Why do we do this? Why do we go to such great lengths to snap ourselves to equipment that helps us to creep our way up a grade that produces access to such a different alpine experience?
Perhaps it’s a reaction to a need for more solitude and thought, or a renewed connection to the trees. Maybe it’s the rocks, or the weather that draws you. It might be just to feel your heart beat, or just how full your lungs can be.
Maybe, for whatever reason, you’re squaring off to the rising costs of lift tickets in the world of resort skiing. A recent change in your life may have pointed you to the backcountry. It might be your only option to gratify your need to engage with the snow that has become an important part of your way of life.
Many of us ski on-piste (at the area) to experience the dance of the turn. We love to feel the way the ground moves beneath our skis and the way our bodies move to accommodate it. Some of us learned to ski on 300 feet of vertical drop, so we tried to get in as many turns as we could. With backcountry skiing, the number of turns goes down and the number of views and experiences goes way up.
The backcountry experience can be many different things for many different people. It might be a way to share the mountains with a group of friends at a much slower hike-like pace. It might be a way to get away from the bustle of a ski area, yet still experience the adrenaline that cold, crystalline snow can bring. Sometimes it’s the perfect blend of fitness and fun.