Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
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!