Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
A collection of comments that came in via email from backcountry skiers:
“Lou, I like and appreciate your blog. I think your criticism of Recco may be a bit offbase. No, it’s not as applicable to North American backcountry skiing as using your brain or avalanche beacons, but it could well be invaluable for the kind of frontcountry avalanches that struck Utah last year. People have been rescued alive from avalanches because of Recco location, and perhaps a few of the Utah victims might have been. Even if the response wasn’t quick enough to save the victim, reducing the body search time from days to hours would do great things for SAR budgets already feeling pressure from the politicians knives. At a cost of a few dollars and few grams, why shouldn’t more ski jackets and boots carry them? Most major North American ski resorts and a number of search and rescue teams already have the required detector, all that’s missing is the clothing and equipment companies supplying the reflector.
Some fun emails have been rolling in from blog reading fellow backcountry skiers. A few samps:
“I agree with you about this wilderness construct. One of the reasons I generally avoid Mt Rainier is right down this alley. Freaking signs everywhere: “Keep wilderness wild. Always have your permit ready and displayed on your person.” Now what does that have to do with something being wild? Nothing at all. It returns to the whole concept of people being something apart from nature. If you ask me, I’m just another animal…hopefully a BEAST… a monkey who got hold of some cool toys. Ha ha ha.
“I’m a fan of your blog. thanks. I understand your disinterest in the RECCO system, ‘…died an appropriate death.’ But I bought a jacket last spring that has it built in. (Not bought for that reason, of course.) I love the jacket. Maybe someday it’ll help me out. Hopefully I won’t need it. Thanks for the info. Keep up the good work.
“…About your Wildsnow blog… just wanted to let you know that I think it is great. I start every day with a cup of coffee and a visit to the site. It has been a great source of information and trip ideas, and your hard work keeping it going is appreciated, at least by me! And while I do not always agree with your positions and opinions, I do respect them, and find them useful for for helping me articulate my. Anyway, thanks for sharing your site with us. Maybe I will catch up with you skiing some day. And by the way, despite the “complicated, heavy and expensive gear” and the sarcastic “soul sport” designation, if we do meet in the backcountry, I will be on tele skis. It’s just more fun ; )
“I’m a fact checker for Skiing Magaziine. Our columnist Rob Story recently wrote a piece about John Denver and Colorado skiing, and I wanted to make sure all our facts were straight. He mentions that Denver penned several of his most famous songs while staying at a mountain hut on Castle Creek. I believe he got this info from wildsnow.com. Can you confirm this John Denver/Aspen connection?
Lou writes: Yep, as far as I know JD did write some songs while staying at the Mace Chalet up Castle Creek above Aspen, Colorado. As far as I know he was not a backcountry skier, but rather stayed up there in the summer. He did ski, and I’m sure he did some x-c skiing now and then.