Summit County is a fantastic place to be in the wintertime. There are so many options for winter fun. You can ski at one of the 4 resorts in the county, head into the backcountry if you have the necessary skills and education, go fat biking, snow kiting, sledding or tubing, snow shoeing or whatever else you can think of. When you head out for winter fun in Summit you should make a plan so you are prepared for the unexpected.
Know where you are going
The first tip is to know where you are going. Sure, you know where the trail starts but do you know what type of terrain you will be going across and where you will end up? If you are crossing avalanche paths, that adds another element you should be aware of. Someone else could trigger an avalanche above you sending a wall of snow towards you or blocking your path.
Be prepared for anything
This builds upon the previous tip. Prepare for that avalanche, a blocked trail, an injury or severe weather. You may think you are carrying needless items but you will definitely appreciate that you have them if you need them. Those essential items can save your life or the lives of others. Items to consider taking include matches, lighter or fire starter of some sort, extra batteries, extra socks, warm clothing like a hat and gloves, hand warmers, a carabiner, water purifying tablets, first aid kit, a flashlight, and food. Think small and light and items you can just leave in your pack all the time.
Have a back up plan
What will you do if you end up with a broken bike? Are you prepared to hike out? How will you get back home if you lose your way? We hate to think about everything that could go wrong but that type of thinking in advance could give you an invaluable solution if things go awry.
Tell someone your plan
It’s always good to let someone know where you are headed so if you don’t return as expected, rescuers know where to start looking. It’s an easy step that is often overlooked, especially if you are going with someone else. Another necessary step that can save your life.
Lookout for yourself and others
While you are out enjoying winter fun in Summit County, be aware that there are other people out doing the same and make sure your actions don’t impact their enjoyment. Don’t make so much noise it keeps others from enjoying nature. Be aware if your actions could trigger an avalanche. Let others know about wildlife you see. You can have an impact on the experience others have outdoors. Do what you can to ensure it’s a good experience.
Generally, a sign has been posted because there were problems. Unleashed dogs or motorized vehicles can stress wildlife. Posted fire restrictions are necessary. You probably don’t know more than the Forest Service so you should follow their lead.
Pack out whatever you pack in
The only way others can tell you have been out in nature should be because you left footprints. You shouldn’t leave anything else behind. If you carried it in, carry it out.
Let’s make sure your winter fun experience is the best ever.
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