Here is something I wrote in an email to a friend in January. It was a particularly cold day, and I was a little more expressive than is normal:
On cold winder days (-30), it’s quite painful to walk to work. Exposed flesh gets very cold, to the point of sharp pain, which feels like an icy burning (the early stages of frostbite). Moisture in the eyes causes your eyelashes to freeze and when you blink your eyelids will freeze shut until you squint long enough to melt the ice. Moisture from your breath constantly billows back onto your face, freezing to the cheeks and nose.
When your body senses that it’s cold, the blood vessels in your skin and extremities contract, redirecting more blood to keep your core temperature stable. As a result the skin freezes easily, and so do the hands and feet. Interestingly, it is possible to focus (meditate) your brain into directing blood back to the skin and hands, at the risk of dropping your core temperature & getting hypothermia. It’s a trade off between the two, depending on how long you’ll be outdoors in the chill. And the strange thing about all of this — I just love it! There’s something fun about living in an environment that can kill you….