As the country wakes up to the sound of shovels scraping on concrete and the worrying silence coming from the cupboard where the boiler lives, I’ve been reading through loads of comments on Facebook and Twitter, and it seems a lot of you would love to be out there playing in the snow. Playing paintball in the snow, that is.
I’m pretty sure most sites will have been closed over the last couple of days (not Bedlam Paintball Edinburgh though!) but hopefully they’ll reopen today and let you experience for yourself the unique opportunity to play snow paintball. Of course, on top of following all of the usual paintball tips and safety precautions, the cold weather brings with it a whole heap of new considerations too.
First of all, make layers your friend. Wrap up warm but try to throw on 3 or 4 thin layers rather than a great big thick outer jacket, as this will keep you warmer, allow your body to breathe and give you a lot more flexibility for moving around in. Got any thermal undies? Best get them on too. Of course another sneaky advantage to layers is that they will reduce the sting of getting hit too. Bonus!
Most players use paintball gloves as a matter of course, but stick on a thin pair of gloves underneath them too, so you get the warmth as well as the security. Nothing’s worse than a numb trigger finger, so grab a pair of thin gloves (fleece is ideal, wool will probably do though) and double up. And don’t forget to do the same with your head too. Every boy scout knows that you lose most of your body heat through your head, so stick on a beanie under your mask.
You’re probably already wearing suitable outdoors shoes, so as long as they’re waterproof then they should work fine – but again consider another pair of socks for extra feeling in your toes.
Particulars that most people might not consider are factors like snow glare. The sun can really reflect off of snow and blind you to any hazards ahead, so try and wear some sunglasses under your goggles, if your goggles aren’t anti-glare anyway that is. Also, try and make sure you use cold weather paintballs. It might not sound like a big deal but firing a frozen paintball can be lethal, so make sure yours are still up to the job. Also if the temperature drops to below zero, you’re going to have to be slightly more careful with any plastic components, like your hopper, as they can become a bit more brittle in the cold.
Finally, throw a towel, an extra pair of clothes and thick socks in the boot of your car, and fill a thermos up with something hot for afterwards – tea’s good, soup’s better. And finally, if you do get the chance to play snow paintball, don’t forget to tell us all about it!