Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Use it or lose it

Now that the garden is dead minus some lettuce, I will shift the focus of this blog to detail my winter pursuits. I have been a snow skier since I can remember and have really refined my skills the past five seasons here in Utah. The last three seasons, I found myself hiking within resort boundaries finding untracked snow and solace in getting away from the crowded runs found at so many resorts. I often wondered what lie beyond those out of bounds signs and was eager to explore but the scare of avalanches kept me behind the rope. I decided it was time to take the leap into alpine touring, aka backcountry skiing.

After looking at the cost of obtaining alpine touring gear during my inital pursuit of the sport, I quickly decided that resort skiing would be best. I spoke with a few people experienced in alpine touring who suggested alternatives for obtaining the necessary gear without taking a 401k loan. Alternatives included combing avalanche debris for lost/unclaimed gear, the grab and go at the ski shop, and the best option of buying rental gear/used gear in the offseason. I was able to obtain the proper set-up over the course of a year at less than half the cost of buying new. Now that I had all the gear, I was commited to my new adventure but still lacked the skills and experience to travel into the backcountry.

Last year I completed a three day avalanche awareness course at Alta taught by seasoned backcountry skiers and boarders. The class was a great experience with half the class taught in a classroom setting and the other half learning in the backcountry. The course taught the fundamentals of avalanche safety with the premise being avoidance of getting caught. Now that I have some of the basics down, I am excited to learn more through actual experience while enjoying the quiet, untracked backcountry. Last year was a flop since I only managed to ski out of bounds once though I hope to turn that around this year.

Though I do have big plans for the backcountry, also know that I will continue to ski the resorts, with a focus on skiing with my son. As I venture into the untracked, I plan to detail my trips here on my blog so that all can see just how wonderful the Utah backcountry is.

And of course I will continue posting pictures of our cute kids.

1 comment:

SandGs Mom said...

gosh if only you could buy the time to persue this "venture" of yours. Or a nanny to watch the kids while your wife explored some "ventures" on her own. :) Love ya.