Snow Essentials

  1. Thermal underwear – remember to dress in layers for most protection from cold
  2. Warm, waterproof jacket and snow pants
  3. Protect head, fingers and toes: warm hat and/or helmet, goggles, gloves, socks and boots appropriate for weather
  4. Navigation and communication aids (maps, compass, GPS, emergency communicator)
  5. Flashlight and batteries (for signaling)
  6. Emergency shelter, stove, fuel and food

Winter in Yukon can be breathtakingly beautiful, but can also be unpredictable and dangerous. 
Weather conditions in Yukon are the single most important factor in planning any kind of winter outdoor expedition. Snow storms can come unexpectedly and turn weather conditions from comfortable to extreme in a matter of hours. Temperatures can potentially drop to -55 degrees celcius, or below. Be sure you consult a reliable source for weather information, such as Environment Canada, before you set out.
Yukon has a vast backcountry, that can make for an exciting adventure. It is also where avalanches can pose a deadly risk. Always consult the Yukon Avalanche Association website before venturing out into avalanche-prone areas.
If you are going out on your own, be sure you complete a Safe Travel Plan and leave it with someone responsible. If you do become stranded, the following tips will increase your chances of being found quickly and in good condition.  
  • Stay in your vehicle when stranded as it is usually the safest choice if winter storms create poor visibility or if roadways are ice covered. 
  • Tie a brightly coloured cloth to the antenna as a signal to rescuers and raise the hood of the car (if it is not snowing).
  • Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area.
  • Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets, or newspapers. Huddle with other people for warmth.
  • Stay awake. You will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems.
  • Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air. Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe—this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve your circulation and stay warmer.
  • Do not eat snow unless it is melted because it will lower your body temperature