As this ‘Rona influenced ski season continues to roll on, so far smoother than expected, there has been an unprecedented surge in backcountry travel. With many first time skinners hitting the trails, it’s as important as ever to be prepared for the journey ahead. While the backcountry can offer up incredible rewards, it is also an entirely different beast than resort skiing. There are no dedicated, kind and helpful patrollers to help you get out of a sticky situation, or to assist with an injury or block off dangerous areas. It’s all up to you as the careful but confident skier and outdoors person that you are. Much of what goes on in the backcountry requires the knowledge of what to do, but equally as important is the knowledge of what NOT to do. Sometimes this can be even more helpful, as it can point you in the direction of good habits by crossing off the bad. It can be very confusing to know what might be a positive or negative decision making choice, clothing option, or even packing routine. Lucky for us, Arc’teryx is here to outline all the dos and do nots of the backcountry with three bite-sized videos. With the help of Katie Burrell’s never-ceasing wit, these entertaining and, most importantly, very enlightening videos will give you plenty to consider and implement on your next backcountry excursion.
First up we have the cool, calm and collected Izzy Lynch giving us some important information on how to properly prioritize oneself while on a backcountry adventure. From masterfully planned out layering techniques, to a bountiful assortment of well thought-out nutritional snacks, Izzy gives us plenty to take into account when it comes to making sure you are comfortable and able to perform at your best. Meanwhile, Katie makes it very clear what NOT to bring when it comes to nourishment, and how to avoid wearing your clothes in “runway style” as opposed to optimal function. Obviously, we all want to look our best—look good, ski good after all—but when you’re in an environment that forces you to act quickly, it’s always best to put function over fashion.
To help us adequately manage our backpack essentials, the great and powerful Joey Vosburgh shows the way. When out in backcountry it is imperative to have all the tools you could possibly need ready at a moments notice. Joey has all you could need and more, and he goes through it all for us. It’s always tough to think before hand of what one might need in a situation that hasn’t happened yet, so a video like this can be especially helpful to assist with preparing for a scenario you might have not yet encountered.
Last but certainly not least, we have the man, the myth, the legend, the always wise and contemplative Greg Hill, AKA 2 Mill Hill, with some brilliant advice on how to keep the mental in check. These are arguably the most important pieces of information. All your prepared tools are useless without a composed and ready mindset that can rationally and calmly evaluate and ultimately choose when to huck it and when to say f*ck it. Greg guides us through the big four mental characters that are constantly chalking it up when in the backcountry; the Detective, the Lover, the Yogi, and the Warrior. All serve a very beneficial purpose, but only in their distinct areas of expertise. Evaluating snow pack conditions with a Warrior mindset instead of the Detective will probably not be for the better. Of course, we all have the easily distractible and minimal knowledge side, portrayed perfectly by Katie. When all else falters, a dedicated mind will succeed when material tools fail.
Hopefully, these videos have provided useful tid-bits of information that will leave you that much more prepared on your next journey. With a better understanding of packing, layering, mindfulness and, of course, what NOT to do when it comes to each of those key components, you will be that much safer out in the wild. While it’s important to remember that the risks are never completely eliminated, a little extra knowledge can’t hurt.