Make sure your avalanche beacon works. If not, get a new one here.
According to a recent study, at least 25% of avalanche deaths are caused by trauma. With all the recent emphasis on beacons and Avalungs, you’d think people have forgotten just how murderous avalanches are. It’s hard to breath with a broken neck.
The sea change in backcountry skiing continues at full boogie. I was down at the Gear Exchange in Glenwood Springs a few days ago. “If we had a full rack of used AT skis and bindings we’d sell every one of them in a week,” is how they expressed the powder panic buying that’s been going on. Seems like folks have finally gotten that a good day of backcountry skiing is about the terrain, the snow, the friends — not the type of turn you do. So they’re just using what works instead of working at it.
Back to backcountry safety. We feel it’s a good thing to have some sort of communication device in the backcountry, be it a Spot Messenger, sat-phone, or just a cell phone that works. We also like the personal locator beacons (PLBs), even though they’re less a “communication” device and more an “emergency alert” device. Details of different devices aside, you can now choose from a variety. Thus, you don’t have any excuse if you end up needing to walk for a day to let someone know your friend is lying in a snowcave with a broken leg. A new player in the PLB arena is the McMurdo Fast Find, looks perhaps smaller and lighter than the current options? Keep your eye on it.
Almost forgot, it’s sale time and you can help us keep this site going by shopping bargains. For example, Randogear.com has a bunch of sweet deals such as competitively priced Dynafit FT12s and free skins with a ski purchase. Also, Backcountry.com is having their blow out, and discounting probably thousands of items. See banner below.
Jetboil recall is important to know about, as many of us use their cooking systems and don’t carry fire extinguishers. Info here.
And men, tomorrow is indeed Valentine’s Day. Like most guys with a significant other I will indeed purchase and provide the obligatory dozen pompoms. Those things are actually pretty nice, I’ll admit it, especially during the middle of winter in a snow covered town. But how about something better. This year I thought a backcountry skiing getaway at a private chalet would be the ticket. Only thing missing is the hot tub, but perhaps extra chocolate will make up for that. I’ll let you know next week, about the skiing, anyway.
Make sure your sweetie’s avalanche beacon works. Or better, get a new red one for Valentines.
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.