We’ve been up at WildSnow Field HQ doing a slew of improvement projects. Mostly, removing trees that block views or could fall on our tiny house (aspen trees on shale soil at 9,000 feet tend to drop with some regularity). Per expectations re global warming, we’ve begun getting snow in the Colorado alpine but it usually rains below about 10,000 feet. Sometimes this dichotomy continues through November. Each year is different. Colorado ski touring below 10,000 feet in November has never been a good call; December is when it usually begins — if not January. Thus, the higher snowline isn’t a big deal. Yet. If the trend continues later and later into the winter, the whole picture of how we do backcountry skiing would drastically change.
Also at Field HQ, I hooked the Marblecam back up. Optimism rules, though at this point the webcam only shows our snow-depth board sitting on grass.
It has begun in the Alps, both the good, and the sad. One taken by an avalanche in the Zillertal. No mention of airbags, and apparently they had to use dogs to find the victim. Leading one to wonder, was he backcountry skiing without a beacon? On a lighter note, I got a chuckle from the news that the EU is taking Austria to the Court of Justice for discriminating against ski instructors from other countries. Come on. Austrian ski instructors are the best, there should be no doubt when you plop down mucho euros for a private, should there? Article here.
The most dedicated ski mountaineering historian in the U.S. is? Clearly, Lowell Skoog. If you’re in the PNW, you are required by WildSnow reader’s agreement you signed, you must attend Lowell’s presentation at the The Everett Mountaineers Awards Banquet, 5th November Good article here.
Ever wondered why they can’t make a phone camera with the creative control and quality of a DSLR? Aparently it can be done, and cheaply. Check out this fascinating article by a guy who figured it out.
Key to making a small cam perform like a big one is that “phone” cameras and lenses cost pennies — and they’re small. Use more than one cam-lens combo in the same housing, run software that combines results, and you can probably create the camera-lens equivalent of SLR stuff that weighs kilos and costs thousands of dollars. This is earth shattering disruptive to the SLR industry, who’s sales are already being eaten alive by small high-quality point-and-shoots as well as phone cameras.
Remember that guy who hit you from behind during your last day of alpine skiing, before you switched to 100% human power? You know, the bozo who just kept skiing away as you lay there clutching at the leg injury that would buy your surgeon his house in Vail? The guy who slammed you now owes someone 250 grand. Article will make you all warm inside.
Come hither, younguns, and hear the tale of days gone by, in the White Mountains of the eastern, when people were allowed to cut ski runs where they wanted. Unfortunately, the nature of vegetation is you cut it back, give it sunlight, and it grows all the faster. Upkeep and restoration are required. Granite Backcountry Alliance is a new non-profit formed to do exactly that. They intend to revive the old Northeastern U.S. trails, as well as glade a few new ones.Check them out.
National Geographic is desperate for web traffic. You can tell because they’re making a habit of publishing exploitative lists. Latest, the top 10 SECRET ski towns of North America. Is that oxymoronic, or what? Have to admit, I read it. I get Smithers, I do not get Los Alamos (though, yes, Pajarito is unique). I mean, are you going to move to Los Alamos for the skiing? Alamos locals, are you keeping it all to yourselves, should I skip Smithers and head down there? Article here. In any case, National Geo has sure come a long way from the mag where I used to get anatomy lessons.
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.