Prepare for backcountry in winter course

Staff reportDecember 29, 2013 

People planning for snowy adventures in the mountains and backcountry can better prepare themselves by taking the winter travel course offered by the Olympia Mountaineers.

The course is designed to prepare outdoor enthusiasts for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the Northwest.

Each course consists of four evening sessions beginning Jan. 6 and is open to anyone in the community.

During presentations and hands-on demonstrations, students will learn the essentials of what clothing and boots to wear; what equipment is needed; how to prevent injuries; understanding winter weather; what to carry in a pack; preparing for emergencies; and route finding.The sessions also include basic snow science for understanding and avoiding avalanches.

“Even those who already know how to ski and snowshoe will benefit from the information on safety and avalanche awareness presented by an outdoor expert,” said Judson Lang, one of the instructors.

Also, two field trips will be offered, one for skiing Jan. 18 and one for snowshoeing Jan. 19, with the option to take one or both.

The class sessions will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at the Thurston County Realtors Hall, 510 Stoll Road, Olympia.

Students have the option to sign up for either snowshoe or Nordic ski classes separately or both. The fee for either course is $25 for Mountaineer members and $35 for nonmembers, with an extra $15 charge to take both, including the field trips.

For more information or to register, go to or contact leaders Judson Lang at 360-352-2794,, Tom Eckhout at 360-556-9898 or

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