Backcountry Magazine 157 | The Historic Issue

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On the Cover: For more than three decades, Sven Brunso has chased endless winter. At 53, the lone destination remaining on his snow-sliding bucket list was Antarctica, which he ticked off in October 2023 with Ice Axe Expeditions. Brunso and photographer Liam Doran went to the bottom of the world confident they would be skiing with penguins; they didn’t expect chest-deep snow. But they found just that. From summit to ice-choked sea, Doran captured Brunso enjoying powder to the edge of Wilhelmenia Bay. [Photo] Liam Doran



Thickly wooded, weather-worn peaks have left eastern Canada better known for maple syrup than backcountry skiing. But where there’s snow, slopes and a will, there’s a way—even through the dense forests of Quebec. Forged first by European fur traders known as coureurs de bois, or runners of the woods, this perseverance to find and create routes through the trees lives on in the spirit of creative skiers. Today, locally maintained glades and touring zones have become united under one provincial umbrella—an organization focused on supporting outdoor recreation. With an entrepreneurial guide service bolstering those efforts, the backcountry is booming.

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was taken down by pack ice in the Weddell Sea. His crew escaped to Elephant Island while the captain sailed away in a life raft, only to return two years later and rescue every one of his men. In 2024, the Antarctic Peninsula looks much the same as it did 100 years ago: There’s no permanent population, and pack ice still forms in the freezing waters. But there are cruise ships, and one of them, the Ocean Albatross, carries 100 skiers and 40 guides, all of whom are following Doug Stoup, the owner of Ice Axe Expeditions and possibly the greatest Antarctic explorer of our time.



En route to a dreamy pillow line, Chris Rubens makes a forested detour.

Straight Lines
Dani Reyes-Acosta questions what belonging to a place means, and Jared Hargrave’s kids protest taxation without representation.



The 10th’s Legacy
During World War II, Colorado’s Camp Hale, home of the 10th Mountain Division, was bustling. Now a recreational area, the site’s recent national monument designation means its history will live on.

Wisdom: Mike Russell
He’s dropped the knee all over the world, but what makes Mike Russell happiest is spreading the gospel of touring through the National Brotherhood of Skiers.

Mountain Skills: Winter Camping
In recent years, backcountry yurt and hut reservations have become rarer than Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. But that’s not the only way to camp out for easy touring access. Kevin Hjertaas breaks down the dos and don’ts of sleeping in the snow.

Gearbox: Ski Mountaineering
Looking to get into the high mountains? Check out these ropes, axes, crampons and more. Plus, a collection of cozy clothing to keep you warm at the belay.

On Location: The Atlas Mountains
Most ski trips to Morocco share the objective of skiing Toubkal, the country’s highest peak. Matthew Tufts arrived in the arid African country with a different goal: to traverse the Mgoun Valley, linking 12 remote villages and a handful of questionably skiable peaks.



Profile: Sean Busby
A lesser person might have caved in the face of Sean Busby’s medical problems: Type 1 diabetes, lupus, epilepsy and rheumatoid arthritis. But the former Olympic hopeful has found a groove in the backcountry around Wiseman, Alaska—population 12.







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.

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