Oh Lordie! I should have been doing more of these. We get so distracted by all the gear and all the skiing. News? What news?
Over on the West, Sierra snowpack reports will become more accurate with more data gathered by aircraft. It’s indeed mind blowing how much information we backcountry skiers now have with steadily better and more available weather reports, snow surveys, avalanche forecasts and more. When we were celebrating Matt Kamper’s 54 fourteeners a few days ago, someone mentioned what it must have been like back in my day, going after some mountains with little more than general aviation weather and frequently inaccurate air mass predictions. The info is so good now, if you know what you’re doing you can check out NOAA weather for nearly any place in our fair land, interpret their synopsis and discussion and come up with a very effective take on when you’ll get a weather window. Only glitch is when the air masses shift faster or slower than predicted, but that usually only affects you if you’re trying to push either side of an obvious window.
Everyone of us has physical challenges. What’s important is how we overcome and lead quality lives. Check out this one legged backcountry skier. The disabled athlete as hero is becoming somewhat of a cliche, but still resonates when the person is core like Vasu Sojitra. In one photo he has a BD ski with a climbing skin on it. One has to assume he’s got skins on his ski poles for some situations. I hope BD is sending him skis, or, I mean, sending him _a ski_ now and then.
Uh huh, what would a WildSnow blog post be without some gear? It’s filtered out to most people now, but worth mentioning that Voile will be changing their branding. Hopefully their skis will stay bueno like the new V8 model for 2013/14, which was an easy pick for our coming Ultimate Quiver.
Here at WildSnow HQ we’re shifting out of ski mode, but our annual PNW trip is still in the works. My focus this summer will be some website back end work, along with playing Mr. Carpenter up at Field HQ — and here at home when Lisa reminds me about priorities. Projects at the portahut include finishing our water tank enclosure. We experimented with a 400 gallon tank last winter, buried half in the ground with an insulated cover. The tank never froze, but the outlet did during a cold snap. I buried the outlet line below the frost level, but the freezeless hose bib I terminated it with wasn’t good enough for negative 20 Fahrenheit. Solution is probably a small insulated cabinet over the outlet. The idea is to trap ground heat to keep things thawed enough to function. Report on that project is forthcoming.
Lastly, if you’re in the central Colorado area, the potluck Independence Pass barbecue is happening this coming weekend, 10:00 Saturday morning. Sounds like the upper hairpin turn on the west side of the pass will be the location. Come meet other backcountry skiers who are winding out the season with a few last days on Indy. And a reminder about Indy: If you’re new to the area you can get info at BackcountrySkiingCO.com.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.