life Work

1 More Week

December 13, 2022

Last Push

I have 8 days left of work before we leave for our trip. This will be followed by 2 full weeks away from clinical work, which I am excited about as I’m not sure I’ve taken such a long stretch for quite some time.

(My inbox will be somewhat frightening when I return, but at least during those particular weeks I think a lot of patients assume providers might be away and expect slower response times. I will also make sure at least one medical assistant who is not taking much time off can monitor my inbox and respond to any urgent pleas).

The kids will attend different camp experiences for part of winter break. Our nanny is off, and I need coverage for my last two clinics next week so they are going to the school’s program for two days (sorry kids – I know, a bit anticlimactic). AND, after our trip they have some gymnastics camp days so that I can work on BLPA/podcast work and hopefully have a bit of relaxation time (Josh is on call for most of the New Year’s stretch).

I can easily imagine us all being sick and making much of this untenable, but if that happens . . . at least I tried.

Also, I am tired. I really am looking forward to this break.

Speaking of our trip

I’m panicking a little bit. I knew it would be cold. We bought a lot of warm gear. But when is the point when cold becomes just uninhabitable/dangerous?

(See that Thursday at the bottom? That’s supposed to be our first ski day. %*(&#$@#).

Ummm. Tips welcome. Maybe next time we will try to ski in March/early April instead.


  • Reply Katherine B December 13, 2022 at 6:08 am

    Good luck with the long break Sarah. I am taking just over 3 weeks off starting Friday night and returning to work on Tuesday 10th January, but hoping on the same basis that legal work will quieten down quite a bit during some of that time and colleagues will pick up what doesn’t. Big inbox expected on return too. This is the longest single period I have taken off since maternity leave 18 plus years ago! We are going to a cottage by the sea in Scotland for 10 days from the 30th. Hoping to see the New Year in with fireworks on the beach, weather permitting! Are those temperatures Fahrenheit or Centigrade? It was minus 6 Centigrade here last night. I didn’t really enjoy skiiing the only time I went, aged 16, to the Italian Alps just before Easter, when the nursery slopes had melted and I had to learn on something a bit too steep. Hope you all have a much better time than I did then!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 13, 2022 at 6:39 am

      Fahrenheit 🙁

      Your break sounds lovely!! Very much worth the inbox upon return.

    • Reply CBS December 13, 2022 at 1:26 pm

      Ooh enjoy! Fife?

      We are decamping to mom and dad’s in Portugal from the 23rd-2nd, I’m looking forward to a bit of a rest.

      • Reply Katherine B December 13, 2022 at 3:19 pm

        No, Kintyre. Last time we were there for New Year was 2019/20 so just before the pandemic. Hope that’s not a bad omen.

  • Reply Omdg December 13, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Yep that’s cold. It is dry cold, which is not as bad as damp cold, but still cold. Wear silk long underwear, layers, stay hydrated, keep your skin covered, and keep moving. Feeling warm and toasty when it’s cold is one of the best feelings.

  • Reply Seppie December 13, 2022 at 7:20 am

    I think the snow will be better now than in March/April – and when you’re moving you definitely stay warmer. It may not be as bad as you think. That said, if you are miserably cold, there’s no rule that says you have to ski!

  • Reply Grateful Kae December 13, 2022 at 7:20 am

    I didn’t realize you were going so far north to ski! For some reason I thought you were going to be in Colorado. Brrrrr -4 is COLD even for us northerners! Always depends a bit what the wind chill is, too- that can make a big difference.

  • Reply Zm December 13, 2022 at 7:41 am

    Our office is shut entirely from the 21st Dec to 8th January. That is a fairly standard break for my industry. It’s summer & school holidays so there is no expectations that anyone will be working on anything.

    We’ve got a family Christmas and then a week in a farm stay in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand.

    I’m really looking forward to a break. The holiday feeling doesn’t really end until Australia Day at the end of January & return to school. I’ve got a few extra days dotted through January too.

  • Reply Robin December 13, 2022 at 8:02 am

    So, I live in Wisconsin. We have some stretches of sub-zero weather at least 2-3 times per winter. Generally, I don’t believe a forecast like that until the day arrives because when it’s that cold, +/- can make a big difference. I walk to work (about a mile) in these temps and the things that help are warm gear like what you already have, I’m sure. I also have a wool head covering thingy that is apparently called a “snood” that really helps when it’s below 5 degrees.

    That being said, my kids generally don’t have fun playing outside when it’s below 10 degrees, so you may want to prepare for some inside options. We have stayed at some resorts in Montana and Wyoming and my experience is that they tend to be prepared for most weather, so they may have movies and other cozy activities. They may also offer other snow activities like tubing and snowshoeing that don’t as high a learning curve—thus keeping you moving more.

    It will be fun!

  • Reply Mary December 13, 2022 at 8:19 am

    When it is that cold here ( and I live in Canada so frequently enough) we definitely use mitten warmers and take frequent breaks in the Chalet. It is doable. But as someone else said the weather changes so much that far out I would start to worry until a day or two beforehand.

  • Reply Sarah Price December 13, 2022 at 8:38 am

    We ski in Maine and it can be cold! Tips: a good base layer, hand warmers (Amazon), fitted balaclavas that cover the whole face. If possible get the balaclava with a skull cap to wear under the helmet (so much warmer), mitten liners, mittens (not gloves) and lots of breaks for hot chocolate. We never had much luck with toe warmers for our kids.

  • Reply Lori C December 13, 2022 at 8:59 am

    We live in Boston and have a vacation home in NH in the White Mountains. We ski frequently. Personally even with the warmest gear we don’t ski if it’s a negative windchill. It just becomes a. Dangerous to get frost bite on exposed areas and b. Just really miserable. At negative temps the chair lift is torture… I just can’t get warm! I recognize with a big trip like this you may decide to suck it up. (Not unlike me going to Florida in the summer when you may not dare go outside LOL). Whatever you decide I’m sure it will be a fun trip!! Hot cocoa, fires, cozy clothes, enjoy!!

  • Reply Katherine December 13, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Another vote for silk long underwear, both pants and a top to keep your core warm. I’ve had good luck with long underwear from REI and Lands End, and they take up very little room in your suitcase compared to other winter gear. A neck gaiter that you can pull up to cover your mouth and nose is welcome in extreme cold. Also make sure that your hat is long enough to fully cover your ears.

  • Reply Jessica December 13, 2022 at 9:13 am

    I assume you already have wool socks and toe warmers – people haven’t mentioned that above. Wear 2 pairs of socks if they will fit well in the boot, but don’t go overboard with sock layers because that will actually make you colder.
    Agree that if it works for the skiing, definitely mittens instead of gloves. Some sort of whole head neck covering like people have suggested. Putting on the clothing in a way that does let air in (like trading off what layer is on top). The snow bibs will make a huge difference. And just lots of layers of warm clothing! I love Smartwool for all things warm clothing. Wear something relatively tight as a base layer, like a cami – your torso is important to keep warm by trapping your body heat as much as possible, so no loose shirts as a first layer!!

    I don’t ski often, but I do live in MN, and you will be surprised how comfortable you can be in low temps. That being said, it’s the skiing and the kids that would make me less sure with my advice. Good luck!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 13, 2022 at 9:34 am

      Yes we got mittens (Outdoor Research) for all! And hand warmers. Need to see if I need more socks …

    • Reply Stephanie Gravenor December 13, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      Agree! Hand warmers and Toe warmers for the long slow chairlifts are a must!

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 13, 2022 at 5:35 pm

        Apparently a bunch of the lifts are heated / enclosed! Definitely not all though.

  • Reply Diana December 13, 2022 at 11:39 am

    We live in the northern latitudes. We rarely see that cold of weather but my son does attend an outdoor preschool so we are ready for all elements! We love merino wool thermals (1 pair is all you need, they don’t hold onto stink like synthetics and are so breathable and moisture wicking!), wool socks are a must (we love darn tough, again 1-2 pairs should be enough as they are wool and anticrobial) and fleece as mid layers. The wool thermals and fleece mid layers help to keep the warmth in with minimal bulk. Outer (water/wind proof) layer will trap all of this heat. I also just got my kids merino wool balaclavas for bike rides! Recommend!! Oh and good hats, gloves and boots. We love bogs boots! Don’t skimp on the gloves! You can save on the hat (my boys do fine with Sherpa lined or fleece lined). Hope it’s an amazing Trip! I think these temps are doable with the right gear, especially if your moving while skiing (I mean I don’t think anyone’s just voluntarily lounging around at those temps but when you’re moving it helps a lot!!)

  • Reply Diana December 13, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Also yes for mittens vs gloves for littles (my kids have the snow stoppers, and a silk glove liner underneath for really cold days). I have Columbia ski gloves that are great though for me!
    Favorite brand of wool thermals for women: wooland (their wool leggings are so warm, comfortable and flattering!!), they have tops too you could use as a base layer.
    Favorite brands for wool thermals for kids: chasing windmills, nui organic. You could also try ellas wool or iksplor.

    Good luck!!

  • Reply Beth December 13, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    Oof, that is chilly. I would definitely wear every layer available. Get toe warmers for your feet too. They can be annoying in ski boots but honestly might help if it’s that cold. Wear thicker balaklavas under helmets if you have them. I also wear a buff around my neck and pull that up over my face because my mouth/nose get really cold. I have been out in temps that cold but I was hiking, so it was more sustained effort. And that was fine. But we left the kids at home. So I would just keep an eye on it and take lots of breaks. Also, not sure if you will carry a backpack, but when it’s this cold I carry a thermos of something hot that we can drink. Warming internally really helps.

  • Reply Carrie December 13, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    Sock warmers, frequent indoor breaks and shorter days. It can be really fun.

  • Reply J. December 13, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    Agree with all the recommendations above. Wind chill is what makes really cold weather miserable, more so than air temperature. Goggles, balaclavas and/or neck gaiters to cover any exposed areas on your face/neck definitely help. Also, kids run hotter than we adults do in cold weather, so they may resist some of the layers of clothes or attempt to strip down outside. Keep an eye peeled for signs of frostbite but know they’ll probably be fine even if they don’t wear everything you think will keep them comfortable.

  • Reply Angela December 13, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    Layers! And balaclavas. We ski in these temps all the time and after a while you start getting hot. I don’t recommend skiing in March/April. Snow turns to mashed potato consistency and it’s not fun or it’s melting and easy
    Over to get hurt on rocks.

  • Reply Anne December 13, 2022 at 4:21 pm

    Agree with the comments about staying warm while skiing … it is physically exerting so that keeps you warm too! 💙

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s yarns December 13, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    Ugh sounds like Montana is getting the cold we are getting in MN next week. Our forecast is pretty similar. Hopefully it’s short lived there! We usually don’t go outside with the boys when it’s below 10F but I depends on whether there is sun or wind. I hope the weather forecast improves! You have gotten lots of good tips here, though!

  • Reply Amy F December 14, 2022 at 7:58 am

    Enjoy those two weeks off! I’m a little jealous – I think the last time I had that many days off work, I had just given birth to DD2 (who left the house a few minutes ago to drive herself to school). However – I am NOT jealous of those temperatures. Brrr!

  • Reply Sheryl December 14, 2022 at 9:39 am

    Canadian here- I echo all of the advice above! But also just prepare for the possibility of not skiing (or not much skiing). Sometimes it’s just too cold, no matter how many layers! We once went to Tremblant and the hills were covered in ice. We didn’t ski even once. Yet, it was just as lovely a vacation and probably even more memorable than the time we went again and got to ski the whole time! Regardless, I think it will be such a departure from your family’s every day, that it will be wonderful. I hope you enjoy!!

  • Reply Megan December 14, 2022 at 10:37 am

    Definitely balaclavas that cover head that someone mentioned and goggles for everyone so only the tip of your nose is exposed.

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