Rafting is a fast-paced, adrenaline-boosting, and high-stakes activity. Unfortunately, much of the sport relies on the weather and season; while it’s possible to spend a winter day out on the river, most of us prefer to stay away from the icy mess. However, we’re the type of people who need consistent adventure and excitement, and we need the source of this to come from nature. When rafting isn’t available, what’s left? Backcountry skiing.
Backcountry skiing is our favorite off-season adventure. This sport allows for the same sense of escape, adventure, and off-trail intensity. Backcountry allows you to explore new parts of the wilderness, strengthen relationships, and develop problem-solving skills—something, almost inevitably, will go wrong. Even if you’re not into skiing, backcountry adventuring is an excellent alternative to rafting—whether you downhill ski, cross-country ski, climb, or hike, you’ll experience a similar feeling of exploration.
As with rafting, backcountry skiing has its share of risks and essential safety practices. The biggest threat to backcountry adventurers? Avalanches—and those don’t mess around. This is another carry-over from our love of rafting; you need to know the sport—really understand the nuances of its practice and safety strategies—to fully enjoy the experience. The felicitous combination of free-wheeling adventure and serious, studied safety technique is what we love best about backcountry skiing and rafting.
This type of skiing isn’t like regular downhill or XC. In most cases, you can’t walk into a ski resort and purchase a ticket. There are no online lift ticket discounts, no group deals, and, often, no lift to the top. The responsibility is yours alone, but what’s life without a bit of risk?