Injured While Traveling in Alaska
For the outdoor enthusiast, winter is a unique time of the year. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowboarding, downhill skiing, ice fishing, ice climbing, and winter biking are only a sampling of the exciting activities possible when you have snow. Without question, Alaska has plenty of wintertime snow. However, getting injured while traveling in Alaska isn't on anyone's itinerary. Enjoy your outdoor adventures by observing these four winter outing safety tips:
Plan Around the Weather
Setting a date for an outdoor excursion without taking the weather into account can set you up for a miserable experience that could deteriorate into a survival situation. People with busy schedules often fall into this trap. If the only time available for a multi-day cross country ski excursion is during a violent blizzard, something else in your schedule will have to give so that you can reschedule the trip for more favorable weather conditions.
Bring a Compass and Map
Relying exclusively on GPS to find your way is placing too much faith in high technology. Extreme cold reduces battery life and can degrade the functionality of some electronic displays. An accident such as stepping on your GPS can put it out of commission. Use a map and compass as a backup for your GPS. Make sure the fluid within the compass is rated for sub zero temperatures.
Dress in layers with synthetic underwear against your skin. Unlike cotton, polypropylene wicks moisture away from the skin and feels warmer. Don't allow sweat to wet your clothing. Add on or take off outer layers according to your physical activity level.
Avoid footgear not designed for outdoor winter use. A pair of work boots, for example, can be miserable in cold snow, especially if the leather doesn't repel external moisture. If you anticipate deep snow, a pair of gaiters will prevent snow from getting into your boots.
When you're a good distance from your car, exposure is your primary survival concern. In situations of extreme exposure to cold, hypothermia can set in and cause death within hours. Temperature, wind, insulation, and dryness are the main exposure factors. Low temperatures, high winds, little insulation, and wet clothes can quickly bring on hypothermia.
Plan around the weather to avoid extreme temperatures, hike below a ridge or below the tree line to avoid high winds, wear quality winter gear to improve insulation against the cold, and avoid getting your clothes wet.
Finally, drive carefully on the way to and from your winter excursion. Winter driving in this state can be treacherous. If you're traveling in Alaska and were injured because of another's negligence, don't hesitate to contact us.