Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

12" White Stickers
BallOfSpray $5 Donation
BallOfSpray $10 Donation

How cold is too cold?

WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 476 Baller
So I skied for the first time of the season yesterday. We're in Minnesota (water is less than 40 degrees). My 9 year old begged me to go first so I let her. All went fine. She took my advice and went easy and didn't fall. She was in a full wetsuit. I went next and managed to crash 3 times. Why I crashed 3 times is a separate matter. I was in a wetsuit too. It is the first time I ever recall actually falling when the water is that cold. On one fall my head went under and I managed to suck in some water (seemingly outside of my control). I've read about the cold water gasp reflex and how you can't control it and how people drown from it every year. I've (naively) always figured I was used to being in cold water so it couldn't/wouldn't happen to me. It wasn't a big deal, but it made me really re-think letting my kid ski when it is like this (even if she had a drysuit, which she doesn't) or even if I should be going in water in the 30's. I'm not overly concerned about the hypothermia issues (we're careful and not in the water very long), but the fact that I couldn't keep myself from sucking in some water because of the cold makes me nervous. A drysuit wouldn't fix this particular problem. Has anyone else ever given this any thought? Thanks.


  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,683 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited April 2016
    It is definitely something you need to be consciously thinking about when you are skiing - concentrating on not gasping when you fall. I've been skiing in water that cold a number of times in just a jacket and shorts and can seem to keep the gasp under control. As far as letting small kids into water that cold - I wouldn't no matter what they are wearing just because of the panic and gasping that can happen when your face suddenly hits water that cold.

    Looking forward to taking our boat out Saturday for the first time on Minnetonka, only have a short suit but I think I'll remember to bring it.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 476 Baller
    In hindsight that was probably pretty stupid for me to let her go at all. I did it all the time as a kid and adult and didn't really think twice. Reading about it 70 degrees and under seems to be when gasp can happen...that could be June here. I suppose the colder it is the bigger an issue it is though. Wonder if a wetsuit hood would help at all...for me not for my daughter who probably is going to have to sit out for a bit longer now. Anyone wear a wetsuit hood when the water is really cold?
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,683 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited April 2016
    70 degrees - yeah that would be maybe June if not late June in some of the lakes we ski in. Personally I only notice it around 50 and below, but I run pretty warm even in the winter time. I guess I'm "lucky" wife and kids have never expressed any interest in entering the water until both the air and water are very warm.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,832 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    I have pretty much skied within a day or 2 of ice out for the last 40 years. If they want to ski in the ice water, let them. If is a challenge for them they will back off.
    Shut up and ski
  • dbutcherdbutcher Posts: 416 Crazy Baller
    @WBLskier I wear a wet suit hood when the water is cold, and also when the air is cold. They help prevent the "ice cream" headache. Some hoods are better than others. I don't like the ones that cause you to not be able to hear. Eagle has become my favorite.
  • thagerthager Posts: 5,046 Mega Baller
    Better have at least a wet suit though. My dad ran out of gas on me a couple days after ice out and there is nothing like slowly settling into 38 degree water in your swim trunks. I don't think I found the buoys for a couple of days afterward!!!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • burdhntrburdhntr Posts: 34 Baller
    We ski as early as we can as well. I've had two instances where someone has gasped and we had to pull them in the boat. Not regular skiers, but friends. I haven't let my kids go in at those temps yet for that reason, but also because they're smaller and far more subject to the temps than an adult.
  • OTFOTF Posts: 350 Crazy Baller
    If you can skate on it, it's too cold.
  • dtm8119dtm8119 Posts: 174 Baller
    My dad always joked that the neighbors were going to call Child Protection Services on him each spring we got out skiing early after ice out.
    Dan Cloutier
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,589 Mega Baller
    I like your daughters enthusiasm. You know, I think I was tougher at that age as far cold.
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 798 Crazy Baller
    We ski when ice is gone.
    Cold water in it self is not a problem.
    It is like MS says if the kid felt that the water is a problem they do not ski.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,683 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Its not really a discussion about how cold the kid thinks the water is, it is about the advisability of having a kid in the water when the temperature can invoke a gasp reflex during a fall and cause them to suck water into their lungs.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 798 Crazy Baller
    Sorry if I was unclear.
    My opinion is that the water temp is not an issue for a kid. long as the kid think it is OK.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    I have not experienced this reflexive action. My wife sometimes says I don't have any feelings. Perhaps she's right.
    Jim Ross
  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    Water temps below 65 degrees are strictly forbidden
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
  • GAJ0004GAJ0004 Posts: 1,095 Baller
    A good guideline is, the air and the water temp added together need to add up to 100.
    Gary Janzig Streetsboro Ohio, skis at Lake Latonka, Mercer Pennsylvania slalom,trick,kneeboard,barefoot
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,683 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    No problem. Air temp is over 70 today and the water is at least 33
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,809 Mega Baller
    In my experience a drysuit with a comp vest under it eliminates these issues. The gasp reflex is from temp shock on your upper body, not your face.
    And the vest assures floating even in the unlikely event of a drysuit breach.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,037 Mega Baller
    I use the baggy drysuit with Comp Vest inside. I also have a loose fitting sweatshirt and loose fitting sweatpants on. Neoprene hood to avoid ice cream headache and gasp issue. 40 degree water is no problem.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 1,986 Mega Baller
    Any suggestions on a Neoprene hood?
  • LarsLars Posts: 189 Baller
    The big thing to keep in mind is that with a wetsuit and life jacket, you're going to pop back above the water even if you did take a mouthful of water. For me the main concern with the 'gasp reflex' is if you had no floatatation aids and couldn't get above the water to cough up the water.
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 531 Crazy Baller
    edited April 2016
    I went skiing 2 weeks ago and it was damn cold and I fell a few times. I cannot relate your reaction either. I was in a wet suit with some neoprene boot liners and that was it. Some might also classify me as young and stupid though...

    Neither of my falls were hard enough to be disorientating or anything, they were more of tip over falls. I could maybe understand your concern if the falls were more violent. If the falls are getting violent enough to cause these situation you might consider skiing more relaxed. Skiing such that there is reduced risk.
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 626 Solid Baller
    Cold water is just a cold water.
    We should not make it more complicated...
  • yardsaleyardsale Posts: 46 Baller
    Just south of you on gervais. We were our December 15th and again March 15th the day ice went out here. The head gear is really clutch. Would never ski cold water without it.

    I also go the deep dive insulated gloves out of overtons- the ones that look like you're playing soccer goalie.

    With your young one, that's pretty awesome. Some serious determination. Good quality to have. Warmer weather on the way.
  • yardsaleyardsale Posts: 46 Baller
    Will also add those drysuits that skibrain has above, best product out there. I went to one of those hybrids after many uncomfortable years in a barefoot international. Drysuit, head gear, warm gloves, and a boat like mid July. Well, pert near.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,037 Mega Baller
    For cold water skiing, we have the 4 outlet heater, shower (to fill a bucket for hands/feet/gloves), and heated driver seat. And, if it's a sunny day - bonus.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • RivvyRivvy Posts: 143 Baller
    Way cool on the 9 yr old's interest! Keep her on the water. Who cares about the rest. Nice work!!!
  • prettigprettig Posts: 62 Baller
    edited April 2016
    last weekend ..... (yes we did ski .....wetsuit !)

  • BlueSkiBlueSki Posts: 825 Mega Baller
    I know the pole is probably too long to make this true, but I am going to tell myself that the person with the pole is using a shovel to get the snow out of the boat. That is commitment.
  • prettigprettig Posts: 62 Baller
    edited April 2016
    yes she did shovel it out...(peddle)
Sign In or Register to comment.