What Does a Mountain Guide Do in a Snowstorm?

Well my intent was to post this yesterday but technology woes precluded it so here it is for the next storm.

What does a mountain guide do in a snowstorm? Celebrate it. If you normally work and get a storm day off then you have just received a bonus gift of time. Don’t blow it sitting around watching TV reruns and cleaning the house – you can do that any day.

If we do get the amount of snow that’s predicted here are a few of the things I would put on my to do list:

  • It’s a powder day. Leave early, take your time and get to the slopes. Getting face shots is a rare treat in the east. Take some pictures and send them to your friends out west to remind them that Utah isn’t the only place with powder.
  • Lace up your snowshoes and head out for a hike. Bring a field guide to tracks to see who else is out and about.
  • Grab a magnifying lens and a cold piece of black cloth or wood and head outside to study the magnificence of snow crystals. You will be utterly amazed at the fine details.
  • Go for a cross country ski in the nearby woods.
  • In an perfect world I would be at Chimney Pond or Tuckerman Ravine where I could watch the power of loose snow avalanches roll down the mountainside.
  • Build a backyard quinzhee. A quinzhee is a snow shelter that can be built when you don’t have consolidated snow. Here’s how to construct a quinzhee: 1. pile up a dome of snow 5 – 6 feet high and 8 – 10 feet in diameter. 2. Pack it down a little. 3. Get several sticks and stick them in about 12” randomly around the dome like a porcupine. 4. Let the snow settle for an hour or so. 5. Now put your snow suit on and hollow out the inside until you hit the sticks (so your walls are at least 12” thick).
  • Build a snowman or snowwoman or snowdog or snowcat…Hopefully no directions needed for this.
  • Find a hill, get a sled and go for a ride.
  • Layer up, go out and make snow angels.

Remember, you are made of 65% water, so get out and have fun.

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