You don't have to stay inside to be warm, dry, and safe. Winter recreation around Ogden, Utah can be just as epic as summer recreation.
One of the appeals of outdoor recreation, particularly the backcountry variety, is leaving the rigid structures, rules, and regulations that are a part of the daily grind in densely populated areas.
We’re not here to lecture you on the responsibility or impose rules on the Ogden-area backcountry. We’ve just seen how quickly the romance of being “out there on your own” can vanish when Search & Rescue crews get involved. We’ve compiled a few friendly recommendations to help make everyone’s winter outdoor recreation more enjoyable.
1. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
“Know Before You Go” is the mantra of backcountry skiers and snowboarders. It typically refers to checking and understanding the most recent avalanche forecast from the Utah Avalanche Center. However, the mantra should apply to anyone heading out during the winter and should also include checking detailed, up-to-the-minute weather forecasts and road conditions. Things can change quickly in the Wasatch Mountains.
2. LAYER UP & LEAVE ROOM
Start with a moisture-wicking base layer (top and bottom), a long-sleeve shirt (not cotton) topped with fleece or a down vest, and a waterproof jacket and pants. “Layered" doesn’t mean piles of clothes stuffed like a sausage. Allow room between your layers for warm air to be trapped and to maintain full mobility of your arms and legs.
3. PROPER FOOTWEAR
Invest in a decent pair of insulated, properly fitted winter boots and moisture-wicking socks. And if you’re hiking, snowshoeing, or fat biking in one of our groomed Nordic skiing areas, ensure that footwear never touches the groomed ski tracks.
4. PROTECT EXPOSED SKIN
Don’t want to mess up your hair with a hat? Can’t operate your phone with gloves? Suck it up and cover up. The Ogden area experiences single-digit and even sub-zero temperatures every winter. Even moderate winter temperatures can be dangerous with prolonged exposure.
5. EAT. THEN EAT SOME MORE.
Ogden’s ski slopes and winter trails are not the places to skimp on calories. Pack dense foods that are easy to digest and won’t freeze in your pack. Consume your outdoor calories while standing to preserve body heat.
6. STAY WELL HYDRATED
Pack a large, double-walled insulated bottle full of hot liquids and wrap it in an extra layer in your pack. Sip it frequently, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
7. GET OUT OF THE WIND
Change your route if there’s cold wind. Duck behind a wind break during your hydration and snack stops. Did we mention that your hat should cover your ears?
8. WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS OF FROSTBITE
Numb or tingling digits, ears, or nose, along with a change in skin color, are your first signs of trouble. Please don’t ignore them.
9. GIVE WILDLIFE EXTRA SPACE
We typically give this advice to three-season outdoor adventurers for their safety. Still, it’s also important for protecting our wildlife during the winter months. Animals foraging in the winter are already running on low reserves. They shouldn’t waste their limited energy trying to avoid being on your Instagram. Control your dogs, and don’t let them harass wildlife.
10. RESPECT GROOMED SKI TRAILS
Never hike or snowshoe in Nordic ski trails and reduce fat bike tire pressures for riding on other groomed surfaces (2-4 psi for soft snow, 3-8 psi for hard snow). Be sure fat bikes have a tire width of at least 3.7 inches, and avoid leaving ruts deeper than 1 inch on groomed surfaces.
11. CARPOOL & SKI BUS
Please help us protect our winters by carpooling/ride sharing or utilizing the UTA Ski Bus when traveling to our local resorts. Traffic jams, congestion, and dirty air should never be part of a day spent at 9,000 feet.
12. LET ‘EM KNOW
Let someone know where you plan to be for the day and a rough estimation of when you will return. Whether you’re venturing deep into our backcountry, just taking a short day hike, or spending a day at one of our resorts, send a friendly text to a loved one to let them know where you are and what time you expect to return. Attach a selfie to show what you’re wearing for good measure.
Get the right gear and apply a few commonsense tactics so your next outdoor adventure isn’t your last. After all, we want you to come back to Ogden!