Thanks for visiting hikeforpow.com. My name is Mike and I freaking love backcountry skiing (and regular old downhill skiing too!). Seriously. It’s the best. Getting out into the mountains is how I recharge my brain after being in the city for too long. Let me tell you how I got into it…
In the Beginning
I’ve skied alpine since I was 3 years old, spent a few years racing, and eventually made my way out West and got into big mountain skiing. My first experience backcountry skiing was around 10 years ago and was far from glamorous. A good friend of mine had been touring for a few years, and I decided to visit him so he could take me out and show me the ropes. He was fully set up with skins and touring bindings, but I had standard alpine gear. Heavy boots, heavy bindings, no skins. The plan was that I would boot pack while he skinned (boot packing is just hiking in ski boots).
Luckily the place he chose sort of had a boot pack trail already set, so I wasn’t up to my thighs in powder, but oh my. Did I ever get sweaty. Seriously, it was intense, and I was in pretty good shape at the time. After about an hour of slogging my way up the mountain with skis over my shoulder (I didn’t even have a good pack that I could strap my skis onto), I reached the summit. It wasn’t even a true summit, but that’s as high as I was going. My buddy had been waiting patiently and encouraging me, but he was also laughing a bit at the same time. I was spent.
After I regained some energy we did a couple of practice beacon searches. I fared…okay. Luckily the avalanche forecast said it was a very stable day, so he wasn’t too worried about my rookie beacon operator status (in hindsight, we should have been better prepared…don’t do as I did).
Then the magic happened. We strapped our skis on and skied some steep, powdery trees and I’ve been hooked ever since. The next winter we went back to the same area, but this time I had skins and touring bindings. I still struggled my first time skinning, but it was so much better on the way up. That day we did 2 or 3 laps and if I wasn’t hooked before, I definitely was at this point.
I’m using this site as a way to share the knowledge I’ve picked up with the world. I love gear – reading about the latest and greatest, trying new gear, modifying something to make it better, everything like that, so writing about gear is second nature to me. Hopefully I’ll get a few of you hooked on the backcountry and help keep all of you safe on your adventures.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for topics to cover in future posts, head over to the contact page and send me a message. I’ll respond as soon as I can!
Be safe out there,