Originally Posted by liveandlearn
The latest incident in Steamboat got me to thinking...
When skiing alone, do you challenge yourself as much as you do when skiing with a group?
In otherwords, do you venture into the trees, hike up ridges, or duck under gates when skiing solo?
While I definitely challenge myself on-piste on those days that I'm out there alone, I tend to adhere to my credo that skiing trees alone is moronic. So, I stick to steeps and bumps on those days.
How about you folks?
Guilty as charged on all counts.
I ski alone a lot and I enjoy it. I hike up backcountry ridgelines and ski mostly trees because they're safer from an avalanche standpoint than open faces or bowls. I go alone because a lot of the time I'm leaving very early in the morning before work, and it's hard to get partners to go that early for just an hour and a half outing.
Whenever I go, I'm wearing a beacon and a whistle and I'm carrying a cell phone. I've got a pack that's loaded with food and water and shelter and first aid supplies, which I know how to use. My wife knows where I'm headed and roughly when I should return. Then, I call as I'm driving back down the mountain.
I've done this for years and years. When I'm alone, I don't even *think* about pushing the avalanche envelope and I stick to trees that aren't too terribly tight.
I have four different routes I can take depending on the snow conditions. None of them have very much other traffic, so if I do injure myself I can't really count on the cavalry coming by to save me. There are certain kinds of injuries that would incapacitate me and make it impossible for me to hobble out, blow my whistle, or use the cell. If one of those happens, I knew the risk going in. But I also know that if I'm skiing alone, I'm not going to be anywhere that would put a rescue (or recovery) party in danger.
There's just no hard and fast rule on stuff like this. I don't happen to think it's "moronic" to ski trees alone. Personally, I think it's *far* more dangerous to ski a groomed, intermediate run in broad daylight on President's Day weekend that to be out in the backcountry trees by myself.
All I know is that some of the most amazing skiing I've ever experienced has been the result of climbing or skinning up some slope - all by myself - as the sun was starting to rise. I won't give that up.