What Fuels the North American Sidecountry Skiing Explosion?


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

I was having a conversation with an industry guy yesterday, and we started pondering what’s fueled the massive popularity increase in “sidecountry” skiing (in Telluride, for example). Meaning using ski lifts or other mechanized means for access and part or all of the day’s vertical gain, but pursuing natural snow rather than staying in-bounds at the resort. We came up with this list in order of importance. Any of you esteemed WildSnowers care to contribute? Please comment with your ideas.

1. Access, as in many world class resorts now allowing easy open boundary access to sidecountry. Jackson, Aspen, Whistler, and so on.

2. Change in ski culture and style, emphasizing natural snow experience and freedom, change began in 1980s.

3. EQUIPMENT: Skis that make varied conditions easier for average expert skiers, and even make it possible for less than expert skiers to come back with some completed turns and photos thereof. Bindings that make gaining human powered vertical much easier then older technology, and can cross over to in-bounds skiing thus allowing sidecountry skiers to go with “one rig.”

4. Explosion in communication such as user generated video, which feeds the human nature impulse to brag, and for people to follow behind the leaders.

5. Ever more influence from European ski culture that’s never known boundaries.

6. Post modern culture that tends to look for deeper or even spiritual meaning in intense earthly athletic experience.

7. Better clothing that keeps skiers much more comfortable and safe while engaged in multiple activities.

8. Critical mass of skiers who have knowledge and put in access tracks, allowing other less experienced skiers to find their way (at least most of the time).

9. Media promotion of sidecountry and backcountry, number 9 to Lou because he believes the media usually follows rather than leads. But, perhaps the media is more influential than Lou likes to admit?

10. Better reporting of avalanche hazard, and participants have more knowledge of hazard avoidance. They know when they can go and when not to, while in former days it was just “go out there and you’ll probably die.”

WildSnowers, your thoughts?

Comments

56 Responses to “What Fuels the North American Sidecountry Skiing Explosion?”

  1. AsheanMT October 23rd, 2009 9:53 am

    You left out powder turns. Once the inbounds freshies are all chewed up a mass exodus to the sidecountry is typically what happens at our mountain.(Whitefish Mountain Resort).

  2. Sierra Journal October 23rd, 2009 10:04 am

    I think it’s probably all of those to some extent, but the broadest, most overarching reason is that people simply got bored with resorts.

    I remember as a kid, way before getting into backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering, I would look at the untracked powder outside of the boundaries at resorts and think, “Why can’t I go there?” I think that might be a common experience to most skiers.

    And now that there is a critical mass of people who have the knowledge and skill to escape into the side and backcountry, everyone else is wondering why they’ve put up with boundaries, crowds and icy groomers for so long.

  3. Dwyer October 23rd, 2009 10:08 am

    I think its every skiers insatiable urge to bushwhack.

  4. duffy October 23rd, 2009 10:12 am

    how about ski resorts promoting sidecountry. about 5 years ago my local resort heavenly opened up gates into the frontside part of the mountain that was off limits in the past and would get your pass pulled and maybe arrested if you got caught. they don’t really advertise it but the area has become really popular now especially since you can ride the gondola back up.
    also how about things like trying to be cool or peer pressure. lots of people that have no business in these areas are venturing in because its the cool thing to do these days. many times these people don’t realize the danger thinking its just part of the ski resort then end up getting lost, hurt or dead.

  5. Colin in CA October 23rd, 2009 10:12 am

    1, 2, 3, and 8 (and maybe 9). But especially the first three.

  6. Fresh Tracks October 23rd, 2009 10:18 am

    I think you hit most of them Lou, but I think the biggest three are 1,2 and 8.

    Skiers who aren’t season-pass holders at resorts and familiar with the surrounding “sidecountry” terrain are drawn by the fresher snow, open gates and assumption of safety in numbers. In my experience, skiers visiting a resort are rarely brave enough to duck a closed area rope, but a gate with visible tracks is now interpreted as an open invitation to head out. It also absolves people of a lot of the decision making they might have to make if they were truly in virgin territory.

    Any resort skier can also visit an internet forum and see photos and read descriptions of tempting descents outside resort boundaries. This information wasn’t as readily available 15 years ago.

  7. Andrew October 23rd, 2009 10:21 am

    In bounds has become too crowded (at least it is at my local Pacific Northwest ski areas). Skiing becomes less about enjoying the slopes and more about avoiding collisions. Getting onto a good run is like waiting to get on to a busy rush hour interstate highway. Meanwhile there isn’t enough (or any) expansion of existing resorts and no talk about building new ones.

  8. dave downing October 23rd, 2009 10:21 am

    I don’t have exact numbers, but I would think the biggest reason is the growth of skier and snowboarder numbers is greater than the growth of ski resorts, or new ski resorts. And seeing tracks just outside of the resort boundary is an easy and obvious way for more numbers to be visible.

    I know that sidecountry is nothing new, long before I ventured out-of-bounds, i recall seeing tracks down “Temptation Tube” regularly as I hike up Gold Hill in Telluride. This was around 1994-96. And resorts have been posting ever increasing skier numbers.

    Just a thought.

    Does anyone have any actual numbers in the popularity of sidecountry and backcountry users and their percent growth as compared to that of traditional in-bounds skiers?

  9. Pat October 23rd, 2009 10:30 am

    I think that Andrew has a good point there. Resorts add uphill capacity faster than they add terrain. AsheanMT’s point also combines with this. More uphill capacity means that the powder is skied out faster and people seek dreamy turns elsewhere.

  10. Njord October 23rd, 2009 10:33 am

    Much like Heroin… you are only interested in the fastes/easist way to get the goods!

  11. Kris October 23rd, 2009 10:39 am

    Powder.

  12. maadjurguer October 23rd, 2009 10:58 am

    I would offer up that number 4(communication) and number 9 (media) are the same these days. I would agree with Lou that media is low on the list because they do in fact follow, rather than lead. However the old media paradigm is broken and the new paradigm (communication…..number 4) has firmly taken root. Number 4 seems to be all about bragging and opinion with the information conveyed left up to the viewer….wheres the old paradigm was just about information distributed in a neutral manner (in ideal settings). Sharing of video and other media on websites, blogs, etc (I’m guilty here) is pretty much the new norm for communication in this world.

    In my personal experience…I became tired of skiing the same runs at the resorts…never being challenged too much. At the same time, I’ve always had an insatiable lust for being self reliant in the great outdoors…so it was just a matter of time that resort beget sidecountry which beget full on backcountry pursits which beget overnighters which beget……you get the picture….love the dialogue.

  13. Colin October 23rd, 2009 10:59 am

    @dave downing

    The last data I recall seeing about lift-served skier days comes from Hal Clifford’s “Downhill Slide” (2003), where the lack of growth in participants is a cnetral part of his thesis.

    Has this trend changed in the last 6 years? Are in-bounds skier days really on the upswing? Or is it simply that folks spend more time on the hill rather than in the lift maze, as suggested by Pat above?

  14. Tom Gos October 23rd, 2009 10:59 am

    For myself, its a combination of several factors. First is growing crowds, and in particular the number of people skiing expert terrain in bounds. I mostly ski at Vail, and over the last 15 years the growth in weekend skier numbers has been enourmous, mostly resulting from cheap season passes. It used to be that Vail was most crowded Monday through Thursday with destination skiers, and then pretty quiet on weekends (except for a few big holiday weekends). Now the place is virtually empty weekdays and is swarmed on weekends. So people arent pleased with long lines and over skied snow. On top of that, the increase in skier traffic in the back bowls is unbelievable. It used to be that there werent that many skiers who could ski those un-groomed conditions. I think largely due to the wider skis available now many more people are now able to ski off piste snow. That has lead to the in bounds terrain getting skied off much more quickly, and has also allowed many more people to be capable of skiing BC conditions. I think wider skis may be the biggest factor in getting people in the BC. Also, access to avy education seems to be much more available now, so more people are able to get educated and are therefore more comfortable about going into the BC. And finally, the modern ski movies have really exhibited backcounty skiing. Think back to the Blizzard of Ahhs. Much of that movie was filmed using lift access and shot within ski area boundaries. Contemporary ski films use no in bounds terrain. These films have really fueled the desire to ski BC terrain and have for many people defined the BC expierience as sort of being the standard or norm.

  15. Lee Lau October 23rd, 2009 11:02 am

    Crack-like addictive properties of powder skiing duh!

  16. Amos October 23rd, 2009 11:03 am

    I would personally chalk it up to watching Warren Miller movies during my formative years in the flat lands of Iowa.

  17. Dan October 23rd, 2009 11:43 am

    I avoided back-country skiing (the kind where one is looking for turns) up to about the mid 1980s because I feared the white death. The advent of better quality avy training and better gear provided me with enough confidence to make risk assessments and hence have one hell of a lot of fun over the past 23 years. Of course, now that I think about it, that doesn’t explain the surge in side-country sking. I say that because time and time again my partners and I meet folks in the side-country (especially around Whistler) who are clueless about avy danger, etc. As I get into this subject a bit more, it occurs to me that I frequently meet skiers while lift skiing (Whistler) who are using AT gear, but have never used it in the back-country. It reminds me of the mini fashion trend back in the early 80′s that had people (who did not hike) wearing Goretex jackets and hiking boots in NYC. Apparently, like rock climbing (not alpinisim, its too hard), back-country/side-country skiing has become mainstream. Only 10 or 12 years ago, one could take the Whistler lifts and head out to the Musical Bumps for a day of skiing and basically have the place to yourself. Now, on a decent day, by about 10:00 AM there will be a conga line heading up Flute or Oboe peaks: This trend, apparently, is scaring Whistler Management as they have been refusing to sell “one-way” tickets when the Whistler ski patrol deems the avy danger to be too high (an entire separate discussion). My guess is that it won’t be too long before the same thing happens here in the US, probably after more side-country skiers get axed.

  18. Clyde October 23rd, 2009 12:06 pm

    Lou, you forgot to blame the environmentalists for preventing/slowing down ski area expansions. Pretty sure it’s their fault lift tickets are so high too :tongue:

    But the gear really has made a major impact. Thinking back to my old Fischer Extremes, Ramer bindings, lime green Dynafit boots, Echos, etc. We were nuts back then.

  19. Joel October 23rd, 2009 12:42 pm

    laziness

  20. shoveler October 23rd, 2009 12:49 pm

    Wow, wildsnow, two blog posts a day, design changes, do you ever sleep? The only backcountry skiing blog. Thanks.

  21. andrew C October 23rd, 2009 12:50 pm

    All your points are good. How about the fact that existing BC skiers are realizing the easy elevation gain lifts afford? People who used to stay away from ski areas are going for a shortcut into the BC. Also, the selling of “one-rides” by many resorts (like Whitewater).

  22. John October 23rd, 2009 12:50 pm

    Fitness… As a bike racer and avid skier it beats riding indoors on a trainer after skiing. I once took a bike and trainer Heli-skiing.

  23. Nickd October 23rd, 2009 1:22 pm

    Because it’s there, obviously. And Dynafits, Lou. Lifts and Dynafits.

  24. haraldb October 23rd, 2009 1:46 pm

    For me it was number 9.

    Way back in 1993 I was 18 years old and watched the blizzard of aahhs for the first time. A light turned on: skiing beyond the ropes was where it was at, and people suing ski areas should be shot.

  25. Mike October 23rd, 2009 3:12 pm

    Challenge, Pow, Excersize, Nature, Peacefulness. I love the up! It’s very peaceful (and exhausting….which is good!). to skin up a skintrack through the woods and open slopes. Plus it makes the turns that much more meaningful.

  26. Lou October 23rd, 2009 3:13 pm

    Haraldb, that’s number 2 as well!

    Everyone, excellent feedback and ideas!

  27. Matt October 23rd, 2009 4:09 pm

    surprised nobody has mentioned winch cats, which have flattened out more and steeper terrain in order to expand a resort’s intermediate offerings, ultimately taking away the stuff that expert skiers would have otherwise skied for a day or two after a storm… then you bring the intermediate skiers up onto the more advanced lifts where they decide they’ll try other runs that they wouldn’t have tried if the whole lift was ungroomed as it was 20 years ago… Telluride is one great example of this as well…

  28. Lou October 23rd, 2009 4:41 pm

    I agree that some really weird stuff has gone on within ski resort boundaries. Like endless burning of diesel fuel to flatten ski runs, then more burning of diesel to build terrain parks for people bored with flat ski runs… No wonder people flock to the backcountry!

  29. Helmut October 23rd, 2009 5:07 pm

    Interesting question and discussion. Here in Europe we have experienced an ever increasing number of backcountry ski touring beginning at around late 1980ies and accelerating quite dramatically recently.

    Of course, there are multiple forces behind this trend, both on the push side (skiing the groomers becomes really boring quite quickly, overcrowding pistes due to ever increasing lift capacities etc.) and pull factors (better gear, more information, change in cultural attitude / lifestyle etc.). Lou’s list is pretty comprehensive and holds true for Europe as well (with the caveat concerning the regulation of ski resorts since there is no disctinction between sidecountry and backcountry here in Europe). Probably I would add the boring nature of skiing at the groomers as a prominent reason (as did some commenters already).

    Today here in Europe even skiers who are below an intermediate level are leaving the ski resorts and start ski touring. There is also an increasing trend of snowshoeing. This would indicate that the people are looking for distraction of the daily stress in the nature and not in the ever more “industrialised” resorts.

    Skier days are more or less flat according to recent data. This would indicate that there is really a shift going on.

  30. Frank Konsella October 23rd, 2009 5:50 pm

    Equipment is responsible for about 90% of it IMO, specifically fat skis. I remember in-bounds areas which used to see few, if any tracks, that are now basically bump runs half the time. All of this has happened within the last 15 years or so. Intermediate skiers are now good enough to ski the slackcountry, and expert skiers are heading out there more than they used to because their in-bounds stashes are more skied out than they used to be.

  31. Caleb October 23rd, 2009 6:47 pm

    So I see the comments, which certainly ring true for me. But I think we have to step back and read the question. What is fueling the growth, I know some and suspect most of the commentors have been at the BC game for a while, and generally tend towards these type of environments and risks in most of their recreational lives.

    What I have observed happening with the younger crowd:

    “Backcountry is badass” attitude – However their skills and equipment aren’t always there. So the sidecountry idea seems like a nice segway. I think this is fueled in large part by marketing and of course ski porn. I remember driving out to CO at age 18 and camping for a month just to ski. Stealing some sidecountry turns, even though I did not have the equipment or training, made me feel like I was living one of my Doug Coombs posters. (I did smarten up after my brain gained control over my testosterone).

    Everyone loves some level of adventure, but money, laziness, and experience prevent many from actually going 100%. I think it is similar to the number of people you may see on a summer climb near Denver vs the number of people you would encounter on some of the Elk climbs in the summer.

  32. Mark October 23rd, 2009 10:16 pm

    Open boundaries make the game come alive. While many people are willing to hike from the car, far more are willing to ride the lift and then head out of bounds.

  33. Jay October 23rd, 2009 11:15 pm

    Perhaps it’s the need to get a way from the bro-brah park rats?

  34. todd October 23rd, 2009 11:51 pm

    My friend likes to call it slack country.

  35. Josh October 24th, 2009 5:26 am

    i agree with all 10 points and submit 1 of my own…….simply, for the love of it.

  36. Bruce Edgerly October 24th, 2009 9:22 am

    Hi Lou,

    I’ve been foiled by your spam protection field again. When it asks for the sum of the number 3 and 5 and I enter 8 (for example), it says, “Error: You have entered the wrong sum in our spam protection field. Please press the back button and try it again. The answer is a numeral.” This must be happening to other people too. Anyway, here’s a comment to your sidecountry blog:

    Probably the biggest reason behind this sidecountry explosion is the skier safety laws that have been enacted in the various mountain states, including the Colorado Skier Safety Act. These laws clearly delineate the responsibilities of the ski area and the skier, making it crystal clear that the ski area’s responsibility ends at the boundary. These laws have been tested in court and have held up in favor of the resorts. This has made them less conservative in their boundary policies.

    Laws like this led to open boundary policies at important ski areas like Alta, Snowbird, A-Basin, Aspen–and the mother of all sidecountry resorts, Jackson Hole. The opening of Jackson’s boundary was a landmark event in North American skiing that legitimized and glorified sidecountry skiing everywhere.

    Finally, the acceptance of alpine touring has enabled more people to ski more challenging slackcountry terrain. It used to be that “backcountry” meant “telemarking,” but that all seemed to change with the Fritschi Diamir. Now backcountry and slackcountry are more accessible to the masses because they don’t have to learn how to tele anymore.

  37. Lou October 24th, 2009 11:46 am

    Bruce and all, I’m changing my spam block methods and hope to do away with the math question. It actually worked super well, but if it blocks a few real people with no work-around then I consider that unacceptable so am moving on.

    Bruce, please try to comment now just to make sure removing the math thing fixed the problem for you.

    Thanks, Lou

  38. al October 25th, 2009 4:39 pm

    25 yrs ago a not so many skiers had the strength and ability to ski a big gs ski in the trees/pow

    now with the short fat powder boards you can just go out and buy an easy ride

  39. Mike October 25th, 2009 9:03 pm

    After almost twenty years in Whistler, with ridiculously easy side country access (especially after the most recent expansion) I am continuously baffled by some of the shit I see. Thank god for the relatively stable coastal snowpack. Elk hunting Lou?

  40. Bruce Edgerly October 26th, 2009 7:32 am

    Thanks, Lou. It worked! Was I the only one that was having this problem with your spamblocker?

    Anyways, it’s sure interesting to see how BD and K2 are now putting so much energy into sidecountry instead of backcountry. No question, the “down” is a blast. But for me, it’s also about the up.

  41. Dave October 26th, 2009 7:36 am

    Equipment, #1. Powder skis & AT bindings & boots.

  42. Lou October 26th, 2009 7:41 am

    Bruce,
    I think a few people with Mac/Safari were having the problem with the spam/math bot blocker. I’m definitely not going to be designing for Mac/Safari any time soon, but problems like that are always worth trying to fix so I’m glad it’s working for you!

    And we’re looking forward to your comments!

    As for the sidecountry stuff, I think a lot of it has to do with access and established trails, along with amenities. If we had thousands of huts and backcountry trailhead restaurants like Europe, I totally believe many more people would stay away from the resorts. But when you arrive at a trailhead and there are no other cars, the trail isn’t broken, and there is no place for an espresso or bathroom, that’s just not that attractive to many folks compared to working around/near a resort. YES, I LIKE OUR virtually deserted backcountry. While I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more huts and trailhead amenities, it’s cool to see much of it kept in a primitive state. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more huts and trailhead amenities.

  43. Jernej October 26th, 2009 7:57 am

    \"Ever more influence from European ski culture that’s never known boundaries.\"

    Not exactly sure what you mean by boundaries here but until recently in this part of the world (and in many places it\’s unchanged) skiing out of bounds would quickly get you in trouble and without a lift pass.

    If anything my experience has been exactly opposite, European resorts becoming more liberal regarding sidecountry skiing under influence from US ski trends.

    strange :)

  44. Lou October 26th, 2009 8:13 am

    Jernej, perhaps different impression from different parts of Western Europe…

  45. Prana007 January 16th, 2010 9:49 am

    There are too many mokeys on this mudball…..

  46. Lou January 16th, 2010 10:18 am

    Jernej, “Europe” is a pretty big area… A better way for me to state that would be “Influence from the aspect of European ski culture that doesn’t emphasize resort boundaries.”

    Having been around for a while, I can gurantee that the influence came from Europe, not the other way around. Though recently there is probably plenty of cross pollination., as you suggest.

  47. Jon September 2nd, 2010 3:22 pm

    Lou, this is a great post. In Utah we’ve seen an explosion of the popularity of sidecountry skiing. Solitude has Honeycomb canyon dedicated to this. Alta has always been known for its pristine sidecountry, and the people are finding out. Actually, it has become so popular that our design agency had a couple skiers come to us and ask us to design a sling to carry their skis while they hike ridges. Check it out (www.goat-ski.com). They are good guys, and you’ll love their product!

  48. Glenn Sliva November 24th, 2012 8:00 am

    Equipment.

    It would be nice if someone would invent a powder snow maker so that a bowl could be re-dumped on overnight sans Mother Nature. I love the idea of Lou’s for a BC hut and trailhead warming bar or grill for day skiers. A kind of in between resort and wilderness experience. You can get that now with Aspen ski tours but ……

  49. Lou Dawson November 24th, 2012 10:17 am

    Glenn, yeah, it’s getting a bit ridiculous around here in terms of lack of moisture….

  50. David Dornian November 24th, 2012 1:09 pm

    Check all of the reasons you mention that have anything to do with marketing, fashion, and social cachet. A ski resort is a business and it does better the more customers it can crowd at the cash register. Lift serviced areas evolved as amusement parks, and they teach and sell skiing as if it were a roller coaster ride. The industry has been understandably reluctant to relinquish lift passes, real estate development, and cafeteria lineups. It doesn’t want its customers to wake up to the fact that they can ski wherever and whenever they want.

    The attraction of side country, with its promise of better snow and bigger adventure has always been there in my part of the world (Western Canada), Most skiers here have yet to realize, however, that they can have as much or more fun by walking uphill, anywhere there’s snow. So they still follow childhood habits, park in the same lots, and ride lifts. Then they try to leave the area because the experience they just paid for is substandard. It’s a human thing – kind of lazy and stupid at the same time.

    Consciousness DOES evolve, though, and side country skiing leads to back country skiing – the increasing popularity of places like Rogers Pass show that people are waking up to what should have been obvious if it weren’t for 75 years of marketing – that you don’t need a ‘ski area’ to go skiing. Side country is only a phase to pass through on the way to enlightenment.

  51. Glenn Sliva November 24th, 2012 1:27 pm

    Lou:always evens out as you know. We will get even on snowfall. May a couple of years ago was epic.

  52. Lou Dawson November 24th, 2012 1:33 pm

    David, exactly. All it takes is to do some backcountry in places such as Austria to figure out that the ski lifts are optional, and sometimes even detrimental when they start expanding into prime backcountry terrain. On the other hand, a network of road accessd trailheads and huts helps as well, since two-day slogs or helicopter rides are both expensive in their own way. Lou

  53. David Dornian November 24th, 2012 2:23 pm

    I’m with you, but I don’t see the skiing masses escaping the tyranny of the wand-waving parking attendants anytime soon. I think it will be a gradual sneaking away at best. Advocating roads, trails, and huts over privately owned ski infrastructure is socialist thinking. In our society, as soon as a thing is identified as attractive or desirable, there’s a strong element that feels they need to control, own, and promote access to it for gain. People call this ‘development of resources’ or ‘the right to do business’. It works from the bottom up, too. We skiers ourselves feel we should be able to BUY an experience if we have the money. Side country skiing is kind of a consumer adventure – packaged and identifiable.

  54. Lou Dawson November 24th, 2012 5:12 pm

    David, last time I looked we were not the only country in the world with a strong element that feels they need to own and control… let’s not get too self flagellating here, you’re basically talking about the history of conflict over the entire span of mankind’s existence. Lou

  55. Xavier November 24th, 2012 5:56 pm

    Because the chicks swoon at the bar as I saddle up with my beacon on and my protruding avalung after a hard day of slackcountry riding!

  56. Hunter November 27th, 2012 4:40 pm

    I think a lot of it has come down to how resourceful you are to ski fresh pow. Sometimes you can get more down in, and if you are already a pass holder then its nice to change it up a bit when conditions permit.

    In Little Cottonwood from Snowbird, for example you can take a two chairs up and out, traverse for maybe 15 minutes and there is plenty of terrain with 1,000′+ vert shots through glades, meadows, and rock outcroppings. You finish your run at the road and can thumb a ride back to the resort and do it again. It takes about an hour to go full circle

    Or you can tote your skins with your avy gear and take a chair to access south facing terrain just outside of Mineral Basin to an area rarely gotten by touring parties, helicopter skiers, or even snowmachine crowds.

Got something to say? Please do so.





Anti-Spam Quiz:


If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.
:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.
Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

All material on this website online magazine is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked.. Permission required for reproduction, electronic or otherwise. This includes publication and display on other websites by whatever means. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

Switch To Mobile Version