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Mitch Potter

Mt. Yotei is easily recognizable on a clear day from almost anywhere on Japan’s northern island. This perfectly symmetrical volcano is an iconic landmark that is too noticeable, and too difficult, to ignore. With over 6000 feet of vertical, it can take anywhere from three to eight hours to ascend. Although this wasn’t my first ascent, it was my first trip taking clients up Yotei as a ski guide. It was a sunny January day, and it had just snowed a few feet, which is pretty typical of Hokkaido. It was to be one of the rare two or three [...]

Beth Lopez

Your puffy spares you the shivers on long chairlift rides, it offers a cozy embrace when you’re belaying a long pitch, and it lets you enjoy evening stargazing on alpine backpacking trips. And what do you do for it in return? Cram it into a stuff sack. Not cool. Without proper care, an underappreciated puffy will start to lose its loft, which compromises its insulation and makes it look lumpy. (It will also develop a lingering aroma reminiscent of, well, you at your mankiest.) Consider these tips for keeping your high-quality down jackets—and those filled with synthetic insulation, as well—in [...]

Brandon Collett

Instead of spending too much cash and allowing some greasy shop tech to run his paws all over your beloved snowboard, take control of your destiny and give your shred stick a first rate tune in the comfort of your own home. Dedicated rider and Backcountry buyer Brandon Collett shows you how in this eight part video series. Part 1: Edge Sharpening and Maintenance Part 2: Detuning Contact Points Part 3: P-Tex Repairs Part 4: Clean the Base Part 5: The Final Wax Part 6: Brushing and Polishing Part 7: Summer Storage Part 8: Tools of the Trade Part 1: Edge-Sharpening [...]

Beth Lopez

You’re a backcountry-touring enthusiast. And after a long autumn of training hikes and some hearty early-season tours, you figure you’re in rock-solid shape. This list includes five of the best tours on which to find out you’re not in as excellent shape as you thought. However, each tour offers views so jaw-droppingly gorgeous, you really won’t mind taking frequent breaks to catch your breath. So clear out your camera’s memory card and load your gear, extra layers, and high-calorie delights in your pack. Then, set your alarm for sunrise. It’s gonna be a long one. Above Photo By: Tommy Chandler And [...]

Ryan Schoeck

Getting into your boots is truly a necessary evil, but one that can be lessened if you follow a few simple steps. I worked as a bootfitter for more than a decade and witnessed every imaginable way people try to stuff their feet in and lock down. Above Photo: Backcountry Athlete Jenn Berg getting ready at Snowbird, UT Shot By: Re Wikstrom Show me one person who looks forward to pulling on alpine ski boots. I’m not talking about performing this act inside a heated ski shop or next to the roaring fire in the lobby of that fancy country-club-ish [...]

Ryan Schoeck

In general, bike racing is a pretty foreign subject to many people on this side of the pond. It’s fairly safe to say that outside of le Tour, the yellow jersey, and “Big Tex” Armstrong himself, the wide and wonderful world of two-wheeled pedal competition is not well known or understood around these parts. So when you take a sport that involves people running and riding with bicycles around a snow- and mud-covered obstacle course, the head scratching seems justified. Welcome to cyclocross. Above Photo By: Tommy Chandler To understand what this cycling discipline is all about, we must take [...]

Adam Morrey

Most backcountry skiers and snowboarders want to be experts when it comes to traveling safely in avalanche terrain, but considering yourself an expert can be more dangerous than considering yourself a novice. “I know one thing: that I know nothing.” -Socrates Last winter I had the opportunity to spend a couple very candid hours with Bruce Tremper, one of the world’s premier avalanche experts. He’s written many of the books considered the gold standard of knowledge by backcountry users across the globe, and few people, if any, have spent more time in the backcountry. We shared stories and experiences over [...]

Backcountry Video

Suspension setup is critical to keeping you in control, and Rebound, in particular, is both important and often misunderstood. In this video, FOX RACING SHOX’s Outside Technician. Louis Angeley, shows you how to achieve your ideal rebound settings. Tips Start by setting your Sag. Your rebound settings will vary with spring rate. Compress the fork, and then allow the fork to rebound without interference. Add rebound one click at a time until the front wheel stays on the ground. Video Transcription We started our sag setup with a rebound open. And now, we’re going to make a proper rebound adjustment. [...]

Pep Fujas

Patagonia recently sponsored a contest asking readers to submit questions they’ve always wanted to ask pro skier Pep Fujas. Here are the top 10 questions with Pep’s answers. Above Photo: Backcountry & Patagonia Athlete Pep Fujas Shot By: Jay Beyer What is your favorite line of your career? - Loren Lindy Leven That’s like asking someone, “What was the best poop of your life?”  There are so many greats, in so many different locations and circumstances, that choosing one wouldn’t be fair to the others. One that comes to mind, though, because it’s still somewhat fresh in my head, took place [...]

Thomas Bracken

I bought this Arc’teryx Theta SL jacket when I was working as a bike-shop mechanic in 2005. As a full-blown ski bum, I generally went through a jacket a year, so I expected to get a season out of the jacket and replace it the following year. Eight years later, this Arc’teryx jacket is still going strong. It has outlasted three or four jobs, several addresses, six or seven cars, and at least as many girlfriends. It has probably seen close to 600 days of skiing—many in the backcountry and many more at a smattering of resorts across the western United [...]

dawn cardinale

When you see Elf Ellefsen, it’s not difficult to imagine him as a snowboarder. He has those ruffled good looks—a little dirty and disheveled—snow riders wear well and a slight edge that accompanies the historically rebellious snowboarder. Above Photo: © James Kay He’s sported everything from a chest-length braided goatee, a 10-inch mohawk, and a reverse mohawk (clown-style, proof of which lives on an old driver’s license) to a horseshoe mustache and Sammy Hagar curls—things only a guy with boyish looks would dare. Even when he gets gussied up for the opera (yes, the opera), he wears black-and-white wingtips. When [...]

Kate Dowden RN

I think all kids are athletic in some way, and I was no different. Growing up, I would hike and ski with my dad, hunt frogs on camping trips, and climb trees with zero thought to my own peril. In adolescence and adulthood, however, I never thought of myself as athletic. I dabbled in various physical activities: belly dancing, hiking, and—my favorite—dancing at clubs. My body was this sturdy, curvy thing I rather liked, even if I thought it a little too soft and a little too round. Above Photo: Brendan Nicholson In college (which I attended in my ’30s), [...]

Casey Glaubman

Leif Whittaker is an author, an athlete, an environmentalist, and a general mountain badass. He currently resides in Bellingham, WA, in the shadow of Mt. Baker, but his adventures have taken him all over the world, from the islands of the South Pacific to the frozen top of Mt. Everest. I caught up with Leif in between excursions and exchanged a few words. Leif Whittaker. Photo Credit: Freya Fenwood You‘re the son of Jim Whittaker, one of the most famous American mountaineers of all time. How influential was he in your initiation into the sport? And do you think you [...]

Andrew McLean

If you’re the type of person who refuses to sacrifice hard earned ski habits in the name of a full time job, there’s a good chance you’re fully aware of the virtues of the dawn patrol. If not, watch backcountry veteran Andrew McLean run through the gear you’ll need to earn a few good turns before slumping into your desk for the day. Andrew McLean’s Dawn Patrol Checklist: 15-20L Ski Pack Avalanche Beacon Shovel Probe Down Jacket Food 1 Liter Water Ski Repair First Aid Kit Headlamp Related Car Duffel Essentials Day Tour Essentials Shop Shop Alpine Touring Gear & [...]

Adam Riser

As soon as snow starts falling in my backyard Wasatch Range, I begin to check the Utah Avalanche Center website religiously. It’s helpful to get a handle on how the snowpack is forming and get myself thinking about avalanches in general. A couple weeks ago I saw something on their website that made me (and the forecasters) cringe. Several companies have come out with apps that are supposed to make your smart phone act like an avalanche beacon. My first thought was, “This is going to get people killed.” Above Photo: Backcountry Athlete Greg Hill touring in Rogers Pass, British [...]

Jesse S

Cross training is important. It’s more than important—it might rise to the level of vital. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. Why should I expect to get better as a runner if all I ever do is the same thing? I know I’m not alone—runners and cyclists think only with their legs and their hearts, the two parts that keep ‘em going. What I tend to forget is that cross training won’t transform me into a triathlete (I don’t have fond thoughts of road biking), nor will it [...]

Ian Provo

Fly fishing clear water in the pristine jungles of Bolivia for golden dorado has been at the top of my to-do list for over 10 years, and now I know it will stay there. After two hours of flying in a single-engine Cessna above the Amazonian canopy, I knew this trip was going to be crazier than anything we had done before. I looked out the window, and all I saw was jungle, the kind of impenetrable stuff I’d seen in my parents’ National Geographics as a kid. I couldn’t help but think about Alaska, where my brother Neil and [...]

Kim Havell

Rob Shaul’s Mountain Athlete Gym in Jackson, Wyoming, is where backcountry.com athletes like Kim Havell, Griffin Post, and Pip Hunt develop the strength and endurance required for high-stakes mountain sports. The Backcountry video crew dropped in to witness a fast-paced training session and capture the essence of the Mountain Athlete approach to fitness. The video below focuses on the history and training philosophy of the Mountain Athlete Gym. The Mountain Chassis To forge a direct correlation between gym training and performance in the mountains, Rob likes to build workouts focused on what he calls the “mountain chassis.” Below, Rob and [...]

Ian Provo

The concrete jungle of Santa Cruz, our temporary home, a world away from the distant Tsimané territory where, only 24 hours before, the greatest fishing experience of our lives came to a close. Navigating the inner rings of the city, in and out of the maze of markets with our new friend Tiko, we dodged the erratic drivers and street meats while embracing the relentless culture shock. Two days go by in the city, and I can’t stop thinking about getting back into the real jungle somehow. Even as the idea of climbing into the mountains lingered, we still had time, and [...]

Ian Provo

Our desire to travel to Bolivia has always been fueled by the fly-fishing potential in the exotic jungle rivers of the Amazon. As we found out over the course of three weeks, the legendary tales of carnivorous fish and breathtaking scenery were all true, and they exceeded our wildest dreams. The month of August seemed like the best time to go; the prime time for fishing and climbing overlapped, giving us the perfect chance to pursue our two greatest addictions in one trip. We couldn’t travel all the way down to Bolivia, the highest country in South America, without experiencing [...]

Sean Zimmerman-Wall

The sound is unmistakable.  A loud rumble accompanied by the sensation of having the rug pulled out from under you.  In seconds you’re rushing downslope, tumbling, caught in a washing machine of snow, rock, and wood. The sky fades in and out and you gasp for air as you’re force-fed thick, suffocating snow.  Moving at 60 miles an hour, you’re helpless to stop the cascade.  You reach for the small handle located on your shoulder, and a sudden “whoosh” fills your ears. Large sacs of air deploy around you and you start to rise to the surface. After a minute, [...]

cole lehman

Park City, Utah, which happens to be the home of backcountry.com’s headquarters, was recently named “The Best Town in America” by Outside Magazine. The article cites “small-town friendliness, absurdly easy access, and five-star culture” as among the reasons Park City deserves the award for best active town. Sounds good, right? Lots of people agree with you. With a median home price of $765,600, though, Park City is a challenging place to live for some of us. So before you pack your U-Haul and head to Utah, there are some things you need to know. I’ve lived in Park City for seven [...]

Backcountry Video

Finding your ideal suspension setup is key to getting the most out of your ride, and spring rate is arguably the most important piece of that equation. In this video, FOX RACING SHOX’s Outside Technician Louis Angeley shows you how to set your sag to achieve your ideal spring rate. Tips Start with 25% sag front and rear. You should achieve full travel at least once a ride. If you aren’t getting full travel, decrease the pressure in your air spring. If your fork is bottoming out excessively, increase pressure. Make adjustments in 5-10 PSI increments. Video Transcription Hi I’m [...]

Sean Zimmerman-Wall

July was the hottest month on record in Utah, and August sweltered as well. The desert sun blazed, and our departure date loomed closer. For we were heading south to Argentina to ski the pow.  It isn’t just a vacation, however. It’s a vocation. Ski patrolling and guiding in the Rockies has been the career of choice for my business partner, Justin Lozier, and I for the better part of a decade. Lozier hails from the Midwest, but found his calling as a skier in the mountains of Vail. I rode in on the wind from the hills of Tennessee. [...]

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