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posted by: LIT First Aid on: November 30, 2019

Photo by Todd Diemer

Every year, avid-hikers await the chance at hiking the most beautiful winter trails. Icy blue waters and pristine powder paths draw in hikers of all levels. With astounding sights like the one at Garibaldi Lake, it's no wonder hiking is such a popular wintertime activity.


Yet, wintertime hiking comes with increased risk. Hikers can face serious dangers from frostbite to an avalanche. A peaceful trail can transform into a dangerous blizzard in a quick second. 


While snow can make for a challenging trek, it shouldn't stop you from a remarkable experience. It is safe to hike in the winter if you stay smart and well-prepared!


3 tips for a safe winter hike


Never walk alone

Even the most experienced hikers should be cautious of taking a solo trip up a mountain. The consequences and stakes are too high to risk going alone. If you choose to hike alone, make sure a friend knows your route, location and when to expect you. With your smartphone, you can even share your location with friends and family, so they can pinpoint you in the case of an emergency.


Don't rely on GPS

Intense snow coverage may cover trail markings and signs. Bring a compass and a topographical map, and be sure to know how to use them in any condition. The weather may obstruct your GPS signal and point you in all sorts of directions.


Be prepared to stay overnight

No matter how short or long a trail, always have overnight equipment prepared. An accident in treacherous conditions can mean having to spend the night. In winter conditions, being prepared vs. underprepared can be the difference between life or death. Most likely nothing will happen, but in case it does, know the risks and plan for it.


What to pack for a winter hike:

  • thermal blanket (or a sleeping bag)
  • extra food
  • water
  • hand warmer
  • headlamp
  • compass
  • map
  • first-aid kit
  • multi-tool or knife
  • waterproof boots and pants
  • snowshoes 
  • insulated coat with a wind-breaking outer layer
  • lightweight backpack
  • hat
  • neck warmer
  • sunglasses or goggles
  • hiking poles
  • wool socks with sock liners

It's quite an extensive list, but necessary for an enjoyable, stress-free trip. 


When entering any risky situation, the best thing to do is be prepared. Taking a course, like the L.I.T. First Aid and Lifeguarding Training Course, can ensure that you're ready for a hike in any weather condition. Whether you're going on a hike or teaching your kids to practice safe winter sports, signing-up for a class will ensure you're prepared for any scenario. Preparation offers freedom from worry so you can instead focus on the beautiful snowy hike ahead.


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