June 15, 1999 at 12:00 am #34569
You may or may not have heard the expression "hardening," which is what you do to yourself, supposedly, by exposure to cold weather; you build up a tolerance. I live on the Western Slope, half a mile higher and a whole lot colder than you, and newcomers here are advised to "harden" ASAP; it's too uncomfortable to spend 8 months of a year in a heavy coat (and 2 more in sweaters and light coats). It does seem to work; those who harden rarely complain about cold after the first year (and I haven't been uncomfortable since my first year here, winter of 94-95). You can push it too far, of course - frostbite is too far. I know one doctor who claims you actually get a faster metabolism and more capillaries close to the skin surface by hardening, but I doubt that. Also, at least here on the Western Slope, thin dry air is a great insulator, and consequently 50 degrees really is shirtsleeve weather if there's no wind.