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Not Your Mom’s Ski Academy: A Maine School Heads Out of Bounds

Ski academies are well known for pumping out big names and fast results in alpine racing, and Carrabassett Valley Academy (CVA), a private middle and high-school ski academy based near Sugarloaf, Maine, is no exception. But what about the kids who aren’t exactly itching to become the next Bode Miller? Enter CVA’s Backcountry Program, which […]

The Seventh Sojourn: It’s impermissible to ski on Kilimanjaro. Will it soon be impossible?

When Hannah Follender was studying abroad in Kenya in 2009, she climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft.), where she saw a large basin filled with snow. Although she wasn’t there to ski, the glaciers sparked an idea—she would return someday with skis in tow.

Silverton Heli Expansion Approved: Opposition Promises Appeal

Taking some in the San Juan Colo. backcountry community by surprise, a May 3 ruling by the Bureau of Land Management granted Silverton Mountain Guides a five-year Special Recreation Permit for helicopter skiing in the Illinois/Hancock, Minnie/Maggie, Round and Southeast management pods northeast of town. The final decision gives heli access to more than 16,000 […]

2017 Beer Guide: Sessionable

Some things just go together, like dive bars and ski bums, spring days and one-piece ski suits. We’ve applied that philosophy to this year’s Beer Guide, pairing 18 craft beers from around the country with how best to enjoy them—whether that’s hydrating throughout the day or being the guy who takes an Uber home from the tailgate.

The Alchemists: Photographer Blake Jorgenson talks about the new era of digital photography

Blake Jorgenson, longtime photographer for Backcountry Magazine, recently joined forces with Second Ave. Films to create a documentary discussing the role of photography in the digital age.

The Wild, Wild South: How a handful of South American countries are reshaping guiding and avalanche safety

That emphasis on certification, and on overall avalanche education, is relatively new for much of South America, says Greg Shaffran, an avalanche instructor and guide for Aspen Expeditions who has spent the past three summers in Chile and, last season, began teaching avalanche courses in Ushuaia, Farellones, Laguna Del Maule and Chillán.

Leash Laws: When to use pole straps in the backcountry

Discussion of backcountry set-ups tend to elicit strong opinions on what to bring along and what to leave on the gear shop shelf. And when gear can seriously hinder or aid your day, even items as small as the pole strap are up for review. After all, sometimes the littlest things make the biggest difference off-piste, and knowing when and when not to use pole straps is important to bc safety.

The Uphill Agenda: Aspen’s mayor ushers in a new wave of ski-focused economy

Mountain-town culture is a notoriously fickle subject. High-rise hotel and conference centers can threaten authenticity, but too little investment can lead to a ghost town. Luckily, Steve Skadron, Aspen, Colo.’s mayor, understands this fragility and is working with an uphill economy in mind.

Backstory: Are We There Yet?

Spring 1998 found me gazing at the sky from a shelter 10,000 feet up Rainier. The pinpoint sparks above contrasted with the sea of clouds below, and the stark, ghostly light moved me to doubts. We summited without our skis, and my regrets followed me home.

Off-Piste Atlas Spills the Goods on Seattle’s Backcountry Backyard

While Snoqualmie may be the humblest of the Cascade passes, sitting just 3,000 feet above sea level, certified mountain guide Matt Schonwald believes it to be an underexplored cornucopia of descents. “It’s incredible how many tours are there—easily over 100,” he told me last month. “That pass is by far one of the densest ski touring areas in the country by pure volume of runs.”

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