Hips Don’t Lie: How a solid foundation leads to strong skinning

In 2014, when Exum guide and longtime skimo competitor Janelle Smiley entered a hospital for double hip surgeries, she worried she might never skin again. She and her husband Mark, an internationally certified mountain guide, had built a life around uphill skiing—Janelle is a three-time winner of the National Skimo Championship, a two-time North American Championship winner and won the team division of the 2013 Swiss Mountaineering Championship with partner Stevie Kremer.

Mountain Skills: Essential Education

The list of skills and knowledge needed to get into the mountains is never ending. In fact, it’s subject matter that numerous careers are built on, but safe and efficient backcountry travel doesn’t necessarily require a PhD in snow science or a guide’s certification. It takes common sense, good partners, a willingness to learn and, above all, the following 10 things that every skier and rider should know.

How an East Coast slide proves that avalanches don’t care where you live

Avalanches in Vermont are considered as uncommon as getting the measles. But in March 2018, Vermont residents Aaron Rice, 28, who notably climbed and skied 2.5-million vertical feet in 2016, and friend Cyril Brunner, 27, found themselves dealing with one in Smugglers’ Notch, near Stowe Mountain Resort. The accident wasn’t just because of their line choice and a snowpack with buried facets beneath feet of new snow, but also due to common heuristic traps that can befall skiers anywhere. 

A Grand Design: Bill Briggs reflects on his groundbreaking ski descent

When Bill Briggs, now 87, first visited Jackson, Wyo. in 1952, year-round ski jobs in the Teton-based outpost were nonexistent. Lifts had not yet been installed on the slopes of Rendezvous Mountain, the future site of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Snow King Mountain boasted a single chairlift. But Briggs had a fire burning in […]

How one Crested Butte-based skier pays it forward

For Crested Butte, Colorado-based Alex Riedman, being a member of Crested Butte Mountain Rescue is all about giving back to her community.

Why IFMGA-certified guide Margaret Wheeler believes that variety makes a difference in the mountains

When I call up guide Margaret Wheeler, 45, at her home in Ketchum, Idaho on an early November day, she answers with a sniffle. Wheeler apologizes and explains that her nasal tone is induced by a head cold, but continues on, unfazed by her condition.

The Avalanche Airbag: A lesson in fluid dynamics

Per mountain lore, Peter Aschauer got the idea to create an inflatable flotation system for avalanche safety after hearing about a German forest ranger in the 1970s who survived an avalanche thanks to an elk affixed to his backpack. The mechanics were simple: the laws of fluid dynamics dictate that, when a medium is in […]

Backcountry Access: Leading safety technology, 25 years later

In 1994, Bruce Edgerly, along with Bruno McGowan, founded Backcountry Access in a South Boulder , Colo. garage. At the time, telemark gear was the easiest means with which to access the backcountry, but Edgerly was unwilling to accept its limitations.

The Human-Powered Evolution of Greg Hill

In 2010, at the age of 35, Revelstoke, B.C.-based skier Greg Hill set the benchmark for most vertical feet skied in a single year: two million. That’s an average of 5,500 feet per day, and Hill traveled around the world to make the dream happen.

Nine timeless items to rely on season after season

We live in a world of constant innovation—the latest iPhone is out before there’s even time to break the last one, cars can drive themselves, and there are more USB port styles than can be counted on one hand.

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