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3 Golden Rules to Live by This (and Every) Winter

Want to have even more fun this winter? Follow these simple rules.


Adventuring during the winter is nothing like adventuring during the summer. Sure, cold-weather outings often take more planning (Did you remember your extra pair of gloves, a hat, and your ski boots?)—but, if you follow some simple rules, they can be among the most rewarding of the year. To help you make the most of the season, we asked two of Columbia’s top winter-sports athletes for their advice. Check out three of their best tips below. Then, head to The Golden Rules of Winter to see our complete list.

Not All Insulation Is Created Equal

You can’t walk out of your ski chalet without bumping into a bro in a puffy jacket, but not all puffs are the same. You have to consider fill weight, the kind of insulation inside those baffles, the outer material, the lining…That’s why Olympic gold medal winning freeskier Sarah Hoefflin wears Columbia’s Infinity Summit Double Wall down hooded jacket on colder days. “This is my favorite layer on colder days because it’s really warm but packs down really small so it doesn’t add weight or take up space in my pack if the afternoon gets warm,” Hoefflin says. The secret is Columbia’s Omni Heat Gold, a lining with thermal-reflective technology that maximize the heat your body natural creates, while still allowing the layer to breathe so you don’t “sweat out.”

Hot Drinks are Always a Good Idea

Whether you’re heading out for a serious winter hike or a leisurely snowshoe, you should always pack a double-wall thermos filled with hot tea or cocoa. It’s not a bad idea to pack a second thermos full of soup, too. Or even better, bring a small backpacking stove on a day hike and cook a fresh batch of coffee or soup at the summit for a mid-adventure warm-up. “My unofficial rule is always stop for hot chocolate when your hands get cold,” Sarah Hoefflin says. “If you stop for hot chocolate halfway through your day, nothing can stop you from enjoying the fresh snow!”

Your Tailgate Is the New Lodge

One of the silver linings of the pandemic? We’re in love with parking lot lunches and al fresco après ski sessions again. “It was so fun to see all the tailgating at the base of Highlands Ski Area,” says pro freeskier Alex Ferreira, who lives in Aspen. “People were sledding and hanging out behind their cars…it had those old school vibes, like what winter probably looked like a few decades ago before skiing blew up.” Make the most out of your tailgating session and bring savory items like salami and cheese, and a stove so you can heat up some soup. Or do what Ferreira does and bring a hot dog toaster to the mountain. “I can toast two dogs and two buns in about five minutes. There’s nothing better in the middle of a ski day.”