backTurns All Year year-round skiing                

Year-round skier:  Andrew Carey

How I got started skiing year-round:  I started skiing after I saw a slide show by an Oregon biologist who was using skis to survey for great gray owls in the open Ponderosa pine woodlands of the Blue Mountains. The sense of solitude and beauty the photographs portrayed of lone ski tracks in freshly fallen snow under a clear moon-lit sky was compelling. I bought a used pair of Karhu XCD GTs and Asolo Snowfield boots and started backcountry skiing. Early on, I thought bc skiing was primarily a late winter-early spring sport. But skiing was what, in part, brought Regine and I together. She was a better skier than me and soon I was forced to get better at cross-country downhill (by any means). Her friends were experienced telemarkers. My first trip with the group down the Nisqually Glaciers (3,000 vf of continous falls for me) convinced me I needed 'real' telemark gear. Telemarking moved from a frustration to a passion. Then, 5 years ago we had some early snow at Mt. Rainier and I headed out to ski. Skiing became, at a minimum, a weekly pursuit that continued year round until last November, when we took a 6-week trip to Mexico and Belize. We took our skis in hope of getting some turns on Pico de Orizaba outside Mexico City but, alas, our timing was impropritious. The streak was momentarily broken but in my mind and spirit continues as 60 (-1) months.
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip:  My criteria are 1) backcountry, 2) >1 mile hike or ski in, 3) >1 mile horizontal skiing and >500 vf elevation gain/loss (not really anal here--just that it has to be more than a hop off the road, it has to be backcountry).
Type of equipment I use:  Boots: brown T-3s, black T-3s, Blue T-2s; mostly black T-3s. Skis: Tua Excalibur Classics (summer), Plus (deep winter), and Mito (rest). Also Karhu Catamounts with the brown t-3s. Bindings: 3-pin/chili cable/superloops/hammerheads Poles: life-link adjustable with self arrrest grip. Transceiver: Ortovox F-1 Focus. Shovel: old aluminum chounard. Skins: G-3 and Ascension synthetic; wax too. Pack: Dana bomb pack winter, Arc'teryx Khamski summer, Dana terraplane overnight. Other: BD sabretooth crampons, Rainey ski crampons, E-trex summit GPS, Suunto altimeter/compass/watch, + regular compass too.
Strategy for skiing through the low season:  Mount Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips:  Worst: 1st trip down the Nisqually Glacier, falling every turn in the breakable crust for 3,000 vf.
  Best: Skiing down the Nisqually Glacier from Muir snowfields with my wife, stepson, and his friend in deep new light powder all the way to Nisqually Bridge (~5,000 vf?). Second best: skiing from Silver Peak in North Cascades out to the hwy just plowed that day (March 21st, nice powder) with Regine, Steve Barnett, et al. after being dropped off by North Cascades heliski. And many, many others.
Skiing activities in the past year:  My quiver is Karhu Pavos, Tua Excalibur Plus, Tua Mito, Tua Sumo; boots Karhu Sirius, Scarpa brown t-3s, black t-3s, 3-buckle t-2s. Not much else has changed except I might get some BIG skis this year (Black Diamond Crossbows).


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