There’s an illicit and secret connotation in the expression, “The Goods.” It’s as if anything that is really good must somehow be too good to be true, in other words, wrong.
Winter has finally arrived and my backyard, Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, is ripe for getting “The Goods.” There’s nothing better, nothing more complete, and nothing more right, than ski mountaineering.
I learned how to ski when I was 17, straight off the YMCA bus, schooled in hard knocks and anything goes.
Free-heeling was the rage; and for years I got more face shots from falling on my face than I got from powder turns.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid 40’s and serious about guide certification that I finally fixed my heel, thus fixed my face-plant problem, and found my calling.
I love climbing mountains but non-technical descents are not very enjoyable.
I’ve found with skiing, I can dance with gravity on the descent, linking turns with the wind in my face. And, cut the time down in less than half!
Ski mountaineering makes what was already fun, more fun, and in large part adds a degree of safety. I’m more nimble. I can move through terrain faster and more efficiently. This broadens my scope of possibility and minimizes my exposure to hazards.
But what I love most about skiing is that that it requires digging deeply. From just getting started, all the way to ski mountaineering, backcountry skiing encompasses big picture stuff like weather, avalanche hazard, communication, and technical skill. It requires homework. You don’t just show up when you go skiing.
Which is why I couldn’t be more stoked that Chicks has rounded out its mountain sports collective with backcountry ski basics, avalanche courses and ski mountaineering for a full line up the mountain and more fun on the way back down.
See ya on the slopes!
Angela Hawse, Co-owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, IFMGA Mountain Guide