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This may seem really stupid, But...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have a question about backcountry skiing. I have never done it nor plan to do it in any near future. However, I was wondering what the average backcountry skier averages a day in terms of vertical feet and what not. Also, it would be helpful to include how long it takes to hike up the mountain.
post #2 of 14
Not a stupid question, at all. It was the first thing I wondered when I let my ridge hippie friends talk me into going AT.

Short answer: not nearly as much as lift-served vertical.

Long answer: The answer depends on a lot of variables. The big one being your VO2max. How hard do you wanna push it? How hard can you push it and still last all day? And, some places are easier than others. Skinning up a ski resort after lifts close is way easier than *real* BC. At a local ski hill, I can get from parking lot to the top of the highest lift in about 30-45 mins. It's mostly all packed down.

At a nearby BC favorite, it might take me 2-3 hours from the trailhead to the top of a run, but then I'd do laps that only take 30-60 mins to go back up, depending on if the slug trail is broken in and if it isn't too steep. The time depends on my pards, and how I'm feeling. I ain't 21 anymore. Guys who go deep BC have more to deal with in terms of snow depth, time to base of run, etc.

Guys who bootpack it up take longer generally. I've passed a few, and I've been passed.

Another variable is your gear: how heavy are your skis/boots/bindings? You'll feel the differences ounces make after a few trips up.

I think it's probably safe to say for most BC types that it isn't *completely* about the skiing. It's about the mountain. The whole outing has a totally different vibe.
post #3 of 14
jclay, I moved your post to backcountry forums.
The average vertical feet varies with the objective, length of approach, and physical abilities of the skier. Climbing 3000 vertical for me, is a pretty good piece of effort. Lapping it twice for 5-6k is about my limit. Younger and more fit skiers could double my vertical and maybe get up to 10000.

Hiking is again a variable depending on the pitch, conditions, altitude and fitness of the climber. A long relatively easy approach can be covered at perhaps 2-3 mph average, while a steep climb up a couloir is going to be slow going. The answers to your questions are to get out and get to know yourself through experience what can be done in a day. One thing is safe to say, the trip back down is a lot faster than the trip out.
post #4 of 14
I average about 5000 ft per day. 8000 ft is about max.

Let me ask the question backwards: for you area skiers, how much uncut powder do you get in an average day?
post #5 of 14
Originally Posted by guest1 View Post
I average about 5000 ft per day. 8000 ft is about max.

Let me ask the question backwards: for you area skiers, how much uncut powder do you get in an average day?
post #6 of 14
There's guy who did a million feet last year that averaged 10,000 vert a day, but that's superhuman. My friends that are in good shape do trips in Cananda where a guide breaks trail for a week and they average around 7,000 a day, but that's being in good shape and skiing most of the day. There are so many variables it's hard to say, but when my wife and I go out with another couple we can usually get 4,000 without pushing too hard if we have to break some trail. If you ski off the highway passes you can do things like climb 700, ski 1,800, and hitch or shuttle back up for more laps and really rack up some vert.
post #7 of 14
I like to think about covering 2-3 miles an hour and about 1,000 vert an hour. So a 3 mile ski with a 2,000 foot gain takes 2.5-3 hours. This is all relative to conditions and fitness. In Canada this spring, my group usually did about 5,000 feet a day for 7 days.
post #8 of 14
jclay2, I try not to look at in in terms of vertical skiied. Its just good being out there and the runs are a bonus.
post #9 of 14
average "day" for me is probably 3-4000 vertical feet. day being used in very loose terms because quite often its done all before 9am and then I go to work or skiing at a resort.

My largest day ever was about 9000 vertical feet. I was pretty damn dead. I am hoping this year new lighter weight setup which will be much easier to skin on, especially with AT boots once I get them.
post #10 of 14
It totally depends on conditions, group dynamics and methods.

I've had 20,000ft.+ days using sleds.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Do you guys use any special setups/equiptment to get through the hiking aspect?
post #12 of 14
Approach comfort is one of the things to be considered when choosing a boot -- usually at the expense of downhill functionality, unfortunately. My boots are comfortable enough to hike in for 3-4 miles. For longer hikes I carry the skis A-frame style with the boots in the bindings and wear tennies.

If I am hiking a fair distance in my ski boots, I wear extra socks for the hiking phase.
post #13 of 14
Both for hiking on dirt and kickstep climbing in the spring I wear my Lowa Structuras. They are incredibly comfortable and I've even hiked for several miles with a very heavy pack. Some friends will carry their AT boots and hike in something else, but that's a lot of extra weight on your back. My boots are only 3 buckle with a 2-piece tongue and hike great but don't ski as well as I'd like in all conditions. The new 4-buckle boots ski great but I haven't heard much on how they are for extensive hiking or climbing.

Unfortunately, the goal of finding a comfortable climbing/hiking boot that skis well seems almost impossible without massive luck since you usually can't demo them.
post #14 of 14
Like others have said, for me it's not about the quantity - it's about the quality (snow, experience, etc.).
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