|How I got started skiing year-round: Must have been the Spring of 1996 when I met a guy hiking out to the Throne at Crystal on closing day. I was bemoaning the end of the ski season and he told me that the season was just beginning! I started by hiking Muir and Adams with full downhill gear, then progressed to renting a couple of times and finally bought my own setup.|
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip: All forms of skiing count for me, but if I'm touring I have to get 1,000 VF of actual turns to count. I've also lift skied Timberline and Blackcomb Glacier in July and August.
Biggest threat to my streak: A couple of worthless skis in September or October have me questioning my sanity! In those cases I just tell myself it's good exercise if nothing else, and hope for snow soon.
Type of equipment I use: Rando all the way. Right now I'm on K2 Shuksans with Dyna Fit bindings and Garmont Mega Ride boots. This has been the best combination of weight, comfort and performance I've found to date. I demo-ed a pair of carbon fibre Goodes last season and their (lack of) weight is certainly intriguing.
Strategy for skiing through the low season: Pick your day! I've gradually got smarter with advancing age and make it a priority to find the best days in September and October. Usually this means the first day after a new snowfall with OK visibility, but I also have many whiteouts to my credit! In recent years early August has been fine, and I've found new snow on Muir at least once during September. I've tried the Flett and Fryingpan in late season, but it's tough to beat the 5,400' start at Paradise!
Worst and best backcountry ski trips: No question - worst by far (and almost the end of the streak) was one October. I waited to the end of the month hoping for snow (didn't happen). I tried the FryingPan, but after a gripping scramble up verglassed rocks to the toe of the glacier I found it too icy to climb with aluminum crampons. By now it was late Sunday, so I had to retreat and take a day off work on Tuesday to hike the Muir snowfield. After a heinous ski over water ice moguls, frozen gravel and runnels with several pre-releases I finally got my 1,000' in the bank! Many great days, but no one "best" - Selkirk powder, 2 skis off Rainier summit, multiple great corn days on Hood, Adams and Sisters. As a transplanted Brit I'll never get over the novelty of moving from winter to summer in a few hours on the volcanoes.
Skiing activities in the past year: Excellent downhill season in Washington, BC and Colorado, early winter tours around Alpental (Red Mountain, Slot Couloir etc). Guided trips - Selkirks hut trip, Forbidden Tour, Shuksan climb via White Salmon. Spring tours on Hood, Adams SW chutes, Rainier via Fuhrer Finger, Oregon Sisters - good times with great friends!