On the Cover: Not long after Nick Russell started riding in the backcountry, he became disheartened by filmmakers' creativity-killing insistence on repeatedly attempting tricks on terrain features. He left that style of riding behind, seeking out big lines and remote peaks instead, but as he shows on this lip near Lake Tahoe, he's still down for a good slash on a good feature. [Photo] Andrew Miller
THE PERSPECTIVES ISSUE
While Nick Russell's peers were competing in the X Games and landing sponsorships, he was developing a reputation as a hard-charging splitboarder who eschewed snowmobiles and heli-drops. Russell's single-minded dedication didn't immediately translate into financial success, but his exploits have finally paid off. And unlike other professional splitboarders who found the skintrack after retiring from freeride competitions, Russell has built his career entirely around human-powered riding.
CALL OF THE WILD
From the summit plateau of Hankin Mountain, guide Michael Brackenhofer can see a lot: the Coast Mountains, the Babines, Hudson Bay Mountain and beyond. The peaks, glaciers and icy palisades surrounding Smithers, B.C., provide the surfeit of terrain for Brackenhofer's dream site, Frontier Farwest Lodge, which serves as a new springboard for heli-, sled-, liftand trailhead-accessed touring in a wild, remote region of northern British Columbia.
TILL DEATH DO US PART
On the morning of April 18, 2019, pro skier Hadley Hammer received a life-changing text: Her boyfriend, Austrian alpinist David Lama, had died in the Canadian Rockies. Even though Hammer and Lama lived on different continents, the mountains had brought the pair together, only to tear them apart a mere 178 days into their relationship. Those same mountains have been an integral part of Hammer's healing.
Flurina Bieger and Axel Adolfsson find a perfect juxtaposition near Val Maighels, Switzerland.
Lifelong skier Ryan Stuart gives splitboarding a go, Dani Reyes-Acosta ponders tough questions on the skintrack, and a Courmayeur, Italy, skier takes the long way down.
FOOD AND WATER
April showers might bring May flowers, but a small group of mountain-town organic farmers also knows that winter powder days bring bountiful harvests through summer and autumn. This new generation of farmers is battling climate change while bringing sustainable crops to their high-altitude hometowns.
WHERE SNOW IS STUDIED
Despite slashed budgets, decades of bouncing between federal agencies and pandemic-fueled staffing cuts, the Central Sierra Snow Lab hasn't missed a beat in 75 years of gathering climate and snowpack data.
WISDOM: MARIO MOLINA
The executive director of Protect Our Winters is working overtime to mobilize millions of outdoor recreationists to vote for climate-forward candidates.
MOUNTAIN SKILLS: PLAN LIKE A PRO
Rethink your morning routine by designating time to discuss conditions, group dynamics and strategic mindsets with your touring partners.
GEARBOX: HELMETS AND GOGGLES
Protect your noggin with the latest head- and eyewear.
CALL HIM GALACTIC BROWN
Mallory Duncan grew up dreaming of becoming the first Black person to win a Winter Olympic medal in ski racing. While he never achieved ski-racing stardom, he's making positive impacts on the BIPOC ski community
For over two and a half decades, Backcountry's kept a close pulse on skis, boots, bindings, splitboards and more.