Winter Adventure

Cold-weather camping is the ultimate test of your ability to camp and travel in the backcountry and learn to live in harmony with the environment. Training in winter camping will prepare you to safely enjoy many winter adventures and to teach others to enjoy these unique experiences.

Participants in Winter Adventure learn to camp comfortably in cold weather, and enjoy Philmont's beauty in winter. Crews hike through the backcountry, sleep in tents or snow shelters, and participate in activities such as ski touring, snow shelter building, and winter ecology.

Winter Adventure expeditions are scheduled around weekends from late December through March. Space is limited, and each season fills up quickly, so make your reservations early!

Winter Adventure Promo

Who May Participate?

The Winter Adventure program is available to crews of 6-12 participants, which will be accompanied by a Winter Adventure guide. A crew may be assembled from a Boy Scout troop or Venturing crew, and must have a majority of youth participants. All participants must be registered members of the BSA.

Each crew must have at least two registered adult advisers. One of the advisers must be at least 21 years of age or older; the second adviser must be at least 18 years of age. For coed Venturing crews, there must be a male and a female adviser, both at least 21 years of age or older. Youth participants must be at least 13 years of age or in the eighth grade at the time of participation.

Every participant must be in good physical condition and present a current (within the past 12 months) medical examination and have a Philmont BSA Annual Health & Medical form filled out by their physician.

An overnight snow shelter, aka: quinzy

Note: In order to adequately prepare for each crew's arrival, crew size cannot be increased after 14 days prior to your crew's arrival.

What Activities Do Treks Include?

After completing the Winter Adventure orientation, crews work directly with trained guides to tailor an adventure that considers both weather and the interests of the group. All overnight adventures take place in the backcountry. Program activities may include snow shelter building, winter ecology, snowshoeing and skiing.

New programs for 2013!

  • Snow safety/avalanche awareness - Scouts learn how to recognize dangerous snow conditions and receive basic hands-on avalanche beacon training.
  • Snow Sports Merit Badge - Guides will help crews complete all necessary requirements.
  • Search & Rescue Merit Badge - Philmont guides will help Scouts meet certain requirements.

A typical Winter Adventure trek lasts three days, scheduled over a weekend, but the length of the trek can be adjusted to fit the schedule of the group attending. However, groups that wish to limit their trek to only the weekend will have limited time for program activities.

  • Special Holiday Program - Philmont offers a special deal on Winter Adventure between Christmas and New Years as well as during Spring Break weeks.
  • Cold Weather Camping Program - Winter Adventure is based on Northern Tier's OKPIK program, which teaches participants how to camp comfortably during cold winter months.
  • Learn Winter Camping Basics - With the help of a trained Winter Adventure guide, you will learn to eat, camp, cross-country ski, and build snow shelters.
  • Camp Comfortably in the Cold - Winter Adventure's main goal is to teach crews how to be "comfortably cool" while out in the cold, giving Scouts skills to take home and use in their own cold weather camping programs.
  • Downhill Skiing Package - For an extra fee, you can add a day of downhill skiing or snowboarding at the beautiful Angel Fire Ski Resort when you participate in Winter Adventure. This is only available Mondays through Fridays from January 2 through the first week of March.
Participants hauling gear into camp

What Is the Cost?

The cost is per person per weekend; per person each additional day. The fee includes meals, snacks, instruction, staff, and the use of specialized outdoor equipment, sleeping bags, and outer clothing as needed. Additional fees are assessed if Winter Adventure equipment is lost or misused, or if selecting the skiing/snowboarding package.

Sessions are available from December 28 through March 31. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis beginning May 1 of the year prior to attending. (Note: the season fills quickly.) Reservations are confirmed upon receipt of a nonrefundable deposit of $50/person and a completed reservation form. The balance of fees is due upon arrival.

Call 575-376-2281 to request a reservation form and determine when space is available.

What Equipment Will the Crew Need?

A separate equipment list is provided for Winter Adventure crews. This list is significantly different from the list provided for summer expeditions because of the winter weather.

Also, note that backcountry trading posts are not open and the trading post at Camping Headquarters is open from 8:00AM - 5:00PM 7 days a week, so crews an purchase last-minute camping gear or souvenirs after returning from the trail.


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.