Risk exists outdoors whenever you’re separated from other human beings or from the comforts of civilization, such as shelter. Trip length does not affect most risks. The risks on short trips can be heightened because they aren't recognized.
Overconfidence puts even experienced riders at risk. Anyone can get lost or injured. Without the means to contact someone or to get back, otherwise simple injuries, such as a simple fall over an unnoticed obstacle, can become life-threatening. High-profile rescues have resulted from this short-sightedness, which assumes that everything will go right—an assumption you can’t afford in the outdoors. Whenever you go out, even for a short period:
- Stop. Tell someone where you’re going and when to expect you back.
- Ask yourself:
- How well do I know this area and its wildlife?
- Could the terrain contain hidden drop-offs or obstacles concealed by soft snow?
- How much fuel do I have?
- Do I have extra food and water if I can't get back?
- How will I get back if I'm lost, stranded, or injured?
- Should I go into new terrain for the first time without more careful planning?
- Be safe and smart. Always tell someone when you go out, and always take a buddy.
- Wear your helmet.