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Winter Survival, Montana Style
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Winter Survival, Montana Style

To celebrate my one year anniversary of living in Montana I decided to have a little winter survival test. Every winter I spend a good amount of time snowboarding in the backcountry and have gotten myself into some pretty serious situations, but lucky enough I have gotten out without having to spend the night in the backcountry. I decided it was time to put myself into a winter survival situation to be prepared if the time ever came where I really had to survive. The plan was to head into the backcountry with only the gear I would bring snowboarding: snowboard clothes, snowboard, snowshoes, space blanket, a bottle of water and a few granola bars. I headed up to the Beartooths, which is about 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park and hiked 3 miles to where I decided would be a good spot to set up camp for the night. Once I decided on the spot I found some tracks from a Lynx, that seemed like it had been following a deer. But I wasn’t afraid of a little kitty so I decided to go ahead and start building my snowden. I had never built a snowden before, but I ended up building a pretty sweet one. What I did was dig a hole about 3 feet deep, then laid logs across the top and to insulate it I covered in pine branches. No doubt I have watched an episode or two of survivorman. It took me about 3 hours to build the snowden, it was a lot of energy walking back and forth in the soft snow to get all the logs and branches.

I ended up choosing a great night for this challenge since it wasn’t too cold, it only got down to around 25°F and it was a crystal clear night. The Milky Way was brighter than I have ever seen it and I spent the evening stargazing by the fire. When it was time to retire for the night I crawled into my den and slept on my nice bed of pine branches. Using pine branches to sleep on kept me a little dryer and gave me some insulation from the snow. At first I was a little worried I might be cold using just a space blanket, but it worked pretty well. Definitely something everyone should carry with them incase of an emergency. When the morning came I got up and enjoyed the sunrise over the Beartooths. The only real problem I had during the whole excursion was putting my frozen boots on in the morning, that and the fact I had to hike 3 miles back wearing frozen boots…

That’s it! I made it and it was a great experience. Now I am already looking forward to my next adventure! If you have any ideas for my next survival test leave a comment and let me know! I am always up for a challenge!


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