There is no better place to reap the benefits of this month’s snowfall than the Bolton backcountry. BC skis? Telemark skis? AT gear? Splitboards? Yep, they all work here. Even weeks after a storm there are still powder pockets to be found. I recently made it out to Bolton’s backcountry on a set of wide waxless Fischer Sbound 112’s skis with a Voile hardwire binding. Paired with a two-buckle plastic Scarpa T4 boot, there really is nowhere you can’t go. Climbing up to the Cliff Hanger trail I made several quick laps in the Holden’s Hollow area with no skins necessary. The low angle birch glades make for excellent terrain for those of us still learning how to drop a knee. Remember, traveling in the backcountry carries inherent risks and rewards. Always bring these ten essentials when traveling in the backcountry...
The Ten Essentials:
- Nutrition: Your body burns more calories in the winter in order to keep warm. Throw in an extra bar or Gu into your pack in case you are out longer than expected.
- Hydration: 2 liters of water should be enough for a day trip. I usually carry two insulated bottles: one with water and one with hot tea!
- Insulation: Layers are key to success. To stay warm on the descent I always carry my Patagonia Micro Puff, a synthetic down layer with a hood that tucks under my helmet!
- Illumination: Always bring a headlamp and spare batteries. Better yet, carry two headlamps and avoid having to deglove in order to change out batteries.
- Navigation Aids: Nothing beats a paper map and compass that you are familiar with. Review your route before you go. and tell someone where you will be traveling and your expected return time. Bring a phone for backup only, batteries die quickly in cold temperatures and cell reception is never guaranteed.
- First Aid Supplies: Keep a well stocked first aid kit accessible in your pack. Consider enrolling in a Wilderness First Aid course if you will be frequenting the backcountry.
- Fire: Waterproof matches, lighter, and fire starter material. A cotton ball soaked in vaseline is a great way to get a wet weather fire started.
- Repair Kit: Be familiar with your ski equipment and what you may need to perform a field repair. If a binding breaks a multi tool, bailing wire, and some voile straps may prevent you from having to post-hole your way home.
- Shelter: Stuff a lightweight tarp, bivy sack, or even a large contractor's bag at the bottom of your pack.
- Sun/Wind Protection: Sunglasses, sunscreen, googles, and or spare glasses for those who wear contacts or glasses. If you can't see, you can't ski!
Stay safe out there and get skiing!