(Photo from Alpenglow)
So you’re out for a day of backcountry skiing. You’re with a group of friends and you’re having a great time. Except for one thing: you really, really, really have to pee. Like your bladder is bursting and you can’t hold it in another minute.
If you were a guy, this would be easy. All you’d have to do is step aside, unzip, and aim. But for women, it’s a little bit different. So what are you supposed to do? Do you drop trou’ and squat? Do you risk soaking your boots? Your pants? Or, perish the thought, your skis?
Luckily, there are a number of stand-and-pee tools (Female Urination Devices, or FUDs) that let you pee without stripping down and freezing your ass off (literally) or soaking yourself and maybe even your gear. How? Quite simply, they help you pee like a guy.
Most FUDs consist of a funnel, and in some cases, some sort of tubing to direct the flow out and away from your feet. But basically, what you do is this: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, unzip your pants, lower your panties, press the device firmly against your body, and pee. Pretty straight forward, huh?
FUDs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. Some are made of rigid plastic and some of flexible silicone. The ones made of rigid plastic can hold their shape better so they won’t collapse in midstream, reducing your chance of peeing all over yourself. The downside is they can’t be folded, so they can take up a fair amount of space in your pack. The ones made of silicone can fold up into a small container, which is great for storage. But they can easily collapse and lose their seal if you squeeze them too much.
Here are a few you might want to check out:
Some things to keep in mind.
Practice using your device before you leave home. It may take a bit to get it right, so it’s best to figure it out before you have to use it outdoors. The shower is a good spot for this. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Know the rules. Resorts like Alta and Snowbird are in watershed areas, so you could face a fine if you’re caught relieving yourself where you shouldn’t.
Stay away from tree wells. I know the temptation to sidle up to a tree is great, but remember that tree wells are your enemy. The snow can be soft and deep, and you could up up sinking in an uncompromising position. So find somewhere else to pee.
When looking for privacy, head uphill instead of down. People have a tendency to notice what’s below them more than what’s above.
Note landmarks to make sure you can find your way back. If you step away from your friends, pay attention to your surroundings. It’s easy to get turned around.
If you use a tissue to dry yourself, pack it out. Remember, leave no trace.
And now for something funny.
If you have any hesitation about using an FUD, consider this:
A lady went skiing and halfway down the hill realized she had to go to the bathroom. Since there were no facilities nearby, she found a sheltered spot where she could pee in peace. She dropped her pants and began to relieve herself, but suddenly, she began to slide backwards. There she went: Out into the open and down the slope, pants around her knees, screaming and hollering, until she crashed and broke her leg. The Ski Patrol arrived, took her down by sled, and then sent her to the local hospital. She waited a while, until the doctor walked into her room, laughing his head off. “You’re not going to believe this,” he said, “but the guy in the next room claims he fell off the ski lift and broke his leg because he saw a naked lady skiing backwards down the mountain! So, how’d you break YOUR leg?”