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How do you know who NOT to go back country skiing with

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

For me it was when I had done some hiking to take a few photos and planned to just duck back into the resort area . After I reached the high point I notice three skiers had followed me up the climb . They were about five min behind me . When they met up with me at the high point they asked where is the back side !  OOPS  if you have to ask where your going your in the wrong spot . Pointing to the south I asked if they knew how to get out and did they have avi gear shovel peeps sticks ect .They didnt have any of it not even a phone . Standard gear for me in my pak they asked if I would take them to the area . With a big smile on my face I said NO  packed my camera up and skied back into the resort area  for a beer .  Share your story .

Edited by motorhome - 9/25/10 at 9:02am
post #2 of 6

If only it were so easy.

post #3 of 6

Well, these are kind of two different questions. 1. Who to embark/not to embark on a trip with. 2. Who to allow to follow you.


I'm loath to let anyone follow me. I read hangers-on their rights upfront: I'm not a guide, I'm not guaranteeing your safety, I'm not waiting for you or showing you the route.

post #4 of 6

For sure, keeping in mind that aforementioned "hangers-on bill of rights" do apply to me as well, I will embark in a ski trip with mr Prickly each time I can (i.e. each time we meet up in Made).

If i ever have the feeling of dragging him or slowing him down, then I let go and will catch up later on if in strenghts...

As for who do I would allow to follow me...well it depends, on multiple factors like "fair weather" "bad weather" and so on.

If it weren't for a group of people me and my mother met, on a stormy April day on the Mont Blanc, who allowed us to follow them down (in saidthe storm)...I probably wouldn't be here. So, if I am in a position to possibly help someone out, I'll try to do that (Mr Privckly's points 1&2 still valid, though)

post #5 of 6

Let me just say: Mr Nobody, whose skills are well known and documented here, is nobody's hanger-on!


My point was more about riot act-reading at the resort boundary, when you realize someone you don't know -- and whose skills you're not sure of -- is on your tail. If you see someone in need further along, agreed, it's your duty to help them out.

post #6 of 6

Looks like this conversation is actually breaking up on two lines: 1) backcountry skiing and 2) in bounds, side country resort skiing. I actually see it that way too.


1. Backcountry: Unless I already know a person's skills (through a trusted friend or have skied with the individual in a group), I'm kinda picky when it comes to selecting BC partners. I usually have the person meet me at the beacon park at the mountain and we BOTH take turns doing beacon retrievals. Things I'm looking for:


- can they use their beacon effectively

- can they probe

- MOST IMPORTANT - can they dig like a mofo


I used to be a "you have to have taken Avy I" type guy but then I realized there are a ton of people in the BC who have never taken an Avy course but could school most people who have. Other red flags:


- plastic shovel

- unless we're hitting low angle stuff I don't want someone burning one or hitting a flask while skiiing

- attitude: life is too short to ski with a$$holes


So basically, know what your doing, have some real gear to dig my a$$ out and don't be an idiot. Also, I don't let followers team up with me or my group unless I know them. Not worth my time to take on the added responsibility and it rewards reckless behavior IMHO.


2. Inbounds/Sidecountry: Okay, this is different. Here in CB there isn't much in the way of sidecountry action - it is more inbounds stuff in the way of the extremes (west side, headwall, north face -> third bowl, and teo's I and II). I actually dig showing new people around that stuff. I basically just make sure they've got the skills. That being said, I run into followers all the time there. Usually tourist types who don't know the terrain. I won't wait for them out of hand but if I see someone getting into (or already into) something over the heads I'll stop and help them out. Unless it is 9:15am on a powder day - then there better be some blood in order for me to stop.


But seriously, I do think we as skiers owe each other a duty to help out if in need. I can't imagine anyone who would look the other way after seeing someone get caught up in a slide. It really comes down to whether you'll take someone into your group who might pose a safety risk. My favorite quote from a college kid from Gunny that tried to join up with me last year on the skin track - when asked if he had any avy gear he said, "no, but hey, it is my life so it is my choice". I replied that the only thing in a typical avy gear setup that is about your own life is the transmit function on a beacon. Everything else is about saving your partner's life.


Just my two cents.


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