Outdoor Winter Safety Tips Everyone Should Know
Written by: Sandra Riches, Executive Director, BC ADVENTURESMART
This winter when you’re planning your outdoor excursions close to home, AdventureSmart reminds us to always follow the Three Ts:
Taking the essentials
Applying these safety tips can help reduce the risk and ensure your winter outing is safe, responsible and most of all, enjoyable!
To increase your chances of having an enjoyable and safe outdoor adventure, trip planning is vital. Planning your outing ensures you know exactly where you are going, what the conditions and terrain are like, as well as the weather conditions you can expect on the day. Leaving your trip plan with friends or family will also allow authorities to quickly find you if anything does go wrong.
When you’re trip planning, always do the following:
Plan your travel route
Know the terrain and conditions
Check the weather
Fill out a trip plan
Preparing for a recreational winter outing involves assessing your current knowledge, skills, ability, and understanding your limits.
Winter conditions (like heavy snow and ice) can require extra preparation, as well as extra experience, so when planning your winter exploration, always do the following:
Obtain the knowledge and skills you need before heading out
Know and stay within your limits
For example, if you’re new to snowshoeing, begin close to home, or consider taking in a tutorial from an expert. Build up your endurance on short trails before attempting longer trails or more challenging terrain.
If you want to venture further, into provincial park trails or backcountry destinations, familiarize yourself with Avalanche Canada’s avalanche safety tips, or take an Avalanche Skills Training Course (AST) to be aware of the risks, know how to stay safe, and learn how to act in the event of an avalanche.
Taking the Essentials
No matter how well you know the terrain, or how experienced you are in an activity, always carry the essentials and know how to use them. These are basic survival items you should have in any outdoors situation!
The essentials are:
Flashlight and/or headlamp
Signalling device (i.e. whistle)
Extra food and water
Extra clothing (gloves/mittens with heat warmers)
First aid kit
Seasonal and sport-specific gear (i.e. anti-slip crampons, poles, avalanche transceiver shovel, probe)
Ultimately, sound judgement and knowing when to turn around and save it for another day are your most important backcountry survival skills.
Find more outdoor winter safety tips at AdventureSmart.ca
AdventureSmart helps reduce the number and severity of Search & Rescue incidents in BC. A national prevention program focused on educating Canadians and visitors to Canada who participate in outdoor activities, AdventureSmart collaborates with partners to spread their message as widely as possible.
Get outside, safely and responsibly, and share how you turn those winter #Blahs2Ahhhs. Please remember to keep a distance of at least two metres from anyone that is not a member of your own household – and always wear masks if you can’t.