backTurns All Year year-round skiing                

Year-round skier:  Rick Knowles


How I got started skiing year-round:  I had skied (Nordic and Alpine) on and off since early 70's, Alpine raced in High School (Minnesota), XC Raced in College (S. Dakota). Skiing is a physical education class in Minnesota- Nordic and Alpine- it's all fun- started at school in WWII Army surplus with Mo-Hair strips. Been Bicycling year round for a bunch of years after moving to Seattle. Got tired of long winter rides- partners not showing up- pretty much hating winter.
   A buddy I XC skied and snowboarded with was talking about Alpine Touring, down in Alpine mode and up in Nordic mode- hum interesting. Another buddy was interested too so we rented- skis too long, boots too clunky; but we had fun- fresh snow in November 2002- actually too deep for us. We went shopping the next day- were hooked.
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip:  I started with high aspirations of what a ski trip was; but after the season/summer of 2005 the rules disappeared. I only count a ski trip if I earned the turns and sometimes it might only be 500 foot vert- especially if it is a couple or more hours approach.
Biggest threat to my streak:  The biggest threat would be getting hurt. My soon to be wife tweaked her knee- so her streak was in jeopardy (started in Nov 2005). We got married and I get to train harder- her knee bothers her (at least that is her story)- so I carry her skis on the approaches, it works.
Type of equipment I use:  From my bicycling background I understood the weight penalties equipment carries. As my touring partners can testify- I have light equipment- AT all the way. So even an extra pair of skis isn't too heavy.
Strategy for skiing through the low season:  I actually enjoy the summer skiing. It's not as much about the turns, it's about hiking with friends, taking a break, eat something and then the desert is the turns. Sometimes pretty miserable, always an adventure.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips:  The worst trip was early on, read Avalanche books and figured I knew it all out. Very High Av Danger Conditions, going for a easy tour- solo. White out conditions, doing a route I thought was safe, going through a tight spot quick and stepped on some firm snow and saw it crack and keep propagating into the white out, stepped back gingerly- was freaking out. Back tracked, trying to get home, stepped on another crack- the cornice separated I fell back, was more freaked out, got home and signed up for a Av 1 class -best investment a person can make.
   The best backcountry skiing trip, had several great trips, lately trips with my wife (really). She's new to skiing, started and hasn't stopped. So every time is still special for her and we both smile to whole trip- great company. A bonus, new wife, new skier, and needs equipment- so some upgrades!
Skiing activities in the past year:  The last year has allowed trips to new places and many of the old standby's. Traveled to Europe for the Haute Route, spanked by weather, got sick- skied other places, great guide and small group made it easy to change plans. Skied the PNW Volcano's- always's fun with friends and family.