The Future Is In Your Hands

In Deep My common answer to “How’s business?” has evolved since we published our first issue of Backcountry Magazine in 2002. Then, when we were a staff of three and had just laid ourselves off in April to go back to banging nails, shooting weddings and waiting tables, it was something like, “We had a […]


Being a mountain guide in Chamonix, France can be as romantic as it sounds, but it’s also hard on the mind and taxing on the body. And romance and fatigue usually don’t go together. So what if your lover is also a guide? Maybe your business partner, too? Meet Miles and Elizabeth Smart. They can get you into some of the hairiest places on the planet. And they share socks.

My Kit: Seven Essentials for The Sierra High Way

From Tahoe to Tioga Pass and all the way down California’s 395 to Mt. Whitney, it’s been a fat year in the Sierra. After a half decade of dismal snowfall, reservoirs are full again, valleys are green as pastures and most East Side couloirs now have passing lanes, pull-over spots and scenic overlooks. Here’s some of the gear I’ve pulled in after a winter of testing to ski a portion of the Redline Traverse.

Silverton Heli Expansion Approved: Opposition Promises Appeal

Taking some in the San Juan Colo. backcountry community by surprise, a May 3 ruling by the Bureau of Land Management granted Silverton Mountain Guides a five-year Special Recreation Permit for helicopter skiing in the Illinois/Hancock, Minnie/Maggie, Round and Southeast management pods northeast of town. The final decision gives heli access to more than 16,000 […]

Child’s Play: Kid’s AT gear is here, but will Daddy kick down?

Parents have been cobbling together kid’s touring rigs for years. A quick and incomplete modern history of kid’s backcountry gear would certainly start with three-pin bindings, cross-country boots and double-camber skis.

Not For Sale: Arc’teryx/Gore-Tex Pro Demo Jacket

The late bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn had a great line in Blues Brothers: “If the shit fits, wear it.” Never an image guy and, frankly, a tough fit for jackets, I can abide. Enter this sample Arc’teryx/Gore-Tex piece that I picked up at a press event last year in Chamonix. Made of Gore-Tex Pro throughout, it’s like nothing in the Arc’teryx line. Well, aside from its high-quality construction and anatomical cut.

Should we care about ski mountaineering in the Olympics? Look to mountain biking for the answer

At its April conclave in Belek, Turkey, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee granted provisional recognition to the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) for the possible inclusion of skimo as an Olympic event: As early as the 2022 Games we could see not just more Spandex and snot but improbably stripped-down AT bindings, backpacks that weigh less than a bra, dental floss harnesses and high-mountain suffering.

Backcountry Basecamp Dispatch: The Backmobile

Ten hours into the white knuckle, whiteout drive from Jackson Hole to Denver en route to the Crested Butte GORE-TEX Backcountry Basecamp a light came on, accompanied by a discomforting ding. With two kids in tow and 5,000 lbs. of gear in the trailer, that little check-engine icon frayed some already frayed nerves.

Tried & New: Black Diamond Patrol

If you’ve ever patrolled, chances are you used leather gloves. Once you’ve had a leather glove, nothing else comes close to its fit and function. I got this sample pair of the Black Diamond Patrol back in 2006 or ’07. As a former patroller, I value a glove with a lotta leather. You beat the […]

Solitude’s Backtracks program 10 years after….

While the number of resorts offering a guided backcountry experience continues to grow, one program remains unique: At Utah’s Solitude Resort patrollers literally cross the line, doubling as guides in their Backtracks program. It started in 2003 and in early February of that year editor Adam Howard joined line patroller and lead guide Ian Reddell […]