(Editor’s Note: I’m over in Vail doing some trail research for hutski.com. Was going to just chatter away about some hiking I did yesterday, then this came in over the transom as an email. I figured the collective wisdom of all you WildSnow commenters could help this guy out. He wants to make snow, not war. Let’s help him out! -Lou)
I wanted to write and tell you thanks for exposing me to backcountry and steep skiing. Last year I was in Iraq when my “hutch”, a little air/sea container with a cut out for a door and an A/C unit where I live was hit twice in two days by rocket fire. My roommate and I were lucky and not in the room when it was hit. I was in the hutch several days later when I noticed my TV/DVD player and A/C still worked. I got STEEP in a care package from a friend cranked up the A/C and put my lucky ski cap, now well ventilated, on and zoned out to watch another ski film.
What I found wasn’t a bunch of guys that can ski better than I ever will, although they do. What I found the essence of why people take risks to ski the greater and greater lines. It changed my life. I was taking risks in war I didn’t particularly believe in. I knew I liked the risks and I would need to find it elsewhere outside of a warzone. I have found it. Six days later I was offered my next assignment: Suva, Fiji or Bern, Switzerland. I told my boss I didn’t swim and he just smiled and said that he already knew that.
I arrived in Bern Feb 1, 2009. My new boss took me skiing the next day. I found my answer to that old question: Is it better to be a prince in hell or a servant in heaven. My best friend told me that was a parable, not a question to be answered. I know my answer to his parable.
I started off piste skiing last winter and I want to improve both technically and athletically.
My question to you is, how would you go about improving from a solid on-piste skier to a one season off piste/steep skier?
Books, DVD’s and recommendations of guides/instructors in Switzerland or Chamonix would be great. Also I want to buy a signed copy of your of your book Wild Snow, I will be back in the US in 2012 to ski some of those lines.
Thanks Lou and all, K.S.
Beyond our regular guest bloggers who have their own profiles, some of our one-timers end up being categorized under this generic profile. Once they do a few posts, we build a category. In any case, we sure appreciate ALL the WildSnow guest bloggers!