With leaves gone, temps dropping and snow on the north faces, it's time to get your head in the game for the upcoming snow season. The following suggestions have helped me wrap my brain around the logistics and mental preparations needed to ensure a solid start to my winter.
Now is the time to reach out to your adventure partners and get together with backcountry friends new and old. Here's some ideas on Getting Stoked:
* Trade stories about epic powder days over a pint at the local pub
* Watch some ski porn and avy vids on YouTube/Netflix/Hulu/Amazon etc.
* Re-read your favorite off-piste articles, backcountry stories and adventure classics
* look at maps, guide books and old TRs
* place backcountry/ski magazines in your bathroom
* hit up the fundraisers, browse the ski swaps, attend trade shows and ski expos
* purchase some socks from your local shop and bring your favorite tech a sixer.
These are just fun ideas that have worked for me. Regardless of how you budge the needle, your stoke meter should currently be ramping up. NOW is the time of year that gets snow lovers and mountain people everywhere buzzing. This burning excitement will fuel your early season training and preparation efforts. It's time to get stoked for another stellar winter filled with bottomless powder for all!
Pull your gear. Find your skins. Pack your pack. Inventory med and repair kits. Change your batteries. Try on your kit. Test new gear. Break in new boots. Mend and repair last season's battle scars. Fiddle with and refine your set-up. Tighten hardware, tune bases and sharpen yo edges. P-tex, rinse, repeat...
Purchase and prepare a new field journal.
Make sure you utilize an all-weather journal(s) with enough room to document and record this season's intel including space for: daily weather obs, weather forecasts, avy bulletin ratings&reports, misc. field notes, snow pit data-profiles&temp graphs, trip plans and emergency contacts, etc.
Regardless of what you record, make sure you've got the room to document the details.
Begin following your local avalanche forecast center's daily/weekly reports and updates.
Set your favorite weather website as your default homepage so you're always updated on conditions whenever you're online.
I set my laptops Dashboard to the include the following sites in winter:
CAIC for Daily Avalanche Bulletin, Hazard Rating and Backcountry Forecasts
REMOTE WEATHER STATIONS for real time, 12/24hr and Hx data from remote sites where I work and play.
CDOT I use CO trip for road and weather updates and to view camera footage of conditions on the passes
Google Earth, Cal Topo, Hillmap for trip planning and new route research
Join your local backcountry advocacy group or local avalanche and snow safety non-profit. Volunteer to help with outreach and awareness opportunities to keep your skills sharp Not super social? No stress my agoraphobic friends, log into your favorite ski website, hit up the splitboard forums, or just anonyomously chit chat with strangers on r/backcounty
No matter how rough your edges, backcountry shredders are a small tribe and I've embraced this truth- You don't need to be the life of the party to practice this sport- BUT with minimal effort, you can enhance your growth and enjoyment by chatting it up with other like minded enthusiasts and letting yourself vibe off of others' stoke!
Just like your quiver, you gotta to tune up those avy skills every year. There have recently been major changes to avalanche education in the United States- are you aware of the Rec/Pro Split and how it will affect you?
What about a Level One?
or if your schedule's tough, the Community Format Level One?
Did you sign up for an Avalanche Rescue Course?
Many folks also chose to come back for one to three days of private instruction and touring. Whatever feels right to you. I'm always available to talk about your options!
And for those of you who have recently completed training, what are your next steps?
Have you thought about my Post Course Take-Aways in awhile?