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Whats so good about "backcountry"?

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Tumbling **se over **t down a secluded valley and having half of it falling on you in large chunks is just so different from skidding down an icy gelende with everybody else.


Luffing through the dark pines like a hobbit is not quite the same as keeping your eyes peeled for skiers intruding on one's line.


That's 'off-piste' anyway - I wouldn't know about 'backcountry'.

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if you are at a good resort, you shouldn't

even need to go off-piste, because the

entire mountain is open, except for the places where you absolutely shouldn't go

(sharp rocks, chasms, etc.) a good example

of a good resort is big sky, montana -

where there are very few ropes.


however that doesn't seem to be the case in

japan, so backcountry is a necessity.


the off-piste has been discussed to death

on this board, so here's my take on

backcountry. the majority of backcountry

consists of people trucking each other up in

pickup trucks or cars to a designated point,

then those people skiing or riding back

down to the truck point. so it's basically

free, although you should always kick down

for the drivers. the terrain is usually

better than resort terrain as it isn't

developed, crowded, groomed, or tracked out,

you can actually get good snow. you can

build big jumps without being harassed, and

it's just a chill vibe. the whole thing is

you get killer terrain and killer snow

for cheap. it's also that much more of an

adventure, cuz you're doing it with only the

help of friends, no bigwigs.


the downside is that the risk of avalanche

and injury can be high, if you are in an

avalanche zone. but with a little research

and training, those avalanche zones can be

avoided. an example of an avalanche zone is

the woods around Nederland, Colorado. There

is a South facing ridge that gets tons of

snow and then the sun beats on it, then it

gets more snow, and that snow is prone to

falling and falling fast.


knowing where you are is your best weapon

in the backcountry.


[This message has been edited by barok (edited 21 February 2002).]

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james, rather than being a resister, you sound like a beginner, am I right? When I was getting the hang of riding the gelende, I couldn't understand why my mates who introduced me to the sport were so eager to take me away from where I was having so much fun and challenge to some obscure and dangerous part of the hill.


It's a bit like the Internet - until you try it, no amount of explaining is going to make it seem attractive.


Now 'backcountry' seems pointless to me in my 'off-piste' stage, but no doubt I'll get caught up sooner or later.

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It's a bit odd that in these backcountry threads hardly anyone ever mentions what an exhausting chore it is to have to hump it through knee- or even hip-deep snow, up steep slopes, carrying a pack and your board or skis, a shovel, probe, all the safety gear...


On a cold mountain day in the thin air it sure feels nice to work up the same kind of sweat you'd get after jogging in a down parka for thirty minutes. All that sweat turns clammy and cold, or, if you have the correct expensive technical undergarments, quickly begins to stink like a gym locker room with no showers or running water.




After half an hour or more of slogging through the snow, you get maybe 5 minutes of actual riding.


Then you have to hump up all over again...


If it were always like that, I would never have taken up skiing or snowboarding.


Give me lift-accessed powder every time.


I hate walking up, and I hate walking out.


I think even building a kicker would turn me off after 2-3 hikes back up.


I have strong legs, am in shape, and enjoy active sports.


But when it comes to snowboarding, make mine lift-accessed, or I'll see you on the couch over beers afterward.

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Maybe it's different if you go up the hill in a Toyota Surf and build your kicker near the road... I guess a lot of people do it in cars. But I don't see myself doing much with shovels in the near future.


How was Hokkers, badmigraine?

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  • 1 month later...

qf: Cross-country - what IS the appeal??


It's a different attitude to getting about. It's not just about going down mountains.

I enjoy lift-resorts a lot, but sometimes it seems like it's all handed to you on a plate - designated groomed runs and chairs to shorten the "boring" (read:uphill) bit. It feels good to earn your turns sometimes.


But don't you all come out there - wouldn't want it to get all crowded like a resort.

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