When I first got into hiking I was mainly a fair weather hiker always looking for ideal weather days to head out into the woods. If the weather didn’t cooperate I’d call it off and stay home. As many locals know, weather here in the north east doesn’t always co-operate. This lead me to start heading out on the trail regardless of the conditions in the summer, spring and fall. This year I decided to take it a step further and start hiking through the winter season. When I mentioned this to my wife and friends everyone seemed to think I was crazy. Why on earth would you want to hike through the extreme cold, snow, and wind?! Well the answer was pretty obvious to me. It’s a thrill, there’s less traffic on the mountains, and the scenery is incredible during the winter in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I also have a real addiction to gear… and of course winter hiking requires a whole range of addition equipment.I started researching what gear I’d need. I was starting from scratch with no knowledge of traction, insulation types, or emergency equipment. I perused forums like backpacker.com and others to try to absorb as much as I could. I read other more experienced hikers blogs like sectionhiker.com . It became obvious very quick that this hobby would become expensive and the learning curve would be steep.After further research I discovered a course offered by the AMC (Appalachian mountain club), the “Winter Hiking Series” AKA WHS. It was inexpensive at only $90 for members, and also run by volunteers. I was intrigued, but a little concerned as I’m mainly a solo or small group kind of guy. None the less, I broke out of my shell and filled out the application to join the course through the AMC website. The only criteria to join the WHS course was to be an “experienced 3 season hiker” with all the knowledge that brings, and to be able to attend every scheduled event. Shortly after I submitted the application I was contacted by one of the leaders that I had been accepted to the course.