Winter backcountry play is truly exceptional. Mountaineers can’t wait to get out and experience both the solitude and the grandeur— the stillness alone is spectacular. The mountains and forests take on a magical feeling under their blanket of twinkling snow, and the skies can become a deep shade of periwinkle blue. However, winter also commands an additional level of respect; Mother Nature is not to be reckoned with. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer, or just learning the ropes, we’ve put together some top-of-mind tips for playing in the backcountry.