Blog info for this weekend: Lou will be in the backcountry over the long weekend taking a “blogation vacation,” adventure reports to be filed when he returns. Meanwhile, look for a possible gear review from Lisa. Comments are turned off ’till the “iron handed moderator” returns to duty.
Ski helmets are in the news again. The LA Times published a fluffy article that takes the tired old view that, hey, a safety item exists, so it should be used. What happened to hard news? Would have been nice to know how a ski helmet differs from a warm hard-shelled hat, and how much protection they actually offer in real life. No doubt a helmet does offer some protection, but one can’t help but wonder about the details — and how much protection your money is really buying.
In a disturbing trend, skiers and riders are being singled out for increases in fines for reckless behavior. This is mostly related to skiing in or through “closed” areas within ski area boundaries, then getting lost and needing a rescue. Seems that bureaucratic perception is that the skiers are reckless, while rescues for hikers and hunters are normal, even if they do something “reckless.” As it says in a Durango Herald article “rescues of skiers and snowboarders – both in closed areas and in the backcountry – accounted for 5 percent of missions in 2004. Hikers, meanwhile, accounted for 30 percent of that year’s 1,427 operations. ” The article doesn’t say how many hunters were rescued.
Department of possible good news: A number of Colorado 14,000 foot peaks are on private land, and property owners have been gradually closing off access. Some of the closures are ostensibly due to “liability concerns.” To their credit, Colorado lawmakers have a bill in the works that will limit the liability of such land owners. Looks like it’ll become law soon. Now we’ll see if those landowners were actually speaking the truth, or just playing a card. If they still don’t want climbers on their land they can always play the lynx card, or just fence it off for that matter and charge $100 a pop like the owners of Culebra Peak. Bummer but true.
Public Service Announcement: If you live in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado (Aspen, Glenwood Springs) try to make the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center fundraiser Monday evening at 689 restaurant in Carbondale. Dinner is $68.90 with a huge silent auction and great swag for door prizes as well. Prints from Michael Kennedy and Neil Beidleman, guidebooks from yours truly, etc.
Department of obscene WildSnow corporate profit: Say hi to our newest advertiser, Inghams Skiing Holidays (they paid for a text link in the right menu bar, which I place under the “blogroll” heading but will move to a more appropriate heading when I have time). Inghams appears to be an interesting outfit that provides a useful service for planning and buying that ultimate ski vacation. More for folks in the UK, but good for anyone interested in information about ski packages.
Fourteener skiing: In case you hadn’t heard, Chris Davenport showed his true self by skiing a new route on Maroon Peak, as a tick on his “ski the fourteeners in one season” project. It’s really a nice line and gets him “out of the couloirs and on to the faces” as I’ve spoken of before about the new generation’s future. And not to be forgotten, the guy with the best chance at this point of being the 2nd to truly ski them all is Sean Crossen, and he knocked of a clean and bold descent of the Sneffels south face Birthday Chutes recently. I’ve skied that route from the summit and it’s truly the way to get a summit descent of Sneffels, but it’s steep and gets weird snow from the sun bake. Doing it in mid-winter was probably best as to snow conditions, but I would have been a bit concerned about avalanches on the lower aprons (it’s too steep in the upper sections for much problem with slides). I believe Sean only has 3 or 4 peaks to go. He’s skied on them all and by some ethics has indeed skied them all, but is re-doing quite a few so he can make a solid claim. I’m so proud of both these guys — they’re really showing what Colorado has to offer and doing a fantastic job in the process!
And not to be regional, ever prolific Sky Sjue nailed another amazing line in the wet and scrappy Cascades. See his report here. Congratulations Sky, Ben and Dave!
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.