Winter Backcountry Travel

Backcountry

The best part about Canada in the wintertime is the vast backcountry areas that beckon you to go earn your turns. Whether you're on telemark or touring gear, or your snowboard and snowshoes, there's absolutely limitless terrain on which you can get out and play!

Though it is beautiful, the Canadian backcountry is remote and can be unpredictable. Severe weather and avalanches are two of its primary hazards, so for any backcountry travel you - and everyone in your group - must be self-sufficient and have proper avalanche training. No matter which backcountry sport you choose – skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling – always be thoroughly prepared before you head out.

Ensure that you:

  • understand and recognize weather patterns;
  • can read alpine terrain;
  • know the avalanche dangers;
  • carry and practice with an avalanche beacon, probe and shovel;
  • check conditions before heading out.
The Right Gear

Taking the Essentials:
  • Flashlight
  • Fire making kit
  • Signalling device (i.e. whistle)
  • Extra food and water
  • Extra clothing
  • Navigational/communication devices
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blanket/shelter
  • Pocket knife
  • Sun protection
Leave a Trip Plan with responsible party, family member or friend.

Take equipment specific to backcountry safety:

  • Avalanche Transceiver
  • Probe
  • Shovel
  • Warm, waterproof jacket & pants
  • Thermal underwear, with an extra thermal layer
  • A second layer for warmth on colder days
  • Warm gloves, socks & hat, with extras of each
  • Winter tent and sleeping bag
  • Stove and fuel
  • Proper backpack with good support

Ultimately, sound judgment and knowing when to turn around and save it for another day are your most important backcountry survival skills.



Photos: Canadian Tourism Commission

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