my live shots. I didn't want to pull my hair back, put on a hat and look like a boy. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that your long hair will get wet and freeze. Eventually I figured out the best thing to do is put my hair up in a high bun and wear a warm headband to cover up my ears. I thought it looked decent enough, and required no maintenance throughout the day. Along those same lines: the less make up the better. Female broadcasters have to wear it - so make sure it's waterproof.
6. Stay hydrated and eat smart. It is so tempting to keep chugging hot coffee, but it's more important to have extra water on hand to stay hydrated. For some reason, I always craved candy while out on storm coverage, but the sugar crash was ugly. I started to pack a thermos of warm soup on storm days, and I can't tell you how comforting it was to have something warm to eat in between cold live shots.
7. Pack extras! After a few hours outside, some of your gear will get wet and having some spare hats, scarves, socks, gloves, and even coats will keep you cozy throughout the day.
8. Have fun with it. The weather is out of your control so you might as well make the most of it! The happiest Mainers were the ones who had winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing to look forward to. As reporters, we know we have endless live shots to fill. You can either set up a boring, static live shot next the highway and repeat the same old advice (take it slow out there! Don't go out if you don't have to!) ... or you can push yourself to get creative, and active in the elements. The more fun you have, the quicker the long winter goes by!