Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | September 7, 2010      

I guess it should be a lesson to those of us in business (or all of us, for that matter); when the going is rough just forge ahead. At least that’s what came to my mind when I saw the Salomon press release for their Backcountry Ski Seminar Tour in the UK. According to the PR, seminar leader and guide Nigel Shepherd “worked alongside Salomon research and development to create a unique range of backcountry kit, including the Quest ski boots…”

As most readers here know, the Quest boots were recalled last spring due to a faulty tech binding fitting. Not too hard to imagine what most of the Q&A will be about at the seminars.

In what is truly a microcosm of the developed world as a whole, Aspen Skiing Company is showing how tough it is to keep doing what you’re doing while reducing your carbon footprint. According to this article in the Aspen Times, the company is finding it “viciously difficult” to reduce their carbon footprint by 10 percent over a 12 year period. We of course have the solution. Just turn off the ski lifts.

Huge news: The Anchorage, Alaska ski train is back! Since 1972 The famed once-a-year train has been an annual event for Alaskan backcountry skiers, but was canceled last season for financial reasons. The Anchorage Nordic Ski Association will be hosting the event on March 20th, 2011. Brush up on your polka and don’t forget your keg tapper (the ride on the party train lasts longer than the skiing.) Added bonus, you’ll get to stop and try for a Sarah Palin spotting in Wasilla, as the train will head north from Anchorage, up past Talkeetna to the historic ski destination of Curry.

You might have heard about Seth Anderson of Loki clothing company nearly getting killed in an avalanche last season. His recovery has been slow but it sounds like he’s making it fine. Best wishes Seth!

Can backcountry recreators be preservationists? Should they be? Writer Terray Sylvester ponders and bemoans the fact that most Wilderness activism these days is practiced by folks who are becoming grey heads, while the younger “adrenalin” set doesn’t seem to care. What she failed to bring up is that the current generation does care as much as any. But the gen-x’s and x-gens are pretty smart, they realize we need backcountry we can recreate in and also conserve, and that highly restrictive legal Wilderness may not be the best way to accomplish that. In other words, making ever more legal Wilderness for its own sake may have been a good call back in the old days, but a more nuanced approach to land conservation is now the appropriate course. This is playing out locally here in Colorado, where a Wilderness proposal (Hidden Gems) that 20 years ago would have been a done deal has been whittled away to a fraction of its former acreage.

That’s it for the day after Labor Day, that nice working person’s holiday. Off to the races here at WildSnow, getting more back-end done on the website, and even buffing out a design change that I’ll publish in a day or so. Countdown to winter!


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One Response to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. WMC September 7th, 2010 11:14 am

    As Lou often discusses, we are asking for recreation management for winter non-motorized use aside from just advocating more Wilderness. We are a group trying to secure a share of accessible unroaded Forest for non-motorized winter recreation. The Wenatchee Mountains Coalition of central Washington state is advocating for a share of the Wenatchee Mountains pristine crest that borders the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to be designated winter non-motorized area.

    In our experience, we discover significant lack of knowledge of how and where the Forest is used by skiers and by snowmobile riders. Snowmobile riders often do not appear to understand skiers’ use, and do not express concern for another user group on the Forest except that all other uses may use the tracked-out snow after snowmobiles have used an area. USFS personnel seem to lack knowledge that significant user groups aside from snowmobile riders use the non-Wilderness Forest in winter here. The new capabilities of snowmobiles to literally travel anywhere that we climb on skins and skis and ski down create a problem not yet understood by snowmobile riders or by many in USFS. Skiers are denied use of the Forest because of safety concerns including vehicle versus pedestrian and avalanche hazard from a climbing machine. Noise and deep rutting by 150+ HP machines alter the quiet snow travel experience to the point that the desirable pedestrian use is eliminated.

    It is a difficult undertaking to engage the discussion and to ask for consideration of management for winter non-motorized use on the non-Wilderness Forest. We are asking USFS to consider our use, the original use of the winter Forest engaged by a larger user group, and to manage to allow our use, and we encourage others to do the same.

    Information here-

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