Knowledge is power and, in the mountains, it leads to powder. But getting there and doing it safely takes time, practice and plenty of lessons. In our first-ever Skills Guide, we tap all types of backcountry experts for their top tips and insights for safer, smarter mountain travel and pair their wisdom with a deep dive into the essential tools and techniques of the trade. Read up, refresh, rinse and repeat.
Across the U.S., there's been a mass increase in the popularity of ski-mountaineering courses. Late last April, editor in chief Tyler Cohen headed to one such course in Montana's Tobacco Root Mountains to find out why. Along the way, while traveling through a range still draped in its midwinter snowpack, he learned lessons from skiers young and old, including why to always bring matches when a ski tour involves rappelling.
EDITOR'S NOTE: BLIND SPOTS
Uptrack struggles in Rogers Pass, B.C., learning the ropes beyond Telluride, Colo. and retreating with the sun in northern California
ALPENGLOW'S GOLDEN HOUR
How a Tahoe-based ski shop's annual winter festival is lighting the way for safety education and community-wide stoke
THAT GIRL: DANYELLE MAGNAN
Rogers Pass, B.C.'s first female forecaster breaks barriers to keep the region's busiest zone safe
WISDOM: EYES WIDE OPEN
McKenna Peterson reflects on life in the skintrack, running a commercial fishing operation and the loss of her earliest mentor
BEYOND THE GATES
How, after the deaths of two of its own, the U.S. Ski Team is spreading avalanche awareness
One woman tests her intuition in the Swiss Alps
The greatest repair-kit tool of all time, an Editors' Choice powder setup and four poles that solve an age-old dilemma
Off-piste whitewashing, land management in Valdez, Alaska and the community responsibility to look out for our own
DEPTH: WATER, FROZEN
LOCAL LEGEND: ROD NEWCOMB
BIFF AMERICA: MAD SKILLS
Napoleon Dynamite said it best: "Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills." Fortunately, Biff delivers.
The southwest face of Montana's Mt. Stimson