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New guy

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone.  I'm new to the forum and full of questions.  Some I have already had answered by searching through posts.  


I am from Maine and ski mostly at Sugarloaf but am looking to get into the backcountry for a little more challenge and fun.  I am currently deployed to Afghanistan until next spring.  I am in pretty good shape now but doing foot patrols with 80lbs of gear I'm sure when I get back going up a mountain with just my ski gear will seem like a day off.


I don't know much about backcountry skiing.  I know I want to have a clue in my head before I venture out.  I haven't got any friends that want anything to do with walking up.  I got one buddy who skis at the same level as me but no one with much experience to learn first hand from.  


If anyone has any tips on where I can get stuff to print off and read about anything backcontry related I would appreciate it because I don't get a whole lot of time to browse around here.

post #2 of 14

First, welcome and thanks very much for your service to our country!


Don't know anything about backcountry skiing, except it is not to be undertaken lightly, no matter if you're talking New Jersey - or - Alaska. But here are a couple old threads that might give you some info:


Do you currently have telemark skills or just regular downhill ski skills? That may determine your initial limitations and equipment choices. Some better qualified folks should chime in here, but another good online place to ask your question is:

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks James for the threads.  I don't have any telemark skills just down hills.  I ski the glades with pretty good confidence.  I'm looking for an AT setup and a place to ski with a challenge and not so many people coming out of everywhere.


Can anyone recommend a camp or place to get QUALITY backcountry and avalanch training in the east?  


post #4 of 14

Just got started BC skiing last year myself. Check on for for a copy of "Backcountry Skiing" by Martin Volken. It will get you started on what you need to learn. Lots of good, basic info on gear, rout selection, technique etc.  The beginners bible. 


When you get back next spring, if you can swing by Seattle, WA,  I'll get you started in my son's back yard where there will still be snow. I'm serious. PM me with your email.


June Snow on Silver Peak. 2 miles of dirt road away from the hot tub



post #5 of 14

Welcome to EpicSki, Out2Pasture. Another book worth reading is Bruce Tremper's Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey Wooley thanks for the invite I would love to join you but I'm going to be in Maine when I get back and that'd make an awesome road trip but I don't think I'll be able to talk my girlfriend or family into it lol.  But then again who knows maybe eventually.  For June that is amazing and I might just have to sneak away for a bit.  I'll take a look into the book. Thanks



Thanks for the welcome Nolo I'll also check out the book you reccomended.

post #7 of 14

Welcome to EpicSki, Out2Pasture--as a displaced Mainer myself, it's always good to see another person from "back home." And I share JamesJ's gratitude for your service!


Your best resource here may well, at EpicSki. You've already gotten suggestions for good reading material, and if you have specific questions, you'll find a lot of advice (some of it even good!) in the forums--especially the technique, equipment, backcountry, and trip report sections.


As you've suggested, it's a great idea--vital, even--to take an avalanche awareness course somewhere. I'm sure there are some in the east, but there are many in the Rockies and the west. In Colorado, they are offered through local community colleges, search and rescue organizations, PSIA (instructor association), and ski patrol training sessions, for starters. I've had the pleasure of skiing with a few of the Tenth Mountain Division Special Forces members out here, on leave from Afghanistan--and we've done programs for them through PSIA. Through these programs, you'll not only gain critical knowledge, skill, and respect for backcountry snow conditions, but you'll also make some connections and friendships that will go far in your quest for more time in the backcountry.


Have fun, stay in touch, and keep us posted on your adventures and ideas!


Best regards,

Bob Barnes--from "The County"


post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey Bob when you say the county I take it you mean Aroostick?  I'm from Calais a couple hours east of Bangor. I would love to venture out west to get some training and skiing in.  Someday I will but unfortunatly it wont be till next year sometime.  

post #9 of 14

A couple of good places to check out and get info on  the eastern backcountry scene are


Another good site with great photography and trip reports:

post #10 of 14

Whatever you do, TAPE YOUR HEELS!  Every person new to BC with whom I ski, I always insist they tape their heels.  Blisters are a part of life, but you can greatly reduce them by being proactive in the beginning.  Get some white tape, and make some cups on your heels, and if you can goop them up with anti-blister chaffing, that helps too.  You might not need it at all, but if done right, it won't hinder, it could only help.


Getting into the sport is well worth it.  You'll find your way, just keep after it.  Finding a good partner really helps.  If you can, research your gear, and get the good stuff from the beginning.  I switched over to Dynafit bindings after almost 5 years of clunking around on freerides.  They perform on the ups AND the downs, and are worth the investment.  So happy you're getting into it all, the backcountry is a beautiful place to be, and is very soothing for the body, mind, and soul.  


Cheers to you!

post #11 of 14
There are some good books out there. Snow Sense is a classic. Ditto on the Dynafits and Avy I class. The most important part is finding a BC partner though. I rarely ever travel in the BC alone in winter and certainly never go alone into terrain that can slide. Taping of the heels is a good idea.
post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by penny4028 View Post

Whatever you do, TAPE YOUR HEELS!  Every person new to BC with whom I ski, I always insist they tape their heels.  Blisters are a part of life, but you can greatly reduce them by being proactive in the beginning.  Get some white tape, and make some cups on your heels, and if you can goop them up with anti-blister chaffing, that helps too.  You might not need it at all, but if done right, it won't hinder, it could only help.


I can not recommend enough for anyone who lives by their anti-blister tape.

post #13 of 14

Hello, Out2Pasture - welcome to the forum and best wishes for success and good luck with your tour.


Backcountry skiing is very much an apprenticeship sport - most people get into it by learning from another skier with experience in the sport.  A great way to find said experienced ski partners is through a Level 1 avalanche class - which you'll want to take anyway.


Go to to find out where you can take a class in your area.


I ski out west and so am not much help in giving you beta re: ski life in Maine, but if you go to the forums at TelemarkTips you'll find a series of annual threads that talk about backcountry skiing in various parts of the country.  If I remember correctly, last year's eastern US thread was called something like "It Ain't Ice if There's Not Fish Underneath."  Those threads tend to be full of a bunch of personal chit-chat, but also a lot of info about day-to-day ski experiences, conditions, meet-ups and more, along with tons of photos.  


This backcountry forum is a lot smaller than Telemark Tips, and you won't get lost in the crowd here.  There are some folks here who really know their stuff and have been skiing in the backcountry for a lot of years, so there's some very good advice to be had.

post #14 of 14

another good site to check out is  Most the people on the site are from the west side but they have lots of discussion on interesting bc situation, avy stuff, etc.  Also lots of great trip reports to help out with the stoke.  Oh and take a level 1 avy course.  

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