Jan 262016
 

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

The foothills to an amazing mountain range end about 300 yards from my back door. I’ve been exploring this range for years and just last weekend was able to spend time in a drainage I had never been in before…on skis. On our ascent up to treeline where we spent the night, a storm was finishing off about 4 inches of new snow which had fallen on top of an already soft powdery base. Waking up the second day, we found the storm breaking up with clouds and snow squalls passing through like long interval waves. The high peaks were showing signs of snow instability: slab slides, sluff slides, depth hoar in the pits; we didn’t push our luck and stayed at treeline skiing among the white bark pines. Here are a few images from the trip…

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

Backcountry skiing in Idaho

Dec 212015
 

Skiing and Landscape photography in Idaho

This December Idaho has been on the receiving end of Old Man Winter’s kindness. Multiple feet of beautiful snow has fallen making for a winter wonderland. While the white coat looks good on our mountains, a danger has been lurking underneath-an unstable layer of snow keen to trigger avalanches. With that said, if you are willing to be cautious and knowledgeable about the snowpack, there are still areas and slopes to ski. Matt Leidecker and I headed out into the mountains north of Ketchum, Idaho, just last week and enjoyed a few runs of amazing powder! I hope you all are getting your fair share of freshies too!

Skiing and Landscape photography in Idaho

Skiing and Landscape photography in Idaho

Skiing and Landscape photography in Idaho

Skiing and Landscape photography in Idaho

Apr 182015
 

Spring Skiing in Idaho

The juxtaposition between the comfort of the office environment from which I type this post vs that of the alpine couloir I was in just 30 hours ago is, in simple terms, strange. Yesterday, my body and mind traveled from a precipitous 50 degree ski run to the comfort of my home in a few hours. It makes me think that perhaps the alpinists of old had it better than me and my contemporaries in that both the ascent and descent from civilization took longer, and thus, an easier time for their brains to adjust; they enjoyed more time spent in the mountains. Now, these quick trips into the backcountry feel like the extreme version of a ying-yang circle of existence, polar opposites that somehow placate one-another. Obviously, I’d take more time spent in wilderness, but I won’t complain about time I’ve enjoyed therein.

This past week I had the great fortune to find time to ski with good friends in the mountains of Idaho on two different outings. On both occasions, we were able to enjoy nights spent on the ground and days in the open (to paraphrase Doug Robinson). The weather contradicted itself wonderfully in that we traveled through snow squalls, enjoyed blue bird skies so calm lakes became mirrors, heard Sand Hill Cranes echo their mating calls from marshes into a myriad of canyons, and found silence unlike any other. The snow was good, if not great, and the camaraderie unparallelled.

Here a few images from these adventures….

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Spring Skiing in Idaho

Jan 262015
 

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Curiosity and intimacy are two words that help explain my love of mountains. I remember back in the mid-90′s when I climbed Hyalite Peak, Montana, and at the summit just loving the quenching feeling for the curiosity I had for the knowledge that told me what was on the other side. As exhausted as I may get on some of these climbs, learning the way the peaks and their canyons, rivers, and ridges all interconnect makes for a deep level of intimacy that I have not yet tired of.

Backcountry skiing is truly a vehicle that stokes this passion. Yesterday, Chris, Russel, and I enjoyed a tour that linked up a long section of ridge and got me back into a section of the Smoky (no e here in Idaho) mountains with views I had not seen before. As always, having seen this new terrain-I’m curious to learn what lays even further back!

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

Ski Tour in Idaho.

May 202014
 

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Just on the other side of most any high alpine peak or ridge lie the strikingly beautiful shafts of snow which are isolated by rock walls and are better known as couloirs. In french, it means “passage” or “corridor,” and in terms of ski mountaineering, it means a portal into the ephemeral world of steep and exciting turns. There is a little cirque up north that offers a half dozen or so little couloirs that are fun to get into. Matt Sylvester and I went up for some of these tasty turns one stormy day late this Spring.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Feb 012014
 

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

A dream came true the other day–I was able to take my oldest kiddo, Kaia (9 years old), out on her first backcountry ski tour! We went up to Galena Pass and skinned up a few hundred vert to the top of a mellow slope, dug down to the ground (a whoping 1.5′ of snow) for some snow analysis, and then enjoyed our first turns together as backcountry partners!

We had a blast and Kaia, on her own, mentioned how she enjoyed the quiet and the spectacular views. Since this trip, she’s been begging to get out again!

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.