Backcountry Skiing News Roundup and BBQ on the Pass Invite


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Brittany Walker backcountry skiing on Pyramid Peak, 2011

Brittany Walker backcountry skiing on Pyramid Peak, 2011

Colorado Fourteeners. This past Saturday, Brittany Walker became the second woman to ski all 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks. She saved “easy” Pikes Peak for last, and did the classic “reverse” ski descent that involves parking at the summit, skiing, then climbing back up. It’s fun doing that and adds a unique wrinkle to the experience that is our Fourteener skiing. Congratulations Britt! More here.

In other Colorado 14er skiing news, creativity is alive and well. Numerous descents are being made around the state, including a surprising but in the end logical way of getting off the summit of Pyramid Peak (near Aspen) by traversing west across a snowfield on the upper north face to the thread couloirs on the west side of the mountain. During good snow years, the west side is actually quite a fine ski descent. Myself and a friend had a nice day on that route back in the mid 1980s, when I was trying to figure out an alternative route due to poor snow coverage. During that trip it never occurred to me that one could drop east from the summit then move over to the west side, so we started our ski just below the summit bock. Very cool to see this sort of visionary stuff happening.

Well known professional skier Nick Devore has been in the news. He’s sharing thoughts about his recent avalanche accident, in which he broke his femur and underwent a lengthy and painful wait for a rescue. Femur breaks have something like a 50% mortality rate — in civilization — so Nick is lucky to be alive. I’ve been interested in how Nick would approach communicating about his accident. He appears to be honest and straightforward about the details, so anyone can learn a bit about avalanche safety by reading his accounts. But a somewhat disturbing takeaway from Nick’s words, in my view, is how accepting he appears to be of his fate.

“It’s what I do. I know the risks, and I’m willing to accept that this will probably happen again,” he says in an Aspen Times article (assuming he wasn’t misquoted).

I’m inspired or at least entertained by ski movie athletes such as Nick. At the same time I can’t help but think such a fatalistic approach to avalanche safety might be necessary for Nick during a certain time of his life, but would hopefully be the exception rather than the norm for almost any other ski mountaineer. (That said, I’m certain Nick’s feelings are more nuanced than a newspaper sound bite. Nonetheless, such a statement bears examination.)

If asked, here is how I’d place my avalanche safety philosophy in the space of a pine nut: “Master and enjoy the process of avoiding avalanches at all cost, and source your attitude out of respect for your body as well as concern for the loved ones your death or injury would impact.”

Yeah, I’ve screwed up a few times so who am I to say? Actually, I’d repeat what I say above, as that’s the lesson my own mistakes taught me.

Oh, one other thing from the broken bone club, Lou’s bone healing tips:No alcohol; extra vitamin C and calcium/magnesium tabs; lots of comedy movies and hanging out with friends and family; weight bearing only as much as the doc says; deep tissue work to break down huge amounts of scar tissue you get from a violent bone break such as that in an avalanche; cardio 5 or 6 days a week to keep oxygen level up (pool time, baby), but don’t overdo; healing prayers.

Moving along, I was grieved to hear about 33 year old Tucker Taffe dying in a crevasse fall on Mount Rainier. Tucker, of Alta in Utah, was another incredible mountain athlete who excelled on many levels. He’d clocked fast times in the Powderkeg randonnee race, and was known for hard and fast vertical in the human powered powder arena of the Wasatch. At the risk of sounding disrespectful (not intended), I’d offer that it’s incredibly important to break out the rope during travel on snow covered glaciers where there might be crevasses. While difficult for steeper downhill skiing on glaciers, going roped together on the uphill (as when Taffe was killed unroped) is quite easy and a good habit to inculcate. Some reports implied that Tucker’s party didn’t even have ropes, as implied here, facts are they indeed did have rope but had chosen not to use it for the section of the climb where the accident happened. In any case, ropes are of course standard equipment for glacier climbing, but choosing when and where to use them is sometimes difficult and mistakes get made.

Wow, I’d better close on another positive note. So far, it appears this is the time for some of the best spring ski mountaineering in years. Colorado is huge. PNW is wet, scrappy as always and packed with white water crystals. And check out the Sierra, mind boggling snow accumulations. Everyone, enjoy!

And to continue with our positive take on the snowpack, dig this: Here in Colorado, one of our spring backcountry skiing meccas is Independence Pass east of Aspen. Nearly every year we try to informally organize a “Barbecue on the Pass” after it opens. This year well go for Saturday, June 4, or storm date on the next weekend, June 11. As always, we’ll get together on the “Upper Hairpin Turn” on the Aspen side of the Pass, starting at around 10:00 am. Bring your own portable BBQ cookers or cooler lunch, organize with friends. Tailgate or bring camp tables. The venue is right next to the road, but traffic is slow around the curve and lots of people stop in to visit. Plenty of skiing from parking if you get there in the early morning.

Comments

43 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup and BBQ on the Pass Invite”

  1. Mike Marolt May 17th, 2011 1:20 pm

    I posted a rant to Nick’s FB page yesterday on a book that describes the struggle in our minds between the emotional response and logic that hits on lou’s view of how Nick looks at his fate. In short, as cave men, we did not have the ability to use logic because the brain had not developed that vortex. Over time we have, but the emotional vortex is significantly greater than the logical parts of the brain as it has had a lot more time to develop, the logical vortex still lagging behind. If you head to the mountains without a fundamental look at how the brain works, and don’t understand the need for balancing the emotional aspects with the logical, you are possibly creating another chapter in the book of how incredibly experienced and smart people do stupid things. (Not suggesting Nick is stupid or made mistakes as i was not there and don’t know much about his situation, but there are many chapters in this book to refer too). Check out that post, or better yet, buy and read Survival in Everyday Life by Laurence Gonzalez. I think it is applicable to Lou’s concern for Nick’s acceptability to his fate. When we approach a peak for skiing, we have the emotional map of the skiing, the view, the summit, and a host of other things that allow us to make decisions that from time to time, rely on emotion more than calculation and logic. We all suffer from this, and as Lou mentioned he has made mistakes, I have made my share; luck has been a great partner. But at least for me, what I have learned over the decades and years of taking the sport to the greater ranges, is that while a huge part of the satisfaction comes from all the emotional stuff, an even greater satisfaction is using logic and calculation to put myself in very dangerous environment, and to survive. I am 46, married, and have a couple of kids, so that has forced me to think about what I am doing on a level I never imagined when I was young and threw much to the wind in the name of personal pleasure; but in that process, I have experienced the mountains from a completely different perspective that I wish I would have understood when I was young. Today I don’t want to die and get hurt because beyond the obvious, the cost is too high to my family. What I didn’t realize even before I had a wife and kids, is that the cost to my parents, and brother and sister and friends, was on par. Everything we do has a ripple effect, and for the guys like Nick that survived, to me at least, the world is a better place with these folks than without. So check out that book, and take a bit of the science of survival with you when you head out in pursuit of your high risk recreation / sports. For me, and I believe many others, it’s just too hard to read about all the people dying and getting hurt while having fun.

  2. P Gyr May 17th, 2011 1:22 pm

    Utah, Wyoming and Montana can be added to the list of huge spring snowpacks.

  3. Lou May 17th, 2011 1:32 pm

    It occurred to me that I should add, before being construed as too fuddy duddy, that a noble part of human nature is our risk taking. Without it, we’d be only a ghost of who we are as a civilization and as individuals. Thus, at certain times one must succumb to the impulse to leap — we wouldn’t be human if we did not. But we don’t have to leap all the time, and we’re allowed to look first.

  4. Mike Marolt May 17th, 2011 2:05 pm

    Yer a fuddy duddy, I’m a fuddy duddy, think i’ll just go skiing………

  5. AP May 17th, 2011 2:18 pm

    Who skied the new line on Pyramid?

  6. brian h May 17th, 2011 2:26 pm

    I think that our big mountain culture has developed a very competitive ego that is being pushed harder by an “industry” that sees an angle to be manipulated for profit. I know that injuries and deaths have always been a part of the life, but when the best in the game are getting hurt and killed and thousands of new riders in the mountains, it’s amazing that the resulting feedback lacks any suggestion of scaling it back a little. We live in a time in which all the dangerous stuff is presented/implied as something that “normal” people are capable of. The resulting injuries or deaths don’t grab our web-lines like the branded, sponsored, athlete. Just a local paper column “skier dies in fall”…

  7. Lou May 17th, 2011 3:23 pm

    AP,. it was Al Beyer with Joey (not sure about last name), I’m trying to contact Al but have not heard back. Pretty cool to make the summit connection to the west side (like, why didn’t _I_ think of that!), though I’m pretty sure from my own descent of the west that this whole thing only comes into condition with exceptional snowcover. Worth keeping in mind, that’s for sure. The west side descent is really cool, you link this series of thread couloirs eventually to a big long gulch that drops a few thousand vert to a point just upvalley from Crater Lake. Or, there is another route that takes the west side farther to the south, down a more defined couloir, but it’s also rarely in condition. Lou

  8. Lou May 17th, 2011 3:30 pm

    Brian, I’d agree and have written before about how the “extreme sports” entertainment industry is creeping closer and closer to basically being snuff films. Hollywood uses stunt doubles with all sorts of tricks to fool the eye. Underpaid skiing gladiators might want to keep that in mind.

    Watching the progression, I just can’t believe it can go much farther ’till something has to give. But then, athletes die in any harsher sport, be it NASCAR or even highschool football, so I guess the question is a sort of risk vs rewards vs what the public accepts…

    What’s really weird is that many of these guys are basically _always_ filming, generally without a permit, and without even carrying a satphone in the backcountry. Looking at it from that point of view, one has to wonder if there isn’t a bit of idiocy inherent.

    As in, it didn’t happen unless it’s on Facebook, and hey, did you bring the SPOT messenger unit?

  9. Kyle Davis May 17th, 2011 3:36 pm

    Tuckers group was carrying a rope..

  10. Lou May 17th, 2011 3:41 pm

    Kyle, thanks, who should I believe? Please don’t be the typical web sniper, but rather can you give more details, as in if they were carrying a rope, did they not immediately instigate a crevasse rescue? Thanks for any more info. Lou

  11. Mike Marolt May 17th, 2011 4:08 pm

    To Brian H’s comments, you are spot on. But the thing I don’t get is how these accidents have been portrayed in the media, and even more, how the “pros” are often the source. For me, the few accidents / close calls I have found myself in were events that I absolutely hid from, and prayed no one would find out about. Today, there are columns about this stuff. What is the column in powder, I shouldn’t be alive? I guess it proves people really are into the car crash, and if it generates sponsorship plug, so much the better. For me, i’d just assume not be part of that content. ( By writing about this, I probably just jinxed an avalanche for myself, but know if that happens, i am embarrassed about it. )

  12. brian h May 17th, 2011 4:23 pm

    I do hesitate when the finger pointing gets started. Alot of these folks are talented, strong, mountain savy people. I don’t think that they should be overly concerned with a public image that smacks of “role model” because not too many twelve year olds are climbing the big stuff (now, park skiing may very well have that problem). The risks they take are theirs to take. I go back to the role of ego (in line with Mikes first comment). For me, the lure of the wild alpine is a mix of natural beauty and challenge. It’s the challenge part that gets one into trouble. How many of us have ditched the resort for the challenge of the b.c.? How many of us sought a distinction between what we wanted to do on skis and what the masses engaged in on their vacations? As b.c. skiing grows more and more popular that distinction, that challenge, becomes more suspect (if everyone is doing it what’s so special about it?) The game of one upsmanship becomes harder and harder. The bold, “crazy”, ones have to seek out terrain that is riskier to satisfy sponsors, peers, and ego.

  13. Lou May 17th, 2011 4:43 pm

    Myself, I think it’s selfish and smells when people have close calls and don’t share about them when doing so could help other folks be safer. Beyond that, yes, if you’re sharing about cheating death just to entertain in some prurient way, then BS. On the other hand, it is so easy for bloggers such as myself to move from gentle lesson-taking to finger pointing. I have no wish to finger point, and work really hard on my editing so as to be able to write about accidents without unpleasant preaching. But I’ll take the heat if I blow it.

  14. Mike Marolt May 17th, 2011 4:51 pm

    In this case, finger pointing is more flipping some of these people off. Until people realize that smart people can and will do stupid things by nature, we have a problem. This is one of those topics that has driven me to respond, something i have done a very good job of not doing over the past few years because it inevitably leads people to think i am a arrogant jack ass. But for me, this is a huge issue. Over the past three years, in Aspen alone, there have been dozens of near death, and death ski accidents, that by most accounts, could have been avoided. There have been more accidents in the past three years, than in the 40 years of my life before. And while no one in this activity has an obligaton to be a role model, we do have a responsiblity to do all we can to avoid some of this stuff, especially if some of it as is the case, can be avoided simply by respecting ourselves and the people around us enough to understand that our personal pleasures to drive 200 mph, or grab the POW, is irresponsible. When people get hurt and die, it has impact on a community at some level. For those that feel i am pointing the finger at them, take it as a compliment. I value your person enough to care.

  15. Brittany May 17th, 2011 4:59 pm

    Thanks Lou! Can’t believe it’s actually over! I’m sure you felt that way after the MANY years it took you to complete all the fourteeners! Thanks for being a superb pioneer! I’m humbled to follow in your steps.

  16. Lou May 17th, 2011 5:07 pm

    Britt, I sure could have used some help from you guys back then (grin). And again, great job! Looking forward to your wedding to that hardcore guy you roped up.

  17. brian h May 17th, 2011 5:10 pm

    I don’t begin to understand what the pro people feel they have to accomplish to make their mark. Some of them are brought into very intense scene at a very early age. Your 18 or younger and taken up in a heli and told (or is it just implied?) to make it count. We all go to see the movie in September to get stoked for the winter. My teenager asks for the Joe Schmo signature goggle because last years John Does are so last year. Five years later Joe Schmo gets killed skiing vertical ice in Chamonix…Yeah I bought the kid the damn goggles. I point the finger at myself.

  18. Mike Marolt May 17th, 2011 5:14 pm

    I point it at myself too……i’ll shut up on the subject now.

  19. Lou May 17th, 2011 5:25 pm

    You guys bring it home, thanks.

  20. Tom May 17th, 2011 5:46 pm

    So when does the “10 Seconds” movie come out?? I believe we can possibly learn (or not) something from these accidents (didn’t we already know the snowpack was crap?) but glamorizing people who make poor choices is sad. I.e. the cover blurb of the AT, must’ve been a slow news day, as usual.

    8 years of Bush, 123 hours of sawing now is it going to be 10 Seconds of snow?

    Those who go looking for an epic usually find it.

  21. Lou May 17th, 2011 5:55 pm

    Nick is local hero for Aspen, so you really can’t blame the area newspapers for going a bit overboard. They obsess on anyone they can call a “local.”

  22. Jason Gregg May 17th, 2011 6:56 pm

    This is going to be stating the obvious probably. Mike, I assume more accidents are occurring mostly because more people are getting after it more. If North America had a Zermatt or Chamonix the incidents would be in a localized area and serious injury and death would be a more common thing. To put it simply it’s becoming more like Europe here.

    And as for the general subject of the pursuit of “extreme” sports, so much has been written I wonder if it is worth adding anything. I look at it as “spiritual” fast food, Dean Potter’s “Fly or Die” antics being a prime example in my mind.

  23. Lou May 17th, 2011 7:03 pm

    Jason, Dean Potter, good example. Inspiring on one level, but sort of a snuff stunt on another…

    Please don’t get discouraged about the discussion, communicating about this stuff keeps it top-of-mind and could help with the choices people make.

  24. Jason Gregg May 17th, 2011 8:16 pm

    This discussion doesn’t discourage at all, I can’t see how it would. Skiing is a great sport, including from the tops of 14′ers! But I can’t find anything inspiring in Dean Potter’s new movie, and I have nothing against BASE and nothing against free climbing. When I saw this movie on a Continental in-flight entertainment system coming back from Europe in March it had an entirely opposite effect.

  25. Dave Field May 18th, 2011 8:56 am

    At the end of the day, what satisfies the most is an inspiring day in the mountains with friends. That feeling of complete immersion and awe of the natural world can be achieved equally on a simple flat tour or on something “extreme”. The ever increasing media emphasis on “extreme” implies that only cutting edge endeavors are worthy pursuits. We have to be secure enough in ourselves to embrace the entire spectrum with an awareness of acceptable risk. Some days you can put the pedal to the floor and on others its best to pull back and enjoy the simple beauty of being alive. Discovering that balance hopefully results in a full lifetime of mountain adventure.

  26. Lou May 18th, 2011 9:15 am

    hear hear

  27. Frank K May 18th, 2011 9:55 am

    Brittany’s accomplishments have been somewhat lost amidst the Devore discussion, but I thought everyone should know how incredibly hard she worked at achieving her goal. Riding her bike all summer, transitioning to the weight room in fall, and skinning up Crested Butte after work a couple of times a week all winter has been her MO the last few years, making sure she was as strong as she possibly could be once spring rolled around. If Pyramid was her final exam, she passed with flying colors since she was always right there with us “boys”. Timing is everything on Pyramid, and her strength served her well. Congrats Brittany!

    Congrats also to Al and Joey for their W face descent. The coverage has allowed us CO ski mountaineers to dream; the weather windows haven’t been nearly as cooperative.

    I’ll stay out of the Devore discussion other than saying the discussion is, IMO, way off target.

  28. Jordan May 18th, 2011 10:20 am

    I agree with Frank here. Big congratulations to Brittany. It was a pleasure to be there for so much of the journey and I look forward to seeing where her sense of adventure takes her in the following years.

  29. Caleb Wray May 18th, 2011 11:01 am

    Very impressed Brittany! Your training sure did pay off. Your fitness has been obvious over the last couple of trips. And Pikes was a fun way to end it, even if the weather shut down our 14k BBQ on Saturday. Now what to do with all of that free time during Colorado spring………

  30. brian h May 18th, 2011 12:14 pm

    I realized last night (being one of those caught up in the “extreme” discussion) that we had stolen the thunder from the main headline which was Brittanys’ most admirable accomplishment. Sincere congratulations to her. Very cool.

  31. Lou May 18th, 2011 12:39 pm

    Not intending to drift the thread again, but I did hear from one of the folks who was with Tucker during the Rainier crevasse accident. As Kyle says, the group did have rope. It sounded like the glitch was a judgment dilemma as to whether to use the rope or not on steeper terrain where being roped together without anchors can be inappropriate. I’d add that it’s indeed sometimes difficult to know when to rope and when not to, so I’d encourage all alpinists to really learn those rope travel techniques such running belays, boot axe belays and all that stuff so as to be more comfortable keeping that rope on. Also, there are indeed accidents in the mountains that are difficult to prevent, and sometimes such things happen to very competent, well meaning people. Main thing is for us all to look at every accident and try to learn, as even the best of us can make a poor decision, or get in a situation where there are no good alternatives…

  32. Jason Gregg May 18th, 2011 9:16 pm

    ” “OUTSIDE IN ASPEN” ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR SYMPOSIUM DISCUSSION ON “THE RISKS AND REWARDS OF EXTREME ADVENTURE”
    Featuring Ben Stookesberry, Neil Beidleman, Melissa Arnot, Brad Ludden, Michael Brown, and Nick DeVore ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES LINE-UP AND TALENT CONFIRMED ”

    Now there’s a headline.

  33. Lou May 19th, 2011 6:32 am

    Interesting. Always interesting how being a good athlete is assumed to bless you with a good intellect, or is it the other way around? At any rate, perhaps they’ll give a few other seminars, such as, how to get automotive advertising (I need to attend that one), as well as how to shave (or not) for an Outside cover shoot.

  34. Jason Gregg May 19th, 2011 7:03 am

    I gotta add that I don’t think the dialog that Mike started here is a a “Devore discussion” or tangentially a Brittany discussion. It’s more a discussion of “extreme” adventures and sports and the psychological and cultural factors that make them so, plus the way that word gets used both commonly and commercially.

    For me surfing the Pipe Masters in heavy conditions or racing the Hannenkam on serious years are obviously dangerous sports, and you could call them extreme but we didn’t use too. On the other hand doing things like getting on the top of Everest, free diving to record depths, going over Niagra falls in a Kayak, probably should be called extreme but not really sure they’re sports or adventures…

  35. See May 19th, 2011 8:14 am

    I have come to the conclusion that “automotive journalism” is an oxymoron, (at least if you think journalism requires at least a little honesty and objectivity).

    Wildsnow truck reviews are among the few exceptions to this rule I’ve encountered.

    “(H)ow to get automotive advertising(?)” The fact that The New Yorker is full of SUV ads, and Wildsnow isn’t, just shows that the auto industry, unfortunately, still lacks a clue.

    Also, I wonder what people’s experiences have been renting off-road capable vehicles (models, rental companies, etc.). This seems like a good way to go for those of us who don’t need or want big 4x4s for most of their driving, but need them for trips and/or weekends.

  36. Lou May 19th, 2011 8:36 am

    I suppose we need to do more truck reviews.

    As for renting SUV, just know that sometimes the rental contract includes verbiage that makes you liable for damage if you’re not on a “road.” Thing is, most of the places you’d take a rental SUV for ski access are still “roads” as they’re usually a numbered county road or something like that, but good to be careful of what you could end up paying for.

    Another thing is that even a low clearance 4×4 Subaru (with snow tires or chains) will still get you within short walking distance of nearly anywhere a more agro SUV will get you in terms of ski access in most North American situations. I’ve even seen someone driving a Prius up to one of our local trailheads where doing so probably isn’t that appropriate and they’re depending on other folks to cover their behinds (due to 2-wheel-drive and low clearance that could get them very stuck very quickly), but it nonetheless shows what can be done.

  37. AP May 19th, 2011 12:14 pm

    Thanks Lou! The western couloirs sound awesome. I might just go up their this weekend and check things out! Wanna come?

  38. Lou May 19th, 2011 12:35 pm

    That west side stuff on Pyramid really is cool, much better exposure as well for snow conditions. It was frustrating back when I got it from just below the summit instead of from the top, but still some very exciting skiing. The lower section of the route is a huge long couloir/gulch.

  39. See May 19th, 2011 8:26 pm

    There are a bunch of places in the Sierra that are anywhere from simply more comfortable to really only doable in a high clearance vehicle, if you don’t want to combine a lot of hiking and camping along with your climbing and skiing.

    I certainly have nothing against hiking and camping, but I have long thought that we could substantially reduce our collective fuel consumption along with many other benefits (better on-road handling, easier parking, etc.) if people could own the vehicle that made the most sense for the vast majority of their driving, and rent the appropriate vehicle for the rough stuff, as opposed to trying to find a daily driver that will also handle the conditions you see in SUV advertisements.

    The fact that this is, apparently, not an easily available option is really unfortunate, in my opinion.

  40. Louie May 20th, 2011 9:52 pm

    Check out http://www.zipcar.com/

    Cool way to use the kind of vehicle that would work best for whatever your doing. You just reserve a car, then go pick it up wherever it’s parked, then drop it off somewhere else. They even have SUVs and Trucks. It’s only in a few big cities though, and it’s kind of expensive, but way cheaper than buying a car.

  41. New Deal May 22nd, 2011 10:32 am

    Lou, zipcars are ridiculously expensive and available in places like nyc, dc, chicago, not anywhere that boasts any sort of outdoor activities! They also must be returned to where they were “rented” from, and being a minute late will result in a $50 credit card charge. They are not “way cheaper than buying a car”. An 8 hour ski outing would run $64 plus gas, that is if you make it back through traffic in time…one minute late bumps it to $114 plus gas. Also, if people like “See” are so concerned with reducing fuel consumption, why not just ditch the car? or start a rideshare. It’s nice to think and talk about changing the world it’s another thing to LIVE IT.

  42. Louie May 22nd, 2011 11:15 am

    Yeah the zipcars have lots of disadvantages and problems. I’ve never used them, although I know a few people who have. It’s an interesting idea.

    They area available in Seattle I think, which does have some good outdoor activities.

  43. Greg Louie May 22nd, 2011 11:43 am

    Zipcar? If you were really core, you’d ride your bike to the mountain towing your ski gear in a trailer, like John Mauro . . .

    http://www.mountaineers.org/nwmj/09/091_Carless.html

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 we approve it. Once you've had one comment published, your comments will be pre-approved and appear immediately if you're using the same computer and not blocking browser cookies. NOTE however that ALL comments with one or more links in the text will be held for moderation no matter what, again for spam prevention.
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 our mobile site