Are you an intermediate to advanced snowboarder or skier that is looking for more fresh tracks, less people and to explore beyond groomed runs? Then Snow Minions is your home! We are dedicated to bringing all the backcountry resources and education to you, for Colorado and beyond. We wish to bridge the gap between those lacking backcountry experience and those already waist deep in found powder. Here you can find out about what you need to become an educated and prepared backcountry explorer. Have a question or a favorite place for gear? Get in contact with us today and contribute to our community growth!
Snow Minions Top 10 for Backcountry Preparedness
**This list was compiled from talking to guides and what would be considered experts in backcountry. This list is NOT a substitute for going out and doing these things and more to become a seasoned backcountry consumer yourself!**
- Take an avalanche safety course. Get educated on backcountry safety. (Check out the "learn-it" stuff)
- Get the equipment: beacon, shovel and probe.
- Before heading out read the local avalanche forecast. Reading this daily will help you get familiar with the effects weather has on the snowpack.
- Consider a 30 liter backpack. This is an ample size for a day trip.
- Refine your downhill riding skills, spend time on the mountain resort. Being a strong intermediate to advanced rider will help you navigate all kinds of terrain in the backcountry. Terrain, terrain, terrain! The learning curve is faster with heli’s, cats, or lifts due to the number of runs you can pack into a day.
- Learn how to make informed terrain decisions. Start off in simple, low angle, less consequential terrain (in CO, less than 25 degrees). This angle varies based on the part of the world you are in. While your riding skills may allow you to access the steep’s your avalanche skills may not match your riding skills. Get familiar with reading an inclinometer here too!
- Practice using your gear (all of it- rescue gear and touring) one chunk at a time. When learning new skills, small bites produce greater retention. Practice your beacon skills on a regular basis with the friends you plan to tour with. Don’t buy all your gear and go on a hut trip without having practiced with it before hand. The trip should not be your training with new gear.
- Check your gear before you leave home. Does everything work? Batteries, boots, etc. Check again at the trailhead.
- Always debrief your trip and ask team members: What went right, what could you have done differently and what can you improve upon the next time out?
- Be a lifelong learner. Continue your education by taking another class (wilderness 1st aid, levels 2 and 3 for example), practice your skills with friends, read books (Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain is highly recommended), get to know some guides!