On the Cover: Caite Zeliff fell in love with the freedom of skiing as a kid in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Eventually, the sport became her livelihood: first receiving a college ski racing scholarship, then chasing podium purses as a competitive freeride skier and, finally, becoming a sponsored professional athlete. At some point, the joy disappeared, but Zeliff is working to get it back. She says she found some of it on this day, skiing on the edge and dancing among giants in Seward, Alaska. [Photo] Eric Berger
THE BACKWOODS ISSUE
RENAISSANCE MAN p. 60
In 2019, Adrien Grabinski impulsively turned into the Shames Mountain parking lot. The detour led him to a job as a patroller, and a year later (at just 21 years old) he became the director of Shames’s ski patrol. As casually as he earned this role, he’s also made his way into ski films and started snowboarding. And he’s happy with his inadvertent destination, Shames. It doesn’t hurt that he can kick off the workday with a solo first descent, either.
LIKE A GIRL p. 70
When Caite Zeliff joined an after-school ski program as a kid, she fell in love with the feeling of the wind in her hair and the freedom the mountains afforded her. Chasing that freedom brought her to Jackson, Wyoming, and a professional ski career. But fame wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After years of being told “jump” and answering “how high,” Zeliff is getting back to what made her fall in love with the sport as a little girl.
IN THE SHADOWS p. 80
While the teeming masses flock to well-known ranges around the world, hidden in corners of the map are peaks that boast history, technical difficulty and shockingly good skiing. Whether due to lack of access, dangerous avalanche conditions or sheer remoteness, they’ll likely never boast the acclaim of places like New Hampshire’s Presidential Range or California’s Sierra Nevada. But the locals and few visitors who know the value of traveling off the beaten path are just fine with the solitude.
Guy Fattal mines a precious resource in western British Columbia: sunshine.
Carolyn Highland fights and makes up, Lily Ritter expands her toolbox, and Nick Sramek skis for a crowd.
The Sacred Place
Though rife with rugged touring terrain, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge isn’t a ski destination. It’s one of the last great wildernesses in the U.S. and home to Indigenous communities that are leading the fight to protect its vital expanse and resident wildlife.
Montana State University’s John Seifert wants to know everything about how backcountry skiers move. In a lab designed to measure touring technique efficiencies, he’s using data to prove the smoothest ways to move through the mountains.
Mountain Skills: Crevasse Rescue
Like avalanche rescue, pulling someone from a crevasse is something you try hard to avoid, but should it happen, it’s a skill you want to have mastered. Niels Meyer breaks it down.
Gearbox: All the Extras
Gloves, sunglasses, poles and skins—everything to round out your kit.
Profile: Asit Rathod
A throwback to freeskiing’s infancy, Asit Rathod carries on the fun-filled, steep-skiing legacy of his friend Shane McConkey. But a fast-moving disease almost ended his guns, whiskey and cigar-filled ride before his 50th birthday.
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.