Posts tagged: backcountry skiing
WINTER SPORTS — In a group of backcountry skiers and splitboarders who don't regularly get out together, it seems as though somebody's always slow at the top and bottom of the run, leaving others to freeze as they wait.
In this video, mountain guide Martin Volken shares his wisdom on how to efficiently transition from ski-to-skin and back again, along with tips on keeping the system simple to stay better organized in the backcountry.
WINTER SPORTS — Stevens Pass has received 160 inches of snow this month as of today, making it the third snowiest February the resort has had in the last 50 years, resort owners say.
February of the 1998-99 season holds the record with 226 inches of snowfall for the month.
In an 11-day storm cycle from Feb. 10 to Feb. 21, more than 10 feet of snow fell, better than doubling the base depth from 61 inches to 129 inches at the time.
Stevens Pass’ base sits at 145 inches of snow at the top and 124 inches of snow in the base area. February storms have brought the 2013-14 season snowfall total to 342 inches. The resort averages 450 inches of snowfall annually.
February’s snowfall was a 76 percent increase from snowfall through the month of January. According to the USDA Stevens Pass had received 73 percent of its normal amount of precipitation as of Feb. 1; the resort now sits at around 90 percent of normal precipitation.
In the last five years March has also been a dependable month for snowfall, averaging 118 inches.
The new snow has created a massive amount of avalanche mitigation work for the Stevens Pass Pro Patrol. Explosives dropped from a helicopter have even been employed to trigger avalanches outside the ski area boundary that could potentially travel into the resort.
According to the Northwest Avalanche Center, the backcountry avalanche danger is currently “considerable” in the Stevens Pass area of the Cascades, meaning dangerous avalanche conditions exist.
See video of massive avalanche that was triggered by explosives outside the ski area boundary on Feb. 26.
WINTER SPORTS — Schweitzer Mountain Resort announced today that it will shut down its lifts on April 13, a week later than usual to offer a “bonus” week of skiing and snowboarding to its patrons.
Traditionally, the Sandpoint-area resort has closed at the end of the spring break for local schools.
“With help from recent snowfall, Schweitzer will operate for an additional week to accommodate spring breaks in Spokane school districts as well,” said Sean Briggs, resort spokesman. “The amount of terrain and lifts that will be open has not yet been determined.”
Read on for details about discount ticket offers and special events.
WINTER SPORTS — Altough recent winter storms have made mountain slopes unsafe for winter travel in some areas, snow-goers who know how to pick stable terrain are having a ball.
Read on for the report from Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson, who filmed the short video above over the weekend during a ski trek at Rogers Pass in the chill of minus 2 degrees.
WINTER SPORTS — Recent weather is creating hazards. Be careful out there.
Massive avalanche in B.C. prompts warnings there and in Alberta
The Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a high-hazard warning for British Columbia and Alberta after learning of a massive slide on Wednesday near Fernie, B.C., destroyed 200-year-old trees and ran past historical avalanche boundaries.
WINTER SPORTS — Wednesdays and Fridays are “Ladies Days” at certain Inland Northwest ski resorts, with special deals and favors.
WINTER SPORTS — Looking for a winter trek to a somewhat cozy room with a view:
Here's a photo my daughter emailed to me from her recent backcountry ski trek to Winchester Lookout near Bellingham. That's Mount Baker in the background. Not a bad backdrop, even if you didn't have the additional eye candy featuring miles and miles of the North Cascades.
WINTER SPORTS — The annual Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival is coming to Spokane and Coeur d'Alene courtesy of several local outdoor groups.
The lineup featuring all or portions of 10 films tapped by the Alliance committee will be screened:
The films spotlight a wide range of outdoor pursuits. This year the features include a trek in Mongolia in search of wolverines, the story of how a small community fought to save its local ski area, a poor man’s alternative to heli-skiing, and “Valhalla” – which was edited down in the Banff World Tour to its nude skiing scene.
The festival highlights the efforts of the Winter Wildlands Alliance and other grassroots groups’ efforts to preserve and conserve winter landscapes for quiet users.
Read on for the list of films on this year's tour.
WINTER SPORTS — Great report just posted from Lookout Pass:
…With all the snow this week and more to come, it seems like Lookout Pass is the place to be. We received over 12 inches in the last 48 hours and the forecast is predicting snow everyday until Saturday night!
The resort's Winter Carnival is set for Jan. 19.
WINTER SPORTS — After a long drought, Mt. Spokane and 49 Degrees North are reporting 6-7 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours!
More to come.
WINTER SPORTS — Have a happy, holy and safe holiday in and out of doors.
Use the kid-keeping tip above at your own risk.
WINTER SPORTS — First it was Colorado resorts, then Montana's Big Mountain out of Whitefish. The Sun Valley report clearly defines the Forest Service and ski industry concern for backcountry skiers launching their trips from resort slopes.
Idaho resort puts limits on uphill skiers
Sun Valley Resort officials said the dramatic increase of folks trekking uphill on Old Baldy forced them to make a policy change that bans uphill skiers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hours of operation for the Idaho resort
—Idaho Mountain Express
WINTER SPORTS — Backcountry skiers who use alpine ski resorts that operate on public land are being scrutinized this season.
Here's a story from last month.
Here's the latest:
Uphill skiers at Montana resort warned to use designated routes
There are two routes uphill skiers at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana may use to access the powder under their own power, and a U.S. Forest Service official who works with the resort on its special permit warned skiers to stick to those routes to avoid additional regulations on the practice. —Flathead Beacon
PARKS — The foundation is done and a contractor has put up the walls on the new Smith Gap warming hut for snowshoers and backcountry skiers at Mount Spokane State Park.
Warren D. Walker snapped this photo to document the effort on Sunday.
Steven Christensen, park manager, said it's unlikely the hut will be ready for use this winter, but there's still a possibility. Either way, volunteers will be needed next summer to finish the inside, he said.
WINTER SPORTS — Work is progressing on a hut to serve as a Smith Gap warming shelter for snowshoers and backcountry skiers at Mount Spokane State Park.
It's no surprise that Cris Currie, long-time leader of the Friends of Mount Spokane State Park, is in the thick of the volunteer action. The friends group is looking for a wood stove to install in the hut.
Here's a weekend update with these photos from Currie's wife, Nora Searing:
STATE PARKS — The Friends of Mount Spokane State Park are putting out a plea for someone with building skills to help lead the construction before winter of a yurt for snowshoers and backcountry skiers at the park.
Here's the message:
We are now at a critical point in our 4 year effort to build a new winter shelter for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing at Mt. Spokane, and we need everyone’s help. A grant for materials has been secured from the Johnston-Fix Foundation and additional financial support is available from the Friends of Mt. Spokane. The plans have been approved and park staff expect to have the foundation for the hut finished by the middle of next week. The location is Smith Gap. Unfortunately, the volunteer retired contractor we had lined up to lead the project is no longer available and we need to replace him. IF we can find a replacement within the next couple of weeks, and if we can find 3 or 4 committed volunteers who can devote several days a week to the project, we could at least get the exterior done this season. If not, we will do our best to protect the foundation over the winter and resume in June.So, I would like to ask everyone if they happen to know a retired or semi-retired builder/contractor (preferably a snowshoer or skier!) who would like to devote a few weeks of their time to direct the construction of this hut. The Friends Group will pay for the materials and at least this person’s expenses. We think we can start Friday the 16th. If you know of anyone, have them email me at email@example.com or call me at 509-466-9540. I would be happy to discuss the details with them. It’s easier if they have their own tools, but they will also be able to use the fairly extensive resources that the park has as well. I will be out of town this Friday to Tuesday but will be available by email.Then, secondly, assuming we can find the right person, we will need additional volunteers who can pound nails and move boards around. So those people should contact me too and let me know their level of building experience and their availability. You do not need a Discover Pass. In fact, with 24 hours of service, you can get a free Discover Pass!This has the potential to be a very exciting, fun project, and volunteers are guaranteed to learn a lot about the park, have the opportunity to hang out with some fun people, and maybe even learn a few things about building.Thanks for your help!!Cris Currie, PresidentFriends of Mt. Spokane State Park
On Saturday, five men participating in the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash on Colorado's Loveland Pass were killed by an avalanche, the deadliest in the state since 1962.
The Backcountry Bash was a fundraiser for the area avalanche center. —Denver Post
WINTER SPORTS — Backcountry skiers who have been negotiating against the near-total encroachment of snowmobiles into national forest playgrounds near Lookout Pass and Stevens Peak may find some support in a ruling handed down by a court in Boise.
A federal judge in Idaho says the U.S. Forest Service broke the law when it didn’t craft rules to govern snowmobile travel, handing powder-loving backcountry skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts a victory that could extend to national forests nationwide.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush ruled Friday that the Forest Service must go back to work on its 2005 Travel Management Rule and draw up regulations designating areas of use and non-use by all off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, on national forest lands.
See the story: Judge sides with backcountry skiers
WINTER SPORTS — “We had it going on for a while, the melt-freeze I mean,” said Kevin Davis in today Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center weekly forecast.
“Last weekend the conditions were great and if you could have had this week off you would have been getting into some corn snow conditions. No solid overnight freeze put an end to that and you'll find slushy snow prevailing.
“Possibly a little dust on crust up north and to the south will be slush on slush.
“Be careful on steep terrain if you venture out today and this weekend. Use you spring travel techniques. I'll post that next week. This is our last official advisory this winter.”
WINTER SPORTS — “A lot of snow in the past week, and it fell with a lot of wind,” warns Kevin Davis in today's weekly advisory from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
Winds were mainly out of the west so use caution on the easterly aspects, NE through SE. I found a decent slab over a weak layer of facets on a north aspect in the Selkirks yesterday and I wouldn't have been on any steep and exposed slopes with that under me.
No shooting cracks or whumphing but if you dig down through the powdery snow you'll hit an ice crust, isolate a column on that and give er a whack and see what happens. Go or no go? It'll settle a little bit today but check it again this weekend. Great conditions out there right now.