March 16, 2013
There are sooooo many things I love about skiing. A major reason I’ve been able to stay interested in this activity for so long is the variety. This activity takes on so many shapes and forms and provides enjoyment in different ways. There are so many reasons to “get out there” (can we lighten up on this poor overused phrase ;)) and so many ways to do it. From powder turns, to steep lines, to exploration, to long traverses the possibilites are only defined by imagination, fitness, gear and conditions.
Some of my most memorable and inpirational days have been long link-ups and traverses like the Supercoaster I completed back in 2006. There have been few days in my life where I’ve felt so focused, committed, alive and free. Ever since then I’ve been fantasizing about tackling even longer projects and connecting more difficult terrain in lightweight fashion. The last few winters I’ve been focused on finishing The Chuting Gallery and waiting for perfect conditions. Last season I picked up some ultra-lightweight AT gear as a tool for link-ups and long traverses. And to increase speed and fitness I’ve been getting out for some of the Tuesday night races at Brighton with the Wasatch Citizens Series.
This whole light and fast resurgence was spearheaded locally by Jared Inyoue. The Dorais brothers have followed in his footsteps and through their blogs they have inspired myself and many others to get light and go fast. The skin suit is key. It infers speed if nothing else.
This “rando” or “skimo” is terribly fun and painful and challenging. Both the uphill and the downhill. For me it’s more of a hobby with some cross-over applications and benefits. Getting spanked at the Championships in Jackson Hole this year was humbling and eye opening. The Dorais Brothers have been such great ambassadors for this sport and what’s really cool to me is that they take it into the big mountains. I finally got a chance to get out with Jason and Andy this week (they covered the day quite thoroughly with their recent blog posts).
We had a great day skiing one of the longest continuous lines in Utah. At almost 7k from the valley floor this giant gully runs right off the summit of Timp at the perfect pitch for a ski descent.
I was on my lightest non-race kit and they were on wide race skis. No way in hell I can keep up with either of these two, but trail breaking was horrendous so I managed to stay close. Conditions were breakable crust for some of the up and a mixed bag of good and bad on the decent.
It’s been incredible to see the advancement of gear in the lightweight touring arena. And with the backcountry ski scene expanding so quickly it’s exciting to see what the manufacturers will produce now that they are interested in the market. I’m not selling off my megawatt’s anytime soon, but it’s been fun to expand the quiver, the mind and lungs.
Tags: Andy dorais, backcountry skiing, Backcountry.com, Black Diamond, dorais brothers, Jason Dorais, light is right, Mountain Hardwear, rando, Scarpa, Ski Mountaineering, Skiing Timpanogos, skimo, skinsuit, spring skiing, steep skiing, Timp