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Snow Walker

I wonder if bank robbers have a problem with the eye-holes on their balaclava ski masks stretching. If you roll the ski mask up, the eye holes get stretched. I know this not because I rob banks but because I live in a sometimes cold country, Canada. We've just had a heavy dump of snow, it looks like about eight to nine inches so far today and it's still coming down, and the temperature is -20oC (knock off another -10oC for windchill) and so it's time to think seriously about Winter-wear. I couldn't help noticing that the eye and mouth holes on my white balaclava are getting a bit big. I'm not worried about being recognised, the reason bank robbers wear them, but every micro-square-inch of bare flesh exposed to the elements is an invite to a frost-bite. And I take frost-bit seriously. A couple of years back one frigid lunchtime I took my gloves off to wrestle with the handbrake of a car which had become stuck. The gloves were only off very briefly and though I was aware of a tingling in my finger tips, I thought I'd got away with it. Next days those finger tips looked like bleached white ripped rags. What to wear when the temperature plummets and the snow gets deep can be a challenge. Wading through freshly dumped snow soon builds up body heat. Not enough clothing, you freeze, too much and you end up at your destination covered in sweat. And footwear is also a challenge. Out here on the Canadian Prairies nearly everyone has what I like to call Snow Wellies. The foot part of them is rubber and then they reach wellie-high up the leg in some kind of water-proof fabric. They usually have a felt-like insulating liner and tie-off at the top to keep the snow going down them. Army surplus ones are much in demand. The problem with them is that they have extra-wide soles. A size 10 boot has something like a size 13 sole and acts a bit like mini-snow shoes. They're great when snow needs to be waded through. But once you get into a building; well when's the last time you saw anyone walking the hallways in snowshoes - even mini-ones?  Sun glasses are also a good idea. The Ski Set has long been aware  of how much light bounces off the snow but it was news to me my first full winter in Canada. So, snow-blindness is an issue. And we get a lot of sun during the winter here on the Canadian Prairies. Ah, what to wear!

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