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ken21il


Sep 11, 2011, 10:12 PM
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Ski Mtneering: where do i go from here?
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I'm from central illinois. Last year i went skiing for the first time. I hired a lesson and was quickly asked if i was sure this was my first time- I have a hockey background i told him. After 3 12 hr days on the slopes, i was hooked! I've always been a big guy (240-255) and have been climbing since about 2004. I have never been a good climber sub 9's really. One thing i thought i would never be into was mountaineering, but now the thought of more ski mountaineering then actual climbing has me wondering if i have been missing out. I'll always enjoy getting out in spring and fall, even if i cant commit to road trips- i do have some good local climbing. However, making preparations for one or two ski/ ski mtneering vacations sounds more interesting.

I have a couple midwest ski resorts nearby and one in particular within 40 mins. However season passes and rental is quite expensive, especially in this economy and while on unemployment. Although, by the end of the season i was renting demo gear and weekend passes to get my fix! Obviously, the saint louis area doesn't have enough hills to satisfy purchasing ski equipment and i don't think i'll make more then one designated ski trip this season.. I'm more concerned with getting in better shape, learning some avalanche safety, and crampon/axe use.

k.. all that sunk in?? I already enjoy hiking and backpacking and during my unemployment i have been able to get out almost every weekend or at least several times a week in my two local wilderness areas/parks i am looking forward to more biking and want to get started with training asap. SOOO... where should i start? As i said i am on a real budget here so guide services and heading to the big mountains will have to wait. What are some good destinations near me or not to far EAST. I say EAST because i want to be able to train in some lower elevations before i head higher next year..

(This post was edited by ken21il on Sep 11, 2011, 10:32 PM)


hugepedro


Sep 11, 2011, 10:37 PM
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Re: [ken21il] Ski Mtneering: where do i go from here? [In reply to]
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Up. Then down.


skiclimb


Sep 11, 2011, 10:44 PM
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Re: [ken21il] Ski Mtneering: where do i go from here? [In reply to]
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East? I just have no idea where would be good to start really. I know there are places but ???

If you want to come west to the Tahoe area (reno specifically) I'd be glad to put you up for a few days and head out to some great places with you.


ken21il


Sep 11, 2011, 10:51 PM
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skiclimb wrote:
East? I just have no idea where would be good to start really. I know there are places but ???

If you want to come west to the Tahoe area (reno specifically) I'd be glad to put you up for a few days and head out to some great places with you.


I'll keep that in mind, i have family in reno (some parts of the year) and more in idaho Falls. Thanx for the offer, my only question is what to bring? Pick up before i arrive?


skiclimb


Sep 12, 2011, 7:10 AM
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Boots and clothes would be the main thing. The rest can be rented here. Well Boots can be too but having your own boots is generally better.


6pacfershur


Sep 12, 2011, 8:49 AM
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Re: [ken21il] Ski Mtneering: where do i go from here? [In reply to]
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i would recommend any aerobic exercise; also, you need to learn the ancient art of clipping lift tickets


ken21il


Sep 29, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Re: [ken21il] Ski Mtneering: where do i go from here? [In reply to]
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Anyone else have any info/tips?


hugepedro


Sep 29, 2011, 11:49 PM
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ken21il wrote:
Anyone else have any info/tips?

Ok, serious answer. Ski mountaineering? Is that really what you want to do? You want to climb, up, up, up, up, and more up, carrying your skis, and other gear, on avalanche terrain, spending hours upon hours going up, for a few minutes of going down. Again, through avalanche terrain? And you'd like to do this instead of "actual climbing?"

Have you tried hiking a resort from the base to the top, carrying your skis?

Ski mountaineering is usually more dangerous and harder than "actual climbing". I don't know if you knew that. Itís not a shortcut, or easier way, to get up and down mountains. Itís actually a more expert way to get up and down.

And it seems to me, from what you described, that you're at best an intermediate resort skier. Two limited seasons under your belt? Probably not good enough. You should be an advanced skier before you start going out of bounds or backcountry. And Iíll tell you, if youíre doing real ski mountaineering, you should really be an expert skier. I mean, you can get away with it most times with advanced ability, but do it long enough and you will find yourself in situations that require expert level skiing. And people that go backcountry will eventually see avalanches, up close and personal.

So youíre in Illinois, where there are no opportunities nearby for ski mountaineering. And you donít have the money to travel and hire guides. I donít know what to tell you, other than to start going to ski areas that have backcountry programs. Silverton, CO has probably the best. But that will cost you. Good luck.


altelis


Oct 2, 2011, 8:06 PM
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hugepedro wrote:
ken21il wrote:
Anyone else have any info/tips?

Ok, serious answer. Ski mountaineering? Is that really what you want to do? You want to climb, up, up, up, up, and more up, carrying your skis, and other gear, on avalanche terrain, spending hours upon hours going up, for a few minutes of going down. Again, through avalanche terrain? And you'd like to do this instead of "actual climbing?"

Have you tried hiking a resort from the base to the top, carrying your skis?

Ski mountaineering is usually more dangerous and harder than "actual climbing". I don't know if you knew that. Itís not a shortcut, or easier way, to get up and down mountains. Itís actually a more expert way to get up and down.

And it seems to me, from what you described, that you're at best an intermediate resort skier. Two limited seasons under your belt? Probably not good enough. You should be an advanced skier before you start going out of bounds or backcountry. And Iíll tell you, if youíre doing real ski mountaineering, you should really be an expert skier. I mean, you can get away with it most times with advanced ability, but do it long enough and you will find yourself in situations that require expert level skiing. And people that go backcountry will eventually see avalanches, up close and personal.

So youíre in Illinois, where there are no opportunities nearby for ski mountaineering. And you donít have the money to travel and hire guides. I donít know what to tell you, other than to start going to ski areas that have backcountry programs. Silverton, CO has probably the best. But that will cost you. Good luck.


Generally, I think your post is spot on, but I do disagree with the part in bold. Many people get into backcountry skiing as beginner skiers, and progress slowly as their skiing and avy skills progress. There is no problem going into the backcountry as a beginner skier and not getting into terrain over 35 degrees. However, that ain't ski mountaineering Wink


ken21il


Oct 2, 2011, 11:07 PM
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Re: [altelis] Ski Mtneering: where do i go from here? [In reply to]
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very true..both of you.. I guess ski mountaineering for me will still be smaller objectives but none the less i would like to get some kind of training in and i figured that i might be able to get some avi, axe, & crampon training without having to venture out west. So back to the OP- is there anywhere out east that i would be able to pick up some of these skills or perhaps take a course? Maybe a little less expensive then guide services say in jackson hole,. tahoe, etc..


ken21il


Oct 2, 2011, 11:13 PM
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or can you suggest some affordable areas west or a guide service that can take me out for a couple days at a good price. I have looked up a few services but would only be able to afford one course during the whole trip and i would still have to rent gear from somewhere..


altelis


Oct 3, 2011, 5:01 AM
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The sport is expensive enough to get into if you live in areas where you don't need to travel to do it, and if you are part of a community where you can find mentors to go out with.

That said, you may get more bang for your buck finding a 2 week alpine combing course that teaches avi, glacier and snow climbing skills. Larger courses often include gear and food costs and are more manageable expense wise. Places like Alpine Ascents and RMI among others offer courses like these and will most likely cost less than a guide.

In terms of out East, Mt. Washington in NH is your best bet. That said, it's a ton cheaper to fly to Denver or SLC than to NH.


ken21il


Oct 3, 2011, 5:03 AM
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thanx for the heads up.


altelis


Oct 3, 2011, 5:06 AM
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No worries. Just to be explicit, the idea behind the climbing course is to focus on backcountry snow travel skills and then use other opportunities (eg resorts) to practice your skiing skills.


ken21il


Oct 3, 2011, 5:25 AM
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thats what i'm after..


skiclimb


Oct 3, 2011, 7:49 AM
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Altelis covered things pretty perfectly. Becomeing a ski-mountaineering junkie is a fairly long process involving a lot of different skills. Every trip you take getting started will teach you tons. Each next step comes kinda naturally as you learn. I was fortunate to grow up in the Chugach and Alaska range so I never ran out of next steps to pursue. Its tougher if you don't live near great mountains.

Like I said if you decide to come out west to the Tahoe area I'd be glad to to take you out a couple days. I've always enjoyed getting people a good start on back-country skiing. I'm heavy on avalanche hazard evaluation and I will drill some basics into your skull with a sledgehammer there. lol

Anycase the offer stands. :) My price, gas beer and lunch :)


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Oct 3, 2011, 8:06 AM)


tolman_paul


Oct 3, 2011, 4:12 PM
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Another vote for improving your skiing skills before hitting the back country. Good a/t gear is expensive, used a/t gear is expensive. You could pick used resort gear pretty cheap and get a season ticket for less than a/t gear.

The thing with a/t is you spend more time going up than going down, so you really aren't perfecting your technique. Not to mention you can be pretty tired by the time you start your decent, which makes having expert skills even more important.

If you want to get good at skiing, move somewhere that you can ski alot, in good conditions, with challengin terrain. There are places you can x-country ski during your lunch. X-country skiing is about the best cardio work there is, and once you get solid on skinny skis, alpine skiing is a breeze. The job market should be a big enough push to uproot and finding a decent job, closer to real skiing.


Partner chugach001


Oct 13, 2011, 7:27 AM
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Tough situation. I would get the setup (go cheap and used) and spend the season skinning and skiing whatever local hills you have. Up, down, up, down - that's the program. Spend lots of time in the snow, skimountaineering is all about winter.

Take the course as already mentioned. Start reading avy books. Start with Doug and Jill Fredson's guide which simplifies the whole concept. Then you can study the details and nuances. Get a beacon and start training with it as you get more serious.

Good luck. It's a mofo trying to be a good skier away from the mountains.

I'd stay away from the East. Too many trees and shitty snow conditions and no inspiring mountains. You can go to the coastal western hills and find great conditions on lower elevations (5 - 8k').
Enjoy


ken21il


Oct 13, 2011, 4:12 PM
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thanx for the post chugach001


altelis


Oct 15, 2011, 8:32 AM
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This reminds me- just like you can practice skinning and moving on skis even if the terrain isn't amazing, you can practice your avy skills without being in avy terrain.

Assuming you have a local partner in the area, if you each buy beacons, you can practice doing a search by having one person bury the beacon in the snow (even in a flat field) or otherwise hide it and the other person practice searching. Rinse. Repeat.


lumineferusother


Oct 15, 2011, 4:43 PM
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East coast skiing isn't terrible but it's not worth the drive for you. You wont't start seeing good skiing until you get to the Adirondacks or Vermobt and New Hampshire at which point for you you're looking at a 17 or 18 hour drive. You'll be much better off heading for Colorado where you can make it to at least Denver in under 15 hours (which can be easily done in a day IMO). As far as equipment goes, look at eBay or Steepandcheap.com (the most dangerous thing I have done to my checking account is download the Steepandcheap programs for my desktop, laptop, iPhone, and iPad). My skis (K2 Ascents), bindings (Fritschi explore), and poles (BD expedition poles) I picked up for less than $350 Total. I bought my boots, skins, avy transceiver, probe, and shovel new on either pro-deals (I'm a member of a SAR team) or on sales. As far as the training goes, start buying books, reading magazines (Backcountry is excellent!), hitting up blogs, websites, guidebooks, avy watch center websites, everything! You need to be proficient at winter traveling and hiking, skiing, avalanche interp and rescue, orienteering, first aid (after all you will be in the wilderness), alpine weather, climbing, and winter camping. Start reading about places to go and then start looking them up on google maps or kayak.com to check out the feasibility of getting there by ground or air. Like someone else mentioned, if you really love it move some where close to real mountains!


marc801


Oct 16, 2011, 12:48 PM
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Re: [hugepedro] Ski Mtneering: where do i go from here? [In reply to]
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hugepedro wrote:
So youíre in Illinois, where there are no opportunities nearby for ski mountaineering. And you donít have the money to travel and hire guides. I donít know what to tell you, other than to start going to ski areas that have backcountry programs. Silverton, CO has probably the best.
Silverton does not have a "backcountry program". They have guided and unguided skiing. At certain times of the year - most notably the core of the winter - it's guided only skiing simply because of the avi danger and the usually sketchy snowpack of the San Juans. The guides are to keep you from getting yourself killed in an avi - it is *not* a backcountry instructional program. Also, Silverton only has one lift, and *all* the terrain is considered highly advanced/expert.

Silverton is where you go when you already know what you're doing and want something cheaper than a cat or heli ski trip.

http://www.silvertonmountain.com/page/store/guided


(This post was edited by marc801 on Oct 16, 2011, 12:53 PM)


hugepedro


Oct 16, 2011, 3:17 PM
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Did I say it was instructional?


aprice00


Oct 16, 2011, 4:07 PM
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Where do you go from here? How about out to find a job. Why am I the first one on this? You are using your unemployment to pay for ski lessons???


marc801


Oct 16, 2011, 4:30 PM
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hugepedro wrote:
Did I say it was instructional?
You referred to it as a "backcountry program", which often implies some kind of instruction, and we're talking about an OP who is actually seeking either instruction or advice on how to learn. Just wanted to clarify that Silverton is merely a guide service.

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