Winter can be an incredible time to explore our province, but it’s a lot different from summer recreation. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe on your winter adventures.
Before You Go
- Check local weather reports.
- Check Alberta Parks Advisories for relevant advisories and trail reports.
- Check avalanche.ca for current avalanche conditions.
- Leave an itinerary with a trusted contact that states where you’re going and when you’ll return.
- Warming huts and picnic shelters are closed due to gathering restrictions; please plan accordingly and dress for the weather.
- The Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre, Cypress Hills Visitor Centre and Canmore Nordic Centre are open for information, washroom use and takeaway food service (where available). Gathering and loitering is not permitted.
- It is extremely important to check ice conditions and ensure there’s no open water before walking on ice. Hazardous and thin sections can exist at any time during winter.
- According to the Canadian Red Cross, ice should be at least 20 centimetres thick for group activities.
- All backcountry users have a responsibility to educate themselves on avalanche terrain, avalanche safety equipment and companion rescue. Every person needs a transceiver, shovel & probe and know how to rescue each other should the need arise.
- Avalanches are more likely when there has been heavy snowfall, wind, or warming temperatures.
- Many typical summer hikes are in avalanche terrain. Always research your trail so you can make educated decisions and be prepared before you go.
- Learn more about avalanche safety and always check for reports before you head out at avalanche.ca
- Be prepared to not have cell service, especially in the mountains. If you are relying on your cellphone - start the day with a charged battery and preserve it by keeping the phone warm and saving the social media for after the trip.
- Plan your trip around the sun for warmth and daylight.
- Snowpack can hide the trail. Pay attention and know how to use a map.
- Dehydration expedites the onset of hypothermia, so stay hydrated.
- Wear layers and bring appropriate footwear like crampons or microspikes.
- Carry the 10 essentials.
- Dress for the weather with this guide from Be Fit for Life.