New season new goals: Training for winter sports in the PNW - Miyar Adventures
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September 30, 2021
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New season new goals: Training for winter sports in the PNW

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New season new goals: Training for winter sports in the PNW

By: Megan Marolf

Some of us mourn the end of summer’s long days and all the outdoor possibilities the season offers.

With greater snow instability and chilly night time temperatures, getting outside for big adventures just doesn’t work as well this time of year.

But for us hearty Pacific Northwest locals, winter doesn’t scare us.

We’ve got skiing, boarding, snowshoeing and hiking for those who don’t mind getting soaked by rain or sometimes slogging through the infamous Cascade concrete.

Whether you want to do a long winter traverse on skis or hike 5 miles on snowshoes, early fall is a great time to strategize and start training.


Setting up your wintertime sports goals for success

Goals help keep us motivated and give us something to look forward to.

This becomes especially needed when the daytime light wanes and the constant drizzle starts.

Without goals, it becomes that much harder to get out the door after a long day at work or on weekend mornings when all you want to do is drink coffee all day and watch movies.


Start doing research on wintertime possibilities

Maybe you want to take a trip somewhere and base your training around that.

For instance, if you’ve got a ski trip planned in Park City or Jackson Hole (lucky you), then you’ll need to get your ski legs under you. This means training the big muscles used to carve each turn, in addition to the muscles you need to balance and to keep up endurance.

Or maybe you booked a trip to climb a summit in the southern hemisphere like Aconcagua or Kilimanjaro (I’m jealous), and you really need to kick your training regimen into gear.

To get started on training for alpine climbing, check out Miyar’s Alpine Rock/Ice Climbing Training Program

The more prepared you are, the more room you leave for fun and soaking up every moment of the experience.

It really can make or break an adventure.

Training for winter sports in the PNW

First things first.

Be realistic about how much time you have during the week and how much you can commit to training.

There’s a difference between setting yourself up for success and setting unreasonable expectations that will only lead to disappointment.

The benefit to living in a more temperate climate is that winter sports in the PNW are wide ranging.

Yes, we’ve got snow sports, but you can also run and hike year-round in most areas by the coast, and water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding are still possible, though you’ll need a wetsuit.

Dig out your warmer layers and read these tips to get started:


Finding a workout buddy can help keep your sights on the horizon and motivate you on those particularly gloomy and unappealing days.

If you really can’t make it outside, that’s what online workout classes are for. Sign up for a trial subscription if you don’t already have one, and do a 30-minute workout or an hour yoga class. The possibilities are endless, leaving less room for excuses.

It’s a good and bad thing at the same time.

Scope out some of your go-to spots.

Mentally stowing away some outdoor spots can get you out of the door faster and make it easier to plan winter outings with friends.

If you’re a longtime local, you probably know about all of the backcountry spots off of Stevens and Snoqualmie pass, or around Mount Baker. There’s also cross country skiing and snowshoeing you can do with the SnoPark pass at those same areas.

If you plan on backcountry skiing or traveling by other means in the winter backcountry and don’t have experience, make sure to take an Avalanche 1 Safety Course (AIARE 1)

and to go with others who have experience in the backcountry and know how to read avalanche forecasts. (Stay tuned for future Miyar winter safety courses.)

Get beta from friends and outdoor buddies or ask your friendly gear shop employee (like the ones at Ascent Outdoors.)

You can’t go wrong with buying a backcountry ski guide, like Washington Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Routes, which also includes topo maps and a detailed description of the route. For snowshoeing or winter hiking, the Washington Trails Association offers a lot of online info about where to go.

For those looking for more guidance on winter travel, take a look at Miyar’s guided snowshoe trips to dust your toes in some snow and give winter sports a shot.


Start hiking and cross training

If you’re really chomping at the bit to get out there before the snow flies, consider hiking the routes you’ll be skiing or snowshoeing this winter.

For instance, you can hike a part of the Pacific Crest Trail off of Snoqualmie Pass now, until you can ski the Kendall Knob starting in December. This gives you the opportunity to scope out the area, find where the trailhead would be and get in shape at the same time.

As for cross training, there’s so many options in the Puget Sound area.

Cross training for skiing can involve snowshoeing, when there’s not quite enough snow to carve turns in your favorite area. Or doing burlier hikes like Mount Si and Mailbox Peak where there’s still a window of time before they become icy and sketchy at the top.

Tiger and Cougar mountains, near Issaquah and Renton, both offer miles and miles of dirt trails for running and more mellow hikes.


Learn some winter skills from professionals

Though the alpine climbing season has mostly drawn to a close, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your next big adventure.

It could be alpine-related or a reason to travel to a particular place abroad.

Maybe you can’t shake the idea of making it up a popular peak in the Cascades, and you’ve been thinking that next summer may be the year to go for it.

The bigger the goal (and this is relative to each person), the more preparation and training you’ll need to do.

If you’re nervous about a particular aspect of mountaineering, consider taking a skills course. For people who have some backpacking experience under their hiking boots, Miyar puts on a cold weather camping 2-day course to prep climbers for those bigger summits in Alaska and beyond.


Need some inspiration for alpine climbs?

Check out Miyar’s climbs and alpine courses to get excited. Or check out some of our epic international adventures.

Until then… make a plan!


By: Megan Marolf

Miyar Adventures - Backpacking Guide

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New season new goals: Training for winter sports in the PNW

By: Megan Marolf

Some of us mourn the end of summer’s long days and all the outdoor possibilities the season offers.

With greater snow instability and chilly night time temperatures, getting outside for big adventures just doesn’t work as well this time of year.

But for us hearty Pacific Northwest locals, winter doesn’t scare us.

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