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Backcountry Ski Touring 2021-2022

For the 2022-23 season, backcountry ski touring will again be organized by Harry Zinn (bcski@ssothg.org) with help from Erica Lindemann, who often acts as co-leader or substitute leader.

If you are new to this, understand that it is backcountry touring on terrain with moderate climbs and moderate downhills. You do not need to be an expert, but it’s helpful to have a little experience with non-resort type skiing and be comfortable skiing  up to 3 miles of moderate up-and-down terrain at a leisurely pace. Because we ski much of the time on unpacked snow, traditional narrow cross-country skis with low, soft boots are difficult to use. Participants use wider cross-country skis with metal edges and stouter boots and bindings, lightweight telemark equipment, or lightweight Alpine Touring (AT) equipment.

When and where:  The season typically begins in early December and ends in early April. This year we will return to skiing every other weekend on Saturdays. (This is a change from the past two years. For two seasons we skied on alternating Saturdays and Sundays, but the alternating approach was confusing and not very successful.) We meet in the Safeway parking lot at 9:20 am, confirm the destination, check equipment, arrange ridesharing, etc., and leave at 9:30 am. Plan to return to the Safeway parking lot typically between 1:00 and 2:00 pm. Our first two trips are tentatively scheduled for Saturday, December 3, and Saturday, December 17.

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

                   December               January              February            March              April

                           December 3                   January 14               February 11            March 11              April 8

                           December 17                 January 28               February 25            March 25              April 22

                           December 31

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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