Staying Warm in the Backcountry

By: Rose Struble

Happy January! It seems like winter has finally arrived and the cold days are here too. These are actually my favorite days of winter. The snow stays good, blower pow and less people! I love the coldest days of winter! And I wanted to share some of my tips for staying warm in the backcountry on these days.

Rose Struble splitboarding - photo Patrick Pfister
Photo: Patrick Pfister

I almost always bring a hot drink, having a hot beverage to sip on is so nice. I usually have tea with honey or sugar. Most recently I’ve been experimenting with a bone broth hot chocolate. I like having some calories in my drink and the bone broth offers a little protein as well. If you don’t already bring a hot drink I would recommend adding it to your bag, especially on cold days.

Tuck in your layers. I generally tour with my layers un-tucked because I tend to run hot while touring. In the resort and on cold days I keep them tucked in. Tucking your base layers in can give you a couple extra degrees of warmth. My layer system for pretty much all touring days in a thin base layer with a shell over, occasionally I will tour with a puffy over. I do like more insulation and thicker layers for resort riding days.

Rose Struble backcountry snowboarding - Photo Patrick Pfister
Photo: Patrick Pfister

Keep your hand and feet out of the snow as much as possible. I try to keep my on my board or skis as much as possible while converting. And get your feet back in your board as quickly as possible. I find a little mindfulness can go a long way

Feet and hand warmers. I love hand warmers on cold days. Last year I found the insole style toe warmers. I use these a little more for resort riding but amazing to have on the coldest days. I keep a pair in my pack and have added them mid-tour before. I know people love boot heaters also. I think I probably use the hot insoles about 6 days a season. Happy feet, happy shredding!

Rose Struble wolverine cirque - Photo Matt Kusbel  Rose Struble pow slash - Photo Matt Kusbel
Photos: Matt Kusbel

Stay ahead of the cold. Take action when you start getting cold rather than once you're frozen. I’ve made this mistake a fair amount of times when the peak is right there and you don’t really want to stop. But, just stop and add your layer, hand warmers, toe warmers or whatever you need. You might move faster if you're not cold and uncomfortable.

Extra layers. Be careful with this one. It’s easy to think the temp is really cold I am going to wear an extra layer and then end up sweaty and then cold. Don’t let yourself get sweaty. I like to bring the extra layer in my bag and add it if I need it.

I hope this helps you feel warm and cozy on those cold mid-winter touring days. I think these days are magical, I hope you get to enjoy them. Happy winter! XO, Rose

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