Winter Adventures: Tips for Adventuring In Cold Weather from the CMT Outbounders
Just because the weather is colder and there may be snow on the ground doesn’t mean the adventures need to stop. Quite the opposite in fact! Our Outbounders are vets when it comes to getting outside and turning winter into a wonderland. We asked our Outbounders how they brave the cold and chase after their favorite winter adventures. Check out what they had to say!
Question 1: What are your favorite winter activities and why? How’d you get into them?
Photo by Callie Stadler
Rafa Godoi: I would say snowboarding, but I can’t do it much anymore due to a knee injury in the past. So, I will say snowshoeing. I sure enjoy getting out on snowshoeing trips, hiking miles and miles, immersing into the gorgeous winter wonderland. I always keep my eye on the weather and am aware of avalanche danger. Having the proper gear is the right way to have a successful and fun snowshoeing adventure trip.
Allison Waken: Being a Phoenix, AZ native I haven't had a ton of time doing official winter activities, but it's my favorite time to hike and camp in the desert.
Callie Stadler: My husband and I started hiking in the winter shortly after we moved to Alaska. We woke up one Saturday morning and were trying to make a plan for our day, and decided to try out a hike close to our house. It was a very cold winter day, but the views were so worth it, and we have been winter hiking ever since!
Ryan Read: One of my favorite winter activities is chopping wood and having bonfires with friends and family. There is just something about a bonfire that brings people together. And the chopping of the wood is a fun activity leading up to the event.
Doris Wang: My favorite winter activities are skiing, snowshoeing, and camping in the snow. I moved to Washington about 5 years ago, and before that I lived in Southern California, where there was minimal to no snow. So once I moved to WA, I have submerged myself in all the winter activities possible since it wasn’t really a thing in California for me. I started by attending free avalanche awareness classes and snowshoeing 101 classes REI offers. SheJumps, another nonprofit, also hosts free women led winter safety courses too.
Question 2: Are there any specific trips you are planning? If so, what are they and what are you most excited about?
Photo by Allison Waken
Rafa Godoi: I’m not really planning anything but going with the flow as the days go by. Once weather allows, I will be going on a winter backpacking trip where the goal will be to build igloos to sleep in. I’m so excited to make it happen sooner than later.
Allison Waken: We'll be exploring local areas more for sure but haven't written anything yet in stone. Lots of camping!
Callie Stadler: My husband and I have a backpacking trip planned this winter where we will be hiking to a cabin in Seward, Alaska. I am super excited because there is just something so special about hiking with everything you need for the weekend on your back, and just being able to unplug and relax.
Doris Wang: I am looking to do a road trip. Looking to drive through Oregon, and Northern California, and explore the outdoors more in those places. Planning to not go into cities much, and bring all our food with us to cook on our outdoor stove, to make sure we social distance due to COVID. I love exploring close by areas!
Question 3: What keeps you adventuring in the winter? Is it your friends, family, innate love for frigid temps?
Photo of Doris Wang by Angela Crampton
Rafa Godoi: Nature’s beauty is enough to keep me motivated and adventuring in the winter. It is such a magical season with stunning scenes. It brings back the inner child in me. Adventuring in the snow is such a unique experience that feels almost unreal. Snow falling and cold, crisp air.
Allison Waken: I don't want a season to change how much time I spend outdoors. Of course, it's easy when you live somewhere as gorgeous as Arizona!
Callie Stadler: Winter adventures keep me sane! Alaska has a very drastic change between summer and winter in regards to how much daylight we get, and winters can get very long, very quickly if you don’t get outdoors.
Ryan Read: I think it's the change of scenery that gets me adventuring in the winter. In the region where I live, you never know what the weather is going to throw at you. So, that sense of surprise at what you find once you have reached the peak intrigues me.
Doris Wang: I do have a lot of friends that enjoy the winter activities I enjoy, so it makes getting out more often easier. Also with snowshoeing and winter camping, there’s not as much of a crowd compared to summer time. So, I do enjoy that too.
Question 4: What is your go-to gear for braving the winter outdoors?
Photo by Rafa Godoi
Rafa Godoi: When it comes to winter adventures, a great pair of boots are essential to keep me getting out there. The right clothing and comfy pair of boots will take you a long way. And of course, a cozy blanket to keep you extra warm while sneaking away and enjoying the views.
Allison Waken: Down jacket with fill appropriate to the temperature, a good underlayer, wool socks, and insulated waterproof boots that are comfortable!
Callie Stadler: My go-to gear for braving the outdoors in the winter always starts with base layers, wool socks, and then lots and lots of layers!
Ryan Read: My go-to gear would have to be my 0 degree sleeping bag. There is nothing worse than hiking all day and having to sleep in your tent or your shelter freezing cold. The CMT 0 Degree Sleeping Bag has already come in clutch for me during the winter nights.
Doris Wang: A good cooler to keep next to the fire pit, a warm blanket to keep me cozy while camping outside, and my skis and snowshoes of course!
Question 5: What are your tips for those wanting to get outside more this winter? (These can be simple or complex, related to gear, mindset, adventure buddies, anything.)
Photo by Ryan Read
Rafa Godoi: A great way to start braving the winter outdoors is knowing your limits, slowly getting out there on your own terms and time, and physically and mentally adjusting as you go. Having a good understanding of necessary gear is crucial for your safety and a comfortable journey. Whether on solo or in a group adventure, the joy you find in the wilderness is the result of wild steps you take.
Allison Waken: Look for used gear if you aren't sure what you like or need, this can help you buy nicer pieces without the big price tag. Plan ahead with layers, and enjoy yourself!
Callie Stadler: My tip for those who want to get outside more this winter is to just do it! Dress warm, layer up, and just go for it! It sure beats staying inside all winter long!
Ryan Read: I think that if I could give one piece of advice for getting outside this winter it would have to be to bring someone along for the ride. Life is better spent with loved ones as I have found out time and time again over the years and ESPECIALLY during this year. Don’t do it alone. Adventure with someone special. Make memories. Don’t wait — do it now!
Doris Wang: Start close by your house. I open Google Maps on my phone, and search for nearby parks I have never been to, and make a point to stop by and explore the area. And if you want to get into a new activity, I would join free outdoor groups on Facebook and see what others are up to. For me, I am part of Pacific Northwest Outdoor Women, and Washington Hikers and Climbers, both have a plethora of free outdoor information.
How are you going to get out this winter?
Winter adventures often lead to some epic views that you won’t find any other time of the year. With the right gear, a positive attitude, and a willing crew, you are bound to explore some beautiful places and have some fun this winter. We hope our Outbounders’ favorite winter adventures and tips were enough to inspire you to keep the adventures rolling year round. Where are you headed and what are you going to do this winter? Leave us a comment.
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