As a kayaking enthusiast, you may think you have to put away your kayak once the weather turns cold and the snow covers the ground. However, this isn’t the case if you want to participate in snow kayaking.
What Is Snow Kayaking?
Snow kayaking is also known as snow boating, and it’s a relatively new snow sport that allows you to descend snow slopes in a kayak. The slopes can typically be found in the backcountry and also at ski areas and ski resorts. Snow is just frozen water, which makes snow kayaking possible.
What Do You Need to Know to Participate in Snow Kayaking?
You may get some odd looks when you strap your kayak to the roof during the snowy winter, especially if you don’t live in an area where this is common. Snow kayaking is easy, and all you need to do is find a hill. If you find a jump, you may even be able to enjoy some air. One of the only downsides of snow kayaking is having to drag your kayak up the hill to go down it. Some ski hills are allowing you to bring your kayak, do some research if you want to take your snow kayak to the next level. Snow kayak races are becoming popular, and a quick internet search will help you find events to participate in. Just like it takes some practice to steer your kayak in the water, you may need some practice to steer your kayak in the snow.
When you are snow kayaking, you will be dealing with freezing weather, which means you will need to keep the cold out of your body. This includes wearing warm, waterproof, and lightweight gloves, as well as waterproof and windproof clothes. The best clothes for snow kayaking allow for freedom of movement that will enable you to make quick movements for your safety. You will need to make split second decisions requiring you to move your body, and you don’t want to be restricted by bulky ill-fitting outerwear.
You also want to make sure you are prepared in case of a crash since crashes can happen when you least expect them. You should always put on a helmet, and you will also want a pair of ski goggles to keep both your eyes and head safe. It can be much easier to crash in the snow than in the water. Typically, kayak equipment such as a paddle is used, but you won’t need a flotation device as you would on the water.
Safety Concerns of Snow Kayaking
There are a few safety concerns of snow kayaking, just as there are with regular kayaking.
Sun and Wind Exposure: Snow, just like the water, reflects the sun more. You want to wear sunscreen to protect your body and face, and you want to have a proper pair of ski goggles to protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays. Prescription ski goggle inserts for your ski goggles can be an excellent choice to make sure that you can see any obstacles up ahead on the slopes and won’t have to deal with contacts or glasses. Glasses can fog up in the cold weather, and the dry wind on the slopes can make your eyes more irritated with contacts. By adding prescription ski goggle inserts, you can make your favorite pair of ski goggles easily work for you.
Dehydration: With too much sun exposure and physical activity, dehydration can sneak up on you quickly. Dehydration can happen even when it’s cold outside, especially if you are still sweating from the extra layers. Be sure to bring water bottles. The longer you will be out on the slopes, the more water you will need. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, fatigue, and confusion, as well as extreme thirst. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Make sure you are staying hydrated, even when you don’t feel thirsty.
Hypothermia: Being out in the cold and snow, no matter what activity you are doing, can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia can set in if you aren’t appropriately dressed for the weather as well, so make sure you have the right equipment for snow kayaking before you head out.
Inexperience: Since snow kayaking is a relatively new sport, inexperience can lead to safety concerns. Stay away from any conditions you aren’t sure of, like steeper hills. Don’t try to take on a new obstacle without proper research.
Snow kayaking can be a fun way to take advantage of your recreational kayak during the cold months. Just be sure to have the proper equipment, including ski goggles, to stay safe.