BC Banter: AIARE Hires New Executive Director, Jim Harris’s Recovery, December Issue Hits Newsstands, PoleClinometer Launches Kickstarter


The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) has hired Tim Bennet as their new executive director. Bennet’s position replaces the roles of both Brian Lazar and Tom Murphy as they transitioned to AIARE’s board of directors. “I saw a fantastic chance to blend my personal passion for skiing and safe, outdoor adventure with my skills in nonprofit management,” Bennet said in a press release.

Adventure Photographer Jason Hummel’s Alpine State of Mind


Ski photographer and writer Jason Hummel wears a bright, broad smile. And he certainly has something to be happy about. As of the first week of December, he’s raised more than $7,000 through his Kickstarter campaign, successfully surpassing its goal. This means he’ll be printing 500 copies of the first issue of his brainchild, the […]

Biff America: On Telemarking


In 1977, on Baldy Mountain in Breckenridge, I made my first telemark turn, and I was hooked. After much labor and practice, I made my second turn a few years later.

Video: The Controller


“You can study snow all you want, but if you want to understand it, you’ve got to be out there in the mountains,” says Kevin Fogolin, an avalanche consultant who works with hydroelectric companies and other utilities to forecast, monitor and control for avalanches. In March 2009, the helicopter in which Fogolin was flying was taken down by an avalanche, and his harrowing story is captured in Mike Douglas’s new documentary SNOWMAN. Here’s an excerpt from the film, equal parts footage of pow skiing and immensely terrifying avalanches.

The Professor of Powder: Jim Steenburgh skis and forecasts the Greatest Snow on Earth


For the past 20 years, Jim Steenburgh has had two things on his mind—meteorology and ski touring. After receiving his PhD from the University of Washington in 1995, Steenburgh took his interest in mountain weather and climate to the University of Utah’s Atmospheric Sciences Department—where he is now a professor—and into the Wasatch Mountains. “Having weather eyes can be pretty useful in the backcountry,” Steenburgh says. “And I see so much stuff when I’m out ski touring that I don’t understand. It helps plant seeds for future research projects.”

Backstory: Outerspace


As early winter light spills over the North Cascades of Washington, dawn touches the heights of our little valleys. Eastward, my view stretches toward the silhouetted, ragged edges of an untrammeled landscape, snow draping everything. Gazing toward the near-solstice sun on this December morning, I bask in the knowledge that no roads interrupt the expanse to our east for almost 50 miles: nothing between us and the rising sun but true Cascadian wilderness.

Biff America: On Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is a favored holiday in ski country. It marked the beginning of the ski season, the time of year around which our entire existence revolves. And there’s so much to be thankful for.

Over the Hill: The Wilderness Act Turns 50


President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law on September 3, 1964, protecting 9.1 million acres as The National Wilderness Preservation System. This year marks the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary, which means 50 years of undeveloped, unmechanized and untracked terrain.

Video: Avalanche Expert Bruce Tremper on Risk


“I will never be as confident in my avalanche skills as I was when I was in my early 20s,” Bruce Tremper says with a short chuckle and teeth-showing grin. Tremper has held the position as the Utah Avalanche Center Director since 1986 and is the author of Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain and Avalanche Essentials. In this video, he admits that overconfidence and ego played strong roles in decision making in his earlier days and motivated him to get too close to dangerous cornices and ski terrain he wouldn’t descend today.

Buffalo, N.Y. Receives Colossal Snowstorm, Protect Our Winters Visits D.C., Black Diamond Issues Whippet Recall, Japan’s new backcountry project


This week two storms—combined with the lake effect off the Great Lakes—pummeled the Northeast. Artic winds blowing over unfrozen Lake Erie pulled a wall of moisture into the sky, converted it to light, fluffy snow and dumped more than 60 inches along a 130-mile stretch of I-90, extending from Erie to Buffalo. Roofs collapsed. People were trapped and needed rescue, and cars were abandoned.