Backcountry skiing: I made a decision last year, back in March, to purchase backcountry skis. (Looking at my blog posts, I must have missed the discussion. Hitomi got the skiing bug and there went a few thousand dollars on gear.) What I told the sales clerk at Second Ascent was I was primarily interested in backcountry trips over resort skiing.

As it turned out, backcountry skiing is pretty hard. And inherently dangerous. But when the variables line up: Snow conditions, terrain, experience, and you're in sufficient physical condition, it's a superior experience to resort skiing.

In terms of experience, I have found skiing in deep snow quite a bit different. I wouldn't say more difficult, but it's more different than groomed or packed snow. You just can't turn the same way. And repeat practice is hard to manage, as you necessarily climb up whatever you plan to ski down.

And as for snow conditions, skiing can go from easy to perilous. I've been out enough times to worry quite a bit.

Kevin asked me and Hitomi to go on a trip to a hut, back in January, after a discussion we had in Holden Village. He picked a hut one hour north of Whister. I was initially interested but then some panic set in. When I feel sufficiently prepared, I'm usually in good spirits and enthusiastic. But when I have doubt in my ability, I develop an overwhelming anxiety. The kind of panic you find medication for. I came up with many (actually pretty good) excuses, and declined the trip.

Since then, I realized the following: Hitomi and I need to practice more difficult ski runs at the resort, "black diamond" and over; take shorter, and easier backcountry trips; purchase and practice with avalanche safety equipment.

The good news is that, through skiing at Crystal Mountain these past few weeks, I'm getting much more composed. (The weather hasn't been great, though: I haven't seen Mt. Rainier from Crystal, ever. I did see part of Tahoma through a "sucker hole." Alas.)

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About eliasross

Blogging before the word "blog" was invented.
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