Tag Archives: Ski Touring

Skiing Sympathies

Living in Little Cottonwood Canyon during the winter, I’m lucky to be able to enjoy backcountry skiing in both wilderness and watershed areas, zones that are free (read – prohibited) of snow-machine travel.  If you’re reading this, most likely you’re a skier or snowboarder, and even if you use an old beat-up sled to get deep into the mountains, once you’re there you probably trade it for skins and slog your way up the mountainside to earn your face shots.  Backcountry skiing is about solitude and isolation, a dance with the wilderness.  When not used correctly, snow-machines can create a noisy, hectic, and often dangerous atmosphere.  If you value you value the solitude and serenity of a quiet mountain range dressed in white, then you should know this: on June 18th, the Forest Service issued a long-awaited rule for public comment on designating areas as open or closed to winter motorized vehicles, this is a good first step, but comments from our backcountry community can make it stronger! Your help is both needed and essential to capitalize on this opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry.  By designating specific trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use may occur, winter travel planning is an opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry.  The community of backcountry skiers needs to be heard!  Please consider adding your comment to the voices of support for human-powered winter recreation.  To get a better grasp of the issues at hand, and help you draft a comment worthy of consideration, the Winter Wildlands Alliance has put together a very helpful page to aid you in navigating this beurocratic issue.  Keep reading to see a few links that can help you along, as well as my annotated comment if you’re interested.  LET’S DO THIS!!!

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Lessons Learned

We each want to progress, to learn and improve.  Each generation is not only lucky enough to build upon the efforts of those before us, but we too act, practice and refine our thoughts, our crafts, and our lives to be more in line with an evolving world view.  As climbers and adventurers we strike off, in an effort to learn more about life by experiencing it in extremes.  As we scratch the surface, the experiences call us back again and again, and soon we become more proficient and comfortable with the logistics, trouble, and physical hardship that often go along with these trips.  We learn from friends and relatives, books and movies, and of course our own personal adventures.  Certain disciplines call us, whether it be bouldering or alpine climbing, creek-boating or surfing, as the specialists we are we devour this lifestyle completely, striving to understand every angle and aspect of it’s execution.  Along the way we come to understand more about ourselves and the world, and subsequently the relationship between each.

This concept of bicycle-powered adventure is not new, and there are seemingly more and more resources appearing every day on it’s subject.  While I do not claim much experience from my limited adventures, from the meager amount I’ve learned along the way, I do wish to add my voice to the chorus of encouragement.  Truth is this is all still so new to me, and although we’ve been living the bicycle-life for about two and a half years, I constantly find myself exploring new aspects that keep it fresh, challenging, and exciting.  This was the first trip I’ve ever done that involved skis, only the second that involved snow, and the first that involved multiple stages of shipping gear.  In an effort to clear away some of the confusion, and help with the logistics of your own ride, I wanted to share as much of this knowledge as I can, in hopes that you’ll be able to take it one step farther, while doing it easier.  While in no way comprehensive, chronological, or even ordered, what’s below is one part trip report, one part advice, and three parts rambling rhetoric, enjoy.

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The Sawtooth Scenic Byway

I’ve been sitting here for too long already.  I want to tell you the story, but this one’s not easy, and more to the point, it’s not yet over.  The adventure continues to expand, and exceed all expectations. No words are doing justice to the feelings we’ve had, it seems I’ll have to let the photo’s do the talking this time.  What is the message?  It is not about the no-car, it is not about the bike.  It isn’t even about the mountains or the adventure, although that’s getting closer to the source.  You can live any way you choose: dream big, do good, be kind.  Do Epic Shit.  Live with passion and be the force for positive change.  Create the world, the reality you want to inhabit. Live your Dreams.

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(Another) Case for Place

Winters, for me, have always been a practice in hibernation.  Not in the most literal sense, and I haven’t always seen things this way, but as my time here continues to unfold and my views and values continue to evolve, it’s easy to see how the seasons affect many changes in my life.  My food, sleep, work, my mobility, my drive, and so much more, all are grounded and shaped by the colder months, where and how I spend them.  This year marks the ninth winter season I’ve come to Alta, Utah.  Each of these seasons has seen progression, regression, evolution and expansion.  I’ve loved, learned, limped, and continued to move forward.  While I’ve never had a vehicle with me for any of my winters here, it’s only been since 2008 that I haven’t owned a car year round, and only in the last two years that I’ve truly embraced the bike.  This season makes the second winter of Nature of Motion, and it’s interesting to see the hint of a pattern here.  Winter is truly a time for introversion, a time for reflection and renewal.  As I look back, look forward, and look inward, I continue to notice new things, re-connect with the familiar, and find my creative spark to progress.  It’s easy to look to the side of the screen and see the pattern, the abundance of posts and activity in the summer months, and the scarcity in the winter.  Granted, there’s been a lot more than just my change in transportation in these last few years, but I think that reflects a lot of what goes on behind the scenes.  Recently, I’ve been thinking and journaling a lot about this topic, this sort of seasonality and localism that plays on my life each winter.  March is usually when I start to wake up and dig myself out from the haze of the winter, it’s also the month of my birth, so it’s a pretty appropriate time to be reflecting inward on my progress and position.  A little over a year ago I wrote a piece on this subject entitled A Case for Place. Here now with a year gone by and I find myself in the same place, thinking along the same lines.  But what do I have to add?  What have I learned or how have a grown?  I find it helpful to look back first, to gain some of this perspective of time and place, so before I spewed out all the nonsense below I took a minute to read the original piece, if you’ve got a minute, and think it’d help you too, check it out here. Enjoy.

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Unexpected Surprises

Borrowed from The Skier Boyz

You don’t always head out the door expecting greatness.  Sometimes you’re not that inspired, your motivation level is low and you just can’t seem to get stoked.  A long night of drinking, lots of crowds, gray-skull and no new snow, maybe you’re tired and just want to chill.  But some one or some thing gets you out there, gets you going, and you find a spark.  The rhythm of the skin track lets your mind wander, a hole in the clouds burns through and a sunlit ridgeline beckons.  You make it to a summit, the snow is softer then you thought, you’re with a friend you love, and you can’t think of anything better in the world.

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