The Third Annual Winter Film Festival: How to Stay Safe Skiing the Backcountry

Edgework: If you ski, sooner or later you’re going to want to break away from the carefully groomed slopes at major ski resorts and and try your skill and luck in the backcountry(also called off piste skiing). You can do this by going down the backside of the mountain (instead of the front) when you get to the top of the lift, by taking  snow cat into the backcountry, by ski mountaineering up and then skiing down or via helicopter. It is the ultimate skiing experience and the more you ski, the more backcountry skiing is the only kind of skiing you want to do. It’s exhilarating, technical, demanding, and inherently dangerous. Avalanches are a constant concern…but…danger seems to go with lots of the things we like, from big-wave surfing to driving at triple digit speeds through the mountains.  Plus/minus, yin/yang, in/out…it’s the balance of life. I am not going to try, ever, to talk you out of pursuing sports that have an element of danger in them; I will always try to convince you to be extravagantly prepared for a tough situation when it comes, in every possible way: training, conditioning, gear, experience, and….guides.
With this post, we start the third year of our annual Winter Film Festival. Last year, the emphasis was on pure alpine skiing, racing,  and technique, and while there will be plenty of that this year, the focus is shifting to backcountry skiing, helicopter skiing, ski mountaineering…the very edges of the sport. Let’s start with the basics: how to be safe in the backcountry. Here’s a great video from H2OOverdrive  featuring Trent Meisheimer of the Utah Avalanche Center (and some very experienced friends) to make you critically aware of backcountry safety. Take chances. Have fun. Challenge yourself. But put the odds on your side…
The Fine Print: Embed courtesy of YouTube (thanks guys..and Happy New Year). From H2OOverdrive/Hydrate Channel. First published 20 March 2012. Check out their channel. All rights reserved by respective rights holders. Ski hard. Ski safe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *