Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | March 17, 2006      

Department of Firsts
Sky Sju has filed what’s perhaps his best descent and trip report ever, Mt Formidable, Northwest Face ski descent (VI D14 R3 ) in one push! I can’t get over this guy’s exuberance and skill, and he’s a darned good writer to boot. Check this sentence out, a classic of alpine introspection: “My sphincter was clenched so tight it could have cracked a carbon nanotube, thinking about cutting a slab out of the bowl and riding it to Cleve Creek…” as they say, laughing out loud…

Randonnee Racing
The Wasatch Powder Keg is on tap for this coming Saturday in Utah. This fine race connects Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons near Salt Lake City. I’ve been told it’s a fun affair for both hardcores and recreational racers alike.

Also, the North American rando racing championships are being held Saturday, March 25 in Jackson, Wyoming. That same day they’re having a big party to celebrate the last days of the historic ski resort aerial tramway. Guess what? Your friendly blogger will be there!!! I’ll be covering the race as a journalist, and plan to join the throngs at the Blues Traveler concert after. The question is, does everyone in Jackson wear Cloudveil, and does Blues Traveler use hardshell or softshell jackets when playing outdoor concerts in Wyoming? Read this blog to find out the amazing truth. Might even do some backcountry skiing while I’m there.

Avalanche Education Opinion
If you’re living in Colorado or visit in the winter, please visit the Colorado Avy Info website and do their opinion survey. They need some direction.

Carbondale, Colorado
We (WildSnow world headquarters) are now located in one of the hippest places on the planet, at least according to Mens Journal. Please move here and start a business. Some of our local tax-and-spend politicos are talking about raising property taxes, this after they’ve shut out commercial development that would have pumped sales tax money into the town coffers. Yep, all us property owners have tons of extra money we’d love our local government to handle. After all, they know best how to spend our cash, right?

Southern Colorado Snow
Fourteener skiers Sean Crossen and Chris Davenport got a nice gift this past week. A big storm nearly doubled the snowpack in the drought stricken Sangre De Cristo mountains of southern CO, and beefed things up nearly everywhere else. It’s unknown if the Sangres are now skiable, but this makes some descents down there much more likely for our intrepid adventurers.

Ah yes, it’s a great day when my spring SnoWest magazine arrives. Now I can check out those shiny new tickets to paradise, and see what the experts are saying about the machines we love to hate, and love. I saw some good news in the mag.

First, powerful powder-ready sleds like the ones we’d use for backcountry skiing access are staying reasonably light, with a couple at just over 500 lbs (fueled). That’s amazing considering the power these things have, the length of their tracks and their sophisticated suspension. My junky Yamaha Enticer of years ago weighed almost 400 pounds and had a 10th the performance, if that.

Second, the mag has an interesting article about how Yamaha now has only 4-stroke sleds in their lineup. That’s amazing news, considering only a few years ago most pundits were saying 4-stroke engines would never keep sledheads happy. It’s also good news for everyone, as 4-stroke motors are easier to quiet, and pollute less. Whether the snowmachine industry takes advantage of those qualities remains to be seen, but we can always hope (meanwhile, remember your earplugs).

Ski History
If you’re a ski history fanatic, don’t overlook the Colorado Skiing History Gala being held April 8 in Vail. For information call 970-476-1876. Proceeds benefit the International Skiing History Association and Colorado Ski Museum.


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5 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. Steven March 17th, 2006 1:36 am

    I can’t believe that you advocate the use of snowmobiles. It seems that a skiier or outdoorsman would not harbor such hatred of the environment. You are setting a terrible example for all, and should certainly be ashamed.

  2. Austin March 17th, 2006 10:42 am

    Snowmobiles aren’t the smoke spewing machines they used to be, even the 2-strokes are cleaning up now, and with new technology most exceed EPA standards. Snowmobiles have their place in the backcountry, even if it involves skiing. They’re a great way to access new terrain. More power to you Lou.

  3. Sky March 17th, 2006 12:37 pm

    Alcohol is an amazing alpine muse, Lou!

  4. Pierce March 17th, 2006 2:38 pm

    Snowmobiles? Whatever works. I like the idea of knocking off 15 miles of flats with a machine better than having to camp. Anyway, these Pac Northwest guys are CRAZY! What an awesome descent and report. I have been following this crew for a while and am always awestruck by the fortitude and sheer balls of these guys. I’m sure their old pal Ben was smiling down on them. Cheers, guys!

  5. Hamish Gowans March 18th, 2006 9:43 am

    Thanks to you Lou for plugging the rando rallies! Each race is a fun chance to test your skiing and fitness, plus they make contributions to local avy centers. If you just put a little preparation into one of the races, you’ll get faster in the backcountry and dial in your systems for an extra yo-yo on the day. Also, if you are a woman, you pretty much just have to finish either the Race or the Recreation course to make the podium. At the March 11th race in Kirkwood, CA, every woman who entered the race would have gotten up there -there were only three in each category, but one DNS- and taken home some Mountain Hardwear/Life-Link schwag.

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