This January, Backcountry Magazine is offering a crash course on how to stay safe this winter. From life-saving skills to simple-but-effective tools and tricks, the safety issue covers what it takes to get out there and back again.
But first, Adam Howard heads to Cortina and Asolo, Italy, where he investigates the Parisotto family’s 76-year-old boot-making business, SCARPA. And while they thrived through the transition from leather to plastic boots, will SCARPA remain the AT and telemark forerunner?
And leading up to the second-annual Backcountry Basecamp tour, which focuses on safety and the love of getting out there, this issue expands upon our mainstay “Mountain Skills” department. We’re putting all our safety-focused content under the Basecamp name, including the most underrated skills and the newest tools to keep you safer.
Also inside: Devon O’Neil discloses how trees can predict avalanches, and Biff America tells us why we shouldn’t trust Shakespeare.
THE SCARPA FAMILY
In Asolo, Italy one family is fighting to keep their 76-year-old business at the top of its game. But the Parisottos' are swimming upstream against a current that includes obsessive taxation, a changing labor market and an ever-increasing speed of business. Their old ways have produced some of the most influential ski boots in the backcountry, but can their latest boot, the F1 Evo, take them to the top again?
SNOWY MOUNTAIN LODGE
As an arctic vortex settled over British Columbia last year, Jim Harris and six friends trekked to the Cariboo Range's newest backcountry lodge, where they were greeted by striking couloirs, first descents and Steve Ludwig, a veteran Canadian ski guide and half of the team behind the lodge's existence. It was only after many years and some good, old-fashioned grit that the vision of Ludwig and his partner, Dana Foster, became a reality. His favorite part about it? "Sleeping in those rooms and looking out those windows at nighttime, thinking, 'Yup, this is the place.'"
BACKCOUNTRY BASECAMP: SKILLS, SAFETY & STOKE
Last year marked the inaugural Backcountry Basecamp tour, a nationwide, resort-based event featuring avy awareness, guided clinics and the latest on gear and apparel. And as the Backcountry crew traveled from Crested Butte, Colo. to Jackson Hole, Wyo. then back home to Smugglers' Notch, Vt., we talked safety, education and the love of getting out there. For 20 years, we've called the safety- focused part of the magazine "Mountain Skills." Now we're putting it all—the tour and the stories about gear and skills—under the Basecamp name.
Skiers & scribes
EDITOR'S NOTE: FORCED FUN
It's all fun and games until someone gets dead.
Remembering Ramer, celebrating 20 years and an extraterrestrial encounter.
BACKSTORY: CHRISTMAS POWDER
The Last Time I Saw Him
CHASING THE DRAGON
In the mountains of northwestern China, the air is thin, maps are scarce, and the political landscape is shaky.
THE GUIDEBOOK, REINVENTED
Flipping through Rogers Pass, B.C.'s new digital guidebook.
THAT GUY: DIEGO ALLOLIO
An Argentine avalanche educator looks to revamp safety in the southern cone.
BACKCOUNTRY TO THE FUTURE
Vermont Backcountry Alliance aims to build a community, one trimmed glade at a time.
Understanding massive avalanches through the lost art of dendrochronology.
Black Diamond Equipment's new JetForce technology is poised to blow up the avalanche airbag market.
MOUNTAIN SKILLS: FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
How mentorship can up your backcountry game.
MOUNTAIN ACCOUNT: UNSTABLE INTUITION
Senses versus science in British Columbia's Coast Range.
ON LOCATION: CRESTED BUTTE, COLO.
Townie bikes, Bud Light's ski-town takeover, the skimo epicenter and one model nonprofit.
Eight pages of light, shadows and pow.
BIFFAMERICA: IGNORING SHAKESPEARE
When it comes to skiing, the playwright doesn't know squat.
LAST COL: AVALANCHE ART
In Revelstoke, B.C. lessons start in elementary school.