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Winter trek journeys ǀ Traveling in winter

An comprehensive review about winter journeys and travels

Just look at this picture. I don’t think I have to tell you about the beauty of winter nature, as well as don’t have to convince you that it’s marvelous to see with your own eyes what the photographer saw when shot the photo.

         

So what stops you? There are three answers springing to my mind:

IT IS TOO COLD — sometimes it’s difficult to come to a bus stop in winter, not to mention take part in a journey.
IT IS TOO COMPLICATED to ski for a whole week through snow piles and blizzards, scambling through off-roads.
IT IS JUST IMPOSSIBLE – skiing in the cold is one matter, but where one will sleep?
And most importantly – WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Nevertheless, participants of skiing journeys and photographers, who make these amazing shots, are not some mythical figures who love the most extreme adventures. Everyone can see the beauty of winter nature, and the cons mentioned above are obstacles only in one’s imagination. Let’s try to take a deeper look into the problem.

         

First reason: IT IS NOT COLD

Cold is probably the weightiest reason to stay home. Either in the city, or a lot more on a winter trek journey. And I do agree with it. Truly, if you go for a walk in winter in your underwear only, you’ll definitely freeze.
We all want to look and dress up according to our taste. Winter dictates its own terms, and sometimes we violate them going out in thin caps, sneakers, light jackets and furless leather boots. One always want to look trendy, and there’s nothing to be done about it. One doesn’t want to put on clumsy felt boots, woolen trousers and a fur coat with an ear-flapped cap. It’s better to rush from your home to a bus stop in an thin, but elegant coat and stylish office shoes. That is why winter is associated with an inherent necessity to tolerate cold. If you wear proper clothes, you won’t be afraid of any freezing temperatures.
Moreover, the risk of getting a freezing injury during a winter journey is far less possible, than in a city. We wear proper clothing in a winter trek journey, according to the place, while in the city we mostly don’t dress for the weather, that’s why it’s so painful to spend some 15 minutes waiting for a bus.
You can read here what to wear for a winter journey, but in a few words, you won’t need some unique thermal underwear or a snow suit of the Everest conquerors.

         

Second reason: IT IS NOT THAT CHALLENGING

Generally most have guessed right, and a winter journey is an exclusively ski journey, and you won’t have to make headway through snow banks being waist-deep in snow. As well as you won’t have to suffer from rain, or biting insects, or walk knee-deep in dirt, work your way through brushwood, ford rivers, and more of the stuff you have to tolerate during a summer trek journey. That’s why the only challenge of winter journeys is an ability to ski.
So, skiing. We use the so called «forest» or «hunter» skis — these are simple wooden skis 2 times wider than sports running skis; they also have one-size fixtures which don’t require any special boots — you can use almost any hard shoes. Skis will let us both stay on the snow surface, and slide across it, with making only four steps when a walking person has to step ten times. «You walk a half of the journey, and slide for another half», as ski tourists say. It won’t take much time to master the skill of proper skiing — it takes about several hours, or one day totally not only to learn skiing, but also learn how to avoid falling while sliding down from slopes.

         

Third reason: EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Let me share a secret with you: the most fabulous scenery with everything shiny and sparkling in a sunny and clear day appears when it is between — 30 C to — 40 C. As we have already learned, we don’t have to be afraid of freezing, and if we add a sunny weather, we might forget about the cold completely. As we have also learned, it is easier to slide on skis than walk, it is faster and, above all, more interesting. The last question is how we will spend nights outdoors after a day journey. It is not summer after all..
But we have a method developed. First, we take a portable and folding mini-furnace, set it in a single tent for all participants and heat it with wood throughout the night. That’s why the temperature in the tent allows to wear undershirts and to dry wet clothing. All travelers take watch at the furnace in turns during the night and until the morning. We cook breakfast and supper in the furnace as well. That is our simple traveling life.
However, I won’t deny that skiing tourism is one of the most difficult sports. Low temperature force us make quick and clear decisions and move fast along our route. We pay much attention to our equipment: overcoats and especially skis since it’s impossible to move across the snow without them. And the most important thing. A winter journey is impossible without a qualified professional sportsman as a leader; a mere guide who knows the way won’t do the job. Each route is submitted to the Ministry of Emergency situations, at the starting and finish points; all participants must have an insurance against emergencies.

         

Forth reason: THE FINAL ONE

The final reason is an answer to the questions: Why do I need it?

Firstly, skiing is immensely beneficial; it is a pure undiluted health elixir. Active travel in winter conditions has a tone-up effect due to the activity of endocrine system and enhanced metabolism. The cold activates the body’s protection mechanics, increase immune functions and resistance to viruses and chills. Apart from that, cold air is several times richer in negatively charged ions, which are more bioactive. Cold air has less dust and gaseous impurities since they are successfully absorbed with snow. Add here health-giving properties of phytoncides produced by pines and fir-tries, and you’ll get the recipe of health.
Skiing is an excellent physical exercise, which gives one flexibility and coordination. Mere three-hour walk equals to three thousand times of core exercise. Cardio makes you stronger and is beneficial to cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The consciousness burdened with office routine and multilevel tasks takes rest. You just ski and enjoy beautiful scenery of sleeping winter nature. Eyes take rest and have new impressions, and you start noticing new details, like animal pads on snow, the pattern of frost on tree branches. Depression and stress go away, together with moral oppression and the feeling of despair. You return the appetite for life.

Also, people who go together on a skiing journey or several become a real team tested with hardships and challenges and often they become lifelong friends.

So, if you are looking for freedom, health and happiness, a winter journey is a great way to find them.

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Written by:
Vyacheslav Karmanov,, the Siberian Expeditions
the leader of ski journeys across the Siberian taiga in 2013-2014.
An expert in winter travels..
 
 
Yes, it is not only for sportsmen and polar explorers…
 
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You can apply for a free consultation with the leaders of the journey right now. We will disperse your fears and doubts in a friendly chat, as well as answer absolutely all questions: what to wear, how to get to starting point and many others.
 
 

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