A Certain Uncertainty

Covid-19, masks and politics, oh my!  What a wake up call—finally, the rest of the world gets a taste of what it’s like to deal with avalanches. Here, I present you with a learning opportunity, so to speak. Perhaps experienced backcountry skiers and avalanche workers are better qualified than most to deal with the current […]

Gearbox: The Finer Points of La Sportiva’s Skorpius CR

There’s an old K2 Telemark poster of a skier doing an inverted grab with the tagline: “Take something hard, make it harder, then make it look easy.” Surely that poster wasn’t on the minds of La Sportiva’s designers when developing the new Skorpius CR. But the boot pulls off complex engineering with such simple and […]

Backcountry Access Updates Software for Tracker 2 Transceiver

On June 29, Backcountry Access (BCA) announced a software update for their popular Tracker 2 transceiver. Prior to the update, the Tracker2 switched to power-saving mode after 12 hours without user input; this update is designed to improve that power-saving mode functionality. BCA achieves this in two ways: Firstly, they increase the pulse-width length, or […]

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 […]

Height of Land Publications Equity and Inclusivity Statement

Like so many among us, we at Height of Land Publications—the parent company of Alpinist, Backcountry, Cross Country Skier and Mountain Flyer—are grieving the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black people whose lives have been lost because of racist violence. We stand with those protesting for civil rights and systemic […]

As Public Lands Reopen, What Does SAR Want You to Know?

“Do you have any painkillers?” A strained voice called out across the Coleman Glacier, one of the most direct routes up Washington’s volcanic Mt. Baker in the North Cascades, as my party of three skinned under the weight of overnight packs and the withering late afternoon sun of an unseasonably warm May weekend. As we […]

Inside New Hampshire’s Craft Glading Movement

A long time ago I learned that not every day is your best day when backcountry skiing. That couldn’t be truer than on Mt. Washington, the jewel of New Hampshire’s Presidential Range, which is infamously home to some of the world’s worst weather. It also is home to some of the best high-alpine skiing on the East Coast and the reason I chose to move to North Conway in 2014.

Mt. Washington’s Great White North

There’s no question why Tuckerman Ravine is the epicenter of New England backcountry. Its fetch builds a 50-foot base over the course of the winter, catching snow from all angles as the prevailing northwest winds constantly load snow in the massive, 1,000-foot basin. There are so many reasons to love this zone, but as I worked through all the runs that day, I knew there was more incredible skiing to be found in the Presidentials.

Leader of the Pack: ACMG guide Jasmin Caton navigates guiding, running a lodge and motherhood

The fact that I am responsible for the safety of my guests is something I take very seriously. I manage the risks by repeatedly checking in with my brain, my environment, my coworkers, my guests and my gut. I am big on creating good habits, little things I do daily that might decrease risk a hair here, a bit there. I guide in terrain that is really familiar to me, which can be helpful but can also breed a sense of complacency, so I am constantly guarding against this.

Meeting the Masses on New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington

It’s no secret that backcountry skiing has seen a surge in popularity. This overall trend is clearly visible on Mt. Washington and around the Presidential Range, where I’ve been working for nearly two decades. And while the numbers have swelled, the critical safety messages being delivered to visitors have remained surprisingly consistent despite huge changes in visitor use patterns.