During the winter it’s all about the hunt for deepest, softest and whitest treasure we can find. Then, as temperatures rise and snow levels fall, other treasures are unveiled.
One year I hiked Teton Pass for some 4th of July novelty skiing. I was amazed at the amount of booty I found as I hiked and skinned towards the top. At the end of the day my pack was a bit heavier. I now had a working digital camera, one doggie paw mitten, a pair of sunglasses and a glove. And they said that there was only dog poop in the boot pack!
My personal history involving finding ski booty goes back to my early days when I worked at Ski Snowstar in Andalusia, Illinois. (Have you not heard of Ski Snowstar before? Shame!) With runs called The Comet, Shooting Star, The Big Dipper and The North Star it is where a majority of my formative years were spent. Being a ski area in the Mid-West it’s no coincidence that the amount of treasure on this hill in the spring was plentiful as skiing treasure is directly related to ski carnage — and believe me there was a good deal of carnage taking place at Ski Snowstar. Tangled blurs of denim, camo and Carharts were a common occurrence.
In spring I’d drive to the ski area and troll the lift’s drop zone looking for change. I’m not ashamed about this. I used the money to put me through college. It was a state school. One day I actually found a pair of ski poles crossed in the proverbial “X” and directly underneath was a watch – still ticking.
Over the years I have found cameras, poles, hats, gloves and even a ski in the backcountry.
So here are the questions for you loyal WildSnowers:
1. What is the best backcountry treasure that you’ve found while skiing or trolling after the season?
2. What’s the protocol on finding this stuff? Morally and ethically?
(WildSnow guest blogger Carl Pelletier has done everything from boiler fitting to school teaching — along with a life devoted to skiing. He has lots of gear, and not all of it was purchased. This post was first published here at Wildsnow.com in 2011.)