Mountain Skills: How a rescue sled can save the day

The final stage in a rescue is often overlooked during traditional avalanche courses: how do you get someone out of the backcountry who is unable to ski? Many people often fall back on the hope for a heli evacuation, but bad cell service, inclement weather and difficult terrain can make this impossible. When this is the case, you’re going to need to make a sled. 

Mountain Skills: The tools and tricks to stay motivated in the skintrack

Last year I skied 2.5-million human-powered vertical feet, and there were definitely times when I just didn’t feel like skinning. I often wanted to ski one less run or even lay down in the snow and cry. But I knew that, to reach my goal, I had to become a master of motivating myself to start earlier, go longer, go faster and stop later.

Mountain Skills: Use a checklist to facilitate better decisions

If you’ve taken an avalanche class recently, you may have heard the quote, “The world of snow and avalanches is a wicked learning environment.”

Mountain Skills: How to Overcome Avalanche Education Anxiety

As an avalanche course instructor, I’m often confronted with students who come to me with a ton of questions after taking an Avy Level 1 course. In a lot of ways, that’s what Level 1 courses are for: inspiring questions and pointing out just how complex avalanches really are and how difficult terrain management can be.

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.

Medical Alert: Dealing with unexpected emergencies in the mountains

Physical injuries—otherwise known as trauma—get a lot of attention in backcountry first aid. But there’s a whole other realm of dangerous and deadly emergencies that skiers and riders should be aware of and prepared to manage. We spoke with Nicholas Kanaan, an emergency physician based in Salt Lake City, Utah with a background in wilderness medicine, to learn more.

Mountain Skills: Phone Frenzy

Given the range of possibilities cells phones offer, what are the best and safest ways to use them when headed out of bounds?

Mountain Skills: Cody Townsend Ditches Deviance

What do space shuttles and backcountry skiing have in common? According to freeride skier Cody Townsend, it’s a relationship that stems from an explosion and a theory. Better yet, he’s adapted a method of assessing off-piste risk based on that relationship.

Mountain Skills: Digging doesn’t need to be the pits

Analyzing snowpack starts before you leave for a tour and only ends when you’re safely back home. After reading the morning’s forecast, digging a snow pit in the field can better enhance your understanding of they day’s snow stability. But without a process for gathering and implementing upon the information pits present, digging and analyzing a pit’s layers can be tedious. Here are a few tips to streamline the process, so you can gather information in a timely and informative manner.

Mountain Skills: Social Media vs. Snow Safety

Given the prevalence of social media in our lives, it can be difficult to filter out the good information from the bad, and it’s important to remember that social media is a small snapshot of a greater picture. While there can be negative consequences from reacting to this medium, there are also positive takeaways. Here is how to use it to your advantage in the backcountry.