Those of us who head into the back country on cross country skis or snowshoes are a typically independent lot.
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Getting away from the crowds and enjoying the solitude and beauty of the unspoiled forest trump the ease of skiing at a resort.
The quietude and wonder of being on the snow, in the winter decorated forest, far from the hustle and bustle of the resorts, are worth the calories it takes to get out there.
At a downhill resort, you just show up, either with your own gear, or renting the latest and greatest from the resort. You need the right clothing for the conditions, but the lifts take you to the top, and the food service is always available and pretty good. There are plenty of other skiers around and it is a colorful and exciting experience.
Lessons, at both cross country and downhill resorts, are available, and the kiddies can take classes and spend the day at the children’s center.
In the backcountry though, you bring you own gear, food, water and so on. You also bring a certain set of expectations. Courtesy is always on tap out there, or at least it should be.
A few simple things to remember for snowshoe and cross country skiers will make everyone’s day much better.
First, if you take it in, take it out. There isn’t a crew that will come behind you to haul out your trash. Leave nothing but your tracks out there.
If you take your wonder dog with you, take doggie poop bags with you. When your dog decorates the snow with dog logs, clean up. Stay out of the tracks laid down by snowshoes if you are on cross country skis. Stay in the cross scountry tracks that are already there, or make your own.
Snowshoe tracks are easier to snowshoe in if only snowshoes have been there. Snowshoe tracks are wide and often a bit bumpy. After a few snowshoes have gone over them, they get packed down, and can be hard and bumpy. Cross country skiers typically avoid these.
Most of the time there is more than enough room to avoid tromping on the other guys tracks. It really doesn’t take much to do so.
Enjoy the backcountry, and respect the tracks of others while you are out there. Get outside!