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5 tips for football fans to brave the cold

By Jennifer Fabiano, AccuWeather staff writer

Frozen toes, noses and eyelashes paired with bone-rattling winds and snow as sharp as knives would scare away most, but when sports fans’ favorite teams are playing, they must find ways to stick it out in the stands.

Mark Meyer, Squaw Valley snowmaking manager, knows what it takes to endure cold air for extended periods of time. As a snowmaker for 18 years at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, California, Meyer is no stranger to bracing the elements.

“We don’t hit the hill until 27 degrees Fahrenheit,” Meyer said.

Tips from this expert can help any fan spend these fall and winter seasons comfortably watching their favorite teams from the stands.

Let food bring the heat

Before heading to a game or a tailgate, Meyer recommends eating a warm meal. Kelly Hogan, the clinical nutrition and wellness manager at Mount Sinai Hospital, recommends tea, coffee and soup.

“Hot foods can help you feel warmer before going outside even if they don't actually raise the core body temperature,” Hogan said.

In addition to warm foods, foods high in fats, proteins and fibers require more energy to digest and as a result actually create heat during the digestion process. Hogan recommends a three-bean chili with avocado on top or a tofu and vegetable stir fry with brown rice.

“Ginger may also be able to increase thermogenesis in the body,” Hogan said. “Including that in tea or in recipes is also a great idea.”

Sports fan in cold weather

A Chicago Bears fan braces the cold, snowy weather during the first half of an NFL football game between the Bears and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Layer up

When dressing for a cold weather game, layers are essential.

Meyer recommends a thin thermal base and a protective waterproof outer layer. A breathable under layer is important so that sweat is not trapped on the skin. Once out in the cold again, sweat will freeze and make the body colder.

Cotton should never be worn as an under layer as it is not breathable, so if sweat is produced the shirt will hold onto it and remain damp, resulting in the body getting colder.

“Cotton is rotten” is the golden rule on the mountain, according to Meyer, who advises never to wear cotton when spending time in the cold. When cotton dampens, the material will absorb and retain any moisture.

In order to remain dry, a waterproof outer layer is essential. A strong outer layer will block wind, rain and snow, ensuring no heat escapes while you stay dry.

When looking for apparel to provide that long-lasting protective outer layer, Meyer recommends The North Face.

Stay active

“The problem with a football games is you can’t really get up and move around,” Meyer said.

While snowmaking workers are constantly active, idle fans are not doing anything to raise their body temperature.

This is where “the wave” and other cheers show their alternative uses. If you’re feeling cold at a game, stand up and get that body moving. Any excuse to be active at a game is a good one: make a bathroom trip, go for a food run or grab a hot coffee.

“I know you don’t want to miss the game, but don’t just stick to your seat,” Meyer said.

Invest in a quality pair of boots

When braving a cold game, sports fans often complain about their frigid toes and feet. Most events will leave fans standing on cold concrete while rooting on their teams, leading to icy toes.

A quality pair of boots will stave off the cold. Meyer recommended Asolo boots, which he said are surprisingly inexpensive in comparison to their great quality.

As important as wearing a quality pair of boots is making sure the boots are clean and breathable.

“These boots are made to be breathable, and when they get dirty, they close up the cells in the boot material,” Meyer said.

Sweat will be trapped inside the boot then make the feet cold when the temperature drops again.

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Keep extremities covered

Keeping the body covered is the most obvious and important way to keep warm, but some parts are more principal than others.

Blood flow to extremities is reduced when the body is exposed to low temperatures, so hands and feet are first to get cold.

“As long as you can keep your hands and your feet warm and stay away from getting wet, then you can stay out in the cold for a long, long time,” Meyer said.

Meyer recommends thick, waterproof socks and waterproof boots.

The head should be covered when out in the cold as well, and it’s not a bad idea to cover your face and eyes for cold and windy games, Meyer said.

“I know that guy at the football game with goggles on looks really weird, but he’s actually enjoying the warmth that the goggles are giving his face,” Meyer said.

For more safety and preparedness tips, visit

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