Backcountry Ski Touring 2019

What, when, and where:  Every other Saturday beginning Feb. 2, Harry Zinn will be coordinating a backcountry skiing outing.  Conditions permitting, we will alternate shorter, easier trips with longer, more challenging trips.

Shorter, easier trips.  We will ski no more than 4 miles at a leisurely pace, partly on a marked trail and partly off-trail.  Climbs and downhills will be short and low gradient.  If you are comfortable skiing any of the Rabbit Ears Pass loops (W. Summit 1A, 1C, Fox Curve Loop, etc.), you will be comfortable on these trips.  Anticipate returning to Safeway about 2:30-3:00 pm.

Longer, more challenging trips.  We will ski 5-7 miles at slightly less leisurely pace, primarily off-trail, with moderate climbs and downhills.  If you are comfortable skiing the 7-mile Hogan Park Trail from Rabbit Ears Pass to the resort, you will be comfortable on these trips.  Anticipate returning to Safeway about 4:30-5:00 pm.

For all trips.  Meet at 9:15 am at the Safeway parking lot near the line of trees on the north side.  We will organize ride-sharing and leave for Rabbit Ears Pass at 9:30.  We will return to the parking lot before dark.

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, so that your e-mail address can be added to the contact list.


Sat. Feb. 2:      Shorter, easier trip

Sat. Feb. 16:    Longer, more challenging trip

Sat. Mar. 2:      Shorter, easier trip

Sat. Mar. 16:    Longer, more challenging trip

Sat. Mar. 30:    Shorter, easier trip

About a week before each trip, Harry will send out a reminder e-mail and ask people to reply if they are interested, so he can keep track of approximate group size.

What you need to bring:

  • Backcountry touring skis, boots, adjustable-length poles, and half-length or “kicker” climbing skins.

  • 16-32 oz. (0.5 - 1 liter) of drinking water in a container that protects it from freezing.

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

  • Layered clothing that allows you to adjust to changing temperatures, conditions, and exertion levels.

  • I recommend layered hand protection—liner gloves inside a pair of over-gloves or over-mittens.

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

  • An extra layer of protection for emergencies.  An “all-weather thermal blanket” or an emergency “breathable bivy sack” is best, but they are expensive and bulky.  So-called “space blankets” are the bare minimum—they are inexpensive and lightweight, but they tear easily, and they do not breathe.  Using a space blanket is like wrapping up in a big plastic bag—before long, condensation will get you wet.

On every trip, Harry will carry basic first-aid supplies, navigation/communication gear, and emergency materials for fire,  shelter, and minor gear repair.

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