The Elegant Path: Behind the Backstory


To illustrate our monthly reader-submitted essay, “Backstory,” we send the selected story off to any number of freelance artists not fully knowing what we’ll get. “The piece was very esoteric,” contributing illustrator Jamie Givens writes on his Studio Peril blog about Todd Krankkala’s January 2014 essay. “[It] described the author’s feeling of flow as he […]

Backstory: A Snow Angel Named Liz


The date had been set for more than a year—our 22nd-annual gathering of the Tribe in Vail, Colo. Our plan was to skin northward, away from the piste-bound fashonistas into the rugged, untracked terrain of the Gore Range. Rousted from our day jobs as professional artists, construction workers, ranchers, engineers, attorneys and even a token politician, we arrived from bustling cities, paved suburbs and mountain retreats on both coasts.

Backstory: Dead Dog’s Tidings

Welcoming the morning sun. [Photo] Tyler Cohen

The morning sun is a welcome presence, its first few rays shooting at me over the ridge to the east. I huddle against the mountain, trying to maximize my surface area for sunlight while somehow minimizing my exposure to the wind. The howling wind dies down for a moment and I revel in the sweet, […]

Backstory: The Dog


I didn’t want him. I wasn’t ready for him, either. I was a 25-year-old dirtbag living in a camper. It was early in the winter and, already, I was seeing the folly of my camper-living dream. I was trying to make it work with a girl, but living on the road and ski touring every […]

Backstory: A Unique Ski Partner


I hit Lake Ediza around dusk and set up camp on the north side of the lake. After salami, cheese, and beer, I turned in for the night. A full moon shone. I would have liked to stay up to admire it, but I needed to get an early start the next morning to summit […]