Call it a hero embargo. There was a time, not long ago, when this photo wouldn’t have run in these pages. It wasn’t because Doug Coombs was somehow not worthy. It was because he, and pros like him, were too worthy, too notable, too high profile. And backcountry was, for many of us, a place where we slipped away from all the growing extreme-hype that surrounded the sport in the ’90s.....
At this summer’s Outdoor Retailer trade show Backcountry Magazine had the chance to sit down the ski mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill. We talked about skiing, women’s sports and the lure of Everest with this world class athlete.
Mountains are dangerous, especially the popular ones. All too often we read about unfortunate skiers killed in avalanches, tree wells, and crevasses. Mt. Elbrus (5642m) is a dangerous peak—every year between 15 and 30 people die on its slopes. Crevasses, cliffs and avalanches are the usual cause of death but one incident in the region is particularly noteworthy. On February 18, 2011, two unidentified men stopped a van carrying five Moscow tourists near the base of Elbrus—after claiming to be plainclothes policemen, the men opened fire on the passengers. Three of the tourists died; two were hospitalized. Later that day, a bomb damaged a support tower for a cable car that travels up the side of Mount Elbrus.
In “Conflict Powder” (October, 2012) Sven Brunso explores the backcountry potential of the Republic of Georgia. While you’ll have to see the issue for the full story, Brunso was kind enough to prepare the basic travels tips that any non-Russian-speaking skier will need to visit the Caucasus Mountains.
The October edition of Backcountry—the Deep Issue—contains everything from you’d expect from a magazine with such a name: powder, emotion, even deep ecology. But what is Deep? This question led to a lot of office jokes, random facts, and a Google treasure hunt. We’ve compiled deep facts and figures, from the random to the ludicrous, into a list of the “50 Deepest.”
Greg Hill is likely as famous for climbing up as he is for skiing down. In 2008, he did the unthinkable and skied a million vertical feet in a single year. Then, in 2010, he did the unimaginable and skied two million vertical feet, averaging 5,500 feet of climbing a day. With his feats of endurance, Hill bolstered the reputation of his sponsors, including Dynafit, a company known for its touring gear.
Recently, Hill left Dynafit and signed on with Salomon, a company known for its traditional alpine gear, in a move that fundamentally represents a shift in the ski industry. Mainstream brands are getting into the backcountry, and Hill is helping Salomon get there.
We caught up with Greg Hill, last month, to talk lightweight gear, extreme lines and his move to Salomon.
The Gear Test Week is a big deal for us. Each Test represents months of emails, phone calls, and shipping labels all rolled into one sleepless stretch of making sure every tester has enough forms, skis, and energy to ride as my planks as possible. At the same time the Test is also a chance for us to get out of the North East and enjoy some direct sunlight and, hopefully, Utah powder. Between filing forms, posting online updates, and doing our duty with the Beermingo we like to let loose if we can. Below are some candid photos from the 2013 Gear Test Week. Enjoy!
After shooting the 2013 Gear Guide Cover at Stowe's Topnotch Resort the Backcountry team had the chance to sit down and talk with Jonathan Goldsmith. Below is a transcript from our conversation with the man who plays the World's Most Interesting Man.
Evening shadows were already creeping across the road when I came across a sign announcing 18 km to Lago Rivadavia - the only camping spot in this endless patchwork of ranches, or estancias, as they’re called in Patagonia. “Definitely doable,” I thought.