Ski Touring News Roundup — Snow in a Few Weeks?


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | July 27, 2016      

Despite global warming I’m thinking we’ll have some skiing here in Colorado come September. Indicators: Main thing I noticed in my seemingly endless perusal of the oracle is that if you stick a crackmeter in a crack, you’ll notice changes going on that in my heavily educated scientific opinion indicate the coming storm. No jokes folks, this is real. The crackmeter never lies.

I was googling around and landed on this: Skiing 50 peaks in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Nice, also couldn’t help but think it must have been wonderful to only need a few trailheads instead of dozens and dozens — as most “list” skiing projects in the Rocky Mountains seem to entail. Just finding the trailheads used to be a major challenge when doing things like skiing all 54 14,000-foot Colorado peaks. Back when I was doing those, we didn’t have much information and we’d drive around for hours (or sometimes a full day) just looking for access. I remember thinking more than once how nice it would have been to be heading to the same parking place enough times to feel comfortable, instead of stressing out. More here.

In places such as Austria, it seems all you have to do is blink and a new ski tow cable appears. Say what you will about the U.S. in terms of our environmental sensibilities, but you can’t fault us here in Colorado for being cavalier about building resorts. New ones are now rare as hen teeth. Check out this article. What with the uncertainty of global warming, I’m wondering how any sane investor could throw money at anything below 10,000 feet in elevation; the summit of the proposed resort is at 9,727 feet. When there actually is snow up there, I’m wondering how it would be for ski touring?

What is it about South America. It seems nearly every “summer,” pro skiers go there and don’t come back. September of 2014 was horrible in that way with the loss of Liz Daly, J.P. Auclair and Andreas Fransson, now we’re hearing that pro skier Matilda Rapaport has perished in an avalanche in Chile. Our sincere condolences from WildSnow to Rapaport’s friends and family. Our sport can be so beautiful, yet turn dark all too easily…

Accidents happen other places as well, but my gut is telling me that despite a relatively small number of Northern Hemisphere skiers spending time in the Southern, accidents are all too frequent. The usual media articles are popping up with titles like “Is Pro Freeskiing Too Dangerous?” While many pros do beat themselves up and deal with constant orthopaedic problems, my impression is that the profession is actually pretty safe in terms of catastrophic accidents. It’s not as controlled as Hollywood stunt acting, but it’s not total insanity as the films sometimes portray. Instead, quite a bit of thought and planning goes into each “stunt” and I’m told that usual procedure is the guides or safety “officers” have final say in what gets skied. That said, the culture of personal safety is different in South America than that of the U.S., could that have something to do with all this? Thoughts, commenters?

Politics. Ok, I’ll cave and mention our presidential race. Since I don’t really like any of these folks very much, I’m picking my own nominee based on nothing more than skiing. She is married to a president, and photographed on planks in Vail and Aspen. Clearly that’s not the H gal, but rather Mrs. O. Beyond that, the nefarious T-man was spotted years ago arguing with his now x-wife on the slopes of Aspen, ostensibly due to him playing around with at least two different paramours. Something like that is simply never done in Aspen. Wait, I’m wrong, the skiing backwards and shouting part is clearly part of Aspen skiing. More here. Relationship spats are an honored tradition on ski slopes, but still, fighting turns me off even if it’s done while skiing switch. So I’ll pick the M.O., perhaps she’ll want to get in a ski tour with Lisa and I some time.

Back here in cowboy country, we’re looking at the repatriation of wolves to our fair ecosystem. Not a big deal to me, perhaps a concern if you’re a rancher. Or, if you live on the urban-wildland interface and you’ve had 6 cats and 8 dogs dined on by coyotes, can you imagine what’s going to happen when you’ve got a nearby wolf pack with mouths to feed? In other words, our state does have areas of vast wilderness where wolves could perhaps exist in their pre-columbian state of edenic ecosystem stasis, but what’s to keep them from living where getting food is a simple matter of chomping on a lap dog? This article is interesting. Grizzly bears are probably next to be re-introduced. Would that be such a great idea?

I’m always fascinated by the ski scene in New England, where the main issue in backcountry skiing is vegetation — though according to the magazines it’s all about powder, all the time. Powder is easy to handle, vegetables are another matter. It seems like such a no-brainer to me, just form clubs or groups and start making trails through the bramble. But of course laws, politics and tree worship all get in the way. Nice to hear they’ve cut through the bull in various places. I was amused to find out about the Angry Beavers of Black Mountain Maine volunteer cutting group, making what sounds like some epic tree runs. More power!



IF YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING SITE, TRY WHITELISTING IN YOUR ADBLOCKER, OTHERWISE PLEASE CONTACT US USING MENU ABOVE, OR FACEBOOK.

Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

9 Responses to “Ski Touring News Roundup — Snow in a Few Weeks?”

  1. Max July 27th, 2016 2:07 pm

    Lou, regarding the avalanche that took M. Rapaport, it is very important to highlight the fact that there was a total of three avalanche incidents in the same area (Farellones) in a single week. After a major thaw in the winter, it started snowing again and powder fever took hold. The other major incidents were in sidecontry areas near La Parva and Colorado, where the FWT is to be held this weekend.

    The avalanche that killed Matilda occured in a valley due west of Farellones, not farther than 40 km from Santiago. She was buried for 30 minutes, and was not in medical care until an hour later. Further details regarding the rescue are unknown.

    With regards to personal safety, i think that like in the US, it depends where you go. In the Santiago area, with all the crowding, more and more people are heading into the BC without the proper knowledge or equipment (even the “pro” skiers from the local circuit). Further south, i find the locals tend to treat the mountains with more respect.

    What is beyond any doubt is that we simply do not have the advanced avalanche resources (bulletins, forecast, rescue, in short: we DO NOT HAVE AVALANCHE CENTERS) that you folks have. Case in point, patrollers in the Farellones area don´t do beacon searches or avy related training. However, at least now there are far more providers for AIARE and AST courses, in levels I and II.

    In the short term, expect to hear much more news like this from South America.

  2. Matt Kinney July 27th, 2016 2:24 pm

    Good to see you commenting about global warming and it’s relationship to skiing. It will take “human-will power” along with the future direction of the ski industry to limit our collective carbon footprint. Time is not on our side.

    I think three young professionals on the Freeride Tour died last year unfortunately. Two competed in Haines, AK. None of the incidents happened in the controlled zone of an event. There is a pattern worth discussing at some level e. Steepness inclined skiers have been getting killed for as long as I can remember, so this is nothing new. Not sure a young profreeride skier at 18, 21, oven 30 has real backcountry skiing experience away from the safety net of lifts, heli’s and camera’s. Seems like 95% off their ski time is not in the backcountry making routes decisions on their own. They should be seeking mentorship before sponsorship.

    Seriously the closest I see to Profreeride skiers are lou jr and his posse trip reports.

    If you don’t have brown bears, don’t ask for them.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 July 27th, 2016 2:59 pm

    Hi Matt, I’ve seen our skiing clearly affected by GW, both in good and bad ways. I attribute some of the better high altitude snowpacks we’re seeing in Colorado to GW, likewise I attribute rain in December at 10,000 feet, and lean skiing in Europe, not to mention obviously retreating glaciers. I’m really not all that interested any more in endless “proof” that it exists. That stuff became a yawner years ago for any observant person who’s out in the natural world. In fact, I think a lot of money and time is now being wasted by scientists staring slack jawed at their thermometers, and yes, crack meters! All I’m interested in is governments doing practical things to adapt, as all the good science I’ve seen makes it clear that we’re on the GW path and stopping it or slowing it down is impossible for now, due to socio economic realities. I do prefer to call it Global Warming if we’re talking about heat, rather than the weird “climate change” euphemism, a semantic weirdness foisted on us for some reason I can’t quite fathom. Lou

  4. Austin Porzak July 27th, 2016 6:41 pm

    Thanks for mentioning the Ski RMNP project! We’ve been having a blast climbing and skiing these peaks. Funny you mention the TH thing. At first it was great using the same TH’s over and over but now I kinda miss going to new TH’s haha. I think I have every single inch of the Longs Peak and Glacier Gorge approaches memorized, which makes it easier on somedays and makes it worse on others.. It would be a real honor if you would ski a peak with us next year! As always thank you Lou for the inspiration.

  5. Lou Dawson 2 July 28th, 2016 6:44 am

    Hi Austin, thanks for dropping by. I hear you on the Longs approach, that burnout happened to me during my rock climbing career. I lost count of how many times I hiked that trail up to the Boulder Field, many times getting hit by weather and just turning around. And then the ski years, I was up there 4 or 5 times before finally getting the North Face route. Am looking forward to checking out some other peaks some day for skiing. Lou

  6. Lou Dawson 2 July 28th, 2016 7:26 am

    Max, thank for chiming in. I’d add, as a small voice whispering in a windy wilderness, that some of the stuff we do is perhaps more risky than we care to admit to ourselves. During my avalanche education, it was pounded into me over and over again that “if you ski a slope that avalanches one out of a hundred times, and you ski it a hundred times, what do you expect?” That’s of course an oversimplification and not mathematically accurate, but it gets the point across. As I watch myself, my friends and loved ones skiing avalanche terrain, I’m always thinking “are we pushing it, and just setting up for the inevitable?” Or are we mitigating hazard to enough of a degree, mostly through decision making, to where what we’re doing is actually as safe as we think it is? Lou

  7. Aaron Mattix July 29th, 2016 5:06 pm

    The Sunlight/Williams Peak area could certainly benefit from some Angry Beaver-style efforts. Some deadfall and vegetation clearing could open up quite a few new routes to accommodate the growing number of folks who are using the area for entry-level backcountry skiing.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 July 29th, 2016 6:06 pm

    I’m surprised I’ve not seen more maintainence up there. Some of the old fence lines clearly have some work done, as does the summit area. It’s Sunlight’s permit area, they could give volunteers permission to do some work.

    For our readers, “Sunlight/Williams” is a ski touring area in Colorado.

    Lou

  9. Shawn July 30th, 2016 9:23 am

    When our chief export is weaponry, doesn’t hold much promise for solving a global issue. War hawks are no longer welcome on this planet, let’s send them all to Mars.





Anti-Spam Quiz:

 

While you can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box above, you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit. NOTE: BY SUBSCRIBING TO COMMENTS YOU GIVE US PERMISSION TO STORE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS INDEFINITLY. YOU MAY REQUEST REMOVAL AND WE WILL REMOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITHIN 72 HOURS. To request removal of personal information, please contact us using the comment link in our site menu.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts




Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 



  • Blogroll & Links


  • 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 ski touring 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.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. 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. Due to human error and passing time, 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.

    Switch To Mobile Version