Archive for November 2013

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Avalanche Control in the Backcountry

Avalanche Control in the Backcountry

  The Avalanche Program at Snowbird in the Early Days   Rumors of a new ski area to open in Utah began to spread throughout the skiing community in early 1970. Reportedly, the new resort would be called Snowbird, and it would be located just over the ridge from the iconic Alta ski resort in […]

Project Wanderlust- Backcountry Skiing Beyond the Sheep-Pen of the Wasatch

Project Wanderlust- Backcountry Skiing Beyond the Sheep-Pen of the Wasatch

  The ranger is waiting for us, he’s armed, and he’s pissed. My friends and I encounter him after finishing a day of ski touring on Antelope Island. A once-in-a-decade storm dumped three feet of snow in Salt Lake’s foothills and on the island’s highest point, Frary Peak, so we took advantage of the event […]

Picture This

Picture This

  More accurate storm forecasting begins with a single snowflake The study of snow is nothing new. Avalanche forecasters have been analyzing the intricate crystals for decades and modern atmospheric scientists have been tracking the frozen precipitation for just as long. But it’s a dynamic and temperamental medium that changes so quickly that even the […]

Whacky Wasatch Place Names

Whacky Wasatch Place Names

  Have you ever wondered why they call the steep headwall left of Baldy Chutes at Alta, “Perla’s?”  According to a story from Bengt Sandahl’s first day of avalanche control at Alta, then Forest Service snow ranger, Ron Perla, took a rather exciting ride there.  Ray Lindquist and Perla were on belay setting explosives on […]

A Cold Day in Hell

A Cold Day in Hell

  It was one of those picture-perfect days, with Utah’s Wasatch Mountains blanketed in the bottomless powder that had been falling steadily throughout the week. The skies were patchy blue with cold rays of February sun streaking through the openings in the clouds like stage lights. One of those days that make you exclaim, “It […]

Switchback- Should Drilling be Expanded in the San Rafael Swell?

Switchback- Should Drilling be Expanded in the San Rafael Swell?

Recently, the Bureau of Land Management announced plans to auction leases for 82 parcels for potential drill sites in the San Rafael Swell. The auction, scheduled for mid-November will offer leases covering approximately 79,000 acres, with the parcels between or adjacent to, existing drill sites in the regions northern perimeter. While many plugged and existing […]

Wasatch Front Country Boondoggle

Wasatch Front Country Boondoggle

The Foothilling Frenzy of January, 2013   Unlucky (year) # 13 may have begun with slim pickins’ for Utah backcountry skiers, but there was a sliver lining for adaptable Wasatch front-country skiers. Mired in a weather slump featuring cold, but moisture-starved, storms and persistent inversion, in the wake of the horrendous January of 2012, local […]

The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man

Salt Lake City, Utah September 2013   Chris Thomas stood awkwardly in the kitchen of his modest Sugarhouse home. “Okay,” he told me, “I’ll just do this in brackets.” He straightened his lean frame, turned his dark eyes and tilted his pronounced chin to the left. Moving his gaze toward me in small increments I snapped […]

Waxing Poetic and the Curse of Pre-Season Wet Dreams

Waxing Poetic and the Curse of Pre-Season Wet Dreams

I’m on the verge of a massive climax. Yea, I’m about to make a cliché, sexual innuendo about winter and more specifically, skiing, but the anticipation of the coming season feels eerily similar to sexual frustration, and therefore, cliché appropriate. Each fall, I get as jittery as a teenage boy beneath the sheets with his […]

A Utah Beer Drinking Odyssey

A Utah Beer Drinking Odyssey

  If Utah liquor laws are made up of one part religion, and one part regulation with a dash of public education, then Utah brewers are making beer made up of one part oppression, and one part rebellion with a dash of irony. The beer produced by Utah breweries ferments out of the constant flux […]

The Heart of Soul

The Heart of Soul

“You should check out our shop and see what we’ve got going on. I’m not sure if you know much about Soul Poles but we are a small startup geared towards making sexy products for soulful people,” read the email. It was from Bryon Friedman, sent to me last February, in the deep of winter. […]

Jones Creek, Utah: An Oasis in the Desert

Jones Creek, Utah: An Oasis in the Desert

Vernal, Utah A perennial stream in the desert is a blessing, and across the Colorado Plateau there’s nothing quite like Jones Creek on the Utah/Colorado state line in Dinosaur National Monument. To raft the Green or Yampa Rivers and to come out of the glare of canyon walls into the cool lush shaded banks of […]

Interview- Chris Davenport

Interview- Chris Davenport

How did you get into ski mountaineering? Ski mountaineering was something that was always inside me.  I grew up skiing Tuckerman Ravine, NH when I was really young with my Dad and went up there every spring, so I got exposed to it pretty early.  Plus I was a climber as a teenager and did […]

From Order Comes Chaos

From Order Comes Chaos

The start of any journey comes long before the physical departure. It begins with a ritual of planning, packing and organizing, making sure that you have the right supplies for the right environment. Then, compression straps are cinched, gear is sorted by activity and Tetris skills are mastered as you arrange each item to fit […]