Like most of you, I love a good powder stash. I’ll follow my nose to the fresh, light, fluffy stuff every chance I get. But I also have learned the hard way that sometimes this approach doesn’t always lead to the best place to be. I’ve been almost everywhere on the mountain and even though I’m extremely comfortable in snow, I know there are places I shouldn’t go.
Even though the resort has backcountry access gates, you need to know the terrain and be knowledgeable about skiing out of bounds before heading that way. First and foremost, if you’re going to even think about playing out of bounds make sure you have the proper equipment - a beacon, shovel, and probe. Those are the actual tools you need, but you also should be armed with backcountry knowledge, topo map, food and water. Know the terrain especial where the cliffs and drainages are located. Know what’s appropriate to ski and what’s going to get you in trouble.
Lately I’ve had a few friends who followed some unfortunate tracks and they wound up way in over their heads. Fortunately my pals on the patrol were able to find them and rope them down, but that’s not always possible. Just because you see tracks leading somewhere, doesn’t mean you should go there. If you don’t already know the backcountry routes, do not go out there without someone who really (truly) does. It can be a long cold night without a fur coat like mine.
BACKCOUNTRY: If you don’t know, don’t go!
With four feet of Champagne Powder snow this month, there is plenty of great terrain to explore within the Ski Area. Remember, deep snow conditions exist across the ski area and in the backcountry. Ski & Rice with Care and always be SlopeWise.
See you out on the slopes!