|How I got started skiing year-round: My friend and ski partner Ron Jarvis convinced me that backcountry skiing with Randonee ski equipment would be a great sport, no more walking down the snowfields, solitude in the mountains, wondrous adventures, and skiing all year. Some of which would turn out to be the best spring conditions and summer corn snow ever. That was 7 years ago. Mt. St. Helen was the first big trip with rented Randonee equipment, beautiful weather, a successful summit, and velvety corn skiing, a regular trip in between, and then an early May, Mt. Hood trip, with another successful summit and unbelievable skiing from the Hogsback to the Timberline Lodge. I was hooked, and also convinced that the weather and skiing would always be perfect, ran right out and purchased all the gear, which worked out well since some the rental fee applied to the purchase. I learned very quickly that first year, the weather is not always perfect, and the snow can be very challenging at times. For me, backcountry skiing has become an addiction of the best kind and worth the extra effort and challenge of finding the "perfect" late summer ski run.|
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip: I don't hold myself to a strict criteria as "what counts". I'm a backcountry skier that believes in safety first, shovels, beacons, emergency bivy equip, and "avi" awareness. I will count lift assisted off piste in addition to the true BC earned turns. Vertical feet quotas aren't a neccessity for me since my outings are all day adventures, which can lead to several thousand vertical feet or just a few hundred feet, depending on weather and snow conditions. Great exercise, the camaraderie of fellow skiers, and earned turns is considered a great ski trip in my book.
Biggest threat to my streak: Biggest threat is low snow pack, and surgeries. It's all about timing, being is shape and healing quickly!
Type of equipment I use: My first BC equip was a set of 170cm Volki skis with Silveretta 404 bindings and Dachstein DC Tour boots. Now I'm skiing on 163cm K2 Flight X skis with Fritschi Diamier bindings and Dynafit AT Tourlite boots, Ascension skins custom cut to fit.
Strategy for skiing through the low season: Paying special attention to the winter snow pack. Taking advantage of skiing some of the same areas more than once as the season starts to melt out being aware of those north facing shaded areas that could hold up for "the save". Comfortable lightweight hiking boots for the trip in and out for those long carries. Patience, and prayers to the "Snow Gods" for an early season.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips: The worst was a three day trip to Glacier Peak. Heavy loads, long approach, and terrible wet weather with no skiing.
The best :-) Mt. Adams. Hit it just right in June a couple of years ago with new snow from the lunch counter to the summit. Clear skies, no wind, 8-10 inches of fresh powder snow and unbelievable skiing right off the top, that bellowing frozen smoke condition, turn, after turn, after turn!