Skiing up the south
side of Ralston Peak
is no substitute for getting out in the backcountry
when it is snowed over. The landscape takes on
a completely different look, the cold scares away
most weekend warriors, and the blanket of snow makes
everything quieter and more peaceful.
backcountry can be a very dangerous place in winter.
Check weather and
avalanche conditions before you go, and learn how to spot
and identify terrain prone to slides. Carry avalanche
gear and understand how to use it. Know your
route and carry maps and orienteering tools -- including
compass and, if you are a gear freak, a GPS receiver -- and
know how to use them. The routes described on this
site are informational only, and our descriptions do not
substitute for your own research and common
One more basic tip:
even if you are a backcountry guru, don't ski alone.
If you break your leg or fall head first into a tree well
and can't move, all of your warm clothes and fancy gear
won't help get your ass out of the backcountry, but a friend
will. That said, skiing alone in the backcountry can provide a level of solitude that is unmatched anywhere. If you
do so, understand your abilities and limits, and accept the risks.
If you are a novice,
learn by going into the backcountry with more
experienced skiers, or educate yourself through
the many winter survival/mountaineering courses offered in