I knew first thing was first, I had to get smart about snow. Who better then Sue Purvis, Lead Instructor at Crested Butte Outdoors International, to help teach me about what to do and what not to do in the backcountry. Once I heard about the women’s only avalanche class Sue and FOFAC put together I knew I had to sign up. It was a three day course (two in classroom, one out in the snow) that taught us how to dig pits, use our probe, beacon, and shovel to find a buried victim, and all of the other basics of avalanche safety. After taking the class, reading a couple great backcountry books, and practicing my newly learned skills I became confident enough to go into the backcountry.
I've been told if you can't unbury the people you are skiing with then you are not ready to go into the backcountry. Crazy thing to think right! As mind boggling as it is it's correct. If you go out with your friends in the backcountry there is always a chance of an avalanche, which is why you should always be on point with your knowledge. If you can’t unbury your husband, boyfriend, best friend, etc. you probably shouldn’t be out there. After getting smart about POW I was ready and confident that if the worst happened I would be able to find and unbury anyone I was with.
If you’ve never skinned before and have only snowshoed you are totally missing out. Skinning is amazing! For those of you completely new to skiing or snowboarding, climbing skins are adhesive-backed pieces of fabric that attach to your ski tips and tails and stick to your ski bases. Held on by a combination of glue and mechanical hardware, they have tiny fibers pointing rearward to prevent sliding backward while allowing you to glide forward. Picture a dog’s fur that can only be stroked one way smoothly but stands up when you run your hand the other way.
HISTORY TID BIT- Back in the day skins were actually made of seal skin (hence the name) but are now composed of nylon, mohair, or a mixture of the two.
Hope you enjoyed reading and learned a few things. I’m excited to get out in the backcountry with the ladies of Outsiety!
Over and out - Britt