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Winter Travel Prep – Inland Northwest

We met with partners throughout the Inland Northwest region to share resources and tips for planning and preparing for your next winter adventure! Watch the whole event here or skim through the resources below to learn more.

SheJumps wants everyone to be able to get out and enjoy the healing powers of the outdoors safely. By putting safety first, you can ensure you have a positive experience and return home, ready for the next adventure!

Weather Forecasts

Presented by: Melissa Hendrickson, Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

The first step to planning any adventure is knowing when and where it is safe to travel. To do that, you need to know what is in store for weather. When looking at a weather forecast you should always look at the synopsis or overview to determine what the general forecast is. Then, looking at the report in more detail, you should take note of the temperature, wind chill, precipitation, and any upcoming storm alerts. It is also important to be aware of snowfall totals where you are headed. You can use Snotel data to get an idea of what the snow totals are like in your area.

Check you local weather forecasts at:

Remember: no matter what the forecast says, you should always be prepared for any sudden shifts in conditions!

Avalanche Dangers

Presented by: Melissa Hendrickson, Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Before you head out into the mountains during the winter, it is always important to check the avalanche conditions in the area. You should check the report from the local avalanche center, and look at the bottom line and avalanche rating. Then you will want to read through the problems listed in the report, and understand how they will affect your plan.

Where to Find Avalanche Reports:

When it comes to understanding avalanches, there is no substitute for a proper avalanche education.

Advance your education

Making Your Plan

When picking your route, there are many different ways to gather beta on trails to choose. Apps like the ALLtrails app or WTA Trailblazer from the Washington Trails Association allow you to look at trails near you, read posts from other trail visitors, and get pertinent information about trail access. If you are looking for trails in Idaho, you can also check Idaho Trails Association and Idaho Parks & Rec. for winter travel ideas!

Additionally, Facebook groups such as the SheJumps Inland Northwest Group, Washington Hikers & Climbers, and Pacific Northwest Snowboarders, Skiers, and Adventures (PNW) provide great forums to ask questions or find general information about a particular area.

Activity Selection

Presented by: Galen May, Schweitzer Ski Patrol; Melissa Hendrickson, Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Before heading out on your next winter adventure, you should take stock of the who, what, whens, wheres, and whys of your trip to help decide the best activity and place. First, you should ask yourself who is going with you, what is their experience and fitness level, and what types of certifications do they have, if any. Then consider how long you will want to be out for and how much of a challenge your group wants. Remember, to be mindful of shorter daylight hours in the winter! Think about the activity you would like to do and consider what experience level is required for that activity. By looking at the skill level of your group, you can start to determine what activities and places are appropriate.

  • Snowshoeing is a great inexpensive activity, accessible to all ages and most ability levels.

  • Hiking is another inexpensive activity, but it should not be treated the same as summer hiking! Make sure you check that the trail is open, you are aware of potential snow hazards, and bring a buddy.

  • Skiing/Snowboarding/Splitboarding adventures should also be undertaken with a partner. Whether you are going cross-country skiing, at a resort, or in the backcountry, make sure the area is open and check your gear for functionality. If you have never been before or if you just want to learn some new skills, take a lesson!

Your plan should include a departure time, intended trail and route, an estimated return time, your vehicle information and trailhead/parking information, and contact information for your adventure partners. After you have a plan, leave it with someone you trust! This could mean emailing an itinerary to your mom, leaving a handwritten note for a roommate, or texting your plan to a buddy.

Layering For Winter

Presented by: Mark Schnieder, Rambleraven Gear Trader

The name of the game in winter is layering. Wear synthetic materials, cover your skin, and wear a hat to avoid hypothermia and stay warm while adventuring. Remember to always bring your 10 Essentials as well as plenty of food and water! For more information, check out the Micro Ventures: 10 Essentials blog post.

Getting The Gear

Before investing in a new outdoor sport, here are some options and resources to borrow or rent gear as you try it out.

Rental Options

Used Gear Options

  • Rambleraven Gear Trader - Spokane

  • Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace/Thrift Stores/Numerous online outlets

  • Borrow from a friend

Local Retail Shops


  • The Source, Alpine Shop, Sandpoint Sports

  • Ski Shack, Tri State Outfitters

Spokane/Spokane Valley

  • The Sports Creel, Alpine Haus, Shred Sports, RGT

Injury Prevention

Presented by: Katie Cartier Luthy, Longleaf Wilderness Medicine

Frostbite and hypothermia are two of the major injuries to watch for during winter adventuring. In order to prevent frostbite and hypothermia, you should attempt to balance your heat loss and heat gain by monitoring your body temperature, removing and adding appropriate layers, and eating plenty of high sugar foods. Always be thinking about how to prevent injury! Don’t try to just tough it out and be sure you keep an eye on your friends for signs of hypothermia or frostbite:

Hypothermia- uncontrolled shivering, “-umbles” (mumbling, stumbling, grumbling, etc.), and mood changes. Be aware that if someone stops shivering and their mental state continues to deteriorate, they are moving towards severe hypothermia. To treat, remove any wet clothing and insulate the person from further heat loss. Eat high sugar foods, and add external heat sources, if necessary.

Frostnip/Frostbite- frost on the skin’s surface, numbness, white skin, and blisters after thawing.

Thank you everyone who attended the event. If you enjoyed the content, consider registering for other SheJumps events:

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