Ski Touring News mid September — Housing and 80 mm Skis

Post by blogger | September 16, 2016      

Affordable mountain town housing? Oxymoronic? You might get tired of me beating the drum, but in my opinion, solutions exist. Government price controls and subsidies help when the money is there (e.g., wealthy enclaves such as Aspen). But private sector can mix is up as well — if they’re allowed to. In Seattle, the apparatchiks could have solved much of their housing “crises” but they chose not to do so. Instead, by the process of a thousand cuts they’ve nearly canceled out the concept of affordable downsized housing. Do you live in a place with a housing “crisis?” Could you live in a tiny house or smaller apartment, but such options don’t exist? You might look at the why in that equation. This guy did that in Seattle and look what he found!

Helmets — always in the news. Here in the U.S.A. I like the attention NFL brings to the issue of whether helmets are somewhat imaginary in their protection. One fact is indisputable: nearly any helmet for any activity is more oriented to preventing skull fractures than to preventing concussions. Why? Because a thin shell and mere millimeters of foam can do a pretty good job of keeping your skull from getting crushed or opened, but still do little to slow down and cushion impact.

(Bear in mind that “spreading out the force” as a helmet shell does has little to do with concussion prevention, though it’s hard to wrap your head around the concept, no pun intended. What’s necessary is cushioning that causes your head to “stop slower.” Like braking long before a stoplight so you don’t spill your coffee. Current helmets provide very little of such cushion. The problem is physical reality. Again, like your slow stoplight approach, slowing your head down gradually requires distance, which equals a thicker helmet.)

Check this article out: Why NFL Helmets will never be Concussion Proof. Same probably goes for ski helmets unless they get crazy with tech such as reactive cushioning. Also, NYT reports NFL is planning on spending a hundred million dollars on helmet research. Something could actually come of that, we’ll be watching.

Check out our WildSnow ski helmet coverage, extensive.

Here in Colorado, our uphill resort skiing situation continues to develop. We recently reported that one of our last holdouts, Eldora, would allow uphilling this season. Well, that’s not the whole story.

Apparently Eldora will only let you uphill during resort operating hours — and only on weekdays. This is a huge disappointment as it’s popular amongst the cardio fitness crowd to do after-work and early morning uphilling. Further, serious skimo racers need flexible training times so they can work around family and career obligations. What annoys the heck out of me is here we have a ski sport that’ll probably be sending a few Colorado athletes to the next winter Olympics, and a resort apparently can’t see the viability of training for that sport, and instead niggles their way along with how permissive they’ll be. Excuse for no uphilling on weekends is crowding. From the looks of Eldora’s trail maps and photos, they’re in a large area of land where uphill routes could be made up through unused forest. Having uphilled resorts literally all over the world, watching this, a few words come to mind: provincial, childish.

For an example of how a resort can embrace snow sports, check out what’s going on at Les 2 Alpes in France, where they’ll not only be boasting a “ski touring slope” this winter, but a fat bike riding area as well. Oh, and did I mention the ice waterfall and paragliding? Yeah, a perhaps a bit “industrial” for our taste here in Colorado. But the ski touring slope sounds like just what we’re needing.

In industry news: Remember to enter our special BCA WildSnow contest to win a pair of BC Link radios. To enter, click on the BCA banners in our sidebar or leader. And thinking of airbag backpacks, BCA Float 32 is such a nice blend of function and affordability I’m not sure looking farther is necessary, but, we did just get our final retail version of the Arcteryx Voltair here in the WildSnow workshop-studio. Look for a teardown and more coming soon! Voltair full dress weight is 7.75 pounds. On the clothing front, we’ve been noticing the Strafe Outerwear brand now for a few years as they build their vibrant start-up here in our Colorado mountain valley. Lisa and I headed up there yesterday for an “official” Wildsnow visit and product line overview from owners (and world class skimo racers) John and Pete Gaston. I’m working on a Strafe overview and we’ve got some test gear for the winter.

Strafe Outwear and gear designed specifically for ski touring -- WS testing and review in the works.

Pete and John Gaston showing their wares — Strafe Outerwear — lightweight, breathable, and clever features for ski touring. WS testing and review in the works.

I had fun chatting with the Gaston boys about skiing narrower skis, and how the “80 mm” stuff can be so fun for touring. Indeed, it’s been amusing watching differences in ski culture rising around around ski width and overall kit weight. A recent magazine ski test, for example, included nobel equivocating from folks who liked sacrificing uphill comfort and efficiency for the ride back down. In my opinion, most skiers can get a wonderful ride on gear that’s not full-on freeride, and utilizing such gear might be more a matter of how experienced you are and what gear you’re used to — rather than what gear you really need. Each to his own on that, but of course, yet I can’t help notice how many amazingly good backcountry skiers I see all over the world using setups that are clearly not “freeride touring.” Like John said during our meet: “a pair of race boots on 80 something mm skis, light bindings, excellent.”

For what it’s worth, our “ultimate quiver” picks for skinny skis this year include the Volkl VTA 88 and Scott Superguide 88. What’s that about 88? A magic number or something?

WildSnow outer local: Those of you near our Colorado locations, we’ll be up at Marble Field HQ this weekend getting ready for the season of white. Stop by and throw a few logs around. My back will thank you.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


38 Responses to “Ski Touring News mid September — Housing and 80 mm Skis”

  1. Greg Louie September 16th, 2016 9:14 am

    Whoa, is that the Veilance airbag option?

  2. Lee September 16th, 2016 9:49 am

    Helmets-you brought it up. From all your writing I know you feel the protection gained by a helmet is vastly over generalized by skiers. That the forces of going from 25 mph to stop are more than the helmet is safely physically able to deal with. Yes physics is math, but skiing is falling and glancing hopefully with some body awareness to help with the fall.

    The NFL article you site actually is the most compelling argument I have ever seen for helmets. Professional Football and Skiing are very different sports, but it is common to get 2 football players coming at each other over 25 mph of speed and with the weight of the two players and the acceleration at impact a tremendous amount of force is generated

    Here is the quote:
    ” In the mid 20th century, as many as 30 players were dying a year due to head injuries.”

    WOW, I had no idea that many players were dying. Lots more players who are much bigger and playing much faster now, but I do not have a living memory of a player dying directly (in the way it would be measured in the mid 20th century) to a head injury. Slam dunk on helmets impact on reduction of head injury death and by extrapolation survivable head injury to some extent.

    Safety goes way up in the back country and I have found it odd how you point out the limitations of helmets-yes all your points are real and valid- rather than promoting their benefits. So long as the user does not participate in more unsafe behavior just as carrying a shovel beacon and probe does not cause us to participate in more unsafe behavior. But like a shovel, beacon, probe a helmet protects us to some degree in avalanche due to the hazard of trauma. A helmet also protects us in a non avalanche fall. A helmet protects us if worn from rock and ice fall on the way up. I would have no way of substantiating, but I would guess the safety to weight ratio of a helmet compared to shovel, beacon, probe has the helmet way ahead 😉

    I think the MIPPS system in helmets is most likely more good than not The Procap system sounded somewhat similar in the NFL Helmet Article.

    My lay knowledge of knowing people with head injury is that much of it is unknown and difficult to quantify. Going from 30 deaths a year to 0 decade after decade when conditions have become more dangerous is quantifiable.

    Lou, I urge you to change your stance on helmets. Promote them as a piece of back country kit. More than ski, boot or binding design an evolution in helmets would be great for BC skiers. Lighter, more comfortable, better ventilated for wearing on the way up, temperature flexibility, unicorn horns and all.

  3. Niko September 16th, 2016 10:27 am

    Lou, not Only is Eldora only allowing it during weekday operating hours only, but charging for it as well – $150 for a “season pass”…


    It’s only $99 to add that uphill pass onto your regular season pass!

    (Blackout dates do apply – see: week after Christmas, President’s Day weekend, etc)

    Wish I was joking…

  4. Lou Dawson 2 September 16th, 2016 11:07 am

    Niko, I don’t really see a problem with charging for uphilling on a snow farmed and developed resort. I mean, really. So long as the price is fair. Now that’s another issue. $150 for a whole season sounds pretty reasonable IF it was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It seems a little much at current settings.

    Lee, my stance on helmets is that they’re not necessary for everyone but if you ski fast or other situations that make their use obvious, by all means the extra protection if fine and I’m glad to see them worn. My stance is also that helmets are vastly over rated in terms of their perceived protection, especially when it comes to concussions. People don’t usually die from accumulated concussions, they _just_ become brain damaged. That’s the problem NFL is having, and all helmet evangelicals need to be aware of.

    If, for example, you’re going out in the terrain park and giving yourself a “bell ring” on a regular basis, you stand a pretty good chance of ending up as a drooling zombie by middle age, helmet included.

    If you want to use prevention of death by head injury as a measure of helmet effectiveness, you’ve got some problematic numbers to deal with. For example, they now require all Aspen Ski Co employees to wear helmets while skiing. Great. But how many of those employees died of head injuries before helmet use began? The number is clearly statistically insignificant. As opposed to how many suffered life altering spinal injuries, or, should I whisper it, blown knees that haunted them for the rest of their lives?


  5. Chris B September 16th, 2016 11:15 am

    One of Eldora’s biggest problem is not enough parking. And that is their stated reason for limiting uphill to midweek.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 September 16th, 2016 11:25 am

    Sounds reasonable except what if they just implemented some solutions, car pooling and buses are not rocket science, and parking for skiing after hours couldn’t be a problem, or could it? Surly they’re not expecting to fill up their parking area at night with uphillers?

    Something isn’t making sense also… if they’re selling an uphill pass as part of a regular pass, and you go up there to “ski” both on lifts and uphill, and park, how does that cause a parking problem any worse that what already is on weekends? Or are they thinking that adding uphilling to the pass will make Eldora so popular that suddenly their weekend parking is used up? And really, is it so hard to make more parking?

    This parking thing gives me fits. I’m so tired of hearing about it as a problem-excuse, in Colorado where we’ve got so much land it’s a joke.

    The whole thing has logic holes every 2 inches.

  7. Lou Dawson 2 September 16th, 2016 11:28 am

    It’s like Teton Pass, give me two hours with a bulldozer and a few dumpers full of road base… I mean, what is the problem!? Have we decided that healthy recreation is not worth providing parking for, while we’ll pave vast acreage so people can park their RVs at a Walmart?

  8. Gard September 16th, 2016 11:35 am

    Just a few thoughts on helmets:

    Lou (and the article he cites) are correct about the physics behind helmets. You can prevent a fractured skull with only an inch or two of padding, but that’s far from enough material to reliably prevent concussions. That’s just physics. It takes distance to dissipate energy gently. Rotational forces are different because there can be more than an inch or two to work with. (and generally not as high to begin with)

    But that’s not to say that helmets are unnecessary! I spend a lot of time in the trees and I would like to avoid skull fractures so I always wear a helmet. That doesn’t mean I’m not still at risk of TBI, but that’s part of my risk calculation when I choose my line and speed. You can’t accurately mitigate risk without being aware of the risk factors. Someone else with different terrain and ski style may weigh those factors differently and decide to forego a helmet.

    I appreciate Lou’s efforts to provide accurate information on the limits of helmet’s effectiveness. I also hope that those efforts don’t cause anyone to rashly decide to forego a helmet when they might actually benefit from one. (even if the benefits aren’t as big as we’d all like to see)

    In the end, I’d rather be the one making the decision instead of outsourcing it to the ad companies and internet bloggers.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 September 16th, 2016 11:56 am

    Well stated Gard. My agenda is I know of too many people for whom helmets did not work so well, so I simply am pushing for them to be better. It appears the only thing that could make that happen is consumer demand… so having the facts is first step in that process… Lou

  10. Lee September 16th, 2016 11:57 am

    Thanks Lou, I just believe helmets increase safety for skiers. In the backcountry I am more concerned with this than in bounds in part because of the remoteness to health care and in part because the terrain is wild. From what I have read skiing fast lessens significantly the usefulness of a helmet in terms of direct impact. You can die from falling over and hitting your head. The NFL article you linked just had a staggering statement on helmets effectiveness in one measurable parameter that I think bears relevance especially how dramatic the data was. I think helmets benefit all back country skiers safety and should be worn when possible.

    I have found your blog invaluable and like many visit often. I appreciate that you take a stand on things and don’t muddle about On helmets though we disagree. Would be the thrill of the lifetime if I ever came upon you on a skin track and I wouldn’t give a fig if you were wearing a helmet or not.

  11. Niko September 16th, 2016 12:24 pm

    Exactly Lou, I think charging is fine as long as it is in line with the hours/access you allow – the current tiers just seem overboard for the limited usage hours.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 September 16th, 2016 12:36 pm

    Sounds good Lee! Remember that NFL rule changes have had effect as well, kind of like changing skiing behavior (smile).

    Niko, agree, it sounds a little ridiculous. Like they want to say “we allow it” when they really do not… Lou

  13. Bill B September 16th, 2016 1:28 pm

    Hey Niko
    I would make sure you express that to Eldora.
    If pressured, they may change.

  14. stephen pavone September 16th, 2016 2:47 pm

    So Eldora wants to charge their season pass holders +$99 to NOT use the lifts they already paid $399 for? That is simply ridiculous.

  15. Jason Killgore September 16th, 2016 3:04 pm

    Re: eldora. Given that until a few days ago there was no legal uphilling at eldora, this is still great progress. I guess it would be too much to expect them to get everything right the 1st go around. I do worry that they are dooming themselves to failure though. I’d pay the $150 in a heartbeat if I could ski before and after work. Instead we’ll have to keep training on 600′ of windblown sastrugi.

    One concern of theirs must be that the ski area would track out before opening on powder days. I think this is a valid concern. I assume a second concern is for safety and liability off hours. Seems this could be addressed with a waiver and even requiring off hours participants to carry certain safety gear (B-S-P, cell phone with service, spot/inreach) .I just want a local place where I can exercise on skis with decent vert and no approach. I’d much rather see them impose stricter rules with better access (regarding uphill routes, downhill routes, powder policy). I’ll happily ski in the backcountry on actual powder days.

    Hopefully somebody has their ear and can actively work with them to make this policy great.

  16. See September 16th, 2016 7:32 pm

    I consider helmet use to be a personal decision but I usually wear one. I credit helmets with having saved me from serious injury more than once. I don’t disagree with a lot of what Lou has to say about helmets, but I think the statement that ski helmets (like football helmets) will never be concussion proof “unless they get crazy with tech such as reactive cushioning” is misleading. First, a ski helmet doesn’t have to be “concussion proof” in order to be useful. Unlike football players, skiers (hopefully) aren’t taking 5 to 10 “concussion caliber” hits per hour (game). Second, football helmets aren’t ski helmets. Football helmets have to withstand multiple impacts, ski helmets (like motorcycle helmets) are meant to be replaced if they take even a singe hard hit. Third, I bet that adding 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch of soft foam or honeycomb (Koroyd) would make for a significantly more protective ski helmet without requiring exotic technology or drastically increasing the size of the helmet. The soft foam goes next to the head, so the neck injury issue is not relevant, especially with MIPS. And so what if it looks silly. You should see my new ski pants.

    Interesting article, by the way, Lou. Thanks.

  17. See September 16th, 2016 7:50 pm

    To be clear, I meant that by putting soft foam inside a conventional stiff foam with shell type helmet, the risk of neck injury is probably not increased significantly compared to today’s helmet designs. Obviously, neck injury is very relevant to helmet design in general.

  18. Shredgar September 16th, 2016 11:36 pm

    Hi all, my $0.02 on helmets: Two and a half years ago sweet Melissa, the love of my life, was hit from behind by a reckless Texan while skiing, sending her cartwheeling down the hill. She suffered seven fractures including neck (c2), 3xpelvis & scapula. The ski patrol & her doctors both told us her helmet probably saved her life. Happy to say she is back on her feet & enjoying life pain free 😀

  19. ptor September 17th, 2016 3:16 am

    Could someone please explain to my why people want to ski-tour up groomed runs (clearcuts) surrounded by lift skiers and potentially be forced to wear a helmet? Is this the start of free-pisting to finally find a use for ‘touring skis’ that are just ultralight piste skis? It must be kind of like jogging on a highway or skateboarding at the Indy 500 I guess.

  20. Kristian September 17th, 2016 8:52 am

    Ptor – The answer to your question is the same type folks that prefer climbing on plastic inside crowded noisy climbing gyms.

  21. Lou Dawson 2 September 17th, 2016 9:15 am

    My answer is it’s just like any other sport that one loves, in this case sliding on snow combined with healthy cardio, not a big deal. I’ve done it ever since my days as an alpinist in the 1970s. What is more, if you live in a place with lots of avalanche danger along with challenging access, some days it’s just nice to go to a resort and not stress, whether you’re riding lifts, hiking, or both. It’s not uncommon around here for folks to do one lap cardio, then ride lifts for a few hours. I do that myself during ski testing.

    Another thing, especially answering to Ptor, in our particular case here near Aspen, the piste slopes we’re allowed to hike on are usually fairly uncrowded and can even be quite aesthetic depending on time of day. It’s not like hiking up a crowded piste in the Alps. I do the latter on occasion and have indeed been in the wrong place and terrified for my life. Mistake.

    Yeah, this is so we don’t want to turn it into, but uphilling is a viable part of the whole so we cover it and do it.


  22. ptor September 17th, 2016 10:23 am

    Well that would be rad if it became so popular that lift companies began to take out lifts instead of adding more, leaving controlled but self-powered only zones.

  23. Jim Milstein September 17th, 2016 9:53 pm

    Yes, Ptor, and the Canada Lynx will lie down with the snowshoe hare . . . in a friendly way. The Peaceable Kingdom of Skiing.

  24. Jim Milstein September 17th, 2016 10:05 pm

    For me, helmets are best for protection from pokey things in the trees and against a fall onto a sharp rock. Typically, for me, these occur, if at all, at fairly slow speeds, where neither skull fracture nor concussion is likely, but rather surface trauma. You know, blood. Goggles are now part of this kit for the same reasons. Since wearing goggle and helmet (uphill too!) my face hasn’t been bloodied.

    You can now get goggles and helmets that are light and comfortable and cool enough to wear uphill and down. Bonus: less gear fiddling!

  25. Lou 2 September 18th, 2016 8:07 am

    Jim, just a few days ago I was just talking to some skimo guys about wearing helmets all the time, as they do in racing. The Giro bicycle helmets were mentioned as being quite nice (though not allowed in Europe due to stricter rule enforcement). For you, regarding punji resistance, quite a few of the helmets out there clearly are not what you’d want as the vent holes are too vulnerable. I recall the ANSI ski helmet standard actually has something about vent hole size and overall penetration resistance, definitely good and necessary parts of the standard.

    When I use a helmet, I prefer to wear one I can leave on all the time. It seems so absurd fiddling around with it, trying to stow it in or on a pack, trying to think about when it should be worn. Reminds me of those bicycle riders you see with a helmet dangling from their handlebars.


  26. Toby September 18th, 2016 9:02 am

    This is so true > “When I use a helmet, I prefer to wear one I can leave on all the time.” For me it is Salomon MTN lab helmet doing the job. Pretty good mix of protection, ventilation and comfort. It is definitely more helmet than those skimo/climbing helmets. I’m also using Salewa Piuma which is basically same as Dynafit Radical Helmet. Weights nothing and fits well. But really, it is only a climbing helmet.

    Could it be even so, that as matter of fact the bicycle helmets offer more protection for (skimo) skiing than those climbing helmets? (but well, rules are rules)

  27. Toby September 18th, 2016 9:18 am

    In Europe, ski-tour up groomed runs is sometimes the only viable option to reach sufficient snowpack to start the actual skitour. We typically do this well before lifts opens.
    Good Strudel could be another reason.

  28. Matt Kinney September 18th, 2016 10:05 am

    I used to be pro helmet all the time. Last year I decided to give the helmet a rest and it turned out fine because like lou, I never fall! But that is more related to the benefits of telemarking. (ha!)

    Depends on terrain. I’ve also ditched my knee pads. These decisions I will admit are more age related as my desired slope angles are receding…. along with my hairline. Not into skiing rock gardens anymore unless I have to. In the past, the helmet was a lifesaver and I’m glad I was wearing it.

    On the other hand, shoulder pads would have been more desirable as I’ve torn a rotator cuff a time to two over the years. (-:

  29. Jim Milstein September 18th, 2016 1:01 pm

    I’m using the CAMP Speed 2.0 helmet, which has no holes in front — better for punji resistance, and it provides a fog-free parking space for the goggle.

    Another reason for wearing a helmet is that it is strapped on. I used to lose hats to wind and branches. I am now wearing hooded base layer shirts, so it’s quick and easy to adjust head warmth.

    When I say “now” it’s theoretical, but maybe it will be real, real soon.

  30. Andy Pavia September 18th, 2016 2:18 pm

    Jim was on the mark about “pokey” things. The comparison between helmets in the NFL and helmets for skiers makes little sense. Yes, current helmets are better a preventing massive head trauma than they are at preventing concussion (deceleration and contre coup injuries in the trade)

    But… most skiers are not at risk for repeated concussions like a football player (with some exceptions on the freestyle hill and slope style competition. They are highly effective at preventing skull fractures and massive head trauma. We are at very real risk of skull fracture from losing control in tight trees, or sliding into or over rocks, or even, at the resorts, a high speed collision with another rider (no aspersions on choice of one board or two…). In the backcountry, lacerations to the face or head are tough to deal with and since scalp wounds bleed profusely, can be life threatening.

    Terrain choice, speed, whether you keep your skis on the snow at all times matter. I don’t often wear a helmet on powder days in the backcountry, although given the low altitude exits, that may not be wise. In bounds, and in low snow conditions, I don’t leave home without it. Dealer’s choice, but you shouldn’t use the concussion argument as the major reason .

  31. Mitch R. September 18th, 2016 10:40 pm

    The few of us in the Upper Midwest look on with envy at “enlightened” ski resorts in the West that allow any uphill skiing, The ski hills here have no idea what it is and have no interest in finding out. Seems like a lost business opportunity.

  32. Jack September 20th, 2016 12:56 pm

    FWIW, Eldora has had a year-round public bus that drops off right at the lifts for years and has been using shuttle buses and remote parking lots for a while now too.

  33. Martin September 21st, 2016 10:36 am

    If enough people were to email letting them know what they think of the new uphill policy maybe they’ll pay attention to the feedback.

  34. Lou Dawson 2 September 21st, 2016 11:56 am

    Jack, yeah, as often happens it sounds like “parking” is a red herring. Sigh.

    Martin, I hope folks see your comment and send an email. Of course, depending on the bias of the recipients it’ll either be “wow, we got a few hundred emails so we’re going to work harder to make good uphilling for folks,” or “we got hardly any emails about this, just a few hundred, so we don’t feel it’s an area that requires much effort, instead we’re working on the sled hill and tubing park.”

  35. afox September 26th, 2016 4:17 pm

    what do ya’all think about chin guards or full face helmets? My thinking is that dental work is very expensive and generally not covered as completely as other injuries by health insurance and thus it is very important for me to protect my teeth from injury. Im also an agressive tree skier and spend nearly all my time in the trees. Shit happens and sometimes there are monsters lurking beneath the snow, then its just luck if you superman into a tree trunk or into soft snow. Im using a giro svestre helmet with metal chin guard and honestly I dont notice its there at all, see no reason not to use it… Before that I had a full on full face and hated it, obstructed vision and speech and goggles didnt really work with it and it doesnt seem to offer much more protection than the wire chin guard.

  36. Wookie September 27th, 2016 3:38 am

    I’m with Ptor on this one….I don’t get it. Sure – there’s the fitness, the safety, all that…but that’s not why I ski tour. I can jog round the block for all that, and if its the views I’m after, I can ride the lifts. Skiing all that manky tracked out stuff isn’t so fabulous anyway.
    I can’t help but notice that most of the uphillers turned up just a few years ago, and that many have more saftey gear than the folks you meet somewhere way out back. I think its a lack of security that forces them into ski-touring at a resort.
    As pro-uphilling as you are Lou, I have to say that the last two years here in Austria have changed my opinion. The numbers are staggering, and on many days, downhill skiing is no longer possible (at least as it used to be). There is a difference between 200 people all skiing downhill and 100 going down, and 100 going up.
    OK – I probably should be thankful that they are not all out there tracking up the backcountry, but I’m not just a ski-tourer….I also ski the resorts with my kiddos, and I have to say that the expirience there has become less attractive in the last few years due to the massive numbers of uphillers. (early season in Austria 50/50 split for sure)

  37. JCoates September 27th, 2016 5:27 am

    Part of the problem in Austria the last couple of years was that there wasn’t much snow until late season. Sadly, people (myself included) uphilled on piste because man-made snow was all they had.

  38. Lou Dawson 2 September 27th, 2016 7:58 am

    Wookie and Jcoats, Its been interesting reporting on the huge upsurge in uphilling in the Alps, indeed due to lack of backcountry snow. The crowding is an acknowledged problem which it sounds like resort managers and others are dealing with gradually.

    While I enjoy being involved in the discussion, I think resort uphilling is really not that big a deal. I can speak for many in saying that I simply love skiing, and I love cardio, and if the backcountry isn’t in shape, or the weather bad, or for whatever reason a “real” ski tour is not appropriate, sometimes just slapping the skins on and marching up the hill, having a kuken and espresso at the gasthaus on top, then skiing back down, is fair enough.

    Sure, nothing to brag about and I don’t like it when I’m getting in the way of downhill skiers, but it’s viable for very simple reasons.

    Big easy solution IMHO is that resorts simply designate mandatory off-piste uphill routes that are close by, end at the restaurant, avalanche safe, and patrol swept at the end of the day. I’m not understanding why more resorts don’t get this, including around here in Colorado.


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  • 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.

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    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.

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