Mountain Skills: How To Become A Better Ski Partner

This way to the volcan. Michi Buechers and Martin Volken navigate near Nevados de Chillan, Chile. [Photo] Tyler Cohen

Trusted partners add life-saving value to a tour, from additional eyes looking for instability to providing wisecracks and nips of whiskey. And while it’s essential to make sure your partner is attuned to you and the mountains, relationships go both ways. Here’s a list of tips and suggestions to help you uphold safety and stoke within your group on your next tour.

Mountain Skills: Anticipating Point Release Avalanches

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As the spring approaches, many of us turn our attention to steeper, more technical lines higher in the mountains. The layers of snow that formed throughout the winter begin to gain strength and the avalanche problem is less complicated—it’s ski mountaineering season! But as the temperatures climb, wet avalanches become a more regular, primary concern. […]

Mountain Skills: Skiing with Sharp Objects

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Ski crampons, boot crampons and a simple ice axe should be a part of every backcountry skier’s kit. You won’t need them everyday, but knowing when and how to use them can greatly improve security and enjoyment. Here’s how.

Mountain Skills: Jill Fredston on 20 years of education, safety and snow science

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Jill Fredston, 56, is a longtime avalanche forecaster and educator in Alaska who coauthored “Snow Sense” with her husband and fellow avalanche guru, Doug Fesler. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation on 20 years of education, safety and snow science.

Mountain Skills: Bruce Tremper on 20 years of education, safety and snow science

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Bruce Tremper, 61, has been director of the Utah Avalanche Center since 1986 and is the author of the seminal book “Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain.” Here’s an excerpt from our conversation on 20 years of education, safety and snow science.

Mountain Skills: Brian Lazar on 20 years of education, safety and snow science

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Brian Lazar, 40, is the deputy director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and the former executive director of AIARE. He is based in Boulder, Colorado. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation on 20 years of education, safety and snow science.

Mountain Skills: Manuel Genswein on 20 years of education, safety and snow science

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Manuel Genswein, 40, is a native of the Swiss Alps who lives in Meilen and has done snow-safety work in 29 countries. Using an electronic engineering background, he has also developed rescue products and techniques that have been applied around the world. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation on 20 years of education, safety and snow science.

Mountain Skills: Ilya Storm on 20 years of education, safety and snow science

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Ilya Storm, 50, is the forecast coordinator for Avalanche Canada. Storm lives in Revelstoke, B.C., just down the road from Rogers Pass. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation on 20 years of education, safety and snow science.

Mountain Skills: Set a Plan and Stick to It

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You’ve been playing it safe all day. Even though the avalanche bulletin called out “Considerable” hazard for the day (natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered are likely), you haven’t observed any signs of instability while skiing lower angled terrain in the trees. Close to where you’ve been skiing, there’s an untracked slope—and it’s only slightly […]

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