Biff America: On Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is a favored holiday in ski country. It marked the beginning of the ski season, the time of year around which our entire existence revolves. And there’s so much to be thankful for.

Over the Hill: The Wilderness Act Turns 50


President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law on September 3, 1964, protecting 9.1 million acres as The National Wilderness Preservation System. This year marks the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary, which means 50 years of undeveloped, unmechanized and untracked terrain.

Video: Avalanche Expert Bruce Tremper on Risk


“I will never be as confident in my avalanche skills as I was when I was in my early 20s,” Bruce Tremper says with a short chuckle and teeth-showing grin. Tremper has held the position as the Utah Avalanche Center Director since 1986 and is the author of Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain and Avalanche Essentials. In this video, he admits that overconfidence and ego played strong roles in decision making in his earlier days and motivated him to get too close to dangerous cornices and ski terrain he wouldn’t descend today.

Buffalo, N.Y. Receives Colossal Snowstorm, Protect Our Winters Visits D.C., Black Diamond Issues Whippet Recall, Japan’s new backcountry project


This week two storms—combined with the lake effect off the Great Lakes—pummeled the Northeast. Artic winds blowing over unfrozen Lake Erie pulled a wall of moisture into the sky, converted it to light, fluffy snow and dumped more than 60 inches along a 130-mile stretch of I-90, extending from Erie to Buffalo. Roofs collapsed. People were trapped and needed rescue, and cars were abandoned.

Cover Story: The Icons


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.

Mountain Skills: Budgeting Time for Success


Do you always carry a headlamp when skiing in the backcountry? Find yourself using it a little too often? Then you might want to figure out why you’re always late. Understanding how long it takes to travel through the mountains will help you summit more peaks, ski more powder, not be pushing it as darkness looms and get home when your friends and family expect you. Here are some techniques from a hypothetical outing that you can apply to your tours and adapt to your needs.

Cover Story: Heart of Darkness


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.

Cover Story: The Pinnacle


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.

Biff: On Literary Excellence


Jeffery Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, is a monthly columnist for Backcountry. Each week, Biff provides anecdotes about some of our favorite things: beer, sex and skiing. He can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. Reach Biff at For signed copies of his book, “Steep, Deep and […]

Cover Story: The Contemporary Age


This was the first issue that we finally branched out from our stagnant orange or red banner. Just look at it in the library, and you finally see green among the black spines. And the sell line ‘Catching A Ride’ in a font that became part of our style brought us into the contemporary age of design and in the snow industry. And yes, it sold really well.