Winter riding in the Midwest

So I live near Chicago where it’s cold as hellll in the winter. I know a lot of you are in the Cali area, but does anybody ride in the winter when it’s cold? I probably won’t ride if it gets below freezing, I’m talking like 35-50 degrees during the days. This will be my first winter since I started esk8 and I don’t know if I can just not ride for months :rofl:

If you do, what do you recommend for gear to keep warm? Anybody try heated clothes?

Also, any problems to the electronics riding in that kind of cold?


Yeah, I haven’t really had a winter boarding, but I’m def looking at having something worthy of riding through anything but the slushiest of days here this winter. I used to ride a motorcycle and still do bicycle year round, so I’m used to dressing for the cold and/or wet.

I know Chicago winter is a special kind of cold… tbh, I’m not sure how much I’d like esk8ing in those winter winds. Could literally get blown off/into traffic, haha.
But as far as dressing for the cold… wind layer, thermal layer, wicking layer. Weight depending on how cold it is/how warm you run. Try to avoid sweating (pretty easy riding an esk8 :D).
Electric heating gear is a fucking godsend if you can afford it.

For the board, I’m keeping my electronics in a waterproof container that I purchased for it’s waterproofedness. It takes a lot of effort to really waterproof a custom enclosure. Potting electronics is a good extra step if your waterproofing solution is at all suspect. Motors are usually fine out in the open, as long as the sensors are adequately potted (or better yet, don’t exist). You can go sealed for a bit of extra protection, but again, motors aren’t really the worry here.

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Lowest I go is 4 degrees C (40F) anything under that is just unpleasant and battery range drops to almost nothing.

Face coverings are probably the most essential thing for me. I tend to get all my snowboarding gear (goggles, balaclava, etc) out when it gets that cold. Your tears may crystalize in your eyes if you don’t wear goggles and that’s really not fun


I probably won’t ride when it’s slushy or wet, just on those days when it’s not snowing and not below freezing :rofl: which can be rare sometimes.

I’m thinking about getting a full face helmet since I don’t have one, so that should help… only problem is I can’t decide which one to get, but that’s a whole other problem lol.

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Paging @Chibatterysystems since you live close by me. You ride in the winter? Any effect on battery if you ride in that cold?

Echo what @Hahne said about face coverings. Also, lifepo4 is much more stable @ lower temperatures and doesn’t suffer from the same kind of range drop liion and lipo do (don’t go out on any esk8 below freezing. ice will kill you and the cold will kill your battery, lifepo4 or no).


What do you think the lowest temp I should ride in for battery health?

I wouldn’t worry too much above freezing. most things other than lifepo4 are going to see range drop below 60F pack temp. They do create their own heat though, so if they are in a nice little jacket…

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Is it a massive drop? I’ll have a 12s9p 40T, so it’ll be a big pack lol

It’s a curve down to about ~50% range @ freezing, YMMV.

Weird. Was riding a few times a week all of last winter, down to about 20F and didn’t notice much range drop at all.
Cells aren’t going to be anywhere near ambient temperatures normally.

Taking 20 minutes to dress and undress is the annoying part during the winter :rofl:


Yeah, I’m talking pack temps here. I still thinking riding below freezing is a fools errand.

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Most li-ion cells are rated down to -20°C. This is technically referred to as frakkin’ cold.
But the performance at colder temps is truly miserable. There is HUGE voltage sag as the cells get colder and colder. But there aren’t any real safety issues when using them when cold.

Li-ion cells must NEVER be charged when cold, under 0°C, though! This can cause damage that can eventually cause the cell to short circuit internally, causing a fire and possible bursting of the cell.

If the pack has been outside, be gentle with it until it warms up some. Otherwise, if the pack was indoors, just using the pack will keep it from getting cold.


Everything this guy said. Layers on layers.

If I got more snow guaranteed I would totally convert my old scooter into a snowmobile skate with one massive rear tire and some cut up skis attached to some mtb trucks. It’s already on chains too.


WAIT, can we get a vendor here to make snowmobile like tires for the back? That would be sick :joy:


Great, thanks for the info!

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Yes. Face and fingertips are the critical areas.

If your board has been outside (while not in use) for a while, let it warm up before you plug the charger in. If it’s in-use outside, you can plug it in straight away.

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100% this. I commuted though the last Portland winter (which, admittedly, is not anywhere near the level of Chicago haha) and my full face is the only thing that made it bearable. Even 40°F is really uncomfortable when you are going 20mph head on into a 35mph wind. Full face and a scarf, and you’re golden.

I got a Bell Qualifier. Its warm as hell, so not really suited to the summer months, but for winter it is perfect. Its a little heavy, but not too bad. Also very cheap for how much protection it provides. Its overkill for our application, but I like overkill when the alternative is brain damage :joy:


Hell yes!!!:grin::grin::grin:. I rode all the way from winter park town to the resort at like 15 degrees!. :laughing: had guys coming off gondola asking me about boards. No lie. And my battery was saran wrapped at the time!!. :laughing:.

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