The Art of the Sufferfest: How to make the worst ski days into the best memories

Maybe you’ve watched a few episodes of The Fifty and think Cody Townsend always seems to be having fun. The truth is that he—like most ski mountaineers—probably isn’t, but Townsend has learned that the secret to huge days in the mountains lies in having the right attitude. Though I haven’t been picking my way through the 50 classics (in fact, I generally avoid them), I have had my fair share of sufferfests in the mountains, and there are a few tried-and-true ways to make them less suffer-y.

Gearbox: Ortovox Diract Voice

As an avalanche instructor, I spend a lot of time calling out directions to my students: “Zig-zag until you find a signal! Follow the arrows! Make sure the numbers are going down! Get lower to the snow! Now pull out your probe!” Well, imagine a world in which I don’t have to yell those things, because your beacon is doing that for you.

New Hights: Snowboarder Elena Hight trades halfpipes for high peaks

At the age of six, Elena Hight traded sunny beaches of Hawaii for snow when her family relocated to Lake Tahoe, California. “My dad was a surfer his whole life, so the first thing he did when we moved to the mountains was teach us all how to snowboard,” says Hight, who joined the professional competition circuit via the halfpipe at age 13. Since then, Hight has reached the highest stages of snowboarding, including two Olympic Games, a Winter X Games superpipe gold and becoming the first snowboarder to land a double backside alley-oop rodeo during a halfpipe competition. After retiring from the competition scene in 2018, Hight refocused her energy into exploring the world of backcountry freeriding.

Solving for Z: Zahan Billimoria Balances Risk and Reward

Zahan Billimoria, better known as Z, is a Jackson, Wyoming-based mountain guide with an extensive résumé. He’s guiding seasoned athletes and professional skiers alike. He’s guided for Teton Gravity Research (TGR), Redbull, works with Exum Mountain Guides and runs his own training and big mountain-focused company, Samsara Experience. Through it all, Billimoria has learned that […]

Travel Wisely: How to safely explore and enjoy the backcountry through a global pandemic

With Covid-19 still spreading across the globe, the only answer to the question, “What happens next?” seems to be “Who knows?” Ski resorts are just one example of a disrupted industry, and while a season with minimal chairlift use might be standard operating procedures for some, a human-powered winter is a brave new world for […]

Two Peas in a Pod: Mali Noyes and Lani Bruntz complete the winter WURL

“I had been obsessed with the WURL on the running side of it in the summer,” says professional skier Mali Noyes, a resident of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. “So obsessed that I started thinking about skiing it, because, really, skiing is my favorite.” The WURL, or the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup, is […]

The Ski Guide Manual: “The path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty”

The Ski Guide Manual is almost a misnomer. After flipping through the carefully planned pages, I found myself considering new and different ways to work with my ski clients, but I also kept floating back to my recreation ski days, thinking of new and better ways to be more efficient in everything from trip planning […]

2020 Snow and Avalanche Workshops

For those new to the backcountry, figuring out where to begin can be intimidating. Avalanche courses are pricey, and it’s difficult to get your money’s worth if you’ve never stepped onto the skintrack. But how do you safely get that needed experience before signing up for your first course? While this may seem like a […]

Next Steps: Why Everyone Needs to Take a Wilderness Medicine Course

I’ve spent enough time in the backcountry to start becoming complacent. This isn’t a badge of honor; it’s more of a humble learning process. Every so often, I start cutting corners, seeing how many steps I can skip before I find the limit, and I’ve found that limit a handful of times. Rock fall, knee-twisting […]

Bridging the Gap: A Conversation with Ascent Mentorship founder Emily Wright

When Emily Wright moved to Revelstoke, B.C. from Whistler, she faced a problem that a lot of women have run into over the years: finding other women to ski with in the backcountry. To solve this problem, Wright decided to start Ascent Mentorship in hopes of connecting women looking to get into the backcountry. —Betsy […]