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Backpacker Magazine – November 2011

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Grab Steep Thrills

Ski remote winter terrain—and have the most winter fun.

by: Kelly Bastone

Have Colorado's Indian Peaks to yourself in the winter. (Fred Marmsater)
Photo by BP1111GAME_fmarmsater_rockies_FPM_1882_445x260
Have Colorado's Indian Peaks to yourself in the winter. (Fred Marmsater)

Learning curve (++++*) If you’re already a competent resort skier, alpine touring gear makes the transition to backcountry surprisingly easy.

*(+) = Low effort, low risk  (+++++) = Get a lesson and life insurance

» When climbing with “skins” on your skis for traction, don’t lean forward. Center your weight over the middle of the ski for maximum grip and balance. Keep the uphill grade modest (no more than 15 degrees) by making switchbacks. 

» Stand tall, shorten your stride, and punch your heel (not your toe) into the snow. Don’t pick your skis up with each step; slide them forward to save energy.  

» The tops of ridges offer the safest climbing routes. Avoid skiing up gullies or traversing below them: They trap avalanching snow and increase its danger.


Top spots
» Iceland Even the most well-traveled skiers will be in awe of Iceland’s Glacier Fjords, where you score 2,000-foot runs from summit to sea. Click here to read about our Editors’ Choice gear-testing trip there. Contact:

» Idaho Ski into Williams Peak Yurt ($320/night, sleeps 16) in the Sawtooths. Get all levels of instruction from Sawtooth Mountain Guides (

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