What Does the Diorite Gear Staff do Outside in the Winter?

What Does the Diorite Gear Staff do Outside in the Winter?

Happy Winter Equinox! The shortest, coldest days of the year don't always scream "Come outside!" but there's fun to be had in the great outdoors throughout the winter season. The Minimal Gear staff wrote up run downs of how they like to spend time outside during the winter, from skiing, to snow shoeing, to California natives still figuring out this snow thing.  


In the past I've been trying to get out for an overnighter 2-3 times per winter, at least one in full snow, while having the rare snow-shoeing trip with the family. With the family being resistant to the cold conditions, I'm planning to add to my overnighters a few snowshoeing trips this year to catch more solo time in the higher plateaus. Personally, I tend to try and head to the eastern side of Hood, along HWY 35, where you get drier snow conditions. Also, sledding, lots of sledding, constantly taking the kids faster than their comfort zone.


As a general rule, I don't like to be cold - therefore, I prefer to keep my activity indoors in the winter. That said, we have a family tradition of going snow shoeing on the Winter Solstice, and it's a trip I look forward to every year. We stop for donuts on the way up the mountain, and have a stew going in the slow cooker for a hot meal in front of the fireplace after we get back. It's the best


Winter is for skiing! I used to dread winter--the dreary days and long nights put a damper on backpacking and climbing aspirations.  But once I started skiing, I began to actively look forward to this special time of year. I usually hit the resorts for a day and the backcountry for a day most weeks during the snowy season. And on the rare PNW golden weather window, I'll break out the ski mountaineering gear for a more lofty objective.  All of this is of course followed by après-ski drinks by a fire somewhere.


Once it starts snowing, I switch from hiking to skiing as my main sport. You can find me mostly on Mount Hood or traveling to ski almost every weekend in the winter. I’ll go backcountry skiing every so often, but I prefer to spend my time at the resort. Sometimes when it’s not too cold and rainy, I’ll try to squeeze in a low elevation day hike too.


To be quite frank, I'm still figuring it out. I grew up in the Bay Area of California, and spent all winter doing the exact same activities I did during the other three seasons - until I moved to Portland in 2021, I had a yearly tradition of backpacking through New Years, during which I packed the exact same gear as I did the rest of the year. My Appalachian Trail thru-hike included not just the first time I'd ever backpacked in snow, but also the first time I'd even seen snow in well over a decade. I'm too cautious a person to be drawn to skiing or basically any other winter sport that involves moving at high speeds or through risky conditions, so my winters right now include a lot of very wet day hikes and urban runs. I hope to at some point try snow shoeing. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You may also like View all