Backcountry Ski Touring 2021-2022

What, when, and where:  For the 2021-22, season, backcountry ski touring will again be organized by Harry Zinn (bcski@ssothg.org,hczinn@comcast.net) with help from Erica Lindemann, who often acts as co-leader or substitute leader.

On our backcountry trips, we typically drive to Rabbit Ears Pass and park at one of the winter trailheads. Then we head off on our own instead of sticking to the marked trails. Occasionally, we go to North Routt, Pleasant Valley, or another area. Over time, we have found many beautiful routes and destinations and enjoy sharing them. 

This is backcountry touring:  We seek rolling terrain with moderate climbs and moderate downhills. Avid backcountry downhillers would find our trips boring. Cross-country skiers on narrow, lightweight gear designed for groomed trails would be frustrated by the deep, soft snow.

You do not need to be an expert to participate:  You should have some experience with non-resort type skiing, and you should be comfortable skiing 2-3 miles of moderate up-and-down terrain at a leisurely pace. If you are comfortable skiing any of the Rabbit Ears Pass winter trails, you will be comfortable on these trips.

Covid 19 and our trips:  Many participants will be fully vaccinated. Even so, any one of us might unwittingly transmit the virus. In vehicles, if anyone requests it, please mask up. If you are not fully vaccinated, please do not ride-share unless you clear it with others in the vehicle and mask up. If you suspect you might have been exposed, please do not participate.

When and where:  Every other weekend on alternating Sundays and Saturdays. Meet in the Safeway parking lot at 9:20 am, confirm the destination, check equipment, arrange ride-sharing, etc., and leave at 9:30 am. Return to the Safeway parking lot typically between 1:00 and 2:00 pm.

For additional back ground on SSOTHG backcountry ski outings, click here.

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Tom Baer photo

How to sign up for the backcountry ski touring group: 

 

To receive information about BC Ski Touring events, simply send an e-mail to bcski@ssothg.org, so that your e-mail address can be added to the contact list.

TRIPS FOR “FIRST TIMERS”

If you want to try backcountry touring but are not sure you are ready, please contact Harry (bcski@ssothg.org.  He would be happy to organize one or more “first-timer” trips to Howelsen Hill.  Howelsen is a great place for a test run.  There are several short, groomed touring loops that are dead flat (on the playing fields and rodeo grounds) and several very short, very gentle slopes.

Schedule

Dec.     Sun. 12/5

             Sat. 12/18

Jan.      Sun. 1/2

             Sat. 1/15

             Sun. 1/30

Feb.     Sat. 2/12

             Sun. 2/27

Mar.      Sat. 3/12

             Sun. 3/27

Apr.      Sat. 4/9

WHAT TO BRING

  • Even though our trips are introductory, safety is the first and biggest concern. In winter at high elevation and away from roads, events like breaking a piece of equipment, getting injured, experiencing a medical emergency, or getting lost present immediate, serious challenges. Even a short way from the highway, rescue typically takes hours—not minutes—and it is possible to get caught out overnight. In addition to appropriate skis, boots, and poles (see below for more information), each skier needs to carry the following basic safety and survival gear.

  • Sunglasses or snow-glasses. Protect your eyes from sunburn and from getting poked or slapped by a branch.

  • Layered clothing you can adjust for changing conditions and exertion levels.

  • At least 16 oz. of water in a container you can protect from freezing.

  • A generous supply of easy-to-carry food—energy bars, protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, dried meat, etc. Bring twice as much food as you think you need, in case we are caught out longer than expected.

  • A rescue whistle, an inexpensive compass, and a little toilet paper.

  • An extra layer of protection for emergencies. A small tarp, “all-weather thermal blanket,” or emergency “breathable bivy” is best, but they are expensive and bulky. A “space blanket” is small, lightweight, and inexpensive, but it tears easily and does not breathe—before long, condensation gets you wet.

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