Backstory: Release Me


At 0545 the phone rings. Dispatch has a one-vehicle rollover north of town. The driver might have a broken neck. “10-4. I’m on my way,” I say as I wipe the sleep from my eyes and turn on my bedroom lamp. Donning uniform and duty belt and patting the still-sleeping black lab on the head, I step out the door into a fresh dusting of snow on the back porch. Roads must be bad up north, I think as I switch on the light bar of my patrol vehicle and speed north out of this sleepy Montana town.

Cover Story: Remembering Carl Skoog


From 1994 through 2003, my brother Carl had nine cover photos in Backcountry Magazine, more than anyone else, ever. Each of those shots displayed Carl’s knack of placing a skier in a setting that made you want to be there. My favorite is the photo of Brian Sato on Mt. Baker in Issue 24. It’s a picture that—in the Lower 48—could only have been taken in Carl’s beloved Cascades.

First Avalanche Accident, Adirondack Powder Skiers, Vermont’s Backcountry Forum & Big Skimo Goals in Canada

Rasta country. Rochester, Vt.  [Photo] Tyler Cohen

First reported avalanche accident of the season Crested Butte, Colo. On Monday, November 3, the Crested Butte Avalanche Center (CBAC) was notified of a slab avalanche on a north-facing slope on Mt. Owen. Two skiers, who were boot-packing up Jenga Chute, were partially buried in the slide but are reportedly uninjured. The slab broke near […]

The Backcountry Future: VT BC Forum


As wet snow fell at high elevations last night, the vibe inside Rochester, Vt.’s Pierce Hall Community Center was of exciting things to come. The evening marked the second-annual meeting of the Vermont Backcountry Forum, hosted by the Catamount Trail Association (CTA), the Vermont Backcountry Alliance (VTBC) and the Rochester Area Sports Trails Alliance (RASTA), and more than 200 skiers and riders packed the historic hall in central Vermont to talk about backcountry opportunity in the state.

Cover Story: Eastern Pow


The cover that means the most to me is not from while I was Photo Editor but from when I was a freelance photographer. I was on my first assignment ever with Backcountry Senior Editor John Dostal. Matt Mancini “Johnny Bravo” is the cover boy. We were doing a story for Skiing Magazine about the slides on Whiteface, and the snow looks better than it was in this photo—good thing there was no audio because it was loud.

Cover Story: Trevor Petersen


With just a few minutes digging in the basement, I unearthed a box of old BC Mags. I laid out the covers with the old design on my dining room table and was surprised to see that I was only missing three. They brought back lots of old, good memories (Backcountry started just a couple years after I started backcountry skiing, and my first article was in Issue 8). Some of the shots are funny, some just bad. Some have that super-staged look, where all I can think is, “What the hell were the shooter and skier and editor thinking?”

Biff America: On Priorities


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: November 1996


I was still in high school at the time in Eastern Washington and was completely obsessed with skiing. That cover really defined that area of steep skiing in Alaska and was something that I only dreamed about getting to experience someday. Little did I know at the time that two years later, I would move to Bellingham, Wash., and meet Carl, who became a mentor of mine, and Dean, who became one of my closest friends and mentors. After several seasons learning the ropes from Carl and Dean, my own photography started to take off and I scored my first cover, on the December 2003 issue.

Mountain Skills: How to Prepare for Your Level 1 Avalanche Course


Beacon. Shovel. Probe. For years, these have been the standard required tools for heading into the backcountry. But what good are they without the proper training in how to recognize hazards and use them effectively? That’s where a 24-hour Level 1 avalanche certificate course comes into play.

Backstory: Seasoning in Ski Boots


I eat my breakfast of oats quickly while standing up. At the same time, I make myself a to-do list: dishes; peach-ginger cake for dessert; roasted tomato soup for après; marinated pork for dinner; granola for tomorrow. As the cook at a Canadian ski lodge, I aim to make great food each day, but I […]