Backcountry Magazine 137 - The Deep Winter Issue

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Follow the higher calling with the Deep Winter Issue. Inside, we draw back the curtains on X Games expat Sammy Carlson to see how a park skier at the top of his game has turned into a backcountry devotee. But first, we learn how Tyson Rettie, a guide who lost his vision, is getting back on snow and bringing other blind skiers along. Then, former patroller Alex Armstrong reflects on how small mistakes can have massive consequences in the mountains. Also included: A journey into Colombia's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range with Ptor Spricenieks and Chad Sayers and how a new wave of ski areas are bringing the off-piste inbounds.

On the Cover: After leaving the terrain park for Revelstoke, B.C. pillow lines, X Games gold medalist Sammy Carlson now spends his winters perfecting tricks and turns in the quietness of the backcountry. Often, those days are spent with photographer Daniel Rönnbäck, as Carlson dials in his creativity and Rönnbäck focuses on the perfect shot. "We end up going back to the same zones a lot, which forces Sammy to get out of his normal moves and push his skiing. Not just bigger and faster but also how he skis and his style of turning and crushing pillows," says Rönnbäck, who snapped this shot of Carlson dialing in his pillow-crushing style. [Photo] Daniel Rönnbäck


In northern Colombia, skiers Ptor Spricenieks, Chad Sayers and Steve Ogle partnered with four Kogi guides to go deep into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range. Over 12 days, the group traversed toward distant glaciers, often following vague trails left centuries prior by the Indigenous Tayrona. When they finally reached snow line, the guides embraced their first experience with snow and Spricenieks, Sayers and Ogle found the turns they'd long been seeking.

Roughly an hour's drive from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the state's newest ski resort, Bluebird Backcountry, is open for business. But unlike other resorts, this one doesn't feature a single chairlift. Instead, it's designed to safely facilitate learning for new backcoun- try users, providing lessons, equipment rentals and guided tours. And with an increasingly unpredictable season ahead, this new model, and variations of it, may be the best way forward.

Freeskier Sammy Carlson, 31, has long skied on the highest stage, whether pioneering tricks like the switch triple rodeo 1260 in 2010 or racking up eight X Games medals. But after existing in the limelight for most of his life, Carlson's interests have turned to the quiet pillows of British Colum- bia's backcountry. There, away from cell service and while


Ryan Creary chases the perfect sunset.

Straight Lines
Why we should share our public lands, an argument for taking that dream trip and a reflection on early days spent snow- boarding in a Pennsylvania cornfield.


Skiing Blind
After losing his eyesight, guide Tyson Rettie had to relearn how to ski with help from his friend and fellow guide Harry Bolger. Now, Rettie wants to lead other blind skiers into the back- country through the Braille Mountain Initiative.

The Confluence of Shred
The outdoor recreation industry now has a larger economic impact than the combined value of the oil, gas and mining industries, and backcountry users aren't the only ones taking notice. States, through recreation offices, are starting to invest more in their public lands than ever before.

Wisdom: Brendan Madigan
A successful ski shop owner reflects on hiding an illness while giving back to his community.

Mountain Skills
How to take on a sufferfest and come out the other side smiling. Or is that a grimace?

Mountain Account
Professional skier and Lake Louise patrol- ler Alex Armstrong shares her experi- ence with an early-on evacuation.


Explore the lesser-known side of Wyoming's Teton Range from the Baldy Knoll Yurt.

Local Legend: Nancy Bockino
One guide and avalanche instruc- tor passes on her ethics and passion for the mountains.

For over two and a half decades, Backcountry's kept a close pulse on skis, boots, bindings, splitboards and more.



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