Types of Backcountry Skiers – Guest Blog (01-07-2005)

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 8, 2005      

I got this from my friend Carl P., bear in mind he’s being funny — and making some points:

I’m concerned about your recent alienation of telemark skiers. I feel that you have developed some errant categories for backcountry skiers. You are portraying telemark skiers, as a whole, as being deleterious towards the soul and spirit of skiing. I agree that some teleskiers can be boisterous, loud, snobby and flashy (all things counterintuitive to backcountry skiing), but I have also met my share of AT skiers, split boarders and alpine trekkers in the backcountry who share these same characteristics. Maybe it’s time to redesign your backcountry paradigm. I’ll offer up a couple of different categories and let’s discuss what you think. Get Louie in on the action….he’s hip with the young alpine crowd. We can refine and reclassify as we go.

Types of Backcountry Skiers:

PURISTS (usually have a chip on their shoulders, still skiing on 215’s and leather boots, they fear change and equate every unfamiliar face with the devil.)

BACKCOUNTRY SKIERS who remain in the FRONTCOUNTRY (Harmless – rarely explore into the backcountry – they can be making seen ripping the front country and in the bar afterwards with their peeps still beeping.)

EXERCISE HOUNDS (Out for a workout (can be misconstrued as having an attitude as they pass your group without saying too much))

SOCIALITES (Those going places to be seen and to see who’s there….harmless, but somewhat annoying)

SOLITUDE SEEKERS (Are out to enjoy the peace and quiet of the bc by themselves or in the company of a few friends…..problems arise when they find others in their “stash” – a smart solitude seeker has several “ultra quiet places” to enjoy.

FREERIDERS (Big mountain riders, those pushing the extreme limits….drops, jumps, steeps etc….My conflicts with this group is essentially non-existant as you’ll never find me in the same places as these fearless wonders.)

JIBBERS (Those sticking to the terrain parks…..I say let ’em, until they start designing half pipes up in Montezuma Basin, Colorado I’m O.K. with this bizarre and somewhat misunderstood subculture).

SHOWBOATERS (These are the same people who said “WATCH ME, WATCH ME, WATCH ME” to their parents every five seconds growing up….they have yet to grow out of this self-centered stage….it’s all about ME!!! This is NOT what backcountry skiing is all about…..this is the category that you should focus your angst upon Lou!).

Just a start in the quest for correct classification. It’s not us vs them. It’s about pursuing the essence of the unselfish and tolerant glide.”

Carl — sounds good to me!
‘best, Lou


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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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