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What exactly is backcountry skiing ? - Page 2

post #31 of 83
@Ruxpercnd, thanks for your comments; exactly what I was looking to hear. The ungroomed runs you describe are pretty much what I do when I'm there. I'd always been curious about the North Back, though. Good to have some insight on it.

@telerod15, because the issue of Euro backcountry had already come up in this thread, I though it would be appropriate to ask my question here. I will repost it in Snowballs other thread.

Thank you.
post #32 of 83
I didn't mean to suggest that you had done anything inappropriate. I just wanted your question to get noticed by someone with the answers. If you don't get the info here consider asking at snowheads.com. They are mostly brits and ski Europe extensively. More likely to have someone who knows that resort in Germany like @Ruxpercnd knows Crystal.
post #33 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TOLOCOMan View Post
OldSchool: Ok, the whole thing was wriiten sardastically when I didn't think the post was legit. I just thought it was funny that somebody was writting about "the new idea" of bc skiing, when in reality it is the original form. They claimed to be a skier, just hadn't skied in a few years, hence they should know about bc skiing. Prior to the 1950's in this country that's the only type you could do, so a few years off shouldn't make a difference now should it? Im sorry that you were not able to understand sarcasm about that message, or the "slightly over 13 bit" To paraphrase yourself, perhaps you should get out in the world, and meet people with various senses of humour. To believe everybody is serious all the time says something about you doesn't it? If you can't see the irony in the question, I can't help you. You're the one that made a big deal out of nothing.

Anyways, Yury: Sorry I didn't treat your question as being legit; I honestly thught it was a troll. You've gotten a lot of great info here. There is another type of bc skiing that hasn't been mentioned here, but might be more applicable to you. Ontario isn't going to have any touring for turns, but there is some great xc touring areas in the cottage country (Algonquin is a good example). Not sure if you are only looking for turns or being out in nature, but this type of skiing would be much closer to home for you. If this interests you at all, let me know, and I can give you more details.
look, i know about the 'original idea', i just wasn't quite sure how what ppl do now works exactly, whether it's a hardcode extreme activity or what...this kinda questions.

XC - cross country ? not excatly what i am looking for, but thanks.

and thanks, everybody, there's loads of info posted here !
post #34 of 83
Quote:
XC - cross country ? not excatly what i am looking for, but thanks.
Don't be fooled, a lot of BC skiing is mostly x-c with the potential to get a few DH turns in.
post #35 of 83
In addition to an avy awareness course would be an intro to backcountry class. There is an excellant one in the seattle area taught by Pro Ski Service. You could learn more in a few days than in a whole season with your friends.
post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by TOLOCOMan View Post
OldSchool: Ok, the whole thing was wriiten sardastically when I didn't think the post was legit. I just thought it was funny that somebody was writting about "the new idea" of bc skiing, when in reality it is the original form. They claimed to be a skier, just hadn't skied in a few years, hence they should know about bc skiing. Prior to the 1950's in this country that's the only type you could do, so a few years off shouldn't make a difference now should it? Im sorry that you were not able to understand sarcasm about that message, or the "slightly over 13 bit" To paraphrase yourself, perhaps you should get out in the world, and meet people with various senses of humour. To believe everybody is serious all the time says something about you doesn't it? If you can't see the irony in the question, I can't help you. You're the one that made a big deal out of nothing.
Hmm...you know Algonquin park so you can't be all bad. But just to continue the bickering: 1950 to 2006. That would have been 56 years in which they hadn't skied; much more than a few.

I'd bet that 85% of skiers can't give you a decent defintion of bc skiing. I'll bet 75% have never heard of it.

btw - are you in Ontario?
post #37 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool View Post
Hmm...you know Algonquin park so you can't be all bad. But just to continue the bickering: 1950 to 2006. That would have been 56 years in which they hadn't skied; much more than a few.

I'd bet that 85% of skiers can't give you a decent defintion of bc skiing. I'll bet 75% have never heard of it.

btw - are you in Ontario?
i am getting confused who said what to whom and how
btw, i bet tht my dad who skied in Moscow area all his life wouldn't know what backcountry skiing EXACTLY means

(i am in ontario, if that was a question to me )


btw, what about Algonquin - is there any skiing there ? not cross country i mean.
post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post
Not at all snowball . It was a thoughtful answer.

Backcountry can be lift served and off into non liftserved territory and woud involve some hiking





Thats what is called slack country.
post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Here is a slope meter that indicates LIKELY avalanche zone by slope ONLY, also dependent on snow characteristics. and is NOT AN ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE OF NO AVALANCHES OUTSIDE THE 'LIKELY' ZONE. The Rise & Run distances can be used to determine slopes on a map and also the ratios can be used to 'measure slope' with ski poles or other measuring devices, including avi slope meters:
Your picture is fine but I can't make out your chart of run and rise. Tthe figures don't make sense. Up to 45 degrees the run should be more than the rise, and after 45 the reverse. Also why such wierd numbers - a simple ratio would be much clearer.
I once put marks on one ski pole so I could do triangles with my poles (getting vertical and horizontal by eye) and just read-off the slope. Trouble is I never wanted to stop on a fun slope to measure it.
post #40 of 83
Sorry, that was to directly scale off of 7.5' maps and the values are relative to contour intervals. It is part of some printable map tools I was working on where if you placed the slope indicator on the map, you'd immediately know the slope.

Here's another option with ratios 1 ski pole (or whatever) horizontal & 1 ski pole vertical=45° and plus or minus from there.
HTH
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post #41 of 83
Or I once bought a tiny spirit level that you could put on a slope (on a ski or stich) and then swivel the actual spirit bit till it was horizontal and read the angle off a scale. But I still never used it because on any slope steep enough to want to know the angle I didn't want to stop skiing and measure it.
post #42 of 83
That's when you use the Pucker Factor Scale, installed as a standard component into most people with common sense. : (Mine's out of plumb, where can I get an adjustment?)
post #43 of 83
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post #44 of 83
I have a couple inclinometers I carry. One is built into a compass, and the other is a card. It is simply a dial with degrees and slope percent displayed against a free spinning pointer. The pointer is vertical so you tilt the card to match the slope and the pointer gives the degrees or percent. Its actually inexpensive and a good thing to have because your highest avy risk is between 30 and 55 degrees, and its good to be able to recognize those slopes.

post #45 of 83
Thread Starter 
so, what would be a destination closest to ontario where one would find backcountry skiing easy enough to learn ?
post #46 of 83
I could be wrong about this, but wasn't Ontario glaciated repeatedly? The requirements for backcountry are fairly simple. Mountainous (or at least steep hills) terrain covered with snow, and containing skiable lines, combined with a persons sufficient desire to ski that terrain, that they will hike for it. So the prerequisites of snow, terrain, and public access prevail more in western North America, and in the east. Still, there is an active contngent of bc skiers in the east. To be completely fair, the investment in equipment and level of skill needed for backcountry skiing are just not going to be widely found where you live. Your best shot may be to take guided backcountry tours using rented equipment and the expertise of guides when you visit the west. There are many opportunities in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and California (I assume in British Columbia) to do this. Cat skiing and Heli skiiing provide all the benefits of backcountry without the work, for a price.
post #47 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
I could be wrong about this, but wasn't Ontario glaciated repeatedly? The requirements for backcountry are fairly simple. Mountainous (or at least steep hills) terrain covered with snow, and containing skiable lines, combined with a persons sufficient desire to ski that terrain, that they will hike for it. So the prerequisites of snow, terrain, and public access prevail more in western North America, and in the east. Still, there is an active contngent of bc skiers in the east. To be completely fair, the investment in equipment and level of skill needed for backcountry skiing are just not going to be widely found where you live. Your best shot may be to take guided backcountry tours using rented equipment and the expertise of guides when you visit the west. There are many opportunities in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and California (I assume in British Columbia) to do this. Cat skiing and Heli skiiing provide all the benefits of backcountry without the work, for a price.
i presume you mean nothern ontario ? that's a harsh land

how about new england ? anything there ?
post #48 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
There are many opportunities in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and California (I assume in British Columbia) to do this. Cat skiing and Heli skiiing provide all the benefits of backcountry without the work, for a price.
The bold is my addition. The assumption is correct, at least around where I live. There are quite a few cat and heliski operations in this area, as well.

Note that true backcountry is rarely, if ever, accessed using standard alpine equipment. The tools of choice, besides climbing skins, include either plastic telemark boots (with tele bindings) or alpine touring gear. Telemarking requires a substantial adjustment to your alpine skill set, although it's more similar than most people realize. AT gear is designed to allow you to use your alpine technique on the downhill portions of the day.

Either way, you tip 'em, steer 'em, and dance with gravity.
post #49 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yury View Post
i presume you mean nothern ontario ? that's a harsh land

how about new england ? anything there ?
My point being that ALL of Ontario was covered by continental glaciers during the Wisconsin ice age. That wiped out all traces of topography, dug out the Great Lakes, and left Canada's hills in Southern Ohio. So that the only thing resembling a hill where you live are eroded river valleys. Its truely hopeless to discuss backcountry skiing in flat Ontario.

The most popular backcounty skiing in the East is Mt Washington and Tuckerman's Ravine. Less known backcountry lines exist throughout the mountains in the East. There are some members here who post trip reports occasionally, but you would see more of them on TelemarkTips.com
post #50 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
My point being that ALL of Ontario was covered by continental glaciers during the Wisconsin ice age. That wiped out all traces of topography, dug out the Great Lakes, and left Canada's hills in Southern Ohio. So that the only thing resembling a hill where you live are eroded river valleys. Its truely hopeless to discuss backcountry skiing in flat Ontario.

The most popular backcounty skiing in the East is Mt Washington and Tuckerman's Ravine. Less known backcountry lines exist throughout the mountains in the East. There are some members here who post trip reports occasionally, but you would see more of them on TelemarkTips.com
Well, I once tried to "backcountry" ski in the "hills" of the University of Michigan arboretum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There was great difficulty in turning as the heaviness of the snow, short run length, and low pitch required pretty much straight lining. : Now that you've brought the concept of Midwest BC skiing up, I'm going to have add Michigan to the list of places where I've gone BC : . Hmmm... Alaska, British Columbia, Wyoming, Utah, Austria, Italy (a questionable inclusion, don't ask), and MICHIGAN!

(The arb, however, remains a reasonable area for cross country skiing).
post #51 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
I have a couple inclinometers I carry. One is built into a compass, and the other is a card. It is simply a dial with degrees and slope percent displayed against a free spinning pointer. The pointer is vertical so you tilt the card to match the slope and the pointer gives the degrees or percent. Its actually inexpensive and a good thing to have because your highest avy risk is between 30 and 55 degrees, and its good to be able to recognize those slopes.

Although the inclinometer is a very useful tool, it has a fatal flaw: you have to be on the actual slope to determine its angle. That may be too late. A far better and underutilized tool is a ruler and topo map. A simple trig calc will tell you during the route planning stage where to go. Of course, you then have to actually stick to your route by using good navigation skills.

Powdr
post #52 of 83
Are such tools used to plan the ascent? It seems like pretty much all good downhill skiing will fall within 30 and 55 degrees, so I don't see how you would use an inclinometer to decide where to descend.
post #53 of 83
I almost exlusively ski <30 deg slopes in the BC (Inbounds is another story), and get plenty of good turns in. Only time I venture on >30 deg is when the snow is bomber by proof of a pit and slope cuts.

Powdr
post #54 of 83
Interesting, do you need very fat skis to keep going on less than 30º ? It sounds kind of flat, skinny skis might sink in too much?
post #55 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
Although the inclinometer is a very useful tool, it has a fatal flaw: you have to be on the actual slope to determine its angle. That may be too late. A far better and underutilized tool is a ruler and topo map. A simple trig calc will tell you during the route planning stage where to go. Of course, you then have to actually stick to your route by using good navigation skills.

Powdr
Actually, you can use an inclinometer to determine slope angle from the side of a slope as well as from the top of the slope. Even measuring while on the slope isn't that big of a deal. Lot's of times I've roped up and gone down to dig a pit.I definetly would not agree that using a ruler and map is the way to go - lots of small rollovers can hide between contour intervals. Maps can only tell you so much and they're no substitute for field observations, at least in my experience. Plus, I failed Trig 101.

Telerod - Inclinometers are good for planning either ascents or decents. The instrument merely tells you if a slope is capable of sliding. You've gotta make an informed decision as to weather or not you want to chance it.
post #56 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Interesting, do you need very fat skis to keep going on less than 30º ? It sounds kind of flat, skinny skis might sink in too much?
30 degrees isn't that flat. Anything over 30 degrees is a black run.
post #57 of 83
That's cool. Thanks. I would get proper training before venturing out, but it''s nice to know I can ski deep snow on an angle that (probably) won't slide.
post #58 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowball View Post
30 degrees isn't that flat.
Everyone's got their own level of acceptable risk, but if avy danger is so high as to warant staying off of all slopes steeper than 30 degrees, I'll go ride lifts. This doesn't happen that often - there are a ton of variables besides slope angle at work. Snowpack history, temerature, wind, sun hit, etc., etc., etc. A 32 degree slope on one side of a ridge can be a deathtrap while a 38 degree slope on the opposite side can be super stable.
post #59 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Interesting, do you need very fat skis to keep going on less than 30º ? It sounds kind of flat, skinny skis might sink in too much?
As a fellow tele skier, you should know that low angle terrain is very easy to make free heel turns in. I abhore skiing on the snow (fat skis) rather than in it anyway & I never use anything more than mid fats anyway. It also gives you the possibility of nailing turn after turn since you are not fighting balance issues as much and can work on dialing in your kinematics.

Powdr
post #60 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Actually, you can use an inclinometer to determine slope angle from the side of a slope as well as from the top of the slope. Even measuring while on the slope isn't that big of a deal. Lot's of times I've roped up and gone down to dig a pit.I definetly would not agree that using a ruler and map is the way to go - lots of small rollovers can hide between contour intervals. Maps can only tell you so much and they're no substitute for field observations, at least in my experience. Plus, I failed Trig 101..
Yes, an incinometer can be used from the side, but this is still a field instrument, used far too often when it's too late. In essence, what I'm advocating (and several leading experts agree) is that far too much emphasis is placed on judgements in the field, rather than proper route planning to begin with. Same goes for avy beacons. They are not substitutes for proper route planning. Yes, I still use both tools, but do not rely on them as much as I do route planning. On a 7.5 topo, any contour less than 1/16" indicates a slope greater than 33 deg. Yes short pitches are missed, but at that scale (7.5), those short pitches are not my main concern. Route planning - the number one thing that will save you life (no - it's not beacons).

Powdr
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