This January, we're throwing out the backcountry status quo, like skinning for pow laps and seeking out well-known zones, for the weird, wacky and fringe of the sport. From skinny ski epics to the last great monoskier, the Offbeat Issue transcends boundaries to capture the creativity and motivation of the off-piste community.
First in the Central Monashee Mountain Range, Kingfisher Heliskiing reforms heli skiing with their heli-bump touring operation, which involves a morning lift to the top of the first run, followed by a day of touring. And the Tetons, uphill enthusiasts are pushing their limits at Jackson's under-the-radar ski hill—1,571-foot Snow King Mountain.
Then, Editor-in-Chief Tyler Cohen explores the history and controversy surrounding the terrain beyond Telluride Ski Resort, which holds some of the most dangerous resort-accessed backcountry in the nation. Now, after four years of land disputes, the resort gates are reopened to region's steep couloirs, cirques and bowls.
And in the Redefining Backcountry feature, we collect the quirky, innovative and resourceful ways in which skiers and riders take to the backcountry. Through utilizing unconventional gear, like bindingless boards and skimo setups, and by exploring new travel methods, like heli-bump touring and skate ski epics, the backcountry community is shifting the boundaries and perceptions of what it means to get out there.
Not to miss—Greg Petrics details a conservation restriction for caribou that's limiting some of the best—and safest—ski terrain in Québec's Chic-Choc Mountains, Drew Pogge reflects on the silence and shame that often follows an avalanche incident and Biff talks skintrack dynamics and bellybutton piercings.
OFF THE STEEP END
Since the '80s, Telluride Ski Resort's boundaries have been a revolving door of open and restricted access. And while Jackson and Vail are well known for their resort- accessed backcountry, the San Juan Mountains beyond Telluride hold the country's most storied and dangerous OB terrain. Now, after four years of closures and land disputes, it's again open for the skiing.
Backcountry skiing and riding go beyond boundaries and, by virtue, definition. So we've opened the floodgates to the weird and wacky, the fringe and far-out to cover the sport's most offbeat pursuits from backcountry skimo to skate-ski epics, fishscaled splitboards to split noboards. It's a celebration of the fringe, the odd and the unconventional where creativity and community rule.
EDITOR'S NOTE: THE OTHER SIDE
Backcountry newcomers, censorship police and the what's-what on insurance
BACKSTORY: CROSSROADS OF A SKIER
Head West? Or East?
STRAIGHT LINES: POWDER AND PERSPECTIVE
Pact of Silence
THE GREAT GASPÉ
In northern Québec's Chic-Choc Mountains, some of the best—and safest—ski terrain is off-limits, due to a conservwation restriction to protect the last herd of caribou south of the Saint Lawrence River. Contributor Greg Petrics reports on the area's arctic temperatures, blower snow and puzzling logistics.
THE SKIER'S GYM
The most popular skintrack in the Tetons isn't in the backcountry. It's found at Snow King Mountain, Jackson, Wyo.'s 1,571-vertical foot resort, located right in town.
THAT GUY: LEE DUBE
With a mission to shred on every continent, Lee Dube is taking monoskiing to never-before- monoed heights and far-flung destinations.
BOOK REPORT: MIND, BODY, SOUL
Biff America's Memior...kinda.
MOUNTAIN SKILLS: SPANDEX SECRETS
Greg Hill, Melanie Bernier and others divulge their skimo-inspired secrets for optimal efficiency to score more turns.
MOUNTAIN ACCOUNT: A LONG SHOT
After months of preparation, Charlie Nuttelman and his touring partner attempted to ski the north face of Colorado's Longs Peak last May. But with a combination of windy conditions and 40-degree slopes, the duo faced more than they bargained for.
TECH TALK: DESIRABLE DATA
Canada: Land of hockey, publicly-funded healthcare and...data collection? For 25 years, Canadian guides and avy forecasters have tapped a groundbreaking resource in the exchange of avalanche information.
TOURING WITH THE BIRDS
In British Columbia's Central Monashee Mountains, Kingfisher Heliskiing is one of just five operations offering heli-assisted touring. And with cheaper prices than typical heli-skiing and the elimination of long approaches, Kingfisher—and heli-bump touring—is here to stay.
It's all fun and games until someone gets their bellybutton pierced.
LAST COL: MIND THE GAP
Daron Rahlves's Off-Piste Slalom