With the undeniable explosion in ski touring numbers, the issue of skiers on avalanche slopes, with other groups in the same “risk arena,” is real. On December 19th, 2015 a man who was solo on Kendall Peak at Snoqualmie Pass went missing. He was in a situation with avy danger, and other people in the area. Avalanches occurred.
It’s somewhat of a mystery whether the Kendall Peak accident resulted from tree well entrapment, a slide, or both. But the NWAC report is out and makes instructive reading. What occurs to me is just how complex things get when multiple groups are sharing the same terrain. What is more, the man aparantly had a beacon but searchers never acquired his signal, resulting in more than 3,000 man hours of SAR time being expended. Take a look at the report, what do you think?
Other than the occasional allusion we stay away from United States presidential politics here on Wildsnow. Plenty of other things to talk about, and plenty of places to go elsewhere if you do want to hang (yourself?) online with your political persuasions.
Let’s just say we are glad this election is done, agree with Hillary about the rule of law (transcript), and agree with Trump if he decides to deregulate skiing. Best would be to see both current presidents and their spouses make some turns together. Could happen. You read it here, first.
(My comments above are not a license to hijack WildSnow with a bunch of rabid presidential opinion screeds — on either side. Please refrain. A little non-insulting humor or very brief commentary might be ok, we shall see.)
Moving along, ahem,
The Atlas Mountains of Morocco have actually been a ski destination since perhaps as long ago as the 1940s or even 1930s. They’ve developed their services for both ski touring and lift skiing to the point where going is still an adventure, but perhaps not too much of an adventure. CNN covered it recently.
You may have heard, our home mountains here in Colorado are looking a bit sparse in terms of frozen precipitation. We might actually get a real winter snowstorm this coming Thursday and Friday, then who knows. We’d need a very consistent series of “events” now through Christmas to recover a normal snow season. I’d say the chances are 50/50 at this point. Joel Gratz always has a good take at Open Snow.
We wish Vonn the best, but perhaps it’s time to stop beating herself up? Or, could the best ski racer who’s ever lived have the biggest comeback from the comeback from a comeback in sports history? In case you live under a rock, news is she broke her arm. More here.
This might be the biggest news in ski touring in a decade. Or it might be a dud. Parks Canada has taken control of the defunct Glacier Park Lodge on Rogers Pass. This place was once legendary in backcountry skiing, and could again put the crown on a ski touring mecca. Sadly, here is the official take (from Revelstoke Review) :
“Next steps will be to remove the buildings, remediate the sites and draft plans for any redevelopment in the area to meet visitor needs as well as improve the ecological condition of the site.”
“Any potential redevelopment will involve public engagement and consider present and future summer and winter services, visitor safety, and cultural and natural resources.”
Of course, the lodge is probably not considered a “cultural resource,” though it actually is (advance apologies for it not being a saurian skeleton). Let’s hope they don’t turn the place into a pretty wildflower meadow used for snow removal storage in the winter. Could happen. Public engagement might be key.
Ski touring racing is on the path to the Olympics. Economics proves it. The sport just tied a long deal with a big sponsor. The International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) signed a media and marketing agreement with Infront Sports & Media that’s locked until 2021. Infront will continue to produce high quality content covering the World Cup, five 15-minute magazine highlight for all weekend races as well as a long form magazine for the World Championships. Presumably this will continue on through the Olympics.
Thing is, I went to the ISMF website and for the life of me could not find any links to this much vaunted Infront content. Anyone know where it might reside?
Stand by. This is all going to be fun. You want to go to the Olympic games as an insider? If you’re a backcountry skier in the U.S. or Canada, chances are you already know someone who will probably be on your Olympic skimo team. Perhaps they need a wax coach or yoga instructor? Or a fiance? More here.
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.