Here in central Colorado we’ve got a storm system moving in after a lengthy period of warm dry weather. Climbers took advantage of the early spring-like conditions and made numerous ascents of fourteener Capitol Peak, including a nice one day car-to-car solo by Steve Bremner. Capitol is on many extreme skier’s lists and no doubt some of those folks will give it a shot this spring, but from Bremner’s photos it looks a bit dry. Spring can bring plentiful snow to Colorado’s mountains, so let’s hope Capitol gets a good coating over the next few weeks so summit ski descents are possible.
While checking news bits this morning I got a chuckle out of yet another media article (in the Rocky Mountain News, defunct link removed 2015) about the telemark “boom” that journalists have been writing about for the last decade or so. As one always amused by televangelism, I got curious if article writer Carol Kauder was perchance a telemarker herself who’s perhaps doing a bit of evangelical outreach. Turns out that might be the case, as she’s indeed a tele turner who frequently writes for the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper. Viewed in the light of televangelism these words of Kauder’s are amusing: “There is an unspoken cultish aspect among telemarkers…”
Well, I’m a blogger so I’ll go beyond the unspoken and say, indeed, if telemarking skiing is a cult, that could explain much.
On a more somber note, today the Aspen Daily News published an article commemorating (if that’s the right word) the suicide a year ago of backcountry skier John Fielder III, the oldest son of well known Colorado photographer John Fielder. The article brings up some painful and oft ignored realities of life in the west, mainly that Colorado leads the nation in suicide, and our local rate (Aspen area) is well above the national average.
Ideas are varied about what causes the increased suicide rate, but counseling experts say it’s because people here are often living far from their extended families, or they’re in a transitional lifestyle. While it’s not mentioned in the article, a counselor told me something once about depression and suicide that always sticks in my mind. He said one of our biggest problems here is that people seek to fill a special place in the hearts by recreation, rather than deeper relational and spiritual pursuits that the heart-space is really designed for. Something to think about.
Speaking of relational pursuits, one thing I’ve always liked about skiing is that it can be delightfully social.
Nonetheless, backcountry skiing newcomers frequently ask us how they can hook up with partners for the sport. My response: find activities that bring backcountry skiers together, and participate with enthusiasm. Do randonnee races. Volunteer for mountain rescue. Take avalanche courses. Enroll in a backcountry oriented first aid course. Ideas or experiences anyone? Comments on.