Backcountry Magazine 151 | The Isolation Issue

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On the Cover: For professional skiers and photographers in pursuit of powder, the compass points to all corners of the globe. Unfortunately for Tom Peiffer and Guy Fattal, a trip to the Bella Coola Valley, renowned for its legendary snow and terrain, was uncharacteristically hampered by bad conditions. Instead, they immersed themselves in the area’s First Nations history, dipped in hot springs and ate seafood plucked right from the ocean. Then the area’s exceptional snowfall returned for the tail end of their visit, helping Peiffer enjoy the fabled alpine. [Photo] Guy Fattal



Sometimes you go on an expedition for the objective; other times you arrive, and the objective finds you. That’s what happened when Christina Lustenberger, Brette Harrington, Hilaree Nelson and Emily Harrington spotted an untouched couloir from their charter plane on their way to the eastern coast of Baffin Island. The first descent Lustenberger and Brette Harrington logged was a feat, but the women left more struck by the relationships they formed.

A dirt road dead-ends at the start of a cat track. This is the final leg of the journey to Argentina’s newest resort, El Azufre—designed by skiers for skiers. While a heli-skiing op, multiple ski lifts and high-end lodging are in the master plan, José Beccar and Dani Nofal—the men behind El Azufre—are committed to keeping the resort ski-bum friendly with high mountain refugios and an emphasis on touring.

From Mt. Shasta in California to Mt. Rainier in Washington, Cascade volcanoes have long inspired anyone who ventured beneath them. Glacier-draped peaks like these with up to 10,000 vertical feet of skiing are a rarity, and the Pacific Northwest’s historically deep winters, abundant glaciers and mild summers create the perfect circumstances for year-round skiing. But with glaciers receding, taking with them the quality corn snow that used to persist through the fall, how much longer will it last?



We’ve all felt the glow of golden hour just before the sun sets. Capturing that ephemeral moment of ideal light, especially far up in the mountains, isn’t easy—plus it requires a ski down in the dark.

Straight Lines
Betsy Manero finds the bad kind of snow record, Blair Anne Hensen breaks down backcountry psychology, and Brendan Koch leaves his guilt behind.



Two Feet and a Heartbeat
Mt. Hood up and down in one hour, 31 minutes. The 80-mile Bugs to Rogers Pass Traverse in 44 hours, 37 minutes. Backcountry skiing Fastest Known Times—or FKTs—are falling almost as fast as skiers are moving.

Mountain Skills: Expedition Planning
Internationally certified mountain guide Erin Smart knows a successful trip requires a solid plan and a strong team.

Gearbox: Camping Gear and Powsurfers
Tents, sleeping bags and more that make winter camping feel like home. Plus, ride the binding- free trend with these four powsurfers.

On Location: Svaneti, Georgia
Wedged between 18,000-foot peaks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 1,000-year-old buildings sits Svaneti, Georgia, an unlikely ski town in the Caucasus Mountains that has persisted through historic avalanches, the Iron Curtain and civil war.



Biff America
Sometimes you end up stranded in a nudist colony with missing nuts.... Well, at least, Biff America does. But a good attitude and healthy perspective go a long way in a sticky situation






For over two and a half decades, Backcountry Magazine has been dedicated to the pursuit of fresh lines and the people who live for them.

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