Snow Camping Overview

This is an overview of how the T-31 snow camping trip works. See also the packing list and the photos from the 2009 trip.

Depart Saturday 5:00 AM from the church parking lot. In some cases car drivers may want to collect gear from their riders the evening before so they can pack their vehicle. Otherwise, assemble at 4:30 AM to facilitate packing.

Drive to I-80 Boreal Ridge Take the exit at the top of Donner Pass for the Boreal Ski area. At the bottom of the off-ramp, go left under the freeway and park temporarily at the trail head. We offload gear there, and then you go back under the freeway, turn left, and drive a few hundred yards to the SnoPark area. If you Google the Boreal Ski area and zoom, you can see where the trail head is.

We arrive between 8:30 and 9:00, and it takes about an hour to get everything unloaded and ready to go.

Hike a short way to our spot No more than 1/2 mile, but uphill in snowshoes, and perhaps towing a sled. It starts as a road, then narrows to a trail, and then we cut off to the right to an open area.

Dig our kitchen area We dig a set of trenches that we use for cooking later. You can stand down in the trench, and work with your stoves at kitchen-counter height. We also set up a tent to use in an emergency.

Dig snow caves This takes most of the day. We chart out places for groups to dig, downhill and around the open kitchen area. The slope provides a nice working area so you can burrow straight in. Adults and older scouts will pitch in to help the younger scouts, if needed.

Eat dinner. We cook hot food and eat it. There will be adults manning the stoves starting early in the afternoon to melt drinking water and make hot chocolate for cold scouts.

Hike out cold scouts. It is not uncommon for one or two scouts to be cold and miserable. We have either a hotel room or the use of a nearby cabin. There will be at least two adults there for the Two-Deep scouting policy. So, around dinner time we take a poll and see who needs to bail out. On one outing the weather was so severe, we all bailed out. On another occasion, nobody did. But, it is typical to have one or two.

Sleep in our caves. These are pretty snug, if dug right!

Wake up and eat breakfast. More hot chocolate and hot oatmeal to get the day started. Perhaps some bacon.

Pack up your gear. Everything out of the snow caves and dragged back up to the kitchen area.

Collapse the snow caves. Quite a lot of fun, and done for safety reasons so we don't leave hidden traps that can injure a skiier visiting the area later in the season.

Hike out. We do this by about 11:00, and quickly get to the cars.

Drive home. We should be home before 5:00, and the scouts are dropped off at their homes by the drivers.