Backcountry News Roundup — Gunfights, Stein and Peeling Paint

Post by blogger | May 11, 2016      
Skiing History magazine recently put Stein on their cover.

Skiing History magazine recently put Stein on their cover. In 1950 he was the first male alpine skier outside of the Alps to win Olympic gold.

Legends of freeride. The 1960s were a time long ago, but much of what we skiers enjoy as modern “freeride” skiing began with certain key individuals way back in those classic days. One such guy was Stein Eriksen. He could angulate like nobody else, nail flawless inverted aerials, and simply look so much the part with his un-hatted head and strong Norwegian visage that women swooned and men tried to imitate, often miserably.

The latter was especially true when guys attempted to rock The Sweater, which once wet from a fall or two would drape around the derriere like a dress, as the hapless fashion victim shivered like a hypothermic dog and desperately searched for a hat in the lost-and-found. Ear frostbite is painful.

Stein lived in Park City, Utah for many years. The town is having a “Stein Day” once a year. In my opinion they should have an angulation contest. Hatless. See International Skiing History Association

Guns in the Rockies. We live in a somewhat populous area of Colorado, with a variety of cultures that often surprises those who think we’re just a bunch of pale skinned over privileged sons and daughters living off our WASP parent’s money. We’ve got everything from our own town being about 50% Latino all the way to gun toting meth cooking “folks” (I use that word kindly) back in the hills who could guest star in the TV series Justified. For an example of the firearm action, check out this land dispute involving guns with U.S. Forest service as reluctant referee.

Shelter. Continuing my focus on news happening near WildSnow HQ here in Colorado, we’ve always been interested in our government subsidized “affordable” housing. We were skeptics when the movement began many years ago, but have come to realize that when the money is there, as it is in the Aspen area, you can extract funds from the wealthy and help people of lesser means buy or rent. Thus building a functional system. In fact, the town of Aspen would be virtually dead if it wasn’t for 1,600 affordable housing units that keep core skiers living in the area instead of migrating to more financially friendly climes.

Nonetheless, as a homeowner and amateur economics buff, I happen to know that houses are expensive not just because they get inflated, but because the laws of entropy dictate human structures will gradually melt into the ground if due maintenance is not practiced — and paid for. Problem is, with resale price caps and strapped owners, apparently the required maintenance on subsidized housing in the Aspen area is being dangerously deferred due to lack of incentive. Yep, that housing isn’t quite as “affordable” as buyers were led to believe. Or is it? Key is for the owners to get local government to give them cash in a “peeling paint bailout.” Recent proposal is for a $16 million gift. Econo 101 to the Aspen area government: “Watch out what you pay for, paint peels, and you might need to keep paying, forever.” More here.

Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. The Hall will induct six new members. Most are not related to backcountry ski touring, exception being 10th Mountain Division vet Hugh Evans. Awarded the Silver Star for valor in WWII, Evans went on as a pioneer of modern Colorado skiing. His greatest contribution, in my opinion, leadership during the growth years of the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association.

Snowmobile skiing. You want news? Alaska never fails. Want adventure too? Sign up for the Arctic Man. Click into your skis on top of mountain, ski like a comet down about 2,000 vert and grab a snowmobile tow rope. Hang on. Tight. Winners get a bundle of cash. This year Olympic ski racer Daron Rahlves and X-Games sled champ Levi LaVallee hauled in $61,000 for their overall victory. Check out the video below. Your thighs will feel it. Oh, and getting serious, the Denali climbing season is ramping up.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


18 Responses to “Backcountry News Roundup — Gunfights, Stein and Peeling Paint”

  1. Kristian May 11th, 2016 10:55 am

    Stein Eriksen was a god! Look at how relaxed and happy he is!

    This style of sking requires relatively less effort and minimal side cut for your skis. It’s all about using momentum and arcing your skis from side to side as you stay centered and calm facing down the fall line.

    Go online and watch his videos and then try to emulate. It’s amazing!

    And with this style, minimal skis and minimal boots are all that’s needed.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 11:26 am

    Kristian, agree. But it was a really hard style to master, uncommon to see it done well. Hence the progression of modern ski gear and technique. It’s all much easier now. Lou

  3. Mike May 11th, 2016 11:29 am

    Check your gun link

  4. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 11:33 am

    Sorry about that Mike, here is the link, I’ll fix.

  5. Kristian May 11th, 2016 1:13 pm

    I was intrigued by this style and put great effort into it. When I finally got it, it was like some kind of Nirvana Zen flow state opening up. Much of the required energy gets stored up and released with the body twisting from side to side and the up and down.

  6. Dan May 11th, 2016 1:20 pm

    wow! from Stein Eriksen to being dragged up a mountain by a snowmobile…was the contrast intentional?

  7. Dan May 11th, 2016 1:22 pm

    re- steins style – this is how our skiing instructors skied when they wanted to impress the ladies, which is almost always. shaped skis were such a relief…

  8. Bard May 11th, 2016 6:03 pm

    A couple years ago at Alta the spitting image of a young Stein appeared on my chair, straight outta the ’60s! (Ok, full disclosure my bc breathren, I rode a ski lift, and for that I apologize.) Anyhoo, he had the Sweater, the Hair, and the Look! I curse myself for not having a camera that day.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 6:33 pm

    Bard, that is awesome. Clearly, if he had the Hair he did not have a hat. Was he Norge? If you can rock the Sweater, you are…


  10. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 6:39 pm

    No deduction of WildSnow Far points for riding chair at Alta. If you got it on a pow day, add 14 WildSnow Far points to your total. Other ways to get points: Ski Denali nude from the summit. Lou

  11. Bard May 11th, 2016 6:54 pm

    Idk whom or what he was, I was too nervous to talk to him. Had to have been a movie star:)
    Sadly, no pow that day, but the visage of that finely-knit-sweatered, perfect wavy-haired dude more than made up for it.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 7:14 pm

    You ever heard the song “The Ride” by David Allan Coe?

    Wouldn’t be surprised if that could happen with The Stein.

  13. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 7:30 pm

    Well, I was ridin’ up Rustler –
    Had my Wailers to pick up the slack –
    When a stranger took a seat beside me, he had a sweater on his back.
    He was dressed like 1950 – high on pow and hollow-eyed.
    He said, “It’s a long walk to Norway. Would you like a ride, son?”
    I sat back in the lift chair. He turned on smartphone ‘tube,
    And them old ski vids comin’ outa that thing were solid TGR food.
    Then I noticed the stranger was ghost-white pale when he asked me for a light
    And I knew there was something strange about this ride.

    He said, “Rider can you make folks cry when you stomp and fling?
    Have you paid your dues?
    Can you slarve the deep?
    Can you bend them ski plank things?”
    He said, “Boy, can you make folks feel what you feel inside?
    ‘Cause if you’re max pow bound, let me warn you it’s a long, hard ride.”
    Then the lift got to the top, and he rode that bullwheel around,
    He said, “This is where you get off, Boy, ‘Cause I’m goin’ back to Baker I am’.”
    As I pushed out of that lift chair I said, “Mister, your words are fine.”
    He said, “You don’t have to call me ‘Mister’, Mister;
    The whole world called me ‘Stein’!”

  14. Bard May 11th, 2016 8:18 pm

    Ha, that’s gold Lou! Your version is way better than Coe’s btw. Seriously, if you had to cast somebody for a ’60s, 70’s ski movie or even Eiger Sanction to fill in for Clint, this was the guy.

  15. Mark Worley May 11th, 2016 10:27 pm

    Sweet story; great poetry!

  16. Jim P. May 12th, 2016 10:22 am

    The cool thing about skiing like Stein is that one can make great turns with climbing boots, Silvrettas and light skis. Having come from a family that’s been doing this stuff since the 30’s, I can vouch for the effectiveness and grace of old school style. Add modern skimo style gear, and the circle is complete.

  17. Dan Powers May 13th, 2016 4:13 pm

    People like the Bears are good for helping to keep property values down. Aspen could probably use more of them.

  18. Michael May 22nd, 2016 10:36 am

    We strolled up to the dear valley chair one morning thirty some years ago, truly baked, when I first saw him. He was taking a group of investors on a ski tour of the resort. My buddies and I just sort of fell into the group. Stein would ski down a ways and stop at over-looks to describe their development plans. What a treat to ski behind him, all of us trying our best to emulate that style. At each stop we would be first to reach him since the investors really couldn’t ski. Eventually he asked, in that amazing accent, “Are you with the tour?” The gig was up and our tour with Stein over, but one I’ll never forget!

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