Story by G.R. Fielding
Photos by Jeremy Swanson
With backcountry travel becoming much more
popular, gear getting lighter, stronger and the social media lifestyle needing to be fulfilled it seems as easy as ever to find yourself out beyond your skillset (whether you know it or not).
I was reminded of this on a recent scouting mission skinning to a frequent early and late season zone we ski. The snowpack where I ski is highly variable and when it gets deeper, it becomes a mess of facets, slabs and instabilities. We observed whoomphing and shooting cracks, but still, we ventured on. We knew we could get to nice mellow slopes.
We ended up having a great day out in the mountains, but it wasn't without a few gut-check moments, and being able to say we'd leave a beautiful blank canvas of a steeper slope alone for the day.
I was aided in my decision making by reading our local avalanche forecast, paying attention to the weather, and refreshing my mindset in the early season with some of the plethora of tools available online.
Stay safe out there, and remember, the backcountry skiing season in most of the western US and Canada extends well into June most years, so be careful with the thinner snowpacks out there.
Before you head out, please check out