Posts Tagged ‘BackCountry skiing’

Solitaire, A Backcountry Skiing/Riding Film

17/02/2012

We’ve not seen this yet…but it looks good, at least from the trailer:

Solitaire BC Skiiing/Riding Movie

Learning to Snowboard Indoors and then.. Spreading the Wings

27/09/2011

By R. Richards

Marco Wells, Coronet Peak, NZ - Image: R. Richards

Last Friday, I had one of the strangest, (but good) experiences of my outdoor career –  I took a 14-year old friend snowboarding for the first time in the mountains. However, it wasn’t his first time snowboarding . He had learned at one of forty indoor ski facilities in the world, Snow Planet in Auckland, New Zealand. He learned to board over of a number of years, but had never been outside on natural snow on a mountain.  At Snow Planet they have a Poma style tow-lift. He had been on a chairlift once with his family, but that was in the summer without a snowboard on his feet. So combining his indoor boarding skills and one-time on a chair lift ride, gave him a collection of skills to head outside.  Taking him up Coronet Peak’s chair for the first run, was like watching someone who was putting all the pieces together. He kept saying, “Look at all this snow!” and, “We’re high up on this chair”. His skills were solid and it was quite an amazing experience to see someone come out of their shell or out of their building. The next days were filled with a trip in the backcountry, and an afternoon at the Remarkables Ski Area, where he was exposed to all sorts of terrain and conditions and handled them admirably.  It reminded some obscure fact of how many indoor rock climbers never climb on real rock, or never end up placing a piece of rock gear for protection on a climb, (what they quaintly call “trad”, I call climbing)

Anyway, congrats to Marco for coming out of the indoors ski gym and joining me in the mountains. Come out again soon! We’ll be waiting.

New Zealand Backcountry

28/05/2011

Mt Eyre, NZ Backcountry

I feel a  backcountry ski  adventure coming on. Last week I ventured out  15 minutes from our house here in Kingston, New Zealand and ended up driving down a farm road, off the nearest side canyon from the main north-south road to NZ’s southern tip. A view similar to this can be seen from the main road, but the closer I got into the back valley, following the Mataura River, I was led to this view of Mt. Eyre.  This is not one of the major peaks in the area, by any stretch, but it’s close to our place and what looks like some good backcountry skiing potential. As we near winter down here in the southern hemisphere, I’ll getting my skis sharpened, this may be my a ski area of choice due to its proximity, at least to the trailhead.

Children in the Mountains

06/04/2010

Mountain Family Doesn’t Stop Exploring When Kids Enter the Picture

Junji Itagaki, Mt. Washington, NH, USA

Junji Itagaki and I were backcountry skiing from Mount Washington’s summit last week, and descended down Ammonoosuc Ravine when we passed by family encamped in the base of the ravine. They were still setting up camp in a safe area, off to the side of the avalanche zone,  when I asked them for a short interview.
The families in many cultures don’t stop going outside, hiking or backcountry skiing in the mountains when their children are born. They intentionally introduce their children to camping, hiking and skiing. Here’s a great example of that in New England….

Learning the Ropes without a Rope

17/01/2010

Robi Brendon in Zürs backcountry, Austria

A Ski Mountaineering Adventure
By Randall Richards

Mountaineering, and ski mountaineering mishaps that don’t kill you are chalked up to experience – a learning experience. I had one such experience in Lech and Zürs Austria when working for Strolz Boots G.m.B.H. I was still a greenhorn in the Alps. The Alps was a whole other ball game than the mountains of the western U.S. This was my first year in the Alps

I was just graduated from the University of Utah where I’d spent three years getting a basic, but great  mountaineering education through the U of U recreation department with such climbers and teachers as Harold Goodro and Dennis Turville.  It’s here where I cut my teeth, the Wasatch Range, in beginning rock climbing and mountaineering, snow shelter building and backcountry emergency medicine classes. Harold was the consummate old mountain man.

The author getting "mountain experience", Austria

In the late seventies, he was involved in teaching all the classes, and would observe other instructors manage the top rope sites. But he was always hands-on.  On another day in my education there,  I remember ascending Stairs Gulch with other Utah students under the tutilage of Dennis Turville. Our little group of neophytes were wide-eyed at one point on the ascent, when a few auto-sized blocks of snow and ice came tumbling down the slabs, bowling for students. Two in the group, by running this way and that, managed to avoid being mowed over. Dennis seemed somewhat nonplussed by the event, but that might have just been my perception at the time. Later on the narrow ridge which divides Big and Little Cottonwood, we carefully picked our way up to the summit of Dromedary Peak. Our eyes were still bugging out of our heads for the rest of the day due to exposed terrain and our lack of experience.  We were quickly getting our mountain legs.

Fast forward to the Lectaler Alps in Western Austria. I usually had most of the day to explore the wild mountains above and around Zürs, St. Christophe and Lech on skis and out of bounds, having to report at the Strolz ski boot shop in Lech around 3pm.  It was my first experience where the ski area trails and the high backcountry merged into one big ski experience. I went nuts, cutting it up, (more…)