Are you ready? We are... Meet the Ready Pack: It's everything you need!

Winter Skills

Activity Description

There is a terrible misconception: some folks think winter is a cold and dreary time. They complain of feeling cold all the time; even indoors with the heat cranked. The reality is the problem isn’t winter. It’s a lack of activity. To enjoy winter one must stay active. That’s where this course comes in: it prepares one for being active in winter (with a decidedly hiking, snowshoeing and skiing slant, we admit). Learn how to prepare to be outdoors for extended periods. Learn how to remain comfortable. What to wear, what to eat, how to manage your gear, and how to manage yourself. We also teach you how to be prepared if you become inactive — as the case might be if one were to be injured, for example. This course is perfect for the new winter enthusiast.

Activity Offerings

Having taught this course for a few seasons, as part of a full day mountaineering skills course (now taught separately), we have had a chance to teach it repeatly and have perfected it. Presently this course is offered as half-day classroom-only course lasting 3-4 hours or so. In this time you will be given all you need to go forth into the maw of winter with confidence. That said, if you are training to climb larger mountains, including our very own Mt Washington, you probably should combine this offering with our Mountaineering Skills course and make a day of it lasting 6-8 hours or so. As always, if you have any specific interests or needs, please let us know in the comments box of our Booking Form.

What to Wear

This one’s simple: it’s an indoor course (unless it’s really nice and we all agree to do it outdoors). Wear whatever makes you comfortable. That said, if you are combining it with another course, please refer to that course’s requirements. Also note, please feel free wear or bring your winter outdoor wear so that we may assess its usefulness — from your base layers right on up to your shell — it’s all within the scope of this course. Below are some general guidelines as it pertains to said outdoor wear. Use these guidelines to prepare your outdoor baselayer, midlayer, insulating, and protective layer wardrobe.

  • Think layers. While a ski jacket, for example, may be warm and waterproof, if the inner insulation can’t be separated from the outer protective layer, it really isn’t suitable. You will overheat if you need protection from the elements while excerting yourself in the outdoors. Bring independent layers.
  • Never wear cotton, even at the underwear level. Synthetic materials, wool, and especially performance/wicking materials should be your clothing of choice. For winter activities, since cotton won’t dry and doesn’t insulate while wet (from sweat), it can pose a hazard.
  • Bring more than you think you need. Mountain weather can be very tricky and unpredictable. While it may be nice in town, the mountains can be very different. Being prepared can save your life.
  • For footwear, wear winter-rated hiking or mountaineering boots with room for one pair of heavy wool socks.
  • And speaking of winter, notably above treeline, you will want to prep for Denali. On some days. Seriously. Adding gear such as the following as a minimum is expected: Heavy-duty hooded parka, overmitts with liners, mountaineering boots, balaclava and face mask, and two sets of goggles.

Necessary Gear

For this course we offer only two gear options. Click to expand.

Gear Option 1 - Open
Bring nothing. It is an indoors course. (Normally, on the Booking form, gear Option 1 is for our Ready Pack, but by the course you’re signing up for, we will know otherwise.) As noted above, you may want to bring, though not necessarily wear, the following articles for learning purposes:

  • Proper footwear (for assessment, see information above).
  • Proper clothing layering (for assessment, see information above).
  • Seasonal specialty clothing (for assessment, see information above).
  • Pencil and notebook, for taking notes of course.

SPECIAL NOTE: You can still order just food and water for $15/person/day, if you want to nibble during the course. (Do note, however, due to the possible proximity to prepared foods, you may have other options at hand.)

Gear Option 2 - Open
If you have a pack and some gear and would like to bring it, we strongly encourage that. We will spend the time with you going through your gear and helping you. Below is a list of articles you would bring on a winter outing.

  • Personal first aid kit/meds.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Camera/phone (weather-protected).
  • Lip balm, sun block.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Sunglassess.

Plus these typical pack items:

  • A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~30-40 liters).
  • Rain jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
  • Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
  • Seasonally-rated mid-layer (much colder).
  • Food for the day, plus extra.
  • Water for the day, at least 2 liters, plus extra (or filter).
  • Seasonally-rated hat, gloves/mittens.
  • Headlamp with spare batteries (or backup device).
  • Whistle or sound-making device (sternum strap whistles are okay).
  • Tarp, bivvy, or personal shelter.
  • A lightweight emergency sleeping pad.

Again, these items are NOT needed for the course, but gear management is a big part of the course so it is recommended that you bring them if you do have a kit started.

Okay… Let’s Do This!

Here is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want to know.

Half Day Course Pricing
For one person $125
For two people $175
Added people $75 each
Premium Course Options
Make it private Add $75
Other Information
  • The difficulty of this activity is easy, even tranquil.
  • This activity has 1:8 instructor/student ratio.
  • The maximum group size is 8 with 1 guide/instructor.
  • For parties larger than 8, please contact us.
  • Gratuities not included; 15-20% is customary for a good job.

Not ready for this? Maybe our Hiking Intro course would be better. Or maybe, you want more. Maybe you want to step it up by adding our Mountaineering Skills course. Otherwise, go ahead and BOOK IT NOW!

Don't Wait Too Long!

Book today to begin your outdoor experience. Use the button to the right to go to our booking form page...