Backcountry Skiing – Hole In The Wall

Mammoth Lakes, CA
Age Range:  Teens +
Recommendations:  Advanced skiers and riders only.  Avoid after a heavy snowfall.  Go with someone experienced in the backcountry.

My first “backcountry” experience many years ago was a trip through Hole in the Wall on the backside of Mammoth Mountain. It is just barely out-of-bounds, but it offers some challenging terrain, great scenery and a really unique chance to ski through a cave. Not bad at all! My favorite time to ski it is late morning in the spring when the snow softens into classic Sierra Nevada corn – smooth and silky.

Start your adventure by riding the gondola to the summit. From there, hang a left and head for Dave’s Run. There really isn’t a single route to Hole in the Wall, but I prefer to ski out toward Dragons Back before dropping off the backside. Since it is Forest Service land, out-of-bounds skiing and boarding are legal, but it is always nice to side-step over the ski area boundary to let the patrol know you meant to go out-of-bounds. Read more ›

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How Does Wind Chill Work?

What is the Wind Chill Factor anyway?
Wind chill is an attempt to estimate what the temperature feels like on bare skin. While there is no universally agreed upon scale to determine this, many organizations have made an attempt to quantify it. Here is a sample wind chill chart from NOAA. windchillbt

It is important to keep in mind that these charts change over time so it is only useful in a general sense.

Is the temperature really lower when it is windy?
In a literal sense, no. The temperature is what it is. However wind can make it feel colder and change how it impacts your body so there is some merit to reporting wind chill. Read more ›

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How to Dress for Winter Weather

One of the great joys of spending time outdoors in winter is the refreshing winter air. It just feels clean and makes you want to go exploring! By dressing properly, you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you!

In winter, clothing has three main functions:

1. To keep you warm – I know, you already figured that one out.
2. To keep you dry – moisture is like a super highway for the cold.
3. To block the wind – just like lawyers, the wind will do it’s best to suck the heat right out of your body.dress for winter

The good news is that we have many ways to defeat the triumverate of discomfort (cold, wet, wind).
•Dress in layers. As the weather or your activity level changes, you will be able to adjust and stay comfortable. That giant puffball jacket is great for sedentary pursuits, but layers are where it’s at for being active.
•Like a well built house, your winter comfort relies on a solid foundation. In this case synthetic or wool long underwear will get you off to a great start. Synthetics and wool will help wick moisture away from your skin and retain some of their ability to keep you warm if they do get wet. Cotton absorbs moisture and holds on to it until it evaporates – I shiver just thinking about it! Read more ›

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Hiking In California – Half Dome

Yosemite National Park, CA
Family Friendly?:  Only for the most ambitious and experienced hikers
Age Range:  Teens +
Recommendations:  This is a long hike with potentially deadly drops in places.  You should be an experienced hiker in good shape to undertake this adventure.  People who are afraid of heights should think long and hard before attempting the cables.  However, the payoff is huge!

When it comes to the all-time classic hiking in California, Half Dome in Yosemite National Park has to be right at the top of the list.  It features spectacular waterfalls, beautiful forests and you will never forget the last 400 vertical feet – guaranteed.  This article is meant to share what I have learned from enjoying the hike multiple times and to encourage you to put it on your list as soon as possible!

Before we get to the fun, a little housekeeping.  The National Park Service has instituted a permit system for the Half Dome hike limiting the number Read more ›

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This site is dedicated to reviewing great family-friendly adventures. We focus on activities that exercise the body, challenge the mind, or both. We hope you find something to enjoy with your family!

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