Many students choose Southern Utah University for the beautiful scenery and the opportunity to explore southern Utah’s beautiful great outdoors. Cedar City has plenty of opportunities for adventurers to get outside, but winter can bring dangerous conditions for those inexperienced with the snow or the cold.
For those determined to enjoy going outside even in the winter, there are ways to stay safe. Using these tips — and your best discretion — you can explore southern Utah in the winter with safety in mind.
Research your activity
Although there is never a bad time to start exploring your adventurous side, harsh winter weather calls for extra caution. One of the most important parts of adventuring is planning ahead and knowing specific safety protocols for winter activities.
Many outdoor activities can be practiced in the winter with proper training.
“If you don’t know the sport very well, take someone with you that knows more so they can teach you the proper techniques and safety procedures,” said Baylee Howe, the SUU Outdoors coordinator.
Use and wear proper gear
According to Howe, dressing appropriately for the weather is the most important thing one can do to stay safe. “I always say there is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices,” said Howe. “Always layer up your clothes, wear the right materials and be prepared for the best and worst conditions!”
Proper footwear and body-insulating layers help keep explorers safe and warm. Learn about safety protocols for whatever activity you choose and make sure to bring appropriate safety gear. Some great resources can be found at REI, where the company provides expert-reviewed resources for snowsports, outdoor basics and many other specific activities.
Depending on the activity, there are various things you may need to bring. For example, there are different types of gear required for downhill skiing and cross country skiing. Visit SUU Outdoors’ Basecamp for gear rentals and to learn more about these activities.
Be careful going alone
Some people prefer adventuring alone. Although the solitude of enjoying nature alone is certainly a draw for some people, those who choose not to go out with a group should be sure that they have someone looking out for them.
“Just be smart about what you are doing. Let people know where you are going and what you are doing,” says Howe.
For those not as keen on solitary adventures, SUU Outdoors trips are a great opportunity to try out new things in a controlled setting with other students. Especially in the winter, these trips can be some of the easiest ways to acquaint yourself with a new activity.
No matter how long you plan on spending outside or how safe you plan on being, it is important to be prepared for the best- and worst-case scenarios.
Bringing water and food will help replenish your energy after it’s been spent outdoors. If the activity is especially strenuous, such as a long hike or trail running, consider packing hydration multipliers or energizing snacks.
Although no one wants to imagine the worst, it’s always important to be prepared in case someone gets hurt. Keeping a first aid kit handy will help if you experience an injury. Consider bringing a navigational aid, headlamp or insulating blanket in case you get lost.
The easiest way to stay safe is to know what you are doing. Wear the proper gear and take appropriate measures to prepare yourself for a safe adventure. Take these tips with you as you explore southern Utah, and stay safe this winter.
Story by: Lily Brunson
Photos by: Lily Brunson