In this news update, we’ll deviate from the in-depth coverage of the sheep-skier news from the Tetons, and jump into a news roundup.
This next item should come as no surprise if you read WildSnow: “The Slightly Masochistic Trend That Is Taking Skiing by Storm,” reads the title of an October 13 piece in Bloomberg. The article cites data from the National Ski Areas Association that claims over half the 462 member ski areas allow some form of uphill ski travel. Bloomberg says that is a 27% increase over a decade.
The article also cites info relating to the rise in the sales of backcountry gear since the pandemic began. Bloomberg claims, “in November 2020, as winter sports enthusiasts were gearing up for a more normal season, U.S. sales of alpine-touring gear hit $10 million, up 132% from the year before. Throughout the 2020-21 winter season, alpine touring equipment became a $91 million industry in the U.S.—a 122% jump from two years prior—according to market research company NPD Group.”
We’re going to stick with the business side of things for one additional news piece. European based Eurovision Sport has agreed to a five-year contract to broadcast skimo. Specifically, Eurovision and the International Ski Mountaineering Federation will cooperate to enhance the marketability and presence of skimo to a viewing audience.
The streaming and broadcasting will run through the EBU, or European Broadcast Union, a collective of Euro-based broadcasters. If you are already familiar with streaming World Cup biathlon, Eurovision and the EBU work in concert to provide feeds. The product is comprehensive and generally excellent.
“Under the new, five-year agreement, Eurovision Sport plans the production and live streaming of selected races at up to nine events per season, beginning with the forthcoming 2021-22 season. This will be backed by additional near-live content and background stories to help build awareness of the sport.
“The events comprise: seven World Cups; one European Championships; and, potentially, one exhibition event. The 2021-22 calendar is made up of events in Italy, Switzerland, Andorra, Turkey, Spain and France, totalling 24 live-streamed competitions,” reads the EBU press release.
We’ll keep you posted if we find info about watching this without a VPN here in North America. You can find the full IMSF World Cup schedule here.
Moving away from the business side of things and towards the human fabric of the mountains, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) ran a nice story in September titled, “How a box of negatives led to a journey through Northwest mountaineering history.”
The piece details how Jodi Zybul, a non-climber, purchased a box of negatives in an online auction. According to OPB, she ended up with “a peek into the Northwest’s rich mountaineering history. Images from the 1940s through 1960s. Photographs labeled as a first ascent up Mount Sir Donald in British Columbia, diagrams of routes climbers took, mountaineers roped together on ridgelines, F-stops and shutter speeds were part of the photo treasure trove.”
Seattle based mountain-historian Lowell Skoog soon got involved. (We’ll have a review of Skoog’s book, Written in the Snows in the next few weeks.) In any event, a box of random slides, mountains, snow, skis, climbing and it all leads back to the places that inspire us.
And yes, we are coming full circle back to backcountry news from Wyoming. The state has established a new emergency radio channel. Buckrail, a Wyoming based news service, says this “is not a 911 type service, it will help Search and Rescue teams locate individuals during emergencies. Search and Rescue groups do not actively monitor the channel unless a search is in progress.
“To use the new channel on a handheld radio, program “307” into the device. During an emergency, Search & Rescue personnel will be able to reach you on the channel.”
If you are skiing in Wyoming, the piece says to program in the 307 channel.
“Program to UHF 462.6125 Privacy Code 85.4 or Channel 3 and Privacy code 07 (307)”
Jason Albert comes to WildSnow from Bend, Oregon. After growing up on the East Coast, he migrated from Montana to Colorado and settled in Oregon. Simple pleasures are quiet and long days touring. His gray hair might stem from his first Grand Traverse in 2000 when rented leather boots and 210cm skis were not the speed weapons he had hoped for. Jason survived the transition from free-heel kool-aid drinker to faster and lighter (think AT), and safer, are better.