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Wednesday, September 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog backcountry skiing archive

MONDAY, OCT. 9, 2017

MONDAY, JUNE 12, 2017

Climber Bryson Williams of Spokane enjoys the view from the top of Harrison Peak looking south along the Selkirk Crest on June 11, 2017.
 (Benjamin Read)

View from top of Harrison Peak worth the slog

CLIMBING -- The Selkirk Mountains in Idaho continue to open their arms to adventurers willing to tough out spring transition conditions in the high country. On Sunday, Bryson Williams of Spokane and North Idaho resident Benjamin Read boot-slogged with ropes and other climbing gear four...

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FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2017

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2017

SUNDAY, APRIL 16, 2017

Skiers make a spring ascent of Mount St. Helens. (Hillary Landers)

Mount St. Helens ripe for ski ascent, descent

MOUNTAINEERING -- While spring flowers are sprouting and blooming in the lowlands, some of Washington's high mountains are in prime conditions for ski mountaineering. That's the word received today from my favorite youngest daughter, who said her Saturday adventure in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic...

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FRIDAY, FEB. 17, 2017

MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2017

SATURDAY, JAN. 21, 2017

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18, 2017

FRIDAY, JAN. 6, 2017

Ben Parsons competes in the Whitefish Whiteout at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Mont., in 2016. Parsons, 36, died Jan. 5, 2017, of injuries suffered in an avalanche in Glacier National Park. Parsons was an endurance athlete who competed in mountain bike and ski mountaineering races.  (Greg Lindstrom / Flathead Beacon via AP)

Avalanche kills backcountry skier in Glacier Park

WINTERSPORTS -- An endurance athlete and firefighter who was partially buried in an avalanche while backcountry skiing in Montana’s Glacier National Park died as emergency crews tried to rescue him, officials said Friday. Ben Parsons, 36, of Kalispell, was a skilled outdoor adventurer who competed...

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 28, 2016

Wallowa Avalanche Center logo.

Wallowa Avalanche Center names new director

WINTERSPORTS – A professional ski guide has been named director of the Wallowa Avalanche Center, replacing a director who was killed in an avalanche last spring. Victor McNeil fills the vacancy left by the death of Kip Rand, who died in an avalanche last March...

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TUESDAY, DEC. 20, 2016

Skimo competitors at Brundage for the Northwest Passage race. (Idaho Statesman)

Ski mountaineers chase chance to compete in Europe

WINTERSPORTS -- In bitter cold temperatures, ski mountaineers tested themselves against the mountain, competitors and themselves last weekend at Brundage Mountain near McCall. The Northwest Passage Ski Mountaineering Race, Dec. 16-17 at Brundage Mountain, attracted some of the top backcountry skiers in the country. Skimo...

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THURSDAY, DEC. 15, 2016

Backcountry skiing involves some inherent risks, including exposure to avalanche terrain. (Rich Landers)

Avalanche awareness sessions offered in Sandpoint

WINTERSPORTS – Two avalanche awareness seminars will be be offered free this month in Sandpoint. Selkirk Powder Company and the Alpine Shop have teamed to host the one-hour seminars promoting avalanche awareness for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those in the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains. On Dec....

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30, 2016

Snowskaters on the slopes at Silver Mountain Resort in February 2015. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Silver Mountain to open ski lifts Friday

WINTERSPORTS -- After a soft holiday weekend opening for snow tubing, scenic rides and skiing and boarding on the beginner hill, Silver Mountain Resort plans to crank up more lifts on Friday. The resort plans to operate Chair 1, 2 and the beginner conveyer lift....

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MONDAY, NOV. 28, 2016

The "vastly improved" outhouse at the Snow Peak Cabin south of Sherman Pass. (Jon Jonckers)

Snow Peak Cabin guests enjoy upgraded privvy

WINTERSPORTS -- The winter backcountry season is kicking into gear near Sherman Pass, and visitors who've planned ahead and secured reservations to ski or snowshoe into the Snow Peak Cabin will find, as one backcountry enthusiast called it, "a vastly improved outhouse." Snow Peak Cabin...

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THURSDAY, NOV. 10, 2016


MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2016


Eric Gullickson, an instructor with the Northwest Avalanche Center, points toward the sky as he explains how a slope heated by the sun can affect the possibility of an avalanche as he leads teenagers on an avalanche awareness field trip at Mount Baker, Washington. As more young adults head out of bounds to ski, snowboard or hike in the winter, experts are targeting their message about avalanche safety and knowledge to an even younger audience. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Avalanche kills Oregon avalanche center director

WINTERSPORTS – The director of an avalanche center in Oregon who taught winter survival and avalanche awareness courses has died in an avalanche. The EO Media Group reports that Wallowa Avalanche Center Director Kip Rand was killed Tuesday in a steep fall and avalanche. Rand...

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TUESDAY, FEB. 23, 2016

In this Sunday, May 3, 2015 photo, ice clings to a cliff at Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Avalanches, falling ice, crevasses and undermined snow are some of the dangers faced by backcountry skiers at the birthplace of extreme skiing. (Robert Bukaty / Associated Press)

Avalanche deaths: worst January since 2008

WINTERSPORTS -- Avalanche deaths are on the rise as more people explore backcountry recreation and El Nino dumps snow in the West, the Associated Press reports. Data from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center shows the 11 deaths in January made that month the deadliest since...

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MONDAY, FEB. 15, 2016

At an elevation of about 10,900 feet, the Beartooth Pass offers early- and late-season backcountry skiing opportunities.  (Casey Riffe / Billings Gazettte)

Backcountry skiers detail choice destinations

WINTERSPORTS -- Get a taste for backcountry skiing in a free program sponsored by the Spokane Mountaineers at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at Mountain Gear Headquarters, 6021 E Mansfield in Spokane Valley. Club members will present "Backcountry skiing in and beyond the Inland...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 26, 2016

MONDAY, JAN. 25, 2016

Deadly January: Avalanches kill 10 in 10 days 

WINTERSPORTS -- The five avalanche fatalities recorded from Mount Baker to Wyoming over the weekend contributed to January being the deadliest month in 20 years for on-snow travelers. Even my earlier report on the weekend accidents involving skiers and snowmobilers at Mount Baker, Montana and...

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Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.

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