Great Skate #43: Lansdowne Skating Court, Ottawa

My trip to Ottawa was timed perfectly for a period of frigid temperatures that had even the winter-hardy locals staying indoors. On the morning of January 5, when I skated at the Lansdowne Skating Court, the windchill made it feel like -30 Celsius. Environment Canada had issued an extreme cold and frostbite warning.

Unsurprisingly, I was the only person at the rink.

What should you wear to skate in very cold weather?

When it's extremely cold, the smart thing to do is stay inside. But if you must go out, here is some cold weather clothing advice from City of Ottawa:

Layer 1 – the layer closest to your skin should be clothing that wicks moisture away
Layer 2 - a warm insulating layer such as a sweater or sweatshirt
Layer 3 – an outer layer that protects you from wind and moisture
Cover as much exposed skin as possible to prevent frostbite. Mittens or gloves, hats and scarves are very important to protect against heat loss and frostbite. Boots should be warm and preferably waterproof.

Here's what I was wearing to skate at the Lansdowne Skating Court:
  • 2 pairs of socks (thin ones under thick wool ones)
  • heavy winter boots
  • fleece tights
  • corduroy trousers
  • long-sleeved shirt
  • wool sweater
  • down-filled jacket
  • fleece-lined mittens
  • scarf
  • hat
It wasn't enough. My torso and arms were warm, but I could feel the wind on my legs. My hands went painfully cold almost instantly when I took off my mittens to tie my skates. Small icicles formed on my eyelashes too.

I skated for about 15 minutes, and then hurried to a cafe to warm up with a pot of tea.


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Cold winters, now and then