Women’s Specific: Are female-focused skis necessity or preference?


Changes in skiing technology—think the first parabolic shapes, fat widths and rocker—usually bring excitement, not controversy. That is, until you consider women’s specific gear. So are women’s-specific skis preference, necessity or a change in marketing culture?

Mountain Skills: Get the Most Out of the Uphill


While backcountry skiing or riding, we tend to spend more time going up than going down. And, simply put, skinning done poorly is not fun. There are three primary ingredients to a good day of touring: establishing a proper pace, setting an appropriate skintrack angle and avoiding kick turns whenever possible. You’ve likely come into the backcountry to escape the rat race, so learn to enjoy the climb up and the whole experience will get a lot better. Here’s how.

BC Banter: Brownsville, Vt. Buys Ascutney Trails, GoPro Faces Investigation and DPS’s New Films


  Town of Brownsville, Vt. Buys Ascutney Trails Brownsville, Vt. On Tuesday, October 14, the townspeople of Brownsville, Vt. voted to purchase 470 acres of the former Ascutney Mountain Ski Resort, which closed in 2010, for $600,000. Three-hundred-thirty voters packed the town’s Story Memorial Hall and confirmed the purchase first through a voice vote, followed […]

Going Deep: In Seattle, a little avalanche education in the evenings


If you’re like most experienced backcountry skiers it’s been more than 50 backcountry days and a few years since your last avalanche course. According to Scott Schell, the program director for the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC), that’s not cool. So, in an effort to fill the avy education gap, Schell developed an affordable way for Seattle skiers to keep up on their avy training.

Throwback Thursday: Ski Racing Takes Off


Contributor Dave Dornian saw it coming back in 2001—the bike-helmet-wearing, spandex-clad, skinny-ski toting explosion. Citing races like the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse and European events sanctioned by the International Council for Ski Mountaineering Competition (ISMC), Dorian predicted a boom in ski-mountaineering racing. “The ISMC’s current five-year plan calls for an increasing number of continental and intercontinental races,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, in the North American backcountry, the though of organized competitions is about as foreign as raclette or glügwein.”

Biff America: On Relative Hygene


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 biffbreck@yahoo.com. For signed copies of his book, “Steep, Deep and […]

A Goal of Zero: The Avalanche Industry Looks To Change


Turning to a Swedish law that’s reduced automobile fatalities, the avalanche industry looks to change backcountry safety.

Changing the Snowboard Landscape: Jeremy Jones’s ‘Higher’ and bc riding


Over the last 25 years, Jeremy Jones has snowboarded everywhere from Vermont to Alaska. He was once a pioneer of big-mountain freeriding and has become a pioneer of human-powered riding. In 2007, he founded Protect Our Winters, an organization aimed at stopping climate change and three years later, he launched his groundbreaking film, Deeper. This month, he’ll release Higher, the final chapter in the three-part series. This won’t mark the end of exploration for Jones, though, “We have our hands full right now getting Higher out the door,” he says, “but there’s a lot I want to do, exactly how I want to document that, I don’t know.”

BC Banter: Auclair Fund, VT Backcountry Forum, Deer Valley Buys Solitude, Drone Fines


This Week in the News: Alpine Initiatives launches Auclair Fund, VT Backcountry Alliance announces second-annual forum, Deer Valley buys Solitude and National Park Service fines drone users.

Ahead of the Curve: Two Decades of Backcountry Skiing Innovation


Twenty years ago, Larry Coats noted that the day had come when there was no longer a distinction between Nordic and Alpine skiing. And over the two decades since, a whole lot has happened with backcountry gear, from the boom and bust of telemark equipment to the splitboard explosion. Here’s how it all went down, as pulled from our pages.