Preparing for Your Trip
You can engage in various outdoor activities at any one of the destinations on this list, including winter mountain hiking, skiing, snowboarding, snow biking, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Each one offers a unique landscape you can only reach using a specialized vehicle or equipment. You can usually rent everything you need to participate at the lodge or a nearby recreational store. But you will need to bring along plenty of warm layers and waterproof activewear to stay safe in the cold. You could be outside for anywhere from an hour to the better part of the day, depending on how much fun you’re having. Consider buying gloves, pants and shoes specifically designed for the activity at hand. The garment should fit your body type without cutting off circulation. Bring along multiple layers to change in and out of just in case the temperature fluctuates.
You should also wear any and all required safety gear even if it’s not mandatory, including a full-face or half-face helmet if you are skiing downhill or snowboarding. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by up to 60 percent. The resort gear shop should have this gear as well. Try on the helmet to make sure it fits properly before hitting the slopes.
Wearing a helmet may not be enough to protect you from serious injury. Skiing or snowboarding in bad weather or on unstable ground can still be dangerous even with the proper gear. Use a helmet communication device to wirelessly connect to your phone while riding, so you can check the map or the latest weather alerts without reaching for the device. You can keep your hands and eyes focused on the task at hand.
Traveling in a group? Use a snowboard or ski helmet communication system, like the Packtalk Outdoor, to stay connected to your companions. It will automatically connect whenever you are in range so you don’t have to keep resetting the device. Watch out for each other on the trail and stick to designated areas to stay safe.
Best Winter Travel Destinations for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Beaver Creek – Colorado
You can’t go wrong visiting the state of Colorado in the winter. It’s considered one of the country’s best snow-covered destinations. Towns and resorts across the Rocky Mountains light up with tourists this time of year. Beaver Creek tends to be at the top of any travel list. The nearby resort offers over 1,800 miles of trails to discover. It’s perfect for all types of winter activities and sports so you should have plenty to do during your stay. When it gets too cold outside, you can always check out the town’s performing arts venues and idyllic shops for more seasonal fun.
- Yosemite National Park – California
The granddaddy of all national parks, Yosemite offers a unique mix of terrain that includes mountains, rivers, valleys and steep rock formations that are sure to take your breath away. It’s a magical place to visit any time of the year, but the winter tends to thin out the herd of tourists. You can easily get lost in the seemingly endless acres that make up the park, so be sure to check the weather and riding conditions beforehand.
- Kings Canyon National Park – California
If you really want to light up your Instagram feed, put Kings Canyon at the top of your list. The park’s signature sequoias stand anywhere from 250 to 300 feet tall. It’s the perfect photo opportunity and a great place to cruise around in the woods. The landscape rivals anything you might see on National Geographic with plenty of cozy accommodations to boot. Celebrate the holidays with a visit to General Grant — a.k.a. the National Christmas tree — the second largest tree in the world.
Your winter is about to heat up. Plan a trip to any one of these scenic outdoor destinations to spend as much time in nature as possible this winter.