Featured Slightly puzzling article about ABasin's backcountry terrain

Discussion in 'Backcountry Discussion' started by SBrown, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. SBrown

    SBrown Steve Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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  2. KevinF

    KevinF Call me "Lefty" Skier

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    Am I missing something? The word "backcountry" shows up once in the article, in this sentence:
    It also has all the benefits of backcountry terrain, now within the supervision of the ski area boundaries

    I admit that's a kind of strangely worded sentence, but I wouldn't have given it a second thought.
     
  3. SBrown

    SBrown Steve Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    That's really exactly it. This is and has been backcountry terrain. Yes, when they open it up this season it will be inbounds and controlled, but she blithely is writing about skiing outside the gates with an enormous lack of awareness. Oh, yeah, I shouldn't be alone. But I'm still going to (in an area that has killed multiple people). Or, instead, I'll just drop in on top of someone else's party! Yeah! That's it! Much safer.
     
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  4. RachelV

    RachelV Hi. Skier

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    Pretty ridiculous. A great illustration of why people love to hate on “sidecountry”, imho.

    The first few paragraphs did remind me to be psyched that this terrain is opening this year, though. :) Can’t wait to get over there!
     
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  5. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

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    I think you might be trying to hold regular joe journalism to a Pugski standard. The message seems clear to me - this is serious terrain not to be taken lightly but yep it's now inbounds so you eliminate theoretically one risk factor. Doesn't seem it's promoting being a jackass, if anything it's probably a bit unrealistic about the isolation once the hordes "discover" it.
     
  6. Slim

    Slim Booting up Skier

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    So in 2016, it was backcountry, out of bounds and unpratrolled right?
    And she and her husband go in solo, one at a time and describe this:


    " On that spring day last year, I emerged from the trees onto a fairly wide stretch of the first gulley covered with snow that was January light. The wind had piled it up into a sweet ditch just wide enough to link together turns in and I laughed with joy as I dropped smoothly from one turn into another."

    So it's spring, presumably there have been some warm days, putting some crust or at least a glaze on the snow, and now it's wind loaded with cold, light snow? That sounds like pretty high Avalanche risk right there.
     
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  7. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

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    Yep I get the point but the article is a bit like a sneak preview of how it will be this year- I assume if it was a proper journalistic assignment she was actually supervised by a patroller or whatever. And it's perfectly possible for spring windbuff to be just fine. Just think in the context of the article it's a PR piece for A Bay and lecturing on digging avy pits and wearing beeps and doing full protocol rather defeats the object of them promoting it as new inbounds terrain.
     
  8. oswaldr2

    oswaldr2 Booting up Skier

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    I can't wait to try it out once it opens, bring on the steeps!
     
  9. SBrown

    SBrown Steve Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I realize the point of the article is the future, but it was exposed as being written, and edited, and approved, by dumbasses.
     
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  10. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

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    To be strictly fair I agree - it wouldn't have taken much to write in a coda that because it was still backcountry terrain at the time of visit the author was fully equipped and had gone through relevant Avy protocols or patrol had pre-cleared the terrain. That would just be good editing.
     
  11. palikona

    palikona At the base lodge Skier

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    Haven't skied the Gullies but can't wait. Still think lines on the East Wall will be harder.
     
  12. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    She didn't have to clear the bar of lecturing about avalanche best practices. She could have cleared the very low bar of simply NOT normalizing poor backcountry behavior.

    I can only imagine how alarming it would be to have someone "tagging along" above you without saying a word. The leading group gets more risk with no upside, and the only thing they know is that the person above them has already exhibited poor judgment.
     
  13. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    So, I've skied the Beavers once, never the Steeps or Fingers or whatever they're calling them. I'm curious about how accurate her description of them is:

    For those who've skied the Steeps she's talking about - what nearby skiing is comparable? Ideally (for me) in A Basin, Breck, or Copper terms.
     
  14. Doug Briggs

    Doug Briggs Making fresh tracks Industry Insider

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    I've not skied the Steep Gullies, but I'd liken them to Gauthier and 2nd Notch, maybe. Tough, narrow pitches that require strong turning skills. Gullies defined by rocks on either side, so also Crazy Ivan at Breck. I don't think they have cornice drops to match Zoot but that might depend on snowfall. It is going to be fun exploring. It might just bring me to the Basin during winter as opposed to pre-winter (before Breck opens) and spring (after Breck closes).
     
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  15. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

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    OK I'd not really focused on the tag along bit because it wasn't relevant to the piece. I agree she exposes herself as a bit of an idiot or at least a freeloader there. At best that bit is nonsensical - heading into the trees but tags along at a discrete distance - guess what they aren't going to be pulling your cold dead corpse from a treewell except on the next lap. I rather suspect that this is someone trying to credentialise herself as a big outabounds afficionado and failing badly.

    Guess I'm more used to the tagalong people - happens all the time in Europe. If you aren't skiing anything too sketchy it's no big deal. If you are you let them pass. Worse case if they don't know what they are doing and are sufficiently contrite you let them join your group and subsequently point them toward better areas for them to ski
     
  16. SBrown

    SBrown Steve Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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  17. Lorenzzo

    Lorenzzo Snow Skier Skier

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    Maybe they need someone on staff with an editing background, backcountry/sidecountry experience and actual expert skill?

    I like that they talk about white knuckle and then have a photo of advanced/intermediate terrain. That put me on notice.
     
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  18. tball

    tball AKA Ball of T Skier

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    Hey, I was about to post that! That article covers the back/sidecountry aspect nicely, including the six deaths back there:

    It’s gonna put A-Basin, which is already a good expert ski area, into the great expert ski area category. It brings up the game for sure,” said Summit County local and backcountry guidebook author Fritz Sperry. “It’s definitely legit terrain.”

    Legit, with a dark history. Since 1982, there have been six avalanche deaths in the expansion area, a popular, lift-accessible zone a mere minute’s ski beyond A-Basin’s boundary gate. The Forest Service’s review of the expansion plans estimated 2,324 to 16,640 skiers a year access the backcountry terrain through gates on the Arapahoe Basin boundary. That’s a lot of skiers venturing into uncontrolled, avalanche-prone terrain.

    Corralling the terrain into the ski area’s operating boundary — it’s already part of the area’s Forest Service permit boundary — will allow ski patrollers to mitigate the avalanche hazard with explosives and other strategies.

    “I think we can have a tremendous impact on the snow out there. People are already treating it like a ski area with a full-blown mitigation plan, which it does not have. A big part of our purpose and need for the project was public safety,” Henceroth said.

    Sperry hopes skiers will approach the expanded territory as if it were wild territory and continue to practice avalanche safety protocol like wearing a beacon and being prepared to find buried partners.

    There is a remarkable difference between the occasional legitimate journalism at the Denver Post and the crap that is frequently published.
     
  19. Core2

    Core2 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Now that I read this article I am going to ski this area without a partner or avi training.
     
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  20. Doug Briggs

    Doug Briggs Making fresh tracks Industry Insider

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    Even the ski and outdoor magazines publish ludicrous crap as often as not. Gleaning information about the backcountry from just about any publication is 'grain of salt' territory.
     
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