Ski Season is Coming!

The snow has started to fly here in the Pacific Northwest! At the start of the week Crystal Mountain’s measuring stick was showing 9 inches of snow at the mid-point of the mountain, and resorts across the west coast are continuing to post similar updates and show photos of the progressions towards opening day on their Instagram accounts.

This year in particular Alex and I are extremely excited for ski season. While we don’t have season passes anywhere this year, we did purchase the Mountain Collective pass which basically gives us 2 ski days at around 10 resorts across North America {and one in South America}. We have plans to take advantage of this pass with a few ski trips this year, including a trip to Whistler, Utah {Snowbird, Alta, Snowbasin and maybe Park City} and Jackson Hole.

Alex is the proud owner of a new ski get-up. He wanted another set up to be able to mix and match with for all of the skiing we are planning on doing this year. I, too, will eventually get a new coat and pair of snow pants for the ski season, but will probably hold off for a little while.

Last week I signed up for a backcountry ski class that is so out of my comfort zone and really is a little bit crazy. Alex is pretty into backcountry skiing, which means skiing outside of the resort on un-controlled, un-groomed terrain. This has always freaked me out immensely because there is a serious danger of avalanches that you just don’t get when you ski in a resort. I am very un-educated on avalanche forecasting and the sheer nature of avalanches, so Alex has encouraged me to educate myself to see if that changes my opinion and makes me more comfortable around the scenario.

A while back as a very early Christmas gift, my dad bought us ABS {Air Bag System} backpacks. These ABS backpacks are like regular backpacks except if you pull on a cord, out pops an airbag {think of an airbag in your car}. The research that supports these ABS backpacks suggest they have a 97% success rate in avalanche safety – so that means if you are caught in an avalanche and use your ABS you have a 97% chance of surviving. What the airbag does is increase your size and helps you float to the top of the avalanche. It also helps protect your head from debris and trees that you could hit on the way down. Hopefully we will never have to pull the cord, but it is reassuring that we have the ABS backpacks in the event that we ever need them.

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That said, I will be joining seven other women and a couple instructors on a guided backcountry ski course in late January. The point of the course is literally to help women feel more comfortable about backcountry skiing and learn about group dynamics and decision making in the backcountry. So, you can see why I am intrigued. I think I am pretty open-minded, so I told Alex that I would be interested in taking the course to open my mind and educate myself about backcountry skiing and see what all the fuss is about.

Sooooo, now I have to get ready for this intensive 3-day ski trip. Alex found a screaming deal on a pair of skis last week and I conveniently already had a spare pair of alpine touring bindings to work with the new skis. Other than that I just need to read some avalanche safety materials, figure out how to use my new backpack and practice with the new skis. Oh, and get my legs ready for 3 days of climbing mountains on skis.

We have a big ski season ahead of us and can’t wait for the resorts to start announcing opening days… Hopefully Whistler will open early and start strong because that’s our first trip… Let it snow!!