Recreate Responsibly: Winter Edition

Are you in the know for snow? Winter is a beautiful time, but with the new season comes new challenges and safety considerations to take into account. We want everyone to be able to enjoy this incredible time of year, and we want you to stay safe while doing it. Check out these tips to gauge your winter safety awareness, and do your research to #RecreateResponsibly. 

  • Check the status: Choose your destination wisely. Have a plan B in case you arrive to find a crowded trailhead or encounter unsafe conditions. Weather can be unexpected and change quickly. Check the mountain passes and forecasts before you set out for a destination, tire chains may be required. Pack your patience – winter conditions can make driving, parking, and traffic more intense. 
  • Gear Up: Have the proper safety gear for winter adventures, which may include extra layers, a shovel, a probe, and an avalanche beacon depending on the nature of your trip. Consider your vehicle as part of your winter emergency gear too (e.g. tires, extra warm clothing, extra food and water, etc.). 
  • Take Nature Seriously: Know your limits. Avalanches can strike even the most prepared winter recreationist. Before going out on a snowy trail, check conditions with your local avalanche center or the National Avalanche Center online to determine local mountain weather. Remember that avalanche equipment is only as helpful as your corresponding training and decision-making in avalanche terrain. (Know your gear and know your limits. Let people know where you’re going. Make choices that allow you to get back on your own.)  Get avalanche educated or hire a guide before you venture into the backcountry. 
  • Practice Winter Wellness: Be respectful of others. Cover your nose and mouth when you can’t maintain six feet from others or when in indoor spaces. When possible opt to eat and rest outside.  If you feel sick stay home. 
  • Keep our Winter Playground Safe and Fun: Be mindful of limited parking and park appropriately. Be respectful of groomed tracks and trails and multiple uses. Minimize campfire impacts – choose not to have a fire in areas that may scar the landscape, in parking lots or at trailheads, or in areas where there is little wood. Shop locally. Be mindful of the impacts you may have on local communities. 
  • Create Safe, Inclusive Access: Actively create an inclusive approach to managing group sizes and access to outdoor resources that carves a path for underrepresented communities to benefit from group programming, share in winter, and maintain safety. Share the snow. 
  • Mindful Group: Friends and families coming together outdoors is fun. Be mindful of your group’s space and the extra logistics of a group (on trails, at parking lots, in rental shops) and find creative ways to streamline and minimize your impact on others. 

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