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WINTER
SAFETY

Central Washington is a winter wonderland offering ideal conditions for snowy season recreation. Our charming local communities make the perfect basecamp for all snow sports, so we encourage you to plan a visit and experience the magical winter season in our area!

Although our region is beautiful under a blanket of snow, it’s always important to keep in mind that winter exploration can present dangers that far exceed those of hiking in the summertime. Snowshoe hikers, skiers, snowmobilers, and other explorers need to do plenty of planning and take every precaution before heading into the hills for a snowy adventure. It’s important to know the snow.

  • Keep a shovel in your car on days with snow in the forecast.
  • Always check avalanche conditions before going out on a snowy trail.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return (and call them when you do return!).
  • Even if it’s a short trip to the ski hill, always bring plenty of layers, a headlamp or flashlight (because days are short and night comes quickly), plenty of extra food and water, and an emergency shelter in case you have to hunker down for the night.
  • Make sure your tires have plenty of tread and keep at least a half tank full of fuel at all times to reduce the chances of your car sliding in the snow or ice. Here in Central Washington, we’d like to reserve that fun for the ski hill or ice rink.
  • Choose your destination wisely. Don’t assume an easy summer day hike will make a good snowshoe trip.
  • Don’t forget to eat! Calories not only keep your energy levels up, but they also help you stay warm.
  • Being on the mountain is all about having fun, but remember that others are there to do the same. Have consideration and respect for everyone on the slopes to help ensure a great day on the mountain for all.
  • All of your winter favorites, including tubing, snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding come with significant speed and unforeseen obstacles. Be sure to always wear a helmet, just in case!
  • Understand your fitness and ability level. It’s important to work within your limits and pace yourself.
  • Although it may seem like a good idea to grab a beer in the lodge between runs, alcohol won’t replenish your body fluids as well as plain water, so save toasting with the good stuff until after you are off the slopes for the day.

Although it may seem like a good idea to grab a beer in the lodge Getting late in the afternoon? Is snow starting to fall? Is the trail hard to follow? As tempting as it may be to push on, knowing when to call it a day can prevent a dire situation from developing. Reaching a summit or making one more run isn’t worth risking a night out in the cold or getting lost in a white-out. It’s OK to turn back. You can always return on a different day.

Explore more resources for winter recreation safety from the East Cascades Recreation Partnership.

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