Alright, this isn't exactly a how-to guide in the general sense, but I'll give you all of the best secrets that I have to offer.
Here we go!
Find someone to take you out, because having a good guide in the backcountry is pretty important. If you're somewhere where there is serious risk of avalanche, slides or falling into crevices, then don't be an asshat and actually hire a real guide. But if you're just sliding around the woods of your local hillside, I suggest a friend who is patient. Like this guy:
Going somewhere awesome is a pretty fun way to have a good time. I mean, even if things get sideways and you crash a lot, you're still at least in a pretty fantastic place. Your scale of awesome will vary depending on the awesomeness that is available to you personally and financially. For today's trip into the back country, we headed to Underhill, VT which is a staggering 45 minutes from home. Phew.
Bring snacks and water and maybe a second pair of gloves. Definitely bring an emergency blanket, in the event you find yourself stuck in a tree well eating all your snacks after dark. Me? I forgot snacks and water and extra gloves. But I did bring some hand warmer packs which were a life, er, hand saver after the transition at the top. Remember that you're in an awesome place, stop and enjoy, while enjoying your snacks. Or, if you're faster than the rest of your group, enjoy your snacks while waiting for your friends.
Make quick work of the transition, because odds are it's going to be cold AF way the hell up there. Sub zero temperatures on the top of a mountain is not a great learning environment, so I'd suggest practicing once or twice at home in your warm living room. This is actually important because it puts the others in your group at risk if you're completely incompetent, be a student, not a stud (t-shirt forthcoming).
A couple of quick notes on this photo above-
- Ben Coleman is gloveless, at the summit.
- We caught up to two other skiers at the summit, be friendly!
- That's an Untapped Maple hat I'm wearing because 1) skin up in your hat, ski down in your helmet. 2) #SyrupDoesntFreeze so it makes a great winter snack while you #getamongst, as the kids used to say.
Don't be a jerk is a tip that applies to just about everything we do here at Short Handled Shovel, so it bears repeating. When we got to the parking area today there were maybe 5 cars including both of ours (you should carpool when possible BTW). But when we left, the lot was overflowing and people were parked all the way down the road. So, don't be a jerk while skinning up, stay in the skin track when possible. Don't be a jerk while eating your snacks; pack in/out. Take care of your business off the trail. And lastly, be friendly. Just like you're on a bike ride, a simple wave goes a long way. People are just out there trying to enjoy the awesome, same as you.
Oh, and don't over dress. But good luck figuring that out the first few times.
See you in the mountains.