The higher you go, the better the skiing, but that Rocky Mountain high also comes with a Rocky Mountain dry. Keeping your skin safe from the moisture loss, not to mention the wind and snow that blasts your face as you whip your way down the mountain, is a challenge.
At higher altitudes, the air is dry year-round, but in cold weather it holds even less water vapour, which means moisture is evaporating from your skin more quickly than usual. Dermatologist Marlene Dytoc, associate clinical professor at the University of Alberta, says skiers can’t forget their sunscreen: “There is more sun and more dryness at high altitudes. Sun exposure is a problem because the light reflects up off the ice and snow.” Her advice? Drink more water, pack lots of good quality moisturizers and slather on SPF 30 every 20 minutes if you can.
On a recent ski trip in the French Alps, I road tested Saje, a natural skincare line well known in Western Canada that is getting more attention in the rest of the country with several new stores in Toronto, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. With a focus on plant-based essential oils and sustainable ingredients, Saje’s carry-on size Travel Safe Kit ($39.95) is worth the carry-on space. Its contents all smell amazing.
The kit’s Restoral healing skin ointment is a heaven-sent salve for chapping, cracking skin. Another great mini-bottle is the Arrive Revived mist: Spritz it just above your upturned face and breath in succulent scents of eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, lavender and lemon as your skin soaks up the purified water mist. Getting water into your skin is the first step to stop moisture loss, so use this mist liberally (starting on the flight to your ski slope). The kit also contains 40 millilitres of Safe Hands – an all-natural, skin-friendly alternative to drying, alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Another must-pack for me now is Kiehl’s travel-sized Ultra Facial Moisturizer ($22). Slather this on right out of the shower, before applying sunscreen lotion, for a good moisture-sealing base. The brand’s 24-hour Ultra Facial Cream (50 ml, $32) was famously tested by mountain climbers up the icy peaks of Greenland; apply this before your own day on the slopes to be well protected. For an instant feel-good après-ski, stash Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (75 ml, $18) in your ski locker, and make sure you apply SPF lip balm liberally all day long – your skin will thank you.