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One thing on the mind of most backcountry skiers is the weight of their setup. And as you can see in the comparison chart above, ski weights can vary quite a bit, from the impressively light Armada Locator 96 (5 lbs. 13 oz.) and Movement Alp Tracks 106 (5 lbs. 15 oz.) to the burly WNDR Alpine Intention 108 and DPS Pagoda Lotus 124 (both over 8 lbs. per pair). All-rounder backcountry models like the Blizzard Zero G 105 (6 lbs. 12 oz.) and Elan Ripstick Tour 104 (6 lbs. 13 oz.) land in between these extremes and are a nice match for those looking for an effective balance between uphill efficiency and downhill performance.
Rocker and camber are design profiles used to describe the curvature of the ski. Camber is the traditional profile that makes the ski convex in relation to the snow, with direct contact points spread widely near the tip and tail. Rocker is a more modern technique that looks akin to the bottom of a boat with early rise in the tip and/or tail. Most backcountry skis on the market today have a combination of rocker and camber in their profile, with camber underfoot and rocker in the tip and sometimes the tail.
While experimental construction with carbon fiber and other lightweight materials are prevalent among current backcountry skis, wood cores remain the standard due to their unmatched feel and predictable rebound. There has been a shift, however, to lightweight woods like balsa, paulownia, poplar, and ash from heavier and tougher woods like aspen and maple. To combat stiffness and durability problems from this change, the rest of the ski is often beefed up with carbon, Titanal, or a similarly light but strong material. For instance, DPS' Pagoda Tour 106 C2 uses two horizontal layers of wood between layers of carbon fiber, which translates to fantastic stiffness for the weight.
With a few exceptions, there are two main categories of backcountry skiing bindings: frame bindings and tech bindings (also known as pin bindings). Essentially, a frame binding is an alpine binding mounted on a rail that releases at the heel for skinning. Frame bindings are heavy, inefficient for climbing, and can be cumbersome. However, they could be a good option for people who mainly ski the resort but get out of bounds on occasion. Marker and Tyrolia offer some great frame bindings if this type of skiing suits you.
At this time, six chapters have joined the CTA. Together we currently manage eight backcountry areas featuring over 100,000 vertical feet of some of the best backcountry skiing on the east coast. This is a major step forward for winter recreation in Vermont and would not have been possible without the amazing support of our CTA chapter members, partnerships with the Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont Forests Parks and Recreation, and some very generous private landowners.
Although each location is unique, most managed backcountry areas share a number of common features. You can expect to find a trailhead with parking, an established and well marked access route or skin track, and gladed ski lines that lead back to the skin track or exit route.
These areas are well maintained, and every fall work days are held to remove blowdowns and other debris. Because these zones are well taken care of they are often skiable earlier and later into the season than your typical backcountry stash. Much thought and planning has gone into laying out the zones to ensure uninterrupted descents while avoiding flat terrain. The CTA has also worked with foresters and ecologists to minimize the the ecological impact of backcountry skiing in these areas.
Skiers visiting any of our managed backcountry areas should plan to be self-sufficient, and come prepared with appropriate clothing, extra food, water, and be ready to deal with equipment failures and injuries.
Follow TBSP on Facebook! Who We AreTahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol is a group of volunteers dedicated to helping make the Tahoe backcountry safer for everyone. We are all members of the National Ski Patrol, but instead of ski areas we patrol the public lands around Lake Tahoe and Truckee. We train all our members in emergency medicine, winter travel/survival, and search and rescue skills. There are currently over 50 skiers/riders on the patrol ranging in age from early 20s to early 60s and in ski ability from advanced intermediate to jaw-dropping rippers. TBSP patrollers get around on telemark or randonnee gear and on split-boards. We patrol the backcountry together in groups of 3 or more every winter weekend from December to mid-April.
Experience the joy of earning your turns the old-fashioned way, with human-powered skiing and snowboarding. Snowbird Mountain Guides will lead the way as you leave the trailhead or exit the resort's backcountry gate to explore a whole new world of fresh tracks and tranquility.
The Backcountry 101 Course is a one-day introduction to the skills and knowledge it takes to go for a backcountry tour. If you are just getting started in the backcountry world, we strongly recommend this course before taking an AIARE 1. You will learn and practice the use of alpine touring equipment, climbing skins to go uphill, route finding and technique. You will also get navigation and trip planning tools, a basic understanding of avalanche safety equipment, avalanche terrain and the avalanche forecast.
That prompted them last month to try Bluebird Backcountry, a ski area without chairlifts near Rabbit Ears Pass that gives skiers and snowboarders a feel for the backcountry experience in a controlled environment.
In its third season, Bluebird is designed to offer backcountry training in a non-threatening, user-friendly environment where guests can rent gear, take lessons and practice what they have learned without the hazards of uncontrolled slopes.
A good way to stay up to date on the conditions of the snowpack in your area is by utilizing the avalanche reporting resources available to you. Avalanche.org is an excellent resource, with links to regional avalanche centers that evaluate their local snowpacks all season long and use a standardized system to communicate the risk of a given day. These avalanche centers produce daily reports that communicate danger on a 1-5 scale from Low to Extreme for a range of elevations and elaborate on specific hazards and slope aspects you should be cautious of. By following the storm cycles in your local region, and using the daily avi forecast as a guide, you can make informed plans and safe objectives for the day or decide if the backcountry itself is a risk that should be saved for another day entirely.
In addition to learning how to manage, evaluate, and avoid avalanche terrain, every backcountry traveler should to be prepared to carry out a rescue in the unfortunate event that an avalanche is triggered, and someone is caught. This involves three mandatory pieces of equipment that everyone in the backcountry needs to carry with them: a beacon, shovel, and probe.
The majority of backcountry skiers use alpine touring bindings, which allow you to walk uphill with a free heel while pivoting at the toe, before locking your heels in to ski back down. Alpine touring bindings range from extraordinarily lightweight tech bindings to heavier frame bindings that look and perform more like regular downhill bindings. Your choice of binding will impact your choice of boot, and vice versa.
Get on board of one of our awesome trips we have planned for this upcoming season. We offer backcountry skiing trips to Japan, hut trips in British Columbia, corn skiing in Iceland or even head to the southern hemisphere for an epic Chile backcountry skiing adventure.
We offer a variety of classes and courses to get you the skills and the confidence to venture beyond the ski resort boundaries. Whether you are going out in the backcountry for your 1st time or you are a seasoned veteran, we have a course to help you gain the knowledge and the experience needed to make educated decisions in avalanche terrain.
Utah mountains are home to incredible backcountry terrain. Dramatic peaks, inspiring lines and untouched fields of The Greatest Snow on Earth® beckon from beyond the resort boundaries. It's no surprise backcountry skiing and snowboarding are experiencing a surge in popularity. Whether you're heading into the highest peaks of the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains or exiting through the gates to access powder stashes just outside resort boundaries at one of the state's 15 resorts, there are myriad ways to experience the thrill of backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Utah. Backcountry travel, however, carries inherent risk due to uncontrolled snow and avalanche conditions, so it's essential to prepare with the proper knowledge and equipment to safely travel in the backcountry. The Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) is a wonderful resource for skiers and snowboarders to equip themselves with the education and daily avalanche reports needed to safely ski and snowboard in the Utah backcountry.
If that sounds daunting, fear not. The UAC offers everything from the essential introductory Know Before You Go online program to avalanche rescue clinics to professional-level forecasting courses. Ski Utah has an entire page devoted to helping understand and plan your avalanche safety education along with some tips about differentiating between backcountry and resort terrain as well as about packing the proper essential gear.
Some of Utah's resorts offer backcountry access through gates at the resort boundary. Some also offer uphill access within resort boundaries for skiers and snowboarders who want to earn their turns. Please remember backcountry terrain accessed via resort gates is uncontrolled and requires the same respect, education and gear as all other backcountry areas. Always double check with resorts regarding current uphill and backcountry access policies before heading out.
You don't have to go it alone in the Utah backcountry. There are numerous guided services and experiences you can choose from depending on your experience level, budget and goals. These range from helicopter skiing and snowboarding in the Wasatch to lift-assisted backcountry tours between resorts to human-powered adventures in the Uinta mountains and everything in between. 2b1af7f3a8