SōLEURS on Tour

Après ski – don’t forget your polarized sunglasses

You know the Australian winter has truly arrived when the main ski resorts open for business, as they did this month.

And, with the ski season upon us, I’ve been thinking more about après ski. The snow’s glare can be really blinding. And while polarized sunglasses aren’t ideal for skiing – you’re best to stick to a good pair of goggles – sunglasses are great for après ski.

I’ve been fortunate to ski at a couple of our beautiful resorts here in Victoria (for those of you who think of Australia as a sunburnt country, yes you can ski here, too – particularly in the south). I’ve also sampled the delights of skiing in France and Italy.

winter log cabin luosto lapland finland
Home sweet Home – magical winter wonderland log cabin with fireplace and sauna.

But one of my most memorable snow experiences was in Luosto, a tiny village in Finnish Lapland where my family and I went in search of Father Christmas. It was there I first discovered you could have so much fun in the snow apart from skiing. Who knew making snow angels in deep Lappish snow with a six year old would turn out to be one of life’s great experiences?

So I thought I’d list a few other après ski experiences that are really worth seeking out, kicking off with some Nordic pastimes where polarized sunglasses are definitely de rigueur:

snow covered trees luosto lapland finland
Snow covered Christmas trees.
  • Husky ride – Don’t let an opportunity to try this pass you by. I was amazed by how fast, exhilarating and strangely quiet it is – a real adrenalin rush. Check out whether your local ski resort offers this activity or your local husky club may offer dry runs.
  • Reindeer sleigh ride – I did this after the husky ride so I was still coming down from that high. And it was night, so I didn’t need my sunglasses, but on a bright day you would seriously need them to cut out the glare. It was magical – shooting stars and the soft sound of old wooden rails sliding through the snow. Highly recommended.
  • Tobogganing or bobsledding – We did this during a blizzard in Lapland. It was -25C and the wind was unforgiving. But it was a blast, nonetheless.
  • A walk in a forest – Picture this. A church built out of snow where couples were getting married. A Christmas tree forest covered in the deepest snow, ten days before Christmas, with a six year old. Magic. Nothing more, nothing less. I felt like I was walking in the definition of a winter wonderland.
snow church ideal for winter wedding Luosto Lapland Finland
One of the world’s most romantic churches for a winter wedding. The windows were made of frozen sheets of ice.

I always know that snow was a reflective surface, but what I did realise is that, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays are reflected upwards from the snow. Yes, you can easily still get sunburnt. Hence why skiers get panda eyes. Worse for the eyes, this can lead to snow blindness (photokeratitis) – and it’s a big problem the longer you spend in the snow.

And what I have also learnt since working here at SōLEURS, is UV light bounces off snow even on cloudy day; what’s more, the effects of UV rays increases with altitude. It is therefore essential to have 100% UVA and UVB protection, both for your eyes and your exposed skin.

So I’m thinking a good quality pair of polarised sunglasses will be an essential part of my après ski wardrobe this year.

snow covered trees daytime luosto lapland finland
Lighting the way on days that barely see the daylight above the Arctic Circle.

I hope this has whetted your appetite for some après ski activities this snow season. And, whether you’re heading to an Australian ski resort or the slopes of Val d’Isère, Klosters Whistler or Aspen, make sure you have a good pair of polarised sunglasses to cut out the glare and protect your eyes after the skiing is over.

You can thank us later.

All images courtesy of Just Love Christmas