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Resorts closing with so much snow, time to go backcountry

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

It is frustrating to see the resorts close with a base of 100" still on the ground. I guess it is time to learn the backcounty basics. Does the advice offered on this old thread still apply?

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/27076/backcountry-beginner

 

I am in SLC. Are there any clubs around so that I can learn as I go? I figure knowledge, especially of the dangers is most important and then see what gear I am lacking. 

 

However, since I am 51 years old, maybe I shouldn't be concerned with avy danger since the hike up will most likely kill me! 

 

Seriously, any direction on where to start and contacts would be appreciated.

post #2 of 14

Look at the utah avy center web page under education. Find a class.

 

Other than that, find a mentor who is willing to show you the ropes. You bring decent fitness and a good, willing attitude to the table and you'll probably learn some things.

post #3 of 14

If you don't already, visit telemarktips.com talk forum.  Lots of good info there.  Good place to start around here is Alta after they close.  Just skin up the groomers and ski back down.  Usually quite safe and let's you get the feel for what you're doing.  (PS  51 is still young!)

post #4 of 14

There is a level 1&2 combined Mountian travel and rescue class being taught in the SLC area this month by the NSP.  It won't cover Avy as that is another subject, but does cover gear, route finding, map & compass, weather, and lots of winter camping info.  The class ends with an overnight trip.  You can get info at IMD.ORG.  

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jxb View Post

If you don't already, visit telemarktips.com talk forum.  Lots of good info there.  Good place to start around here is Alta after they close.  Just skin up the groomers and ski back down.  Usually quite safe and let's you get the feel for what you're doing.  (PS  51 is still young!)


Good advice. I was talking to a guy yesterday that skins up Empire at Deer Valley then drops off the backside into Park City and skis all the way to the Plaza!  Easy way to transition into this aspect of the sport.
 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

There is a level 1&2 combined Mountian travel and rescue class being taught in the SLC area this month by the NSP.  It won't cover Avy as that is another subject, but does cover gear, route finding, map & compass, weather, and lots of winter camping info.  The class ends with an overnight trip.  You can get info at IMD.ORG.  

Thanks!  I will check it out.

 

post #7 of 14

That MTR class is a good one.  You're going to want to hurry, though, they do about four nights of classroom stuff during April before the on-mountain stuff the first weekend of May.

 

Good info, good practical experience - good stuff to know if you're going to be playing in the mountains in winter. 

post #8 of 14

This snowpack graph is telling I think:

 

 

I continually find it humorous and general sign of going against nature people are passionate about getting on skis when the snow isn't there in November and tons of money and resources are spent to get areas open early.......then close them down when the snowpack is near the peak (though melting fast right now).

 

Spring hiking on crust at dawn to harvest some late morning corn is always special. Here's one trip in late May. And then we rafted the Animas in the afternoon on the rising river from the melt.

 

Spring simply has so many good choices.

post #9 of 14

I know.  It cracks me up.  The resorts are shutting down... and the second half of the season is just getting rolling.  Corn season is the best part of the year.  After big powder days.

 

We're having a corn-harvest in Ely next weekend... I'll post some photos in my Stoke thread.

 

You ought to toss some in there, too, Alpinord - you have some nice photos on that link. 

post #10 of 14

 

Quote:

Spring simply has so many good choices.

 
Yeah!  

 

Let's see, white water rafting/kayaking of the spring run-off, cruising on my bike and take in the spring bloom... and yes, spring skiing! :)

 

Seriously, spring is a good season. Good for too many things, that is. So some year, skiing start to lose its place in the priority queue compare to in the middle of winter. For me, this is one of those years... :(

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountaingirl1961 View Post

That MTR class is a good one.  You're going to want to hurry, though, they do about four nights of classroom stuff during April before the on-mountain stuff the first weekend of May.

 

Good info, good practical experience - good stuff to know if you're going to be playing in the mountains in winter. 


I just checked it out and unfortunately I cannot make it. I am actually meeting President Obama that week. I somehow don't think he will understand the need for spring corn.
 

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

I plan to start out by skinning up at the resorts after they close until I can take classes, etc. to gain the knowledge necessary to go in the real backcountry.  What are the pluses/minuses of telemark vs. randonee?  Not sure where to start on the equipment side of the equation.

post #13 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince F View Post

I plan to start out by skinning up at the resorts after they close until I can take classes, etc. to gain the knowledge necessary to go in the real backcountry.  What are the pluses/minuses of telemark vs. randonee?  Not sure where to start on the equipment side of the equation.


You might want to be careful just what you assume about this. As the weather changes, even "inbounds" can slide. Around here in the PNW, it can slide pretty big -  heck it can do that even before closing. And after closing, I suspect you are on your own wrt to calling it. Don't operate with a false sense of confidence.

 

Intuitively, something that has been bombed or groomed  and/or cut to pieces all winter seems more likely to be stable. But even if you stay in marked areas, things shift with the weather. Layers can weaken. Things can slide on old crusts. Slides can run from above down to where you are. Even heavily skied areas can rip out. Check out this TGR thread started about a big inbounds slide at Blackcomb's Heavenly Basin last year -- just hours after they shut the lifts for the season....

 

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123577

 

Note the first pic in post 16. Note where it ripped out. I bet a ton of people here have skied that exact inbounds spot - both the green cat track seconds from the lift, and the bowl below. 

 

Not trying to instill a sense of panic. Just awareness.

 

 

 

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Point well taken. I actually was skiing a small untracked gully earlier this year at Alta. Extremely small fracture just above me when I stopped and it slide down against me.  Moved me downhill about 4 feet! Didn't knock me over but it really opened my eyes. Very heavy weight against me. I can understand the destructive power if it would have been moving!  All this inbounds just off of a groomed run.  Ski patrol came behind us and closed the area by the time we got back up the lift.

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