Backcountry Features


The Heroes Among Us
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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.....

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Hilaree O'Neill Interview
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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.

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Terrorism on Elbrus
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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.

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Skiing In Georgia (No Sweet Tea and Peaches Here)
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Hotel Gudauri Hut

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.

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50 Deepest
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Deep powder

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.”

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Choose Your Adventure
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We don't usually promote ski videos on Backcountrymagazine.com but we wanted to recognize Powderwhore's new film "Choose Your Adventure".

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Interview with Greg Hill
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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.

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The Ski Test Week in still frames
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Bottoms up at the Shooting Star Saloon, Utah's oldest bar. [Photo] Simon Peterson

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!

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An Interview With The Most Interesting Jonathan Goldsmith
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Jonathan Goldsmith

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.

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Falling Into Cholila
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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.

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State of the Industry 2012
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State of the Ski Industry

For skiers all across North America, the winter of 2011-2012 stands out as one of the worst ski seasons in recent memory. So just how bad was the winter of 2011-2012?

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Twenty-Eight Caught in Avalanche
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The arrow shows the approximate location of the avalanche. [Photo] Keese Lane

Thursday morning, twenty-eight climbers traveling in separate rope teams set out from the Cosmiques hut, on Mont Blanc near Chamonix, France.

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Making Up For Winter
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Robb Gaffney and Jeff Dostie skinning up the Bolam-Hotlum route on the north side of Mt. Shasta [Photo: Brennan Lagasse]

You can usually judge a winter based on how quickly the off-season toys get brought out. There’s always a contingency of skiers and riders who are swift in their sports transition. Ready to welcome the spring by jumping right into mountain biking, rock climbing, or other snowless activities. But when the majority of skiers are chomping at the bit for the seasonal shift you know something’s up. With this winter appearing to be one of the worst on record many skiers are turning their eyes to other sports. However, spring skiing centers like Northern California’s Mt. Shasta and Shastina should not be written off.

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Avy Bulletin: Part 3
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Avalanche

The 2011-12 winter season was record breaking and not in a good way. Across the United States, a record 20 skiers and snowboarders fell victim to avalanches, topping the 2007-08 winter when 14 skiers and riders died. In a three-part series, we’ll discuss the season, snow pack, hazards and education with avalanche ambassadors from across the country. Here, we speak with Benj Wadworth, section director of Friends of the Northwest Avalanche Center.

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Avy Bulletin: Part 2
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New Year’s Day slide near Berthoud Pass.

The 2011-12 winter season was record breaking and not in a good way. Across the United States, a record 20 skiers and snowboarders fell victim to avalanches, topping the 2007-08 winter when 14 skiers and riders died. In a three-part series, we’ll discuss the season, snow pack, hazards and education with avalanche ambassadors from across the country. Here, we speak with Spencer Logan, a forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

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Avy Bulletin: Part 1
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Eric Henderson digs in and finds a whole lot of depth hoar

The 2011-12 winter season was record breaking and not in a good way. Across the United States, a record 20 skiers and snowboarders fell victim to avalanches, topping the 2007-08 winter when 14 skiers and riders died. In a three-part series, we’ll discuss the season, snow pack, hazards and education with avalanche ambassadors from across the country. First, we speak with Bruce Tremper, director of the Utah Avalanche Center.

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Stephane Brosse - Obituary
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Stephane Brosse

Renowned French ski mountaineer, Stéphane Brosse, 41, died Sunday during an attempt to traverse the Mont Blanc Massif. Brosse fell 600 meters when a cornice collapsed beneath him on the Aiguille d’Argentiere (3900m).

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Davenport Skis Ring of Fire
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Davenport Skis Ring of Fire

The Mount Baker summit welcomed Chris Davenport and his team on May 19, 2012, as they completed a 14-day expedition to ski 15 volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest.

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Spring Skiing on the North Face of Tour Ronde with Luca Rolli
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Luca Rolli skiing Tour Ronde

Recently, we found this video from Luca Rolli on Tour Ronde. With summer in full swing at the Backcountry Magazine HQ this video has us pricing plane tickets to France. Watch the video below and read excerpts from our interview with its creator, Luca Rolli.

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The Second Wind: A late-season photo gallery
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Skinning up in the backcountry of Vermont

This season was a weird one. I’m not sure my driveway was plowed more than twice, but 15 minutes from my Vermont home, there was plenty of snow in the Green Mountains. For much of the season, it just took some searching to find. That is until spring came. Late February brought an apocalyptic storm to Vermont—three feet in a weekend, six in a week—followed by a summer-like heat wave, then a whirlwind of travel from Switzerland to Oregon and back home.

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