Opening Day

In late March, with buds already blossoming in the low country, I tuned my radio to the Seattle Mariners’ sold-out home opener after a day touring in the Cascades. The spring energy cackling over the airwaves felt infectious. It lulled me into thinking of life beyond snow after a winter dedicated to its pursuit.

Alta Withdraws Grizzly Gulch “Keystone” from Land Exchange, But Mountain Accord Presses On

You won’t find Grizzly Gulch in The Chuting Gallery, the steep skiing bible for Utah’s Central Wasatch Mountains. But the 284-acre patch of low-angle terrain at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon has become a flashpoint in a multiyear battle to settle land disputes between ski resorts and conservationists in the increasingly popular canyons.

One Guide’s Solution for Mt. Baker’s Seattle Skintrack

Pacific Northwest skiers are a mellow lot, but if you want to get them riled up, just ask about the so-called “Seattle Skintrack.” This moniker refers to skiers who travel from the city to set a steep zigzag straight up one of the many runs that dump into Bagley Lakes Basin, located in the vicinity of Washington State’s towering Mt. Baker volcano and its ice-clad neighbor Mt. Shuksan.

Exploring the touring scene at Chile’s most famous resort

I’d been intrigued by the 10,499-foot Paso de los Liberatadores—a mountain pass linking Chile and Argentina—ever since two friends sent photos from their cross-continental South American bike tour three years ago. The dizzying zigzag road on the Chilean side is the type of engineering marvel I’d expect to feature in a Discovery Channel special.

Off-Piste Atlas Spills the Goods on Seattle’s Backcountry Backyard

While Snoqualmie may be the humblest of the Cascade passes, sitting just 3,000 feet above sea level, certified mountain guide Matt Schonwald believes it to be an underexplored cornucopia of descents. “It’s incredible how many tours are there—easily over 100,” he told me last month. “That pass is by far one of the densest ski touring areas in the country by pure volume of runs.”

The Price of Paradise: Backcountry users struggle with strict enforcement of Mt. Rainier National Park’s winter access

From mid-November to mid-April, a gate controls access to Paradise from Longmire—elevation 2,761 feet. The 20-minute ride up is surreal in the best kind of Pacific Northwestern way, as towering pines and neon green mosses give way to Hokkaido-sized roadside canyons of snow and the Tatoosh Range’s jagged alpine, all capped by the glacier-encrusted crown jewel of 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier.

Why the Mayor of Salt Lake City Thinks Backcountry Skiers Should Care About the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris

The United Nations is at the brink of a historic global agreement on climate change that could limit carbon emissions. The accord is being negotiated right now on the outskirts of Paris at a two-week summit known as COP21. While most diplomats don’t know their left ski from their right, that’s not the case for Salt […]

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