Winter Safety

When visiting BC Parks during the winter, prepare for cold temperatures, changing weather, challenging road conditions, short days, avalanches and variable ice conditions. Backcountry travelers are responsible for their own decisions and safety.

Before you go

Before You Go

  • Check weather reports and sunset times as part of your planning process.
  • Check for updates (notices, closures, trail conditions) on the park webpage.
  • Check Avalanche Canada for avalanche forecasts.
  • Make a Trip Plan and leave it with someone who’s not going with you – try the AdventureSmart Trip Plan App.
  • Pack "The Essentials".
  • If you’re planning to visit Mount Seymour or Cypress Provincial Parks, remember to book your free day-use pass.
  • Check Drive BC for road conditions.
Avalanche safety

Avalanche Safety

  • Check Avalanche Canada for daily avalanche forecasts.
  • All backcountry users have a responsibility to educate themselves on avalanche safety, terrain and equipment. Each person needs a transceiver, probe and shovel and know how to rescue their companion should the need arise.
  • Consider taking the Avalanche Skills Training course (AST). A list of instructors around the province is available from Avalanche Canada.
  • Avalanches are more likely where there has been heavy snowfall, wind or warming temperatures.
Ice safety

Ice Safety

  • Ice thickness is not monitored within BC Parks. For recommendations on minimum depth for activities on new, clear, hard ice, visit AdventureSmart.
  • If you choose to skate/walk on natural ice, you do so at your own risk.
Wildlife safety

Wildlife Safety

  • Bears may emerge from their dens through the winter.
  • Slow down when driving at dusk and dawn, when animals are most active.
Ice safety

Other tips

  • Stay 2 meters away from people not in your bubble, in parking lots and on trails to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Be aware of earlier sunset times in the winter and plan to finish your hike/outing by sunset.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to stay warm and learn the early symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Pack AdventureSmart’s "The Essentials":
    1. Flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries/bulb
    2. Fire making kit
    3. Signaling device (e.g., whistle or mirror)
    4. Extra food and water
    5. Extra clothing (warm layers and toque)
    6. Navigation and communication aids (e.g., maps, compass, GPS receiver, satellite phone, two-way radios). Do not rely on your cell phone for navigation or for light!
    7. First aid kit (and know how to use it)
    8. Emergency shelter (e.g., large orange tarp or blanket – can act as an additional signaling device)
    9. Pocket knife
    10. Sun protection

Other Safety Resources