Can You Get Frostbite from Mammoth Mountain Weather?

The short answer is “Yes”. Two years ago, my daughter was skiing with the Mammoth Mountain ski team, and I had an event I was leaving to speak at in Orlando, Florida. It was snowing all day, and my nose got cold, but since I would not be able to ski for a few days, I thought I’d stay out in the snow storm for about 4 hours. On cold and windy days where the wind chill is going to be under 10F, I always add a layer to the top, usually a fleece jacket. On super cold days, I add fleece pants, bib overalls, down mittens, a fleece balaclava, and the hood on my ski jacket over my helmet to what I normally wear. This insulates me from the elements.

I did this today with wind chills below -10F, and I was actually a little warm at times. The only thing that sticks out is my nose. I’ve found that anything that covers my nose either blocks my breathing, foggs my goggles, or both. So anyway, 2 years ago I stayed out 4 hours in a windy snow storm because I was having so much fun. I drove home, kissed my daughter good-bye and drove to Las Vegas to catch the red-eye flight to Orlando, FL for my speaking engagement.

I got there the next day and had lunch with a famous speaker, Lee Milteer that recognized me in the hotel lobby. After lunch, I went up to my room, and noticed there was something black on my nose. I was embarassed that I had not seen this before lunch with a famous person. So I went to the sink to wash whatever it was off, and to my surprise it would not wash off. It was at this time that I realized that my nose was frostbitten, and the skin on ball of the end of my nose was black.

I woke up the next morning and had to speak to a group of over 100 business owners and one of the top direct response marketers in the world, Joe Sugarman of Blublocker fame, in the audience with the frostbite blackness on my nose. No one said anything, and Joe Sugerman even charged up the aisle and said, “that was one of the best speaches I’ve ever heard on print and Yellow Page advertising.”

I flew home after speaking, and my nose acted like the end of it had been burnt almost. The skin formed into a glaze that fell off about 10 days later. I had no long term damage, and only I can tell where the frostbite was. But I learned a lesson. When it is snowy and windy, it is a real good idea to take a break out of the cold and wind at one of the lodges or your car after about an hour. If you stay out 2 hours with skin exposed in below freezing temperatures with wind chill, you are likely to get frostbite no matter where you are. Bundle up, take a break to talk about your runs, and let the skin thaw out:)

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