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.

History on the Headwall: Mt. Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine

About a decade before I ever skied on Mt. Washington, several friends and I were climbing out of Tuckerman Ravine on the Boott Spur Trail on a cold April morning when we heard an explosion that echoed off the walls of the glacial cirque. We later found out that near the Hermit Lake Shelter, a U.S. Forest Service Avalauncher had misfired, causing an explosive round to ignite in the device’s barrel, injuring two snow rangers and a bystander.

Longtime guide Dan Escalante Killed in Crested Butte, Colo. Avalanche

Dan Escalante, a longtime mountain guide and former town councilman based in Crested Butte, Colo., has died in an avalanche. On the morning of Tuesday, April 28, while skiing Climax Chutes on the northeast side of Crested Butte’s Mt. Emmons, Escalante, 44, was caught in a wet slab avalanche. The slide swept Escalante, who was […]

Experienced Skier Dies in Colorado Avalanche, With Danger Elevated Across Colorado and Utah

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 16, Colorado’s Summit County Rescue Group shared news of an avalanche fatality north of Silverthorne, Colo. According to a statement published on the group’s Facebook page, a party of three was traveling on the north side of Red Mountain in the Gore Range on Wednesday when the avalanche occurred, carrying one member of the party 1,800 feet and causing fatal injuries