Prepping For a Winter Whopper

December 29, 2016

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 11AM Thursday through to 11AM Friday, 12/29-30.

Vehicle in snow bank

In fact, forecasts for the White Mountain Region are calling for upwards of 18″ of snow for Thursday through Friday. With weather like this, it is especially important to be prepared for the worst. Most folks hoping to hit the slopes or trekking on trails tend to spend a lot of time and effort thinking about their gear for their outing. In addition to the usual attire and gear that you don for a winter outing you should be thinking about emergency gear for your vehicle as well. In the event that you find yourself in a ditch on your way up here to the White Mountains you can count on the following 10 items to keep you comfortable and safe while waiting for help.

  1. First Aid Kit – A basic first aid kit can help with any small scrapes or bumps you may acquire in a slide-off.
  2. Snow Shovel – A small snow shovel is necessary for digging yourself out.
  3. Traction for You and Your Vehicle – A pair of Microspikes for you and a set of chains or similar can make the difference when pushing a car out of a snow drift.
    Tire chains

  4. Road Flares or similar – Some sort of signalling device or road marker is important to not only advise others of the hazards ahead but to indicate where you are to emergency vehicles.
  5. Extra Layers – Layer, layer, layers! Dressing like an onion is equally as important out on a hike as it is when attempting to get your vehicle unstuck.
    Onion Layers
  6. Sleeping Bag – A sleeping bag is going to keep you warm while waiting for help. Running your car for a short while every half hour to an hour will keep you from freezing solid but in between those times it is your sleeping bag that will keep you comfortable. Be sure to clear your exhaust before running your vehicle to make sure that you don’t fume yourself out while trying to get warm.
  7. Light Source with Extra Batteries – Some sort of light source like a headlamp or flashlight is good to help make yourself seen when visibility is low. The extra batteries will come in handy if your current batteries run out or get too cold to work. Look into Lithium batteries for a longer lasting light source.


  8. Freeze Proof Food – Having a stash of “freeze proof” food like Clif Bars will keep your energy levels up while digging your car out or while waiting for help. High calorie foods with a good ratio of carbohydrates, sugars, fats and proteins are your best bet to feeding your inner furnace while out in the cold.
  9. Tow Line – A tow line can be the difference between a friendly stranger helping you for free or having to call and pay a tow service to help get your vehicle out of the snow.
    tow line
  10. Patience – Patience is crucial to have in your passenger seat while out driving in snowy conditions. Keeping a cool head will go a long way to keeping you on the road. Remember to give yourself extra stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Preparedness and patience are key to winter driving, where the old adage “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” holds true. Bear in mind even if you are lucky enough to avoid a skid off into the puckerbrush, your family, friends, neighbors and others may be less lucky. Being prepared for yourself and others can mean the difference between a dangerous situation and an uncomfortable one.


Looking for trail conditions or weather? Check AMC conditions and/or call us at Pinkham Notch. We are available by phone at (603)466-2721 every day from 6:30am to 9:00pm or by email at To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727, Monday through Saturday, 9am-5pm.

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Stefan Shapiro

AMC Outdoors, the magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club, inspires readers to get outside and get engaged. Learn more.