Backcountry to get spotlight at SIA Snow Show

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding will be featured at this winter's SIA Snow Show.

Safety & gear to be emphasized at the Backcountry Experience booth

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Backcountry skiing will take a turn at center stage during the 2012 Snow Show in Denver with a Backcountry Experience exhibit aimed at educating retailers on the latest in backcountry-specific products and safety practices, including daily beacon-search contests during the show.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see the amount of growth that freeriding, backcountry and splitboarding are experiencing,” said Jeremy Jomes. “Every season more and more riders are eager to push the traditional limits and explore deeper into the backcountry. The Backcountry Experience exhibit at the 2012 Snow Show will put the category front and center for the entire marketplace to see,” Jones said. Continue reading

Steep shots: Skin away from the crowds

Ski columnist Emily Palm skins Keystone's back bowls.

In-bounds adventures at Keystone

By Emily Palm

Ah, spring skiing: Muscles warmed up for the season, bluebird skies, pleasant weather, and tourists careening at you from all angles atop iced-up slopes.

Quick side note: I do not begrudge out-of-towners unacquainted with mountain culture and lacking ski skills (commonly called “gapers”), for they subsidize my inbound skiing.

At the end of the season, I’m not sure the resorts break even from my packed sandwiches, backpack beverages and me. Furthermore, isn’t it healthy for Americans to break out of their comfort zones? Isn’t compassion toward such folks on the slope good karma for when we’re out in other realms bumbling through as a newbie? I digress, but suffice it to say, “Love thy gaper.”

Now back to the topic at hand. To enjoy the aforementioned benefits and escape the latter, get thee to the backcountry or up to non-lift-served inbound areas. Continue reading

Snow & sandstone: Stan Wagon explores the La Sals

A classic Utah vista in the La Sal mountains. PHOTO BY STAN WAGON.

With the snowpack in the mountains of eastern Utah at 146 percent of average, a pair Summit County ski mountaineers spent the equinox exploring peaks in the La Sal Range, near Moab. This is contributor Stan Wagon’s report from the expedition.

Jonathan Kriegel near the Summit of Haystack Mountain in the La Sals of eastern Utah. PHOTO BY STAN WAGON.

By Stan Wagon
On Friday, March 19, 2010, Jonathan Kriegel and I headed up the Geyser Pass trail with large packs (55 pounds) to set up a camp for three nights at the pass.

Conditions were stormy (and the drive up difficult in 6 inches of new snow), but the storm was ending and so it seemed perfect, with a forecast of sunny days and lots of fresh snow. We got to the pass in just over two hours and set up camp. We headed north for a short ski tour in the late afternoon but got a little lost on return, having to climb 200 feet to return to camp.

On Saturday we went for Haystack (11,640 ft), which we failed on two years ago because of very firm snow and no crampons. This year, armed (footed?) with the proper tools, we easily cramponed up the steep east ridge and enjoyed some fine summit time. We could look down the large north face, which would have been skiable, but we stuck to our plan of skiing the south face. The rest of the story and more picks after the break. Continue reading

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