Ski Touring News Roundup February 2018

Post by blogger | February 13, 2018      
Backcountry ski touring news.

Backcountry ski touring news.

As many of you know, we blog factory tours. You do see that sort of content elsewhere, but never as much as I’ve always assumed would flow from the vast universe of panting bloggers hovering over their keyboards like children picking ice cream flavors. But here is a terrific one, check out the camera to end all cameras.

I’ve been considering destinations for an April ski touring trip, with Europe in mind. Classic tours in the Alps are appealing, but we have heard wonderful things about the Pyrenees mountains, both France and Spain parts. Anyone suggest a classic hut-to-hut tour?

Uphill skiing at resorts is the news topic that keeps on giving. Jackson, Wyoming has a take.

You might want to track the skimo World Cup. Laetitia is amazing, and North Americans are in there.

Oh yeah, check our very own John Gaston at 27th in the recent Villars race! and 16th at Puy Saint Vincent! John is co-owner of Strafe outerwear, I wonder if he’s getting six figure sponsorship offers from European clothing brands anyhow?

Downer. It’s announced that no new sports will be added to the 2022 winter Olympics — thus ruining our hopes for skimo. More here. We were optimistic we’d be personal friends with a few skimo athletes and perhaps even travel to the Games for WildSnow press credentialed coverage. Shucks, I guess we’ll go anyway and fake it as curling journalists.

As a new wrinkle on ice bowling, curling mixed doubles made it into this winter’s Games and will presumably go again at the 2022 melee. Some of you may fail to believe it, but your friendly blogger actually did some curling in high school, when he came to the cruel reality that his ice hockey skills were not up to par. A sore tailbone was the only result, though he can testify it’s funner than it looks. I remain a skilled sweeper.

I’m beginning to feel we need a WildSnow cannabis category, as we do originate in Colorado. Not that we’re advocating or going crazy with consumption, it’s just interesting as North American mountain towns have never been strangers to the leaf. Latest, during last tax period in Aspen town they actually sold more money’s worth of legal pot products than liquor store booze. That’s in my opinion quite an interesting economic factoid. More here.

Do you drink backcountry creek water direct from the stream, no purification? I’m of the opinion, based on a lot of experience, that doing so is unwise unless you’re in a very special place, for example quaffing a burbling brook in the high mountains of Norway. Slate magazine published a controversial article attempting to debunk the practice of wilderness water treatment. In my opinion a ridiculous effort at clickbait. So I won’t link to it (smile). Discover published a good rebuttal.

Can’t leave a news roundup untouched by climate change. It’s amusing (and in the end sad) reading all the hand wringing about geo-engineering, that when we’re sitting here inadvertently engineering the climate every single second of every day.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on climate engineering and by no means am I advocating. But googling reveals an amazing amount of negativity regarding what could possibly get us out of the relentless march of global warming. It is strange to me that we can accidentally engineer our way into badness, but won’t devote extensive resources researching tools that might open the door to goodness. Truly, it sounds like some rich guy could just buy his own island and pump sulfur dioxide into the air for a few months, solve the problem. Your thoughts?

Oh, and more climate content. Thanks to one of our commenters, my attention is directed to this Vox interview with Paul Hawken listing what might actually be most effective in curing global warming. “Population control” advocates of course repeat ad nauseam “overpopulation is the problem” and there is logical truth to that — but the solutions always appear draconian (we need a new virus!).

Sounding a more reasonable note, Hawken claims that the simple acts of educating girls and family planning are easily up there in the top ten, due to mitigation of the population issue. Of course “education” and “planning” can easily trend to the draconian (e.g., China’s one-child policy, or the act of “educating” someone who’s beliefs don’t align). In any case, interesting to see this on the list and how the semantics evolve.

Bonus video find. Below is oddly compelling. Along the lines of “what will humans do?”


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18 Responses to “Ski Touring News Roundup February 2018”

  1. Guzman February 13th, 2018 12:55 pm

    In April at Pyrenees you’ll need to find altitude. Best place should be Central Pyrenees. Our area, Benasque Valley (Spain) is surrounded by several Peaks of +3000m , including Aneto (highest peak of the mountain range with 3440m).
    From here, you can reach easily nearby valleys like Aran or Gavarnie (France).

  2. CS February 13th, 2018 4:24 pm

    Great link to the Hasselblad factory tour.
    Regarding geo-engineering, have you read Gwynne Dyer’s Climate Wars? In his typical syte, Dyer outlines many terrifying scenarios when rougue elements start geo-engineering even the one you outline. Not sure I have much hope we’ll solve or fix the problem. The possibilities of unintended consequences of us trying to engineer our way doing the ‘right’ thing are huge.
    For climate change, I believe its a matter of mitigation in engineering/design of infrastructure. Fire-proof buildings, flood mitigation in urban design, water & energy storage on a household/neighborhood level etc. I draw much inspiration from the ideas of permaculture in this regard.

  3. rod georgiu February 13th, 2018 4:45 pm

    I spent two years in bareges/la mongie. If you like lift accessed couloir skiing, this is Paradise.
    Counted over 80 couloirs in the resort all over 40 degrees and between 600 and 2,000 ft.

    Skied about half.
    And the best part, nobody skis them. Found untracked powder a week after a storm.

    How is the benasque valley in this regard?
    What resorts are there?

    Many couloirs?

  4. Eric steig February 13th, 2018 7:12 pm

    Lou, re geoeningeering

    Just one example of unintended consequences.

    In general “one rich guy” solving everything is an idea we ought to dispense with. It doesn’t work (notwithstanding Elon Musk’s Tesla in space, which I gotta admit is pretty cool. I’d rather it’d been original Dynafit bindings in space, though).,

  5. See February 13th, 2018 7:31 pm

    “Hand wringing” suggest those with reservations about the advisability of large scale geo-engineering are not responding rationally. It implies that opposition to geo-engineering is based on emotion not logic. Emotions can be quite valid and correct, but to characterize opposition to geo-engineering as “hand wringing” is a rhetorical trick to diminish strong arguments with which one disagrees. To characterize the scientists in the linked Atlantic article as engaged in “hand-wringing” would be disingenuous to say the least. (And googling reveals an amazing amount of negativity about pretty much anything.)

  6. Guzman February 14th, 2018 12:14 am

    #Rod Yeah, you’ll find lot of colours and steep drops, with technical ascents in the area. Benasque and Vielha (the two main villages of the Benasque and Aran Valleys) are at only 1h by car, and opens a big universe of peaks and couloirs. You also can easily reach french areas, like Piau Engaly.

  7. Jeremy:M February 14th, 2018 1:59 am

    Hey Lou, you can have a look to this website and try to contact them, these guys always make great reports about Pyrenees,

  8. Einar Fløystad Dørum February 14th, 2018 3:55 am

    It hasn’t had time to become a classic yet. But April should be prime time to do Høgruta in Jotunheimen, Norway. I haven’t done the trip myself but I’ve done a lot of touring in the area and several of the mountains on the trip, it is a really nice area.

  9. Joseph February 14th, 2018 5:17 am

    You should do the Albula Alps Traverse. They have such a good base now in that part of Switzerland that April will still be very good.

    April is a bit late for the Pyrenees no?

  10. Pablo February 14th, 2018 7:54 am

    Hi Lou,
    Central Pyrenees is my playground, I live in a city 1:30h long and have a vacation house in Biescas a pyrenean village.
    If you want info or even guidance don’t hesitate to email me. I usually tour with some friens who are experienced mountain guides how known every spot.

    Spring skiing in april at Pyrenees is a real pleasure!!
    Come visit us!!


  11. Lisa Dawson February 14th, 2018 8:16 am

    Lou, you’re always full of surprises. I’m thrilled to hear you are a skilled sweeper. The kitchen is waiting.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 February 14th, 2018 8:18 am

    Hello Pablo, if we do this I’ll contact you! And thanks everyone else for the tips. If we visit EU this year it’ll probably be more towards middle of April or even end of April, so we might have to skip anything that could be too warm. We shall see. Wouldn’t mind trying the Otztal again since we got weathered off it the last time. But that’s crowded. Lou

  13. rich February 15th, 2018 9:19 am

    Lyngen Alps, Norway is fabulous in April/May Lou.

  14. Arnie February 16th, 2018 8:03 am

    +1 on Benasque or Garvanie on the French side if you’re after the Pyrenees. Less developed and therefore less crowded than the Alps. Europes last wilderness(?)I’ve not been that late in the year though but Pablo sounds like he knows what he’s about!
    Personally I’d be thinking somewhere higher. Bernese Oberland, Zermatt or Saas Fee..bag a couple of 4000s.

  15. Casey February 19th, 2018 10:11 pm

    I’m going to do the Haute Route in a month, I hear its great.

    On another note should I detune my new Solomon S/Lab Minims? Taking them to Gothic Mountain Tour and the Grand Traverse.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 February 20th, 2018 9:35 am

    Not sure exactly what you mean Casey, but most skis can benefit from some thought to what part of the edges don’t need to be razor sharp. Lou

  17. Patrick February 21st, 2018 11:17 am

    On a fall visit, we lingered in St Girons (France), at the eastern edge of the Pyrenees. Its Saturday market gave me a sense that St Girons is France’s version of Nelson BC. At the market, all the young and old hippies came out of the hills to peddle their produce, cheese, crafts (etc), make music, and kibitz. Colourful, fun. Worth a visit if you’re in the area.

  18. Herb Jones April 25th, 2018 8:54 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Just came across this blog and felt the need to throw out a little reality bomb. The real problem though not the only one in the climate issue is COMBUSTION !(IMHO).
    F1 race cars are now hybrids and are heading towards all electric and the Isle of Mann TT features an all Electric motorcycle class race. We have a long way to go to an all electric world but, if we are unwilling to even state the problem we will never get there. Of course there are alternatives to electric (hydrogen, etc.) and the hurdles are huge but, sticking our heads in the sand would be a pathetic failure of mankind.
    The recent NOVA episode on climate change really shows the reality of the problem and the evidence for it’s cause. Food for thought

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