How To: Get Ready for Winter

Eager to dive into the winter activities of the Northwest, but not sure where to start? Check out this guide to getting ready and getting out into the winter wonderland.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
November 30, 2018

Though we’ve been teased with temperate days this October and November, autumn is rapidly coming to a close - and with it comes biting wind and cherry red cheeks. Bring your a-game this season by being fully prepared to handle the cold and any unexpected surprises father winter may throw your way. From winter trail running to cross-country skiing, we have you covered.

Gear Up

Learn to Layer in the Backcountry
You’ve done it – loaded up the car, grabbed your thermos, and hit the mountains. But layering in the backcountry is much different than layering for a stroll in town. Learn to balance your layers to avoid a sweaty or shivering day when you’re hours away from your closet and a wardrobe change.

Protect From Sun on the Snow 
Summer isn't the only time of year when outdoor adventures pose the risk of sunburn and skin damage. Save your skin by grabbing sunscreen and learning how to effectively block those UV rays bouncing off the slopes. 

Use your Member Benefits
Don’t forget that Mountaineers get great deals on gear! Bundle up this season with great deals from Expert Voice, Danner Boots, Rack N Road, Mountain Hardware, and more. If you’re already a member, visit our benefit page here.

Get Ready

Tacoma - Winter Travels | Dec 6 – Mar 2
Winter Travels combines all three snowshoe courses taught at the Tacoma Branch: Basic Snowshoeing, Backcountry Snowshoeing, and Winter Camping. Sign up for this triple-decker course and receive a reduction on total course fees.

Foothills – Introduction to Winter Trail Running | Dec 13
Running in the winter poses challenges even for the seasoned trail runner. Join us and learn the tricks of winter trail running, from lighting to clothing and gear choices. We will cover various traction devices and when to use them, including running-specific snowshoes.

Seattle Program Center – Avalanche Awareness | Dec 14
Not sure if you’re heading into potential avalanche territory? Want to know more about the causes of avalanches, pre-trip indicators, and backcountry hazards? Attend this free seminar to receive an introduction to recognizing avalanche terrain, knowing the primary factors that cause avalanches, and ways to avoid avalanche danger, including pre-trip planning and using NWAC online avalanche and mountain weather forecasts.

Tacoma – Basic Snowshoeing | Jan 2 – Jan 12, 2019
This course provides students a solid foundation in snowshoeing. Topics covered include snowshoe techniques and travel, winter clothing, gear selection, and conditioning for snowshoeing. 

Meany Lodge – Downhill Ski or Snowboard Series C | Jan 6 – Mar 3
Join us at Meany Lodge, where lessons and coaching are offered with PSIA instructors (Professional Ski Instructors of America) at their PSIA recognized winter sports school. Skip expensive resort rates and enjoy these 4, 1-hour classes designed for all ages and abilities.

Get Out  

Day Hike – Point Defiance Park | Dec 8
Easy, No Prerequisites
This easy day hike provides a great forested walk with views of Puget Sound! Beginners welcome.

Winter Scramble – Round Mountain | Dec 15
Moderate, Prerequisites
Enjoy this moderate winter scramble in the Darrington area.

Cross-Country Ski – Keechelus Lake & John Wayne Trail | Dec 22
Easy, No Prerequisites
This ski-at-your-own-pace trip is suitable for beginners and others who want to get their ski season started on a groomed flat trail. We will ski from Hyak Iron Horse Snopark along the John Wayne trail, following the shore of the beautiful Keechelus Lake.

Cross-Country Ski – Cabin Creek | Dec 27
Moderate, No Prerequisites
Explore the groomed Cabin Creek trails, including the Viking Course, to warm up for ski season.  

Urban Adventure – Longmire | Dec 28
Easy, No Prerequisites
This family-friendly activity features cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing. Based on the weather and the age of the participants, we will go on the Longmire trail, Barnes Flats, and/or Paradise for snow play. Join us for this snow-filled adventure!

Basic Snowshoe – Sun Mountain Trails | Jan 5
Easy, Prerequisites
This snowshoe through the Methow Valley will start at the Sun Mountain Lodge and meander through the many trails around the Lodge.