In 1977, on Baldy Mountain in Breckenridge, I made my first telemark turn, and I was hooked. After much labor and practice, I made my second turn a few years later.
“You can study snow all you want, but if you want to understand it, you’ve got to be out there in the mountains,” says Kevin Fogolin, an avalanche consultant who works with hydroelectric companies and other utilities to forecast, monitor and control for avalanches. In March 2009, the helicopter in which Fogolin was flying was taken down by an avalanche, and his harrowing story is captured in Mike Douglas’s new documentary SNOWMAN. Here’s an excerpt from the film, equal parts footage of pow skiing and immensely terrifying avalanches.
I like this image because it’s completely unique from the typical photo shown on the cover of ski magazines. One look, and you can see the intensity, feel the frigid air and really get an intimate look at a true backcountry skier. This image is like no other cover I can remember, which makes it my favorite. I like something totally unexpected and uncommon, and it keeps me engaged and thinking.
While far western New York is getting all the headlines for mega-deep snow—nine feet in the last week—it’s falling farther east, too (where there’s a bit more elevation). Several lake-effect bursts off Vermont’s Lake Champlain have steadily built a base over high elevations in the Green Mountains, and, since most resorts won’t open until this weekend or the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s open season for inbounds skinning. Here’s a gallery of early-season and early-morning earned shots from Stowe, which opened last weekend.
The February 2010 issue of Backcountry Magazine is my all time favorite. Biased maybe, but it was such an epic day of shooting. We had hiked up to the Heart of Darkness couloir expecting to be in the shade the whole day. We were a little behind on time, but that worked out for us because the couloir is only 12-feet wide and only gets a sliver of light in it each day. We lucked out with light. But not only that, the colors of the rock, sky and his outfit just made the image pop.
To me this photo represents the pinnacle of backcountry skiing: climbing to the top of a mountain or couloir and skiing down in deep powder with aesthetic mountains in the background. It showcases a photographer and athlete unknown outside of their local community, climbing and skiing powder under their own power, sans hoopla, which makes it more inviting and attainable to readers. Therefore, to me, it depicts the essence and integrity of what inspires Backcountry Magazine and Couloir and the sport of backcountry skiing in general.