If you live anywhere near a destination ski resort then you probably deal with the same scenario that we do a few times per year; an old friend from far away is bringing his/her family for a ski vacation in your neck of the woods and they insist that you come spend some time with them while they are near.
It's not that you don't want to see your friend, it's just that you hate to revert to acting like a tourist in what is essentially your home terrain. You meet them at their condo at 8:30, but they aren't ready to get out the door till 10. After buying full-priced lift tickets and another round of Starbucks you aren't on the first lift till 11. On the first run someone's rental gear falls apart or hurts too badly so it's back to the rental shop. Then lunch. Then finally everyone gets their first good run in around 2, but all of the frustration has them exhausted by 2:30....
You just wasted an entire day on the mountain waiting for people.
But all selfishness aside, your presence may have made the situation even worse for them. You know the scenario for getting on the mountain quickly. You have all of your own gear and a pass. You were happy with a Clif bar for lunch while everyone else needed an $11 burger and fries. Even if you kept a smile on your face all day long and you kept the jokes and conversation rolling, even if you reassured them that you're really just there to enjoy their company (be it true or not), deep down these people see you as someone who is just sitting around waiting on them, and that is going to compound their vacation frustrations.
I try really hard to accommodate my out-of-town friends when they come around. I want them to go home thinking that the day they spent with me on the mountain was they best day of their vacation. In order to do so I have a set of rules or guidelines that I go by that minimizes frustration and increases excitement for everyone involved:
For those not familiar Off-Piste simply refers to virgin or untracked snow. "Piste" being any marked slope or run and Off Piste being well off the marked trail whether it is a few meters or truly wild ground. Although if the area is not a designated ski area it is generally referred to as "Backcountry".
Now that the semantics are out of the way I have compiled a list of gear you should have if planning any Off Piste riding this winter.
"It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much @#%&ing fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles." - Clark Griswold, National Lampoon's Vacation
Lets get one thing straight right now, I love the southwestern U.S.. To me there is no greater part of our great country than the one championed by Cactus Ed. I realize that everyone will say their part of the country is the best, and that is fine, but wrong! I am of course kidding (but not really) HA.
I have yet to find a place in this great country that warms my soul quite the way the desert southwest does. For those of you that have never been to the great red and orange expanses of our country you have no idea what you are missing. Whether you have traveled to this gem or not I implore you to check out guide company Just Roughin' It for your first or next trip!!
The opening line on their about us page speaks volumes!! Any company that can free themselves from the stresses of the world by quoting Clark Griswald as the first line on their About Us page have got to be good people.
When in a survival situation you really need to ensure you are not making the situation worse than it needs to be. Your situation is bad enough if you are hopelessly lost and disoriented, however you must become more self sustaining than you ever thought possible.
Have you ever heard the quote "Necessity, who is the mother of invention" - Plato.
Well in a survival situation you will live this mantra.
Do not be limited to the form and function of the gear you have on hand. Think outside the box. Explore your equipment piece by piece, know it love it and imagine. Here is a chance to unleash your inner child and your long suppressed imagination.
Works for me!!!
Recently posted on CNN.com. Bear Grylls was injured during a charity expedition in Antarctica. This far it appears he fell while climbing injuring his shoulder.
Now that you know how to find an adequate site for your shelter we will go over the basics of size, style and construction.
When it comes to size of a shelter you should be aware of one of the basic laws of thermodynamics, although it sounds daunting it is really pretty basic. The Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics states that if two objects are in contact they will give and receive warmth/energy until they are balanced.
So if you weigh 160lbs and are 98.6 degrees, and you lay on the ground (billions of tons of mass) that is at 50 degrees, the ground will absorb your heat until balance is met. In other words you will slowly get colder, period.
In understanding the Zeroth Law we come to understand that basic principles of shelter construction are based on two ideas, small and insulated. If you have a small shelter that is well insulated your body will have an easier time heating it. If you have a large well insulated shelter your body has to give off more heat to heat the greater dead space. It is not always possible to build a fire so we have to think of our bodies as our primary heat source.
When considering style you should emulate the creatures that live in the wild. Think of their dens or shelters. What works for them? You should be thinking of burrows and dens that are almost cocoon like.
A few months ago I posted concerning the Leave No Trace Ethics, not only what they are but why they are valuable to adhere to. Well now you can take it a step forward.
Leave No Trace Master Educator Kristen Sherwood has began offering certification classes!! Whoo Hooo!! This is great news for all Front Rangers because we now have a new medium to get our information.
Please check out the Pikes Peak Leave No Trace homepage for more information.
When choosing a site for your shelter you need to take into account a few different things. Remember that you want the entrance of your shelter to be facing either east or south east (in the northern hemisphere). The coldest part of the day is usually just prior to dawn and that early morning sun will set you right. You also want to avoid due west facing due to the fact that the direction the predominate weather patterns travel in the U.S. is west to east. The last thing you want is to have a front blow through and your shelter to be turned into a wind tunnel!
You never want to set up your shelter in an area next to a water source. Place it a few hundred feet away. This will ensure you are out of the way should the area flood as well as keep you far a way from the heavy dew that usually settles on everything come early morning.
Make sure you find an area rich in shelter building materials. There is nothing worse than having to travel a great distance to find materials.