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Tips for hitting the trails and getting outdoors during the shoulder season

Experienced backpacker Sam Waddington offers guidance for getting outside when weather is unpredictable

February 28, 2016

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Our local outdoor columnist says the "shoulder" season in the mountains can still be fun  4:34

This can be a tricky time of year for embracing the outdoors — though the days are getting warmer and there's more daylight, many trails may be muddy or iced over.

But Sam Waddington of Mt. Waddington Outdoors in Chilliwack said the "shoulder season" can be a great time for outdoor activities.


"Some people get lost, 'Do I go outside, do I stay inside?' But when you flip that on its head and look at it on the bright side, everything is possible in the shoulder season.

"You can can get into the alpine and still get in a day of skiing, but there are trails open — you can go trail running or kayaking."

Waddington is urging British Columbians to go out anyway and not sit and wait for more sun.

Here are his tips for making the best of the shoulder season:

1. Adjusting elevation. Look for south facing trails at lower elevation. They are most likely to be dry and ready for some hiking or mountain biking. Or go higher where the snow is more compact and if the sun comes out, you can hike in a t-shirt with only snow beneath your feet.

2. Go early in the morning when the trails are still cold and the mud is stiff. That is a great time to run them or take the dog out. 

3. Try trail building. Groups in the Upper Fraser Valley, the North Shore, and the Sea to Sky corridor organize days where the whole family can take shovels and shore up trails. It's a fun way to get fit and meet people who also love the outdoors. 

4. Get going on your camp ground bookings now. Schedule it and you'll be more inclined to take the time to get outside.

In the video above Sam Waddington explains to Our Vancouver host Jason D'Souza how people can get outdoors at this time of year.

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