It's the end of the year. Temperatures are dropping. Mountains are starting to wear their white beanies. But one question worries us all: what's the ski season going to look like? Are we going to have to wear masks on the lifts? Use hydraulic gel on our poles? Are ski resorts even going to open? We can't really answer those questions, but there's one thing that we know: a lot more people are going to be ski-touring this season. To help those people, Salomon is releasing a 10-part series that delves into the equipment needed, how that gear works, the knowledge you should have when venturing into the backcountry, the items you should carry (including safety equipment), and some of the basics of skinning and choosing your line.
Those who want to binge watch the entire series can do so here.
“People can expect to learn the basics of how to choose backcountry equipment that’s right for them and how to use it,” says Whistler-based Salomon team athlete Stan Rey. ”By no means does this series replace taking an avalanche course, but it’s a great way to get a head start. Our Salomon team has some amazing athletes, guides, doctors and all-around great mountain people with a ton of experience that adds up to an incredible bank of knowledge, which I try learn from every time I get to hang out with them. The good news is, so can you in this free online series!” Even for a guy known for his “Backy Sunday” Instagram clips, safety is always the number one priority in the backcountry and Rey is excited to share the tips and tricks he’s learned.
The episodes will be posted each week on Salomon’s social media channels and feature Salomon athletes and experienced backcountry skiers Cody Townsend, Chris Rubens, Leah Evans, Stan Rey, Drew Peterson, Alexi Godbout, Mali Noyes, Drew Peterson, Greg Hill, Josh Daiek and Mike Douglas. In total, Salomon is offering more than one hour of content that aims to inform and help keep skiers safe when they venture into the backcountry. The series is not designed to be a replacement for an in-person avalanche safety class, and there will be an episode dedicated to the importance of avalanche courses, mapping, reading avalanche reports and rescue gear.
“I’m no fortune-teller so I can’t foresee all the changes for the 20/21 ski season, but one thing that I am sure of is that we’ll see a surge in backcountry usage this winter,” Cody Townsend says. “Many skiers, both experienced and inexperienced, are going to be seeking out the solitude and separation of the backcountry. This past spring the entire industry saw a surge in backcountry equipment sales and I think it’s a responsible and prudent step for the industry to make sure education is packaged with a new backcountry product.”
Like Rey, Townsend cautions skiers not to aim for the highest peak on their first ski tour and to go with people that will help you along.
“The one piece of advice I’d give people new to the backcountry is aim low and start slow,” Townsend says. “Backcountry skiing is an unbelievable rewarding form of skiing, but it can be physically demanding, mentally frustrating and incredibly dangerous if you’re underprepared.”