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Andrew Bisharat

Trad climbing requires a lot of gear. From cams to carabiners, nuts to nut tools, there are so many options out there that it’s hard to know where to even begin when you make the decision to build your first trad rack. There’s also the question of how much gear you actually need to get started—a decision that must balance everything from your own financial restraints to the common fear of not having enough gear to make it to the top of those first few trad leads. I’ll go over what you need to know about the gear and tips [...]

rory bosio

I’ve run dozens of ultra marathons, ranging from 30 to 100 miles. How many regular road marathons have I done? Zero. While having marathon experience is great for making the transition to ultras, it isn’t required. I did my first ultra on a whim and have been hooked to it ever since. For a lot of people, though, getting started is hard. Here are eight tips to help you take the leap: 1. Develop a Training Plan If you’re overwhelmed by the very idea of running 100 miles, let alone putting a training plan together, turn to the Internet. It [...]

rory bosio

The number one question I get as an ultra runner, besides “Where you go to the bathroom during a 100-mile race?” (in the woods, as nature intended—hopefully out of view, but not always), is “How can you run so many miles without getting injured?” People are usually skeptical when I tell them that I’ve never—knock on wood—had any major injuries and have perfectly functioning knees despite running up to 100 miles per week. I wish I had a pithy one-liner as a response to their doubts, but alas, I’m not clever enough to come up with anything. In reality, there [...]

Taylor Strand

In alpine racing you’re confined to a set course and judged on a timed basis. In pipe and slopestyle you’re also on a specific course and judged on set types of tricks on a macro scale. But freeskiing stands apart from these disciplines. The Subaru Freeride Series Freeskiing (or “extreme skiing”) emerged on the scene in the mid ’80s as a kind of cross between freestyle skiing and alpine racing, and it focused on creativity and style rather than all-out speed and control. Taking advantage of this new up-and-coming sport, Mountain Sports International and The Subaru Freeskiing World Tour emerged [...]

Catherine Greenwald

Day three of your ski trip finds you near-crippled with pain and exhaustion, barely able to strap on the boots and clomp up to the lift. And although your body is screaming for you to stop, you press on—it’s your big ski trip of the year, and you want to make the most of it. But skiing when you’re stiff and sore just isn’t as fun. Worse, it may lead to injury when you can’t react to uneven conditions underfoot or turn quickly enough to avoid that big spruce in a tight tree run, earning you a ride down the [...]

Joshua Barnes

You get one chance to get things started, and then it’s either a love-sprinkled snow romance or the most awkward lift ride of your life. See if you can tell which of these ski resort pick-up lines actually work. (Hint: pretty much none of them.) Nice Skis It’s a fine opener, but if you aren’t ready to follow up with something, I don’t know, interesting, you’re going to land on your face Soepic.pl — Wanna get a few turns in on my corduroy? Back to the bunny hill, buddy. Reactiongifs.com — Can I nose press your box? And they say [...]

Mountain Athlete

After six months of nonstop training, Rebecca Gerber headed to Crystal Mountain to compete in her very first Freeride World Qualifier competition. Here, she describes the comp, the conditions, and her unwelcome insomnia. Find out whether or not she made the cut. The butterflies in my stomach were boiling. There I was, standing in the starting gate on Northway, the Day 1 venue for the Crystal Mountain Freeride World Qualifier last Tuesday, and it was “go” time. “Rebecca Gerber,” yelled the starting official into his walkie talkie, “Three, Two, One … Dropping.” “Bec,” I whispered.  “You love skiing. Just ski.” [...]

Camille Barile

If you pitted a pack mule against a mountain lion in a race across a mountain pass, there’s no question who would win. So why would you choose to be the pack mule when you can be a mountain lion? When it comes to hefting a backpack during extended, multi-day treks over rugged terrain, cutting total weight to below 20 pounds for weekend excursions, and below 30 pounds for anything longer, brings a slew of benefits. A lightweight or ultralight load means fewer blisters, aches, and pains, and makes it possible to hike in lightweight trail running shoes rather than [...]

Bill Porreca

Silverton, CO is a small mining town nestled away in southwestern Colorado. Located in the San Juan Mountains, this town gets its fair share of snow to say the least. When the silver mining industry eventually slowed, in 2002 two visionary skiers decided to open up a ski area, not a resort—Jen and Aaron Brill put in one two-person lift to access some of the best snow and terrain the contiguous 48 states have to offer—and we all hope it stays like that. Contents Day 1: Getting Settled Day 2: Skiing Silverton Mountain Day 3: Touring Red Mountain Pass How [...]

Casey Glaubman

Ouray, like so many mountain towns, started out as a mining town. Though there’s still plenty of mining around, today Ouray is known more for the outdoor recreation it has to offer than the precious metals pulled from beneath. Anyone with a passion for the outdoors, from hiking to skiing, will find something to love about this place. In the winter however, this town is all about two things: ice climbing and soaking in hot springs. Ouray is home to one of, if not the largest, manmade ice climbing areas in North America. The park is owned and operated jointly by the [...]

Andrew Bisharat

The life of a sponsored climber is one to envy. Unlike other professional athletes who are beholden to such duties as playing for teams, meeting structured training regimens designed by coaches, and being evaluated by easily measurable and comparable performances from game to game and season to season, the sponsored climber floats along in an individualistic, relativistic vacuum. He answers to no one or nothing, least of all the alarm clock. He wakes up and wonders, “Which rocks in which forest wilderness shall I spend my day brushing?” Companies actually pay people to live like this, but it’s only one [...]

Allen Lim

The conventional wisdom regarding nutrition, if you’re a runner, is to eat a diet that is high in carbohydrate (≈ 60%) with the balance of your calories coming from protein (≈ 20%) and fat (≈ 20%). During an actual run, depending upon it’s length, intensity, and the environment, that advice generally shifts even more in favor of carbs, where we’re commonly told to stick to simple sugars in the form of gels, blocks, or a sports drink that also allows us to hydrate and replace valuable electrolytes lost in sweat when thirsty. But, as simple and perhaps conservative as these guidelines [...]

Backcountry Video

Five-time Olympian and World Cup champion Billy Demong’s currently kickin’ back in Sochi, presumably with a leopard cub on his lap and a coffee-table book of Putin photos in hand, as he waits for the chance to defend his Nordic Combined gold. Before he headed off to the Black Sea, he stopped by the Utah Olympic Park to offer up some pointers on how to improve skate-skiing form. It’s not every day that you get tips from an Olympian, so pay careful attention and you’ll become a rocket-powered racer before Billy’s back in the USA with his next haul of precious medals. [...]

Jeff Stewart

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the adjective form of “fat” is defined as “(of a person or animal) having a large amount of excess flesh”—not quite a fitting description for a bike. In my experience, referring to something as “fat” has always been less than flattering, even if the “f” is dropped in favor of a “ph” for a positive affirmation. However, I’ve never been a fan of pigeonholing, either, which is what the term “snow bike” truly does. The Borealis Yampa is far more than that, and as my time with the Yampa has proved, powder conditions are [...]

Adam Riser

Even those of us with easy access to quality boulders and crags often find ourselves wanting. Sometime weather shuts us down, and sometimes we just want to train in a more structured way than we typically can on granite or limestone. Even if you have a climbing gym nearby, nothing beats a home climbing wall when it comes to getting strong. No crowds, no kids’ birthday parties, no membership fees—just you and the woody and a desire to be bone-crushingly strong when spring hits. You can build a woody just about anywhere. Back in the day I built a free-standing [...]

Bill Porreca

Every year, January creates anticipation for next year’s latest and greatest gear. The Outdoor Retailer show is one of my favorite events, because I can get my hands on all the new toys. This year was all about carbon and lightweight backcountry ski and snowboard setups. La Sportiva Vapor Nano Durable lightweight skis are just starting to show up on the market. Previously, the ski industry could do either lightweight or durable, but now we’re seeing more and more skis that will withstand daily punishment without punishing your legs. Meet the Vapor Nano from La Sportiva. I first looked at [...]

Molly Baker

Have you ever jumped on a chairlift with a stranger who changed your day? Someone who wasn’t your age and didn’t like to ski where you do, but made you stoked and smiley because they just love moving over snow? We’ve met so many of these people during the 16,000 miles that we’ve traveled with the tiny house. From folks who could be our grandparents to kids who looked at us as “old,” the people of winter have time and time again reminded us why skiing is so powerful. Alta, Jackson, Whitewater, Myoko, Steven’s Pass, Sun Valley, Valle Nevado, Bachelor, [...]

Lexi Dowdall

Backcountry.com’s online community encompasses passionate wanderers, adventurers, Gearheads, athletes … and dogs. Get the rundown on the raddest happenings within the Backcountry.com community in You Are Backcountry, your connection to the best reviews, product photos, and videos created by the savviest outdoor experts around. In this installment we celebrate outstanding canine community members. Grab a bone and revel in the adventures of the dogs of Backcountry. If you think your pup is worthy, learn how to submit your pooch for consideration below. Community MVP Brandon Riza probably owns the most photogenic canines you’ll ever lay eyes on. Brandon equips his [...]

Bruce Edgerly

Are multiple fatalities in avalanche accidents becoming more common? And should this influence your decision when you’re buying snow safety equipment? Let’s look at the statistics, the gear, and the realities around multiple burials. “Five killed in Loveland Pass avalanche.” “Three die in out-of-bounds snowslide near Stevens Pass.” “Seven perish in guided trip near Revelstoke, BC.” Attention-grabbing headlines like these can lead people to think that multiple fatalities are happening at a higher rate. However, statistics indicate that multiple burials have actually decreased over the past decade. And they also indicate that you’re much better off using your brain than [...]

Backcountry Video

Fancy yourself a backcountry legend? The Sultan of the Skin Track? The Poobah of Powder? Maybe, but all your carefully edited headcam videos and skin-ripping glamour shots will be consigned to the junkyard of broken dreams if you end up as the latest avalanche statistic. Staying safe’s the raddest thing you’ll do this winter—learn how to properly dig a pit and analyze the snowpack, and you’re way more likely to make it home still able to brag about what you just sent. To get your snow safety career started, we caught up with the Utah Avalanche Center’s Bruce Tremper for [...]

Allen Lim

Skratch Labs’ Dr. Allen Lim has some pretty radical thoughts when it comes to nutrition for athletes. Among them are eating food that tastes good and putting your body’s feedback above the latest articles in nutrition journals—not to downplay his devotion to research or his extensive credentials. The Feed Zone Cookbook, written by Dr. Lim and Chef Biju Thomas, is packed with 150 simple, delicious, athlete-friendly recipes that provide excellent fuel for endurance workouts. The book includes breakfasts, portable snacks, post-run-or-ride dishes, dinners, desserts, and recovery drinks. Below are four favorites (and if you love these recipes, you’ll love the new [...]

Mountain Athlete

For the past six months, Rebecca Gerber has been training nonstop for her first Freeride World Qualifier competition. Here, she describes her initiation into the Jackson big-mountain-skiing scene and the tough road she’s traveled on her way to achieving competitor status. I’m so friggin’ nervous. Actually, I’m freaking out. But damn, I’m so excited, too. It’s Friday, January 31st, and I’m four days out from my first Freeride World Qualifier event at Crystal Mountain, Washington. I grew up in Maine and ski raced throughout high school, but was never anything special at the gates. I moved to Jackson in 2011 to [...]

Bruce Edgerly

Riding out of bounds, “sidecountry,” and “slackcountry” have all become more popular in recent years, and some skiers and riders make the mistake of thinking these areas are safer than the backcountry. They aren’t. The quote from legendary ski film, “The Blizzard of Aaahs,” was right on when it was released in 1988. “Liability laws had driven us from the United States—land of the lawyer, home of the insurance company—to France. Here, the concept of recovering money for ski injuries is laughed at.” However, times have changed in America. In fact, you could argue that nowadays ski area boundaries in [...]

Andrew Scarcella

In the mountains, if you don’t know a deadman, you are one. Snow anchors are an essential skill for any budding mountaineer, and the deadman is the bread and butter. Whether you’re roped up and traveling on a glacier, climbing a peak, or caught cliffed-out in the backcountry, a snow anchor can be the difference between a seriously bad day and a seriously good story. Think you already know everything about snow anchors? Stick around. It never hurts to go over the basics. Almost laughably simple, the deadman is a versatile and, when done right, incredibly secure snow anchor. Classically [...]