How to Fuel for Winter Adventures

By: Helen Mino Faukner woman skate skiing

Snacks are arguably one of the most important parts of long days outside. They have the ability to make or break your experience, bonking is never fun and I get grumpy (no fun for my friends). Here are some of my go-to’s and tips for backcountry skiing and skate skiing.

Pack Your Favs!

My number one tip for fueling for winter adventures is make sure you actually like eating whatever you pack. Carrying snacks that you don’t want to eat that end up sitting in your pack aren’t good for anything except extra weight. Aspirational snacking doesn’t work for me during exercise, especially when it’s cold out. I find remembering to eat/drink during winter is a lot harder than during summer, but equally as important. Most GPS watches have a timer reminder you can set and I’ve found this very helpful when I forget to eat. 

woman holding a handful of gummy bears

Tailor Your Snacks to Your Effort

If I plan on exercising for more than 2 hours I definitely bring snacks and start eating them after 30 minutes of activity and every 30 following minutes. 

If I’m going backcountry skiing I typically opt in for real food vs. liquid calories/gels. Since the effort is lower my stomach is able to handle more real food, but I still want to choose something I can eat quickly and that doesn’t get smashed in a pack or frozen. Some great options for this are Skratch Labs Bars, Trail Butter (the chai flavor is my favorite), Salami (I won’t ski without it), and I’ve started making mochi squares out of rice flour.

picture of pack of salami

In my water bottle I’ll add a scoop of Skratch hydration mix, it makes it a lot easier for me to drink water and you get some added grams of carbs. I’ll also usually bring candy that’s fun to eat, gummy bears and nerds gummy clusters are staples in my backpack. 

When I skate ski I try to follow a fueling strategy that is similar to when I run. This is typically 80-90g of carbs per hour. This is a lot, but I think it really helps with recovery during longer efforts and can be met pretty easily with liquid calories. Especially since skate skiing is pretty high intensity for me. In a 17oz bottle I’ll put 2 scoops of Skratch Superfuel and 1 scoop of the hydration mix (48g of carbs) and I’ll drink this over two hours.

woman holding a pack of spring gel food

Each hour I’ll eat one Awesomesauce Spring (45g of carbs) and 2 or 3 peach gummy rings (7g of carbs each). I know my stomach can handle this while exercising at a high intensity and I know I like eating these things enough that I actually will. I think the key with higher intensity exercise is training your stomach to be able to handle a lot of carbs and finding things that don’t make you throw up. 

woman with peach ring on her finger

During winter adventures it can be really easy to forget to hydrate and eat snacks, but remembering to do so can help you stay outside longer with a better attitude and recover faster to do it all again!

Author: Helen Mino Faukner

Helen loves spending time outside and standing on the tops of things. She spends most of her time outside during the summer trail running and mountain biking here and there. During winter, she loves skiing! You can find her downhill, backcountry, and skate skiing.

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