With winter season fast approaching, I bet some are already planning their backcountry ski trips and adventures. Perhaps, many are now on the search for the best ski bindings and other skiing gears and accessories. Some might have even started packing their bags prepping for their annual winter ski tradition.
But before you head out to your ski resort or ski mountain destination, have you ever thought about the possibility of being caught in a survival situation? Have you ever considered finding yourself in an unwanted scenario in the middle of a freezing wilderness?
A lot of experienced winter adventurists and backcountry hikers surely know about what to do in case of these mishaps. But not everyone who treks the freezing mountain slopes actually knows what to do in these survival situations. Here are five basic survival skills you need to know before you even think of going on a backcountry ski adventure.
- Build a shelter.
When you’re in the freezing mountain, the first priority is to keep your body warm and get the elements out. Building a shelter is crucial for survival. It can help protect you against possible adverse effects of freezing temperatures. Hypothermia and frostbite are two of the most common causes of the death when in a winter accident.
- Start a fire.
Next to building a shelter, you also need to know how to start a fire using the available materials. A fire can significantly increase the chances of your survival when caught in a winter mishap. Some hikers bring emergency provisions that include fire-starters or portable stove. But while these can help start fire, they cannot keep you warm enough for long. You should know how and where to find possible dried sticks to make fire.
Aside from providing heating, the smoke produced can also be used to alert rescuers of your exact location. Your winter survival doesn’t really need to be large. It’s okay to have a small fire to stretch available wood. Remember that it’s more difficult to find dry woods during winter.
- Administer first aid.
This one is a no-brainer. Anyone who plans to go on a winter hiking or backcountry skiing should not just get busy looking for a hiking or skiing gears, like visiting this website, they should also find time to know at least basic first aid.
If you or someone in your group gets injured, someone must know what to do to stabilize his condition until advanced help arrives. In case of winter injuries, the first goal is to keep the person safe and stabilize his condition. Wilderness first aid training is crucial as it would equip you with skills that are necessary when you are in these circumstances.
- Melt snow
Aside from getting warm, you also need to get hydrated. Staying hydrated actually helps you prevent frostbite and hypothermia. When in the middle of a frozen mountain, you can’t expect to find running water. As such, you need to know how to melt snow using your available heating sources or the fire that you’ve started. Remember, you can stay alive without food but not without water.
- Get found.
When preparing for an outdoor adventure, be sure to notify your friends or relatives of your whereabouts, itinerary and expected arrival date. Instruct them to alert the Search and Rescue team in case you don’t come home as scheduled. In case, you haven’t informed anyone, you need to learn the basics of emergency signaling. One of the classic ways is to put up a fire and let it smoke. There are lots of survival kits that come with GPS tracking tools that you activate to automatically alert SAR in case of problems.
It would greatly help to learn these basic skills when planning winter adventure. You wouldn’t lose anything if you start learning about these.