How to dress for backcountry skiing
By: Lake Tahoe
I wore every piece of clothing from my backpack during a recent backcountry ski trip in Tahoe. In addition to wearing my base layers and snow pants, I added:
The weather changed so severely throughout the day that I was changing my clothes about every 15 minutes to maintain a comfortable body temperature while climbing, summiting, and then descending.
I was able to find a good balance in my layering with my body creating enough heat from climbing, so I didn’t have to have too many layers on. About 300 vertical feet from the top of the mountain we stopped and layered up completely. The visibility was about 25 feet and the wind was blowing at a constant 45 mph, snow blowing in our faces.
As we made our way to the summit we were blown into rocks and had to find shelter in snow drifts to transition from climbing mode into ski mode. Once in ski mode, I put my pack on my back and pointed my skis downhill. The wind was blowing so hard it was keeping me from going downhill. I had to pole myself through the wind and duck down to get out of the wind.
Once off the ridge, it got much better and we were able to enjoy our turns down into the trees. We got back to the car and the visibility was completely clear, the sky was gorgeous and there was hardly a breeze.
We learned a few good lessons that day about backcountry skiing.
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