2015 Gear Tester Profile: Marla Bailey


Marla (a.k.a. Cookie) Bailey is a veteran tester, a ripping tele skier and wife of the king of testers, Shaggy Bailey. She’s the first to compliment your turns or your pooper, but the truth is her skiing is the prettiest of all. Cookie is a “must” on your ski partner list, and if you’re lucky […]

2015 Gear Test Week Dispatch: Day Zero


Backcountry Magazine’s Gear Test Week, our annual pilgrimage to Powder Mountain, Utah, kicks off tomorrow. More than 40 testers will evaluate some 200-plus skis and 100 AT and telemark boots for five days to create next fall’s 2015 Gear Guide. Here’s how the first day unfolded.

Before the Backcountry Shots: Tom Murphy Talks Avalanche Education


When Tom Murphy, co-founder of the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), isn’t enjoying bluebird turns in his home state of Colorado, he’s checking snow conditions and teaching the next generation of backcountry travelers how to stay safe. We caught up with Murph in between laps in the Anthracites Mountains and talked about […]

The Road to Basecamp: AIARE, the Anthracites and Fresh Turns


The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and Backcountry Magazine have been longtime partners. We caught up with Program Director Ben Pritchett and Operations Director Tom Murphy to talk Colorado snowpack, Backcountry Basecamp and catch a few turns in between. Headquartered in Gunnison, Colo. these guys are constantly assessing Colorado’s complex Continental snowpack. We […]

Al Johnson Race Celebrates 40 Years: “9-0 or Don’t Go”


In the late 1880s, Al Johnson strapped 11-foot-long skis to his leather boots and climbed over mountain passes Crystal, Colo. to Crested Butte to deliver the mail. He was a badass to say the least. Ninety years later, in 1974 to be exact, amid a telemark renaissance, the Crested Butte freeheel community started the Al Johnson memorial Uphill/Downhill telemark ski race to honor Johnson’s effort. It’s part athleticism, part anarchy and all circus sideshow. This year, the race celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Backcountry Magazine announces Basecamp lineup for Crested Butte, Colo.


Mount Crested Butte, Colo. —(for immediate release) — On the second stop of its nationwide backcountry education tour—the GORE-TEX Backcountry Magazine Basecamp—has teamed up with Patagonia, Crested Butte Mountain Guides, Crested Butte Avalanche Center and AIARE, and a host of other sponsors, at Crested Butte Mountain Resort on March 15-16 for a celebration of all […]

Butte Bound: GORE-TEX U.S. Ski Mountaineering Nationals Head To Crested Butte


After more than a decade at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Nationals are headed to Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colo. on March 14-16. “We’ve wanted to mix it up and move it to a new venue,” says race director and Team Crested Butte skimo athlete Bryan Wickenhauser. “It’s great to give the sport some exposure in a new area.”

Bamiyan Backcountry: The 4th Annual Afghan Ski Challenge


The 4th Annual Afghan Ski Challenge in Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan represents an audacious bid to build a vibrant ski tourism industry in central Afghanistan. The region is, quite literally, in the eye of a storm and much of the country is still a designated war zone. In fact, on the day I confirmed my trip […]

Skiing with Ghosts: Old Blue Mountain, Utah


We’re skinning through a boneyard. Only a few steps into a tour of Utah’s Old Blue Mountain ski area, and I’m already unnerved. The tiny ski area once catered to Canyon Country locals from Monticello, Blanding and Bluff, but was abandoned in the ’80s due to lack of consistent snowfall and declining skier numbers. Now, snowmobilers and the occasional wanderer in search of elusive desert snow are the only visitors of its abandoned infrastructure.

Out the Window: Kimmy Fasani’s Return to Powder


In a sport where big impacts and injuries are common, snowboarders have to be fit—bulletproof even. So when the International Olympic Committee announced the addition of Snowboard Slopestyle to the Winter Olympics program last year, snowboarder Kimmy Fasani began intensive training. Then an injury destroyed her chances of competing.