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Warm Snow

Consider the grocery store parking lot. On a frigid winter afternoon in the northern latitudes, you may encounter dry pavement, wet pavement, packed snow, fluffy snow, chunky ice, black ice, wet ice, slush, a slick cocktail of oil and grit, or some combination of all of these things. After doing 125 hours of research and in-the-snow trials wearing 29 pairs of boots, we picked a variety of options to help you navigate the ever-changing underfoot topography of winter.

Warm Snow

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A great snow boot is not only waterproof around the base but will lace up tall over your pants to keep water (and snow) out. With a shaft height of 11 inches, the Kamik will cover more of your pant leg than the North Face Chilkat III, which is much shorter. The interior liner is also removable, which can help the interior dry faster.

Get this if: You want a snow boot with an impervious rubber base that also lifts you out of slushy, snowy muck. This boot is great for warmer winters that go through a lot of freeze and thaw cycles.

The rubber sole lifts you almost an inch and a half above the ground, which keeps feet warm and dry by physically removing you from the slush. The tongue is gusseted (sewn to the sides of the boot) all the way to the top of the snow collar, a rarity (not even the Kamik is sewn this high). The shaft laces high and tight, and the Caribou has its own sort of speed lacing, composed of four sets of fat, exterior D-rings that allow laces to slide with little friction; this will help you get the boot on and off your foot with less effort. Finally, the snow collar prevents flakes from entering.

This fluffy liner provides warmth and a luxurious feel. These boots are rated down to only -32 C (less than what was generally considered warm enough), yet testers reported having toasty, happy feet.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This is not the boot for you if you have cold feet. The Heavenly is insulated, like all the boots we tested, with 200-gram insulation. In addition, it has a reflective silver dot pattern printed all over the inside, to reflect back heat. Yet it still feels colder than others, and it is indeed rated down to only -25 F/-32 C, which makes it not as warm as a -40 F/-40 C boot (the rating that testers found worked the best).

Get this if: You prefer a cozier slip-on that will still keep you stable and dry while you are shoveling and running errands. What you gain in convenience with rubber, slip-on snow boots you sometimes lose in ankle stability (which really impacts traction). In the case of the Bogs Arcata, the faux fur lining helps address that issue.

Waterproofing: A waterproof sole is a good, obvious place to start. But the shaft height of the boot, as well as how snugly it fits around the leg, also makes a difference. We chose boots that had tall shafts, about 8 to 10 inches. They keep snow out! We also looked for boots with snow collars, which line the opening of the boot and keep snow from falling in or clinging to your leg.

We also sought out boots with reflective layers, which send body heat back to the wearer. Columbia aggressively markets its reflection tech as Omni Heat, but a lot of brands do this, including Baffin, Kamik, and others. This design increases warmth without adding bulk.

Columbia Heavenly Slip II and Shorty Omni-Heat have the same snow-friendly foot shape as our pick, the Columbia Heavenly Omni-Heat, but without the laces or tall shaft height, there is less ability to keep snow out of your boot and off your pants.

Warm Snow is a fast-paced, roguelike RPG game set in a dark fantasy world where the snow is warm and turns people into mindless beasts. This experience boasts having endless customization of the player character, and a fast-paced combat system that would leave a player breathless.

Many of the pants' 23,000+ reviewers say they seem to be at least as good quality as those from leading sportswear brands: "I love these insulated pants! I bought them to walk the dog, so I'll have no excuses whether rain, sleet, snow or wind hits. I was very surprised with the quality of the material, craftsmanship, and comfort. These were very inexpensive and hit all my must-haves. I cannot recommend them enough."

Stay warm and stylish with these snow pants from The North Face. They offer a ventilation system that allows vapor caused by sweat and body heat to escape, keeping you nice and dry. The polyurethane coating and reinforced seams makes these pants very durable and long-lasting and the zippered pockets and cargo loops keep your belongings secure. Reviewers love the breathable material that moves and bends easily so you can enjoy extra range of motion during any winter activity.

To be worn with clunky snowboard or ski boots, snow pants need a little extra width at the ankles. This pair has that, and more. Made with a tear-proof thermal fabric, the pants also feature large cargo pockets and deep side pockets with Velcro closures, and an elastic boot gaiter with a snap to adjust to your shoe's width. They come in a staggering 45 different colors and styles, so there's something for almost everyone.

With over 1,700 ratings, the pants have reviewers singing from the ski hilltops: "I skied on a 13-degree day wearing these pants (with fleece leggings and athletic/polyester leggings layered underneath) and stayed perfectly warm," one person says. "The pants weren't constricting at all and allowed as much movement as I needed. I executed several falls on the mountain in order to confirm that these pants are waterproof."

Not every type of weather requires several layers of intense thermal protection. These all-weather pants will help move you comfortably through sleet, snow, or rain thanks to a waterproof nylon coating. They also have a mesh lining for an added dose of warmth and a discreet inner pocket ideal to keep your personal items safe and dry. Bonus: The adjustable ankle strap can be tightened to keep the elements at bay.

Of their 2,400 reviews, many note how the pants are comfortably roomy and hold up well in extreme climates. "I took these on a trip to Iceland and they were invaluable," one person explains. "They were easy to slip on and off over my boots (they have a wide leg opening that can be strapped closed) and did a fantastic job keeping out the wind and sideways rain. They were warm without being suffocating and their elastic waist fit comfortably over three other layers."

For slushy winter weather, this pair of Patagonia snow pants insulates even when sopping wet yet the ventilation system at the inner thigh keep you from overheating. They include a rear webbing yoke that attaches seamlessly to any of the brand's snow jackets, should you be looking for that secure and tucked-in feeling of a snow bib and are already a Patagonia fan. The pants even include reflectors that make it easy to identify you from far away in the event of an emergency.

How could melting ice thousands of miles away possibly affect you? A recent study published in Nature Geoscience provides one answer to that question. Mark Flanner at the University of Michigan and his collaborators used satellite data to measure how much changes in snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere have contributed to rising temperatures in the last 30 years. The loss of snow and ice warmed the planet more than models predicted it would.

The right image shows how the energy being reflected from the cryosphere has changed between 1979 and 2008. When snow and ice disappear, they are replaced by dark land or ocean, both of which absorb energy. The image shows that the Northern Hemisphere is absorbing more energy, particularly along the outer edges of the Arctic Ocean, where sea ice has disappeared, and in the mountains of Central Asia.

For many years, scientists have expected that climate change will be more rapid and dramatic at the poles than at lower latitudes, an expectation that has been demonstrated both with climate models and recent observations of snow and ice, surface temperatures, vegetation, and permafrost.

My husband and I really like our base layers made from Merino Wool. Merino Wool is a natural product (not a synthesized fiber). It is very warm, soft, breathable, and helps wick moisture away from the skin.

The Columbia down-filled one-piece snow suit is what all my toddlers wore through our very cold Canadian winters. This suit was such good quality that it lasted through all 3 kids wearing our various sized pieces. As a new parent, I was shocked a tiny snow-suit could cost so much. But, after seeing it keep 3 kids warm (and others after it was passed along) made the initial purchase worth it!

Snow Pant / Boot tip: To tuck or not to tuck? I tended to tuck the inside cuff into the boot and pull the outer shell down over the boot. Or, if the bottom of the snow pants can be tightened, make sure these are tight around the ankle to keep snow out.

When it is cold, jeans can seems even colder. Long johns under jeans or snow pants over jeans is much warmer. For some readers, this tip might seem obvious, but I am always surprised at how many people I see out on the ski hill or playing with their kids in the snow while wearing jeans!

For your head: For older kids, a toque that fits low over the ears is best. For toddlers and young children look for one with ear flaps that will tie or Velcro under the chin. A thick fleece lined hat is great to help kids stay warm and one that ties under the chin will prevent it from falling (or getting pulled) off.

Mittens are often warmer than gloves because the fingers are all together sharing their warmth. If your snow tends to be a wet soggy snow, then find mittens that have a waterproof shell or bring along a few extra pairs.

Neck warmers and scarves: Remember that any exposed skin is at risk of frostbite in extreme cold, so wearing a neck warmer (gaiter) or scarf is a must. These help cover the gap around the neck where the jacket stops and the hat or helmet begins. Not only do they protect exposed skin, they can be pulled up to keep the face warm and stop the cold air from getting into the jacket. 041b061a72

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