Backcountry Magazine 139 - The Journeys Issue

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Behind the cover, you'll find photographer Chris Bezamat making the most out of a bust of a trip to Iceland, former Navy SEAL Josh Jespersen carving a new path for veterans in the outdoors while smashing Chris Davenport's Colorado 14ers record and a look at the past, present and future of British Columbia's Sea to Sky corridor. Also included is a debate on how kids can safely enter avalanche terrain and lessons on how, where and when to pull out your ice axe and crampons.

On the Cover: While shooting in Engelberg, Switzerland, photographer Oskar Enander captured this image of Piers Solomon, a feat only doable, Enander says, "during a few weeks pre- and post-winter solstice, when the sun is low enough to create these shadows." This particular location only lights up for a few minutes. "If you're too early there isn't enough light," he says, "and if you're too late, it's just all white, and the shadows are gone." [Photo] Oskar Enander


Since 2005, Chris Bezamat has traveled internationally as a photographer, capturing skiers in far-out locations and deep powder. But what happens when weather, conditions and, now, logistical and health obstacles related to Covid-19 create a trip that just isn't worth capturing? During a 2015 bust of a trip to Iceland, Bezamat spent a day surfing and realized the real goal of travel lies beyond a single objective.

In spring 2017, a splitboarder whom nobody had heard of smashed Chris Davenport's record of climbing and riding all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, completing the mission in just 138 days. That unknown rider was former Navy SEAL Josh Jespersen, and while his 14er record helped shaped his transition from military to civilian life, he's using lessons learned in the mountains to begin a new chapter in his own life and in those of other veterans.

To the casual observer, British Columbia's Sea to Sky—the Coast Mountains surrounding the same-named highway—doesn't seem like a world-class backcountry destination. But just out of sight is an expansive range that gets buried in some of the deepest and most stable snowpacks anywhere. As the chase for powder intensifies in the region, managing the scarcity of snow will take an appreciation of 10,000 years of human history.


MP Préfontaine aligns slope and sun outside of Whistler, B.C.

Straight Lines
Carolyn Highland finds her people and Alex Showerman reflects on how mentorship has elevated her experience.


Bringing Up Backcountry
The recent surge of interest in backcountry skiing and riding is making avalanche education more important than ever for teens and kids. But how and where to teach young people while managing risk is up for debate.

Remembering Niko
After 18-year-old Niko Suokko passed away in a 2018 avalanche outside Washington's Alpental resort, his father and the Northwest Avalanche Center created an initiative to develop youth-oriented avalanche education called NIKO18.LIFE.

Bighorns and Big Lines
In Wyoming's Teton Range, bighorn sheep and backcountry skiers
butt heads. Can they coexist?

Mountain Skills
How and where to use an ice axe, crampons and rope.

Mountain Account
Near Tromsø, Norway, and on what he thought was a low-risk day, one backcountry veteran gets caught and carried.


In British Columbia's East Kootenays, the Talus Lodge offers cirque skiing and a sauna.

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


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