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Winter Safety in the Forest

winter forest The Inyo National Forest encompasses thousands of square miles of mountain peaks, expansive meadows and beautiful pine forests. In winter, the area is transformed into a snowy wonderland beckoning the outdoor recreationist with downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snow play, snowshoeing, dog sledding, bobsledding and more. We want you to be safe on your adventures.

Before You Go... Tell someone:

  • Where you are going
  • When you are returning
  • Who you are going with

Be Prepared... When enjoying winter recreation such as cross country skiing and snowmobiling, it is your responsibility to be aware of winter safety and be prepared for survival.

Weather: Be aware of the Current Weather Conditions. Look at the forecast report before your trip and recognize that conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. Obtain Current Road Conditions and avoid traveling during heavy storms and whiteout conditions. 1-800-GAS-ROADS is the toll free number you should always call for road conditions.

Avalanches: They may occur at any time during the winter. Avoid mountainous terrain after heavy snowfalls or long periods of high wind. Avoid crossing steep hillsides and entering narrow, steep-sided canyons. If crossing potentially dangerous areas is unavoidable, one person in the party at a time should cross the danger zone with all others watching until that person crosses safely.

Creeks and Lakes: Be aware of snow-covered water courses. Crossing creeks, snow bridges or lakes is dangerous. To assure your safety, stay off frozen lakes. Only the forest service can tell you if a lake is frozen hard enough to cross.

Hypothermia... is caused by exposure to cold aggravated by wetness, wind and exhaustion. It is a rapid and progressive mental and physical collapse resulting from lowering the inner temperature of the human body. Untreated, hypothermia can result in death. Take proper clothing, eat sensibly and carry quick-energy foods. You don't have to be exercising to catch hypothermia.

Winter ForestAltitude Sickness: Altitude sickness occurs because of a lack of oxygen. Some guests may experience altitude sickness on arrival in Mammoth. Victims of altitude sickness should stop and rest, breathe deeply, and if necessary slowly return to lower elevations. Altitude sickness is minimized if you take a day or two to acclimatize yourself to the increase in altitude before you do any strenuous activities. Also, drink plenty of non-caffeinated beverages, that's water. Many sport style drinks contain caffeine. Don't drink alcohol.

Survival Kit: Check your gear, and make sure it is in good shape. A survival kit is a must. If you break down in your car, on a snowmobile, or break a ski binding far from a road, the following equipment could make the difference between adventure and calamity:

  • A space blanket, a poncho or two large plastic trash bags for emergency shelter
  • Warm clothes for layering (wool or synthetics are best)
  • Water, sunglasses, sunscreen
  • An Ensolite pad provides insulation from snow and ice
  • Whistle for emergency signaling (3 blasts mean "help")
  • Waterproof matches or lighter in case you need a fire
Please be careful... and enjoy your visit to the Inyo National Forest.

Inyo National Forest - 760-924-5500



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