Winter Recreation


The season for winter recreation is here! It is time to get out the skis, snowboards, and snowshoes to go out and enjoy the resorts and backcountry areas we love. Whether it is a day at your local slopes or a backcountry trip spent skiing to a hut, there are always Leave No Trace considerations to keep in mind. So when you spend time outside in the winter, remember how the Leave No Trace principles can help you.

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In order to ensure not only a fun trip, but a safe trip planning ahead and preparing is essential for a successful trip outside in the winter.

·      Check snow conditions and the weather before going on you trip.

·      Check with land managers about high-risk areas and regulations.

·      Educate yourself about traveling and camping in the backcountry. Carry an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel.

The nice thing about camping in the winter is that deep snow is a durable surface to both camp and travel on.

·      Stay on deep snow whenever possible and in muddy spring conditions try to stay in either the middle of the trail or on snow.

·      Avoid avalanche routes, cornices, and unstable snow.

·      Consult your map to make sure that you are camping 200 feet away from water.

Snow covers rocks and plants; therefore it changes the area into a different landscape. The snow may seem like an easy place to dispose of our trash and human waste, but there are other options and appropriate ways to dispose of waste in snowy environments.

·      Pack it in pack it out. Pick up litter, food scraps, and wax shavings.

·      Pack out solid human waste. If you are unable to pack it out, bury it in a snow cathole 200 feet away from trails and water sources.

·      When leaving camp dismantle windbreaks, snow caves, and igloos. 

In order to preserve other people experiences in winter, there are specific considerations that should be practiced.

·      Keep loud voices and sounds to a minimum.

·      Share the trail and yield to downhill and faster users.

·      Separate ski and snowshoe tracks. Avoid hiking on ski or snowshoe tracks.

Lastly, winter can be a sensitive and vulnerable time for animals.

·      Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach them.

·      Control your pets and follow leash rules.

Have fun out there, enjoy the snow, and stay safe.

Pat and TJ