You might think that your time in the mountains will slow down with the coming winter season, but it doesn’t have to! We have created a winter checklist for you so that you can enjoy your next snowy adventure without a worry. Take a look at what some RMB team members pack for our ideal snow day in the mountains:
Jillian van der Geest – Skiing in the BC Coast Mountains
I try to plan my gear for a day of skiing in terms of weather, safety and convenience. I think the key to skiing in the Coast Mountains is that you need to prepare for any and all weather. I carry SPF lip balm and sunscreen for sunny afternoons, a neoprene ski mask and Vaseline to protect against wind burn, Goretex outerwear for wet snow, and a packable micro-puffy mid-layer to keep me warm on an icy morning but it’s easy to shed as I warm up. For safety on and off piste I always have a whistle on the front of my jacket and make sure at least one person knows where I’m skiing that day. After years of losing at least one glove per season, my favourite pro-tip is to put a carabiner through the belt loop on your ski pants to hang your gloves on when you take them off. I call it “idiot mittens for adults”. Lastly, if you’re like me and suffer from extreme helmet hair, I always carry a toque or hat to slap on for après.
- Dakine HeliPro 20L backpack
- Goretex outer layer + Micro-puffy mid-layer
- Nibz Bandana: I love this brand. Breathable, warm, cool designs and the velcro doesn’t stick to my hair. Mine has pineapples on it
- Neoprene ski mask
- Goggle Soc: Keeps my goggles from getting scratched both on the mountain and at après. Doubles as a lens wipe. I have one with bananas on it and one with tropical flowers
- Samsung GearFit 2 Pro Smartwatch
- Thumb brace: I’ve torn my skier’s thumb ligament too many times to count. It gives me more support and confidence
- Gerber Utility knife and some hockey tape: I travel with these all the time. I feel like they can fix anything if I get in a jam
- Vaseline + lip balm + sunscreen
Need a great guidebook for your next alpine ski trip in the Rocky Mountains? Check out Chic Scott’s Ski Trails in the Canadian Rockies, and Summits & Icefields 1: Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies. For more skiing guidebooks, check out our selection here!
Don Gorman – Winter Running on Vancouver Island
For me, the key to running in the winter on Vancouver Island it to not over-dress! Running on the West Coast in the winter is awesome, and only slightly chilly due to the general dampness in the mornings and evenings. The key is to layer accordingly, with a synthetic a base layer; a middle layer of light fleece or light wool; and an outer layer for wind and water resistance. Generally, I can skip the middle layer, which helps prevent sweat getting trapped against my skin. With very little ice and slush to really worry about (except in the early mornings and late nights) and overall moderate temperatures, I tend to use running shoes during the winter that have some water-resistant properties, trail-running soles, and additional lining to help keep my feet warm. I also tend to move to a light wool running sock and occasionally use gloves and running tights if the temperature drops below freezing. When it is dark in the morning and early in the evening, an LED headlamp and at least one LED armband are both vital!
- Hoka One One road running shoes
- Patagonia lightweight rain shell
- Wool running socks
- Merino Wool gloves
- MEC running tights
- LED headlamp and arm band
Grace Gorman – Winter camping in the PNW
I’ve slept in some non-ideal conditions while in the mountains, and after lots of uncomfortable, sleepless nights, I’ve finally learned what I need to bring (kinda)! In the summer it’s a lot easier to pack light, but winter is a different story. I typically bring 2 different jackets, waterproof pants, many socks, toque, 2 pairs of boots, a winter rated sleeping bag, thermals, and so many fleece mid-layers that I lose count. These winter camping essentials to keep me warm and comfortable!
- Patagonia Nano-Air Quilted Hoody (the BEST mid-layer) + MEC Radiator Lite down jacket
- Patagonia Better Sweater
- Salomon Quest 4D-3 Goretex hiking boots + Wright socks
- Snowshoes and/or crampons
- MEC Sandbagger pants, lined leggings and thermals
- Merino wool toque and gloves
- Vegan backpacking dinners (AlpineAire and Outdoor Herbivore are my faves) and lots of high-calorie snacks (cookies, chocolate, trail mix, crackers etc), instant coffee, and my Jetboil Flash cooking system
- Black Diamond ONYX 65L backpack and a therm-a-rest
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and lip balm
- Shovel, knife, rope and safety + first aid kit!
Take a look at Snowshoe Trails in Southwestern British Columbia by Aileen Stalker and A Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies by Andrew Nugara. Find all of our snowshoe guides here! Perfect for your next winter hike.