Whistler Mountain at sunset, from across the valley on Rainbow Mountain

3 Outdoor Winter Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

This winter, remember the Three Ts: Trip Planning, Training, and Taking the Essentials

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The following tips have been written for outdoor enthusiasts so they can stay safe while enjoying BC’s natural spaces.

By BC AdventureSmart

Did you know that 30 per cent of winter search and rescue incidents in BC will be for snowmobilers? Or that getting lost, injured, and exceeding ability are the three main reasons why people call for help during a winter season in BC? Nobody expects to get in trouble outdoors. That’s why it’s important for each of us to be prepared, make informed decisions, and understand the risks of outdoor recreation before we head outside.

This winter when you’re planning your outdoor excursions, always remember the Three Ts: Trip Planning, Training, and Taking the Essentials. Applying these safety tips can help reduce the risk and ensure your local outdoor adventures in BC are safe and responsible.

Studying the terrain | Andrew Strain

Trip Planning

To increase your chances of having an enjoyable and safe outdoor adventure, trip planning is essential. This will ensure you know exactly where you’re going, what the conditions and terrain are like, and the weather you can expect on the day. It will also allow authorities to quickly find you if anything does go wrong.

When you’re trip planning, always do the following:

Learn More About Trip Planning
Shames Mountain Ski Area near Terrace | Andrew Strain


Preparing for winter outdoor recreation involves assessing your current knowledge, skills, and ability, and understanding your limits.

When planning your outdoor excursion, always do the following:

  • Obtain the knowledge and skills you need before heading out.
  • Know and stay within your limits.

For example, if you’re new to snowshoeing, begin at your local ski resort on inbound snowshoe trails. Consider taking a guided tour to learn from the experts. Build up your endurance on short trails before attempting longer trails or more challenging terrain.

If you want to venture beyond the ski resorts into provincial park trails or backcountry destinations, familiarize yourself with Avalanche Canada’s avalanche safety tips, or take an Avalanche Skills Training Course (AST) to be aware of the risks, know how to stay safe, and learn how to act in the event of an avalanche.

Learn More About Training
Ski touring in Tumbler Ridge | Northern BC Tourism/Andy Cochrane

Taking the Essentials

No matter how well you know the terrain or how experienced you are in an activity, always carry the essentials and know how to use them. These are basic survival items you should have in any outdoors situation.

The essentials are:

  • Flashlight
  • Fire-making kit
  • Signaling device (i.e., whistle)
  • Extra food and water
  • Extra clothing
  • Navigational/communication devices
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blanket/shelter
  • Pocket knife
  • Sun protection
  • Seasonal and sport-specific gear (i.e. avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe) 
Learn more about the Essentials

Find more outdoor winter safety tips at and on social media: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Header image: Whistler | Andrew Strain

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