1. Gear Cost
  2. Danger
  3. Discomfort

These are the top three obstacles preventing people from being active outside.

I hear it all the time.

And I get it. Good outdoor gear is spendy. The only way to make buying this stuff more of an investment vs. a colossal waste of money is to use it. A lot.

Yup, being outside can be uncomfortable. Add in a night spent in a cabin, or a tent, or (better yet) a snow cave and few folks are comfy. And no one likes an outhouse, especially on a hot, windless day. My advice: light a couple matches on the way in and get over it. Suck it up. Stop the complaining. Eat more fiber. Relish the alone time.

And yes, being outside can be dangerous. The summer has its bears, rabid squirrels and GORP- stealing kamikaze whiskey jacks. Not to mention ravenous insects and flesh-tearing shrubbery. But the winter months are also fraught with unknowable hazards. If Old Man Winter doesn’t turn your private parts into popsicles, he’ll wipe you and your entire family out with a single, seemingly-harmless avalanche.

But it’s all worth it.

Winter travel on skies has been a part of my life for more than 45 years. Only last month did I experience my first avalanche-themed nightmare. It took a couple days to shake the vivid images of tumbling and darkness and worse.

Yet, last week my wife and I packed up our teenagers and spent four days ski -touring around BC’s Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park. While we endured the frozen-turd mountains in the outhouse and peeing in a bottle at night, it snowed. Puked in the skiers’ parlance. It was literally awesome.

Sixty-three cm in 36 hours.

We skied. And skied.

And ate. Guilt free. There’s nothing like the hunger that comes from a day of slow and steady movement outside breaking trail in deep snow.

And we just hung out. Together. Deliciously free from WiFi and AC power and Netflix we played cards and argued about the rules. We actually all sat together in one tiny space while sipping tea and listened to the high winds loading the slopes above. The temperature shifted across the thermometer outside, but we stayed warm inside with an extra layer of the right gear, which paid for itself that night.

We didn’t ski as high as we’d hoped. The conditions didn’t support it. But we still found some spots free enough from hazards to get our fill of fun.

And most importantly, we came together as a family, where the ‘likes’ were real.

Jamie will be making a keynote presenting at Avalanche Canada’s annual fundraising event on March 9th 2017 at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary. To learn more about keeping yourself and your family safe in the backcountry stop by! Tickets are available at www.avalanche.ca

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