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Backcountry Skiing, Snowshoeing and Climbing: Assessing Avalanche Terrain

It’s avalanche season again, which means it’s high time to refresh your snow-slide smarts if you’re a backcountry skier, snowboarder, climber, or snowmobiler. We’ve published a general guide to avalanche safety here at the Mountain House blog, which we recommend reading for more insight into what causes an avalanche and what to do if you get caught in one, among other topics. Today, we’re tightening the focus a bit and presenting a basic guide to assessing avalanche terrain as you travel. The considerations we’re covering below can help you hone your “avalanche eyeballs,” as Bruce Tremper, Director of the Forest … Continue reading

Ice Climbing: What You Need to Know

Ice climbing is not for the faint of heart. Not only does it require physical finesse, but a clear headspace when swinging around ice axes and crampons. If you’ve never been ice climbing, but want to learn, below are a few quick tips, with links to climbing festivals at the end. The Grade System Ice climbs are measured by a “WI” or “Water Ice” grade. A WI1 is the easiest type of ice climbing where technically no tools are required. The slope angle is 60-degrees or less, and is fairly straightforward, solid ice. From there, the grades progress up to … Continue reading

Backcountry Skiing 101

If you’ve watched a ski movie recently (like Rogue Elements or Line of Descent), you’ve probably seen the epic shots that are the bread and butter of the ski film industry: pro athletes unloaded on an Alaskan massif to shred down spines and couloirs to the valley below. While most of us may never ski lines like that, it doesn’t mean we can’t enter into the world of backcountry skiing and go at our own pace. Here are some tips to get you started: Get Educated One of the most important aspects of being a backcountry user is being a … Continue reading

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