I am often asked, “How can you calculate wind chill to evaluate what you should wear to insulate yourself to prevent frostbite?”
If you think you can’t get frostbite at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, you are wrong. I have had the skin on the end of my nose frostbitten when skiing at Mammoth Mountain, so I know this first-hand.
Calculating wind chill is somewhat complex, so I use a “rule-of-thumb” short cut. Wind chill decreases the effective temperature roughly 1 degree F for every mile per hour of wind. Let’s say it is 20 degrees out with a 20 mph wind. When you deduct a degree of temperature for every mile per hour of wind speed, you see that the effective temperature would be about 0 F.
Today as I write this, it is about 40 degrees at Mammoth Mountain with a steady wind of 40 mph, and gusts to 100 mph. So it would be effectively 0 F, and up to -60 F on the highest wind gusts.
To prevent frostbite, calculate the approximate wind chill by reviewing my daily snow conditions report on the Mammoth Ski Club blog at: http://mammothskiclub.com/blog/
Then wear the appropriate layers to insulate you. I recommend you always wear a fleece balaclava under your helmet to protect your face and head from the bitter cold. It is adjustable so you can pull it down from over your mouth when you ski for better breathing. Then you can pull it up over your face and nose on the chair. You can always fold it up, and put it in your pocket if conditions improve.
On extremely cold days, I add a fleece layer with fleece pants and a fleece jacket to insulate me, and I’ve never been cold in them. I got the fleece pants from the Campmor catalog, and you can get fleece jackets nearly everywhere including soon at the Mammoth Ski Club Logo Wear online store. Don’t forget to take breaks in one of the lodges to thaw out about every hour or less on cold days. You can have a lot of fun and get a lot of fresh powder on stormy and windy days if you are prepared for the actual temperature INCLUDING wind chill.