Plan ahead and prepare is good advice for a short lunchtime skate ski or a half-day xc adventure. Here is what long-time Nordic skiers and residents Gwenn and Don Wadsworth carry in their Nordic packs. You may want to pare down or bulk up your pack to match your different adventures, but this is an example of where to start.

The essentials in your pack:

  • Water
  • Lunch or snacks
  • Headlamp (check your batteries)
  • First aid kit with band-aids, moleskin, duct tape, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, little scissors/pocket knife. You can fit a bare bones kit in a sandwich sized baggie.
  • Sunglasses & SPF 30 sunscreen (the sun is still shining even if it’s overcast so be sure to protect your eyes and skin).
  • Extra layers (buff, wool beanie, warmer gloves, puffy coat, waterproof shell, ball cap in spring)
  • Matches or lighter, maybe some dryer lint for fire starter
  • Ski wax stick, skin glide if you have skis with embedded skins
  • Hand warmers
  • Cell phone
  • Paper map or JHNordic map on your phone (live locator indicates where you are on the trail)
  • Small notebook or a folded piece of paper and a pencil
  • Mutt mitt (trash bag), emergency TP
  • Small pack (hip pack or small day pack)
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • Skis/boots/poles
  • Bear spray (during late March/April, the bears may begin to wake up and then you’ll be prepared; Parks and Rec has also recommended bear spray for aggressive moose encounters)

Sometimes the weather does just what the forecaster says, but it’s best to be prepared for a range of conditions. Be ready with layers and a way to carry your layers if you start to get too toasty and need to de-layer while you are out there.

Here is another ski and snowshoe essentials list from the knowledgeable team at Skinny Skis.

Always, always remember to tell a friend or family member where you plan to go. It’s just smart trip planning. 

You may also want to learn about and upload Backcountry SOS, which is an app that can quickly and accurately provide your location and status to first-responders in a backcountry emergency.

Explore some of the places on JHNordic’s trail search engine to identify trails that meet your adventure needs. You can find information on terrain, length, type and frequency of grooming, whether there may be skier-groomed tracks, if dogs are welcome, if it is sit ski accessible, how much elevation changes over the course of the trail. There is also a trail report section for each trail for user comments and updates.

Want to see the live locator dot on your phone? Click “allow” when prompted to let use your current location when you are out on the trail and accessing the JH Nordic map.  

When you’ve wrapped up your day trip, we’d love it if you share with us by using the hashtag: #JHNordic. You can also email your trip report and a photo to us at or leave a trail review directly on the trail page.

Explore JH Nordic



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