Ahhh, fall… There’s nothing like a cold season change to renew winter anticipation. The cooler weather has returned with some rain, which has fallen as snow at the alpine elevations. It may still be a while before we’re clicking into our skis and strapping on our boards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give ourselves the best possible start to the winter by making the most of the winter shoulder season.
From getting gear-ready to taking an educational course to simply staying outside as long as possible, here are 5 ways to make the most of the fall.
Seize the (fall) day
Many summer activities are at their best during the fall months. Hiking, trail running, mountain biking, even rock climbing if it isn’t too wet. The grip of your fingers and shoes is enhanced at lower temperatures, as is the grip of mountain bike tires against damp dirt. The days may be shorter, but cooler temperatures give you a chance to go longer without the heat. Wake up early on the weekends and remember your after-work sessions may leave you in the dark.
Take a dryland course
We need proper winter conditions to teach an avalanche course or ice climbing clinic, but there’s plenty of mountain education that takes place indoors. This fall, consider taking a Wilderness First Aid course to properly prepare you for the worst case scenarios in the mountains. Mountain weather and navigation are also very important skills for people tackling deeper backcountry missions. These courses help you anticipate weather events and adjust your trip accordingly, as well as preparing for travel in full whiteout conditions.
And if you’re looking to take an Avalanche Skills Training course early this winter, we’re currently offering 15% off AST courses booked before October 15, 2017.
Make sure you’re ready for everything winter wants to throw at you by gearing up early. The annual Turkey Sale returns to Whistler the first week of October, so save your paychecks and get your gear on sale. Many stores that carry backcountry gear in Whistler Village start their sales before the Thanksgiving weekend, so make sure to get in early. For a full rundown on getting the most out of Turkey Sale, take a look at our updated blog post.
Remember that the most popular models of gear often sell out before the holidays, so if you have your heart set on particular size and model of boots, buy now and avoid disappointment.
Plan a Trip
The biggest hurdle to planning a winter ski trip is time. Time off work. Time to plan the logistics. Time to convince your friends to join you on what could be the best ski trip of your lives (if the conditions line up, of course). But time is one thing that fall has in spades, so start researching now. Come up with a couple different options for destinations so you can choose the place with the best snowfall and snowpack this season. Find one person that can commit 100% to your itinerary and build a team from there. There’s nothing quite like skiing down mountains you’ve never seen before.
Take Care of your To-Do Lists
It may be a bit gloomy outside as we approach winter, but that gives you time to take care of all those little things before winter hits and all your spare time is taken up with snow-filled adventures. Send that de-laminating jacket off for warranty (this can take up to 6-8 weeks for some companies). Wax and scrape your skis. Have your winter car tires sourced and ready for fitting. Order that holiday turkey on time. Attend a few ski movie premiers to top up the excitement level.
Winter is coming, so make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running when the snow flies.
Written By: Vince Shuley