Backcountry Skiing in British Columbia

Whether skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, or snowmobiling, the margin for error is much less in winter while recreating in the mountains. The days are short, the temperature is cold, the weather is unpredictable, and travel can be challenging. Here are 6 must-haves in the backpacks of remote medical instructors recreating in the winter:

  1. GPS -with trails covered in snow, a GPS is extremely useful in route finding. Phones are very sensitive to cold, so if that is your preferred GPS, make sure you have a backup.
  1. Multiple Layers – Even when you do not plan on stopping much or being out for long, having a warm down coat and an outer shell at all times could mean the difference between life and death if something unexpected happens. 
  1. Small Repair Kit – No worse feeling than a gear malfunction on a cold wintery day, miles from where you started. A multitool, ski straps, duct tape, whatever you need to fix your gear if it breaks out there is critical.
  1. Multiple hand warmers – Hands and feet are usually the first part of the body susceptible to frostbite. Loss of hand function and dexterity can be detrimental.
  1. Shovel – Should you need to build a snow shelter; a shovel is priceless.
  1. Stove/fire started/road flare – It can be extra challenging to find dry accessible tinder to make a fire in winter. Plan for this challenge. The ability to make a fire quickly or fire up a stove for warm water could prevent hypothermia should you unexpectedly spend the night out.

 Backcountry skiing into the sun in British Columbia

Remote Medical Instructors J. Manning and C. Thompson. Rogers Pass, British Columbia