From remote mountains to on-piste, uphill routes, the backcountry movement is full of characters. So for our February issue, we’re celebrating those who get out there and advocate, inspire and spice up the skintrack.
Starting the issue off, contributor Drew Pogge battles snow and the unknown to ski the unforgiving chutes in Montana’s seldom-traveled Beartooth Mountains. Meanwhile, Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort focuses on the newest generation of skimo adventurers with their Ski Mountaineers kids program.
And while it’s easy to get caught up in the allure of backcountry’s big names, we spin that around and focus on four people, all under 30, who are progressing the sport in their own unique ways: Caroline Gleich, Louie Dawson, Nina Hance and Lucas Merli. Then, Adam Howard profiles guiding couple Liz and Miles Smart, who balance their operation, Smart Mountain Guides, the late Doug Coombs’s Steep Camps and married life in Chamonix.
Lastly, don’t forget to grab a glass as we dial in the 2015 Beer Guide, complete with the best beer for the skintrack, parking lot and après scene. And after a careful taste test (or two…or three), we spill our favorites, too.
PROGRESS TO THE PEOPLE
The word "progression" gets a lot of hype, but sometimes flashy achievements overshadow skiing's everyday improvements. "When most people think of progressing the sport, they think of the latest twist on the backflip," says ski pioneer Lou Dawson. "But it needs to be broader than that." So this year, we focused our Icons issue on four unique skiers and riders, all under the age of 30, who are redefining progress in their own way. See how on p. 55.
MR. AND MRS. SMART
Making a living as a mountain guide is hard on the mind and the body, and relationships and families often have to wait, worry and wonder, and, all too often, walk. So, what if your lover is also a guide? Maybe your business partner, too? Meet Miles and Elizabeth Smart. They can get you into and out of the hairiest places on the planet. And they share socks.
Skiers & scribes
Canine friends, Wasatch fandom and keeping it all in perspective
BACKSTORY: READER ESSAY
Tired and Alone
PLAYING THE SLOTS
Mystery and splitter couloirs in Montana's Beartooth Mountains
THE WASATCH VOICE
Tom Diegel on the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, the status of One Wasatch and the community value of backcountry skiing
THAT GUY: DIEGO ALLOLIO
An Argentine avalanche educator looks to revamp safety in the southern cone.
THE TESTAMENT: PART ONE
Tom Turiano publishes a guidebook that's beautiful enough for your coffee table
THE FUN FACTOR
Marty Schaffer and his team at CaPow! teach avy safety and backcountry skills to teens
NEW-SCHOOL SKI MOUNTAINEERS
The kids in Sugarbush's Ski Mountaineers program head into Vermont's backcountry
THAT GUY: JOE TURNER
A veteran pro skier balances life on the slopes with life in the saddle
MOUNTAIN SKILLS: IT TAKES TWO (TO TOUR)
How to battle complacency and become a better ski partner
MOUNTAIN ACCOUNT: WASATCH WITNESS
A first responder recounts saving a life in Alta, Utah's Grizzly Gulch
Eight pages of light, shadows and pow.
2015 BEER GUIDE
After thorough tasting, we've compiled the best brews for the skintrack, parking lot and hut trip