It’s time to celebrate—Backcountry Magazine is almost old enough to (legally) drink! Our 20th Anniversary Issue takes a look at the legends, turns and tech that have progressed our sport over two decades and more.
But before celebrating the past, contributors and editors give the scoop on the future of drones in the backcountry, the golden age of tech bindings, splitboard guides and whether or not the backcountry is safer today.
Then, in a 50-page tribute to 100 issues of Backcountry Magazine, editors, photo editors, contributors and others weigh in on their favorite covers, show their favorite published and unpublished photos, and talk about how the sport—and the magazine—has evolved in 20 years.
And there are big names, too, from Andrew McLean sharing his top 10 favorite adventures, expeditions and descents to remembering Paul Ramer’s legacy of innovation.
THE COVER STORY
If a single page from Backcountry could embody two decades of the evolution of our sport, it would be the cover. From the first image of Dan Schaefer mid hop-turn in Colorado's Indian Peaks to today's explosive, deep-snow shots, the 100 Backcountry covers mark 20 years of progression (with some regression along the way: see Issue 30). Beginning on p. 60, Backcountry art directors, photo editors, contributing photographers and others share their favorites.
What is it that makes a backcountry image so special? The quiet beauty of a wintry landscape? Or the energy of a skier in dynamic motion? Whatever the reason, it's timeless, in harmony with an unending pursuit of fresh snow. For our Anniversary Issue, we gathered images new and old that capture the energy and scenery that will forever embody backcountry skiing and riding.
Before our collective eyes, a sport once considered fringe and for weirdos has become mainstream. And to follow that transformation, we reached out to contributors and editors past and present to talk about their heroes, the gear that changed backcountry and where it all began. From the early days of telemark to the modern splitboard boom, we were there, and our editors tell it as they saw it beginning on p. 86.
The writers, photographers and editors behind our 100th issue
That world's longest letter chain, adaptive shredding and why you backcountry ski or ride.
Seeking solitude on the skintrack
FIGURES 11: OH, THE PLACES WE'VE BEEN
Andrew McLean trips out on his 10 favorite adventures, expeditions and descents.
UNMANNED AND ON THE RISE
From wedding photography to scientific data collection, drones are infiltrating American life. But will they change the way we look at the backcountry?
TECH BINDING BOOM
Inside the golden age of backcountry bindings where safety is now king. Plus: Four new, featherweight tech options.
THAT GUY: CHRIS ARTEMIS
At Golden, Colo.'s Columbine Bar, Artemis will wax your skis while pouring your pint.
OVER THE HILL
Time to celebrate—The Wilderness Act turns 50 this year. Plus: Four wild places to check out.
BOARD ROOM: SPLITTER GUIDES
This winter, the American Mountain Guides Association says "yes" to splitboarders.
Technical Editor Lance Riek dorks out on 20 years of all things innovative.
Pin-tech bindings, 1984-now.
MOUNTAIN SKILLS: A SAFER BACKCOUNTRY?
Eight experts from across the globe weigh in on the evolution of avalanche safety, education and gear.
Mullets, head injuries, gasoline prices and all the messes Biff has caused.
A tribute to everyone and everything that matters.