“There is no right or wrong in the ongoing philosophical war; the contemporary free-heel world is an eclectic brew, encompassing everyone from Nordic tourers to damn-the-torpedoes freeriders,” Chris Clark said in Issue 21 of the ’99-’00 binding market.
On the hunt for some Throwback Thursday fodder, editor Tyler Cohen took a trip down into the depths of Backcountry’s basement. Amid the dust bunnies, the third and fourth editions of le Chronicle du Couloir lay in wait. The issues, each just 15 pages long, represent the early days of backcountry skiing journalism.
Oh how the times have changed. Flipping through archived issues of Backcountry, I stumbled across an atrocious sight in the 2000 Gear Guide. What might have been innovative then now harks back to a simpler time, when Tuas were cutting edge and tele skiers were content to smoke their patchouli (or whatever).
Avalanches have always been a hazard in the backcountry, and our response to sliding snow has constantly evolved. But the most recent life-saving tool, the avalanche airbag, might be older than you think. The first airbag was introduced in 1985 by ABS founder Peter Aschauer. Backcountry first covered the technology in January 1997, Issue 10.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, ski films meant big hair, Iron Crosses and rock music. And Greg Stump was the master of them all. The New York Times called Stump “a maverick film maker in the ski business,” and The Atlantic wrote, “Stump… does not make G-rated, safe-and-sane ski travelogues with elevator music. What he does make are wildly original, nonstop ski action films with comic and dramatic subplots and original scores.”