As we await the beloved whiteout, fresh powder days on the slopes, the only thing we can do right now is properly prepare for colder weather to take over the Colorado Rockies.  Here in Breckenridge, it’s a mid-30’s bluebird day on the mountain, but with weather moving in this weekend it’s smart to pay attention to the layers we wear in the outdoors as it can get rather brisk here at 9,600 feet.  We’ve put together a list of the gear you need to comfortably survive a winter here in Colorado.  If you’re traveling to the mountains any time in the next few months, take a few pointers and prepare prior to your trip.


The Northface Carto Tri-Climate Jacket

Suitable for the coldest of days spent in the backcountry, this combo jacket is an integration of an inner liner made for extreme insulation and an outer shell that is both waterproof and durable.  The inner jacket is made with 100g/m² Heatseeker insulation, meaning you can brave the elements with the comfort of knowing you’ll stay pretty warm.  The best part about the Carto TriClimate Jacket is it’s versatility.  With an un-attachable outer shell, you can use both portions of this jacket separately year round and then sandwich them together for ultimate warmth in the winter.  Though it’ll cost you nearly $250, this is a great investment for the outdoor enthusiast.

SmartWool NTS Mid 250 Zip Thermal

Made from 100% Merino wool, SmartWool’s NTS Mid 250 Zip Thermal is a quarter zip top with a collar to keep your neck warm on the most brutal of days.  Many have trusted SmartWool for decades to keep their toes and body warm in cold weather, and SmartWool has yet to let us down.  The combination of comfort and insulation of this thermal will make the $100 sacrifice worth every penny.

MSR Evo Snowshoes

If you’re a fan of hiking, snowshoes are a must have for the snowy season in Colorado.  With feet of powder continuously dumping on the mountains throughout the winter months, hiking in boots is nearly impossible and can get uncomfortable fairly quickly when you’re trekking through snow up to your knees.  The MSR Evo Snowshoes have powder coated steel crampons, allowing you to march your way across packed and icy trails with no worry of slipping.  Tails are also available for purchase for an extra $50 to help you navigate your way over the deepest of snow.  All in all, this snowshoe and tail combo will run you close to $200, but you’ll be smiling once you realize how much easier hiking in powder will be with them.

Black Diamond UltraLite Mix STS Climbing Skins

Sick of waiting in lift lines at the slopes?  Invest in some backcountry climbing skins and earn your turns – you’re sure to be riding the freshest powder in your area and have the whole mountain to yourself.  Climbing skins are useful to throw on the bottom of your skis, giving them traction to allow you to hike up the slopes.  The Black Diamond UltraLite Mix STS Skins combine 65% mohair and 35% nylon, keeping them lightweight but with ideal glide.  Another plus of the UltraLite Mix STS’s is that they have aluminum tips and tails which allow them to be compatible with a variety of skis.  The only issue users have come across with this particular setup is lack of grip on icy conditions, but in the backcountry of Colorado, the majority of the time you won’t be able to escape the fluffy powder.


There’s plenty more gear you could invest in to get ready for adventure during the winter in Colorado, but these four items are a great start.  If you’re more of a hibernator, you only have to wait a month and a half longer under our Idaho Springs Cliffside Zipline and mountaineering Via Ferrata tour open back up!  Some of the best deals we run for 2018 adventures with AVA Rafting & Zipline are available right now, so take advantage of the great prices and get your outdoor activities scheduled for the year.


*Featured image courtesy of REI.