Winter Trips

Glacier PointWhen most people think of vacations, they think of spring break trips to beautiful beaches, or hot summer road trips to national parks. They don’t typically think of the cold dead winter as being prime travel time. Although winter might not seem like the best time to go on a vacation, winter trips can actually be just as lovely as those trips you take in the spring and summer.

There are plenty of national parks that are truly amazing in the winter months. Arches National Park in Utah, Glacier National Park in Montana, and  Yosemite National Park in California are all just as great to visit in the winter as they are in the summer. If you’re willing to brave the elements you can often times beat the crowds that flock in more convenient weather.

It takes a special type of person to love ice climbing, but if ice climbing is your sport then winter is your favorite time of the year. Ice climbing basically involves wearing spiky shoes, dual-wielding spiky axes, and kicking and chopping a column of frozen water that you are ascending tens to hundreds of feet into the air. The farther north you go, the more places you can find to try your hand at ice climbing.

When all the sport climbers have hung up their ropes because their, “hands are numb from the cold” boulderers brave the frigid temps for a chance to send some classics. Cold and dry winter weather creates perfect conditions for climbing. Hueco Tanks in southwest Texas, and Horse Pens, Rock Town and Stone Fort in the southeast U.S. are some popular winter climbing destinations.

If you have the desire, and the surplus cash, peaks are super popular for winter trips. Skiing and snowboarding are a big industry for states like Colorado and Utah, attracting thousands of visitors a year. Unfortunately, it’s not as simply as wandering up a mountain with a pair of skis and sliding down to the bottom. These activities take a bit of money, but many people find it worth the expense.

Before you set out off on your winter trip, check weather conditions. Weather is unpredictable but having an idea of what the weather is supposed to do can help you prepare for your trip. You don’t want to drive halfway across the country to find that the trail you want to hike has been closed for the last month due to weather.

While winter activities can be tons of fun and put you in beautiful settings, you have to take extra precautions to stay warm. When it comes to warmth, it’s all about layers and extremities.  Be sure to have a solid base layer and work your way up from there. Hats, gloves, and thick wool socks are all essential as well. If you’re in going to be playing in the snow, you jacket, gloves, pants or bibs, and boots all to be waterproof.

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