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Preparation is key to staying safe while recreating outdoors during winter

OUTDOOR WINTER RECREATION .jpg
Posted at 3:54 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 18:37:30-05

IDAHO — Idaho's backcountry offers unlimited recreation opportunities even through the winter months. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling are all popular outdoor winter activities in Idaho, and a great spot for that is at the four park-n-ski locations for all skill levels.

“One is called Whoop 'em up, Gold Fork, Beaver Creek Summit, and Banner Ridge. They are all located between Lowman and Morris Creek Summit," Tom Helmer, Idaho Department Parks and Recreation non-motorized trails manager said. "We make sure those parking lots are plowed and there are places to park and then there are a bunch of trails coming out of those locations. Some of the trails are groomed are ungroomed,”

With snow and colder temperatures headed our way, Helmer said that preparation is key to staying safe.

“Make a plan and make sure someone knows what the plan is, so for example if you say you are going to go out to the Payette National Forest to go snowshoeing, make sure that someone knows when you are going to be back," he said. "So if you are late or don’t come back that day they can contact the sheriff or whoever in case something happened.”

You can also check road conditions by calling 511 before you leave.

“Make sure you have your gear, and that it is accessible and operational especially if you are doing backcountry stuff in avalanche terrain you want to make sure that you have your beacon, probe, and shovel if you are going for snowmobiling," Chelsea Chambers, Idaho Department Parks and Recreation, Public Information Specialist said. "You want to make sure that you have extra water, snacks and are properly dressed."

When out on the trails make sure to follow the leave no trace rule, and be respectful of the other recreationists.

"There is also a different kind of etiquette when you are on the trails when it is snowing," Chambers said. "A lot of them are groomed for cross country skiing, so they will have the skate ski tracks and then they will also be groomed for snowshoeing, so if you are snowshoeing don’t walk on the tracks for cross country skiers, be respectful, and follow the signs."

Idaho Parks and Recreation offers avalanche safety classes for free all across the state, for more information, click here.

To find activities near you, click here.