BC Banter: Snowless on Turnagain Pass, Sentencing in Wolf Creek Avalanche Death, 22 Inches Fall in Tahoe, RASTA Glade Project Open for Comment


Warm temperatures have brought rain in place of snow so far this season at south central Alaska’s Turnagain Pass. Now, more than two weeks past the typical opening date, the Pass is closed to snowmachining due to lack of snow. Recent wet snow, followed by cool temps, has increased avalanche risk, and a December 14 storm “created the first documented weak layer of snow this season,” Chugach National Forest Avalanche director Wendy Wagner told Alaska Dispatch News.

Living the Life: David Rothman On Ski Culture, Recreation and Mountain Living


Sean Prentiss talks with author David Rothman about his ski–culture book titled: Living the Life: Tales from America’s Mountains & Ski Towns.

Splitboards, Sweat and Cheers: Racing the Eighth-Annual Dirksen Derby


Splitboarding is not usually this chaotic. It can certainly be scary or even dangerous, but this is a sunny day at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. The climb is just a few hundred feet, yet there are a few dozen fans cheering, as well as two-dozen competitors in various levels of fervor. It’s the eighth-annual Dirksen Derby Splitboard Race, a skin-up-to-banked-slalom-down suffer-sprint hosted by pro-rider Josh Dirksen to benefit local disabled snowboarder, Tyler Eklund.



“A camera doesn’t make you bulletproof, and decisions should be based on snowpack, an honest assessment of your ability and the consequences.”

Mountain Skills: Why You Should Upgrade Your Avalanche Transceiver


Imagine your best friend buried under frozen avalanche debris. Precious minutes have passed, and you are still fumbling around on the debris surface because the outdated transceiver you are searching with is unreliable and malfunctioning. According to Dale Atkins, former president of the American Avalanche Association and a 30-year avalanche professional, any transceiver more than 10 years old should be retired, even if it has hardly been used.

The Splitty Guiding Fund: Rick Gaukel Splitboard Scholarship


When splitboarder Rick Gaukel and four friends were killed in an avalanche on Loveland Pass, Colo. on April 20, 2013, he had recently completed a 12-day ski-guide course with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Splitboarding was his preferred method of backcountry travel, and he was an advocate for getting it accepted by the AMGA. […]

Mountain Skills: Exploring with Modern Navigation Tools

Exporting a route to Google Earth as a .kml file allows you to see if you’ve stayed out of hazardous areas, to plan to travel through the path of least resistance and to anticipate tricky spots.

“My map and compass never have dead batteries.” This is the most common rationale I hear for not learning and adopting new technology. Film still works in cameras and the Postal Service still gets information from place to place, but there are better ways these days. The same is true for improving the way we tour plan and navigate. Here’s how to use modern navigation tools.

Biff America: On Alcohol


“Alcohol can distort your perspective of your skill, bravery and dancing ability. And I can’t help but think video can do the same.”

The Wasatch Backcountry Voice: Tom Diegel on protecting Salt Lake City’s Mountain Landscape

Ian Provo skis down Emma Ridge at sunset

When we published an article in the November 2013 issue on Wasatch Backcountry Alliance (WBA), the organization that provides a voice to backcountry users in and around Salt Lake City, Utah was just in its inception. The WBA, a volunteer nonprofit, has experienced tremendous growth since then. Today it aims to reach members beyond SLC and the […]

Mountain Skills: Making Better Observations


Turn to someone you trust—a more experienced friend or maybe a guide—and you’ll likely find out that they don’t dig too many pits, and they certainly never trust their life with the information gained in one snow pit. This disconnect can be confusing—after all, we learn to dig pits early in our education, but in reality most skiers don’t bother. Here’s when and how to dig to get the most information.