Backcountry Skiing News Roundup May 2016 — Sea, Ski, and Mr. Bear

Post by blogger | May 20, 2016      
The secret to the über performance of WildSnow athletes: Slo Groovin food in western Colorado. Now open.

The secret to the über performance of WildSnow athletes: Slo Groovin BBQ…best food in western Colorado. Now open 7 days a week. New this season, they have a new source for entirely natural range-fed pork that has to be tasted to be believed. As many of you who know my deep inner secrets can attest to, I’m a big fan of excellent restaurants located near ‘the goods’ such a backcountry skiing, hiking, or just all-around alpine fun. Unlike places such as the Tirol, we don’t have much of that (even though we do have the fun). Slow Groovin breaks the mold. They keep adding tables, with no end in sight.

See Slow Groovn FB

Ready, set. Mount Baker, Washington. Ski to Sea has to be one of the best “ski” races on the planet. With a climb-ski leg it’s definitely “WildSnow” territory. Last year the great and best forgotten PNW snow drought canceled out the ski racing leg of the event. Plenty of white stuff this year on Mount Baker so the 1,000 foot climb part of the race is on, May 29. Big deal up there, been happening since 1973? More Sea-Ski info here.

Excellent to see that the first climbers to reach Denali’s summit this year were hard-cores doing the Muldrow Glacier route. That is not a trivial endeavor. The group did the now common style of slogging up the complex and heavily crevassed Muldrow then descending Washburn Route to the Kahiltna Glacier airstrip, rather than reversing the Muldrow which can take literally weeks more after you summit. Nice article here.

What with Louie and his friends hanging out with Mr. Griz a few weeks ago, bears in the news have been catching my attention. This guy sounds like he is very blessed to be alive after a big brown attacked him. Apparently the bears in the area he was in have no fear of humans and will just as much charge you as run off when confronted. The report says the man spoke the classic “Hey bear, hey bear” to the bruin as it came at him.

One has to wonder, in the AK, if you shout “hey bear” to a big apex predator, what exactly does that mean to them? Bear language for “dinner?” The man’s bear spray and gun were back in camp. Clearly, these animals are not to be trifled with. Louie told me that another method of hazing off an aggressive bear is to use an air horn, I’d imagine that’s best combined with pepper spray. As for guns, I’ve heard they’re more of a psychological crutch than anything else, since the likelihood of hitting a charging bear with an instantly lethal or even crippling shot is unlikely. Noise and pepper spray don’t require as much accuracy. Me, I’d carry a slug gun anyway. With another one carried by my friends so while the bear is consuming me they have options better than shouting. An even more disturbing bear attack occurred recently up north, during a student mountaineering outing. More on that here.

Here at WildSnow HQ: If you’re in Colorado don’t forget Independence Pass opening Memorial Day weekend. Folks will gather for tailgate celebration on the Saturday of that weekend, May 28, around 11:00 at upper hairpin turn on Aspen side of pass.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


12 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup May 2016 — Sea, Ski, and Mr. Bear”

  1. Hacksaw May 20th, 2016 8:26 am

    On Baffin Island we had a 12 gauge with slugs, in case of meeting up with a Polar bear.

  2. Nuke May 20th, 2016 8:34 am

    Back in my cycling days I had a friend that thoroughly believed pork = torque. I’m sure the same theory applies to backcountry skiing… I just can’t think of a rhyme for it.

  3. Lindahl May 20th, 2016 9:20 am

    Unrelated to this post, but looking for any recent beta on Landry’s exit conditions. Contemplating it for Sunday.

  4. swissiphic May 20th, 2016 10:08 am

    Living in northwest B.C., bears are ubiquitous. While doing some logging road driving ski touring recon a few years back I performed some testing of the airhorn as a bear rebuking tool on a few outings. Four black bears observed, in logging clearcuts and on logging roads at various distances up to a few hundred meters away. one bear munching on vegetation didn’t even raise his head, another one did a quick run away then stopped, looked back in curiosity and stared, a third stood up, back down and started walking towards me, and the fourth ran away. Takeaway based on limited testing? Bring bear spray.

  5. swissiphic May 20th, 2016 10:10 am

    …preferably two cans…

  6. Eric Steig May 20th, 2016 6:41 pm

    A friend of mine uses (and has successfully scared off a peskygrizzly with) a string of firecrackers. Keep em in the string they come with (at yer local Rez) and light the first on: chain reaction ensues.

  7. Jim Milstein May 20th, 2016 9:11 pm

    Pig = Big

  8. Greg Louie May 20th, 2016 10:29 pm

    Ski Fine with Swine?

  9. Frame May 21st, 2016 5:25 am

    Get a move on, with Cochon

  10. playinginthemountains May 21st, 2016 9:16 pm

    prosciutto = scatti del viso?

  11. Greg Louie May 22nd, 2016 11:44 am

    Trailbreakin’ with bacon?

  12. Mase May 22nd, 2016 12:03 pm

    playinginthemountains WINS! You have my vote anyhow.

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