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Health Centre deals with frostbite damage during cold snap

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She has seen people come into the clinic with fingertips that are black and blue, suffering from deep frostbite, after passing out in the snow from a few too many drinks. It can be agonizing ordeal she said.

"Our extremities are the last place to get circulation," she said.

"Your toes and your fingers are vulnerable."

But surprisingly she said that in previous years the clinic has seen more cases of frostbite, even though temperatures may not have been as cold in the past.

"Some years we have seen more, for some reason," said Balzarini.

"Maybe it was so cold that people didn’t want to go out (this year)."

Still she cautions everyone to be aware of the onset of frostbite. Once you get it, you’re at risk forever, so look out for the white patches and go inside if your toes and fingers are numb, she said.

Despite the bitter cold Christopher Nicolson, public relations and communications manager with Whistler-Blackcomb, said some people were still skiing on the mountains.

"People that are travelling here from markets across North America or overseas, they’re going to ski anyway," he said.

"Minus 20 is a very common temperature for many, if not the majority, of ski resorts in North America. Whistler in many ways is an exception with mild temperatures.

"So for many of our destination guests it was normal. But for people in Vancouver and people in Whistler, it’s colder than they’re used to."

Nicolson said Whistler-Blackcomb takes precautions with its staff when the temperatures dip by rotating them to different positions. That means they get to go inside more often to warm up as well as ski to different locations so they’re not standing in one place for very long.

Nicolson has other tips for skiers who can’t stay away from the mountains even in the chilly temperatures.

"When it’s very cold you ski slower so that you don’t have as much wind against your skin," he said.

"You go in frequently. With your buddy you also make sure you look at each other and make sure there’s no little white spots. And obviously you put on more clothing."

He also said it’s better to stay in the trees as opposed to the high alpine to cut down on the wind factor, or stay lower on the mountains where it might be warmer.

Instead of riding the chairlifts many riders were sticking to the gondola over the weekend to warm up.