A Weekend Of Weather Contrasts In The PNW

By Louie Dawson | February 10, 2016  

After an awesome time exploring Greece and Austria, it’s good to be back in Washington USA. It’s sunny and 65° right now in North Bend, but just a few days ago we were skiing powder — and I’m sure we will again — soon. The PNW is terrific like that.

I spent a day at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort last weekend. Yeah, yeah, it’s a ski area, but it was a good day to avoid unstable slopes and lap some lift accessed pow. I hadn’t skied the Crystal area until this winter, and I’ve been impressed with the lift-accessed side country, as well as the copious backcountry in the area.

We made up for our impiety the next day by enjoying a sunny tour up to Camp Muir on Mount Rainier. Muir is a fairly decent choice in unstable conditions, although there is one steep slope that must be ascended. Although the NWAC forecast was moderate, I felt uneasy about the recent snow, rain layer, and warming temps. Our suspicions were confirmed as we witnessed a few sizable avalanches on south facing slopes throughout the day.

Matt finds deep snow on Saturday. It rained on Friday, so I wasn't expecting much, but the foot of light pow exceeded expectations.

Matt finds deep snow on Saturday. It rained on Friday, so I wasn’t expecting much, but the foot of light pow exceeded expectations.

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WildSnow Browsing Security & Safety

By TheEditors OfWildsnow | February 10, 2016  

Not a day goes by you can’t find another news article about compromised websites that can be dangerous to you as a reader-browser of the internet. Our page explaining our security measures is here, but we thought it time to put a blog post up so anyone can ask a question about our website safety, or leave comments and suggestions. (Once or twice a year we’ll bring this post up to the homepage, and we’ll link to it from various locations.)

Essentially, we are doing everything within our power and budget to make WildSnow a safe place to land your browser. Every time a comment is made, it is scanned for bad links. The website is scanned for threats every day. All our advertising banners are served up by Google, they scan every advertiser’s links for threats and will shut down advertiser accounts if they ID something nefarious (they have caught a few). Our webserver is fire-walled and country-blocked to the max, and we run real-time software that constantly adjusts for new threats or suspicious activity.

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Anti-Communist Binding — Polish Ingenuity Keeps Shipyard Workers Skiing

By Lou Dawson | February 9, 2016  

The time, late 1980s. The place, shipyards of Gdansk Poland (where the Solidarity movement began that eventually liberated the country). Shipyard machinists and fabricators made 250 illegal copies of the Silvretta 404, obviously by hand. Any of you European readers ski on these? Check out the Gamma Polish ski touring binding museum display.

'Gamma' hand made copy of Silvretta 404.

At bottom of photo, ‘Gamma’ hand made copy of Silvretta 404 shown at top of photo.


Feel The Fear — Colorado Persistent Avalanche Slabs

By Lou Dawson | February 8, 2016  

Every winter we get mugged. Here in Colorado we get snow, oh wonderful fluffy powder. Then the bad guy shows up. A thick avalanche slab hangs there for days, weeks, waiting to kill someone. How do we deal with such “persistent slabs”? We watch slope angles, dig a few pits to see just how tender the slab is, listen to the avalanche forecaster.

School time at Cripple Creek Backcountry.

School time at Cripple Creek Backcountry.

We are fortunate here in our HQ town of Carbondale, Colorado that our local ski shop, Cripple Creek, hosts a series of lectures by our area forecaster Blase Reardon. Main takeaways from his recent impartation of wisdom: Persistent slab does EVENTUALLY go away or get buried so deep it’s not dangerous, but the dragon must be watched lest he comes out of his cave while you’re not looking.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 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 ski touring news and information here, and tons of telemark info.

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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 templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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