|How I got started skiing year-round: I remember reading an article in a no-longer published magazine called "Free Snow" about an informal 12-months per year ski club. I thought why not. So, one early November in 1993, I headed up to Paradise to begin an endless season of skiing.|
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip: My bare minimum has always been at least 10 linked turns, the minimum criteria stated in the article of "Free Snow". Only one trip came close to this minimum. Usually a 1000ft. day in the late summer is an easy minimum to surpass.
Biggest threat to my streak: Fishing in 1996 from August 4th through September 29th. The next day around noon I woke up to drive up to Muir. I started hiking and reached snow just as the sun went down and the fog rolled in. My 20+ consecutive turns were snow plow turns in a white-out. Other threats: tagging along with Silas down to South America for skiing, stepping on rusty nails in early October, and braking an elbow while snowboarding, and climbing volcanoes in Mexico.
Type of equipment I use: I first started backcountry skiing by carrying my alpine gear. Then I bought a pair of Secura-Fixes and skins to convert my alpine gear to lightweight tour gear. It wasn't until I had graduated from college ('97) and started working that I could buy AT gear. I had some 404's mounted on a pair of the "Red Sled" Atomic Arc 200s. Way too long and heavy for summer slush. I'm now skiing the $20 Gart sport specials, the Swallow Neon (a great light-weight and cheap cap ski) with the same old 404s.
Strategy for skiing through the low season: Hike until I find snow. Glaciers, by definition, have year-round snow.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips: Worst: I've had only two or three truly awful ski outings. The first was the biggest threat (mentioned above). The worst was October 1999. I had tried early that day to ski somewhere else and got my car stuck. After excavating it, I turned to the Baker ski area. By the time I reached the parking lot, it was raining with the wind blowing sideways. The 2-3 feet of new snow on top of the previous year's snowpack was now nothing but sloppy mush. With a "what else am I going to do on a rainy day" attitude, I emerged from my car to face the inevitable awfulness.
Best: For winter time powder, nothing beats the Dec 2001 trip up to Cerise Creek in B.C. Our group of four had four days of endless powder runs with not another party in sight. Runner's Up: Fuhrer Finger (May 97), NF Shuksan (Apr 99), and SE face of Little Tahoma (Jul 01), Denali (99) - all are memorable for their excellent snow conditions and the nice continous slopes - all were with Sam Avaiusini coincidentally.