A couple of blog readers have pointed out that we missed talking about lip protection in the backcountry skiing sunscreen tips below. It’s difficult to protect your lips from the sun. A good hat and frequent applications of sun-block lip balm work for most people, but some folks need more. If so, along with an effective wide-brim hat, try using an opaque lip balm such as Labiosan. Apply frequently.
10 Tips for Spring Backcountry Skiing
Today’s Tip: #6 – Hydration
Hydration bladders (Camelbak, etc.) are problematic for winter backcountry skiing. They work fine for short casual trips, but when the going gets rough and long, and you need them the most — that’s when the sip tube freezes and you spend the day in torture or worse.
But hydration bladders are perfect for spring backcountry skiing, when the days are warm and you need huge amounts of fluids. If you’re on a budget get a bladder at WalMart and throw it in any backpack. Whatever your choice in hydration bladders for backcountry skiing, for quick and easy storage at home throw it in the freezer so you don’t start a science project (even the anti-bacterial reservoirs will eventually start farming bugs if not cared for).
If you’re doing short trips or otherwise don’t need a hydration bladder system, carry a basic plastic water bottle. Usual minimum is a liter, but we do some quick morning trips when a half liter works fine and saves weight. We’ve found the best variety and price for springtime water bottles to be nearly free. Just purchase a plastic bottle of juice, water or athletic drink in the size you want, and reuse.
What you drink is key as well. Plain water works fine if combined with scarfing the occasional energy gel pack. We like athletic activity drinks when we do big days (amazing stuff that truly does give you more umpf), but diluted orange juice works well, as does any other diluted fruit juice. Experiment. Commenters, what’s your favorite athletic drink for spring skiing?
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.