Utahns Meet to Discuss Park City Ridgline Development
South Monitor Bowl, one of the three areas that may receive further protection under the Mountain Accord Agreement. [Photo] Mark White
PARK CITY, UTAH. The Summit County Council met this past Wednesday to discuss the fate of 600 acres of Forest Service land along the Park City ridgeline. The meeting focused on the question of whether the roughly 600 acres of Forest Service land should be included in the Mountain Accord Designation of Federal Lands and receive extra protection in addition to what the Forest Service already provides. The proposed measures would limit further development of roads, ATV trails, chairlifts and trams on the land, which includes Dutch Draw, Monitors and Murdock Peak, several popular backcountry skiing zones. “Roughly a dozen people spoke and all of them were in favor of adding the extra protection except for the three commercial interests, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort (Vail/Canyons) and The Colony,” says Park City local and ski mountaineer Andrew McLean. No firm decision about the ridgeline was made at the meeting, but the general consensus, with the exception of the resorts, was in favor of implementing extra protective measures. Read more about the disputed ridgeline here and a recap of the council meeting here.
Winter Wildlands Grassroots Advocacy Conference Kicks off
Winter Wildland Alliance holds 6th Grassroots Advocacy Conference in Golden, Colo. [Photo] Jay Beyer
GOLDEN, COLO. Athlete and AMGA guide Donny Roth gave a keynote speech to kick off the Winter Wildands Alliance’s sixth Grassroots Advocacy Conference at Golden, Colo.’s American Alpine Club Mountaineering Center on Thursday, June 18. “The overall purpose is to get people excited about winter travel,” says Hilary Eisen, WWA’s recreation planning coordinator. The weekend-long extravaganza includes discussions regarding the Forest Service’s newOver-Snow Vehicle Rule, the use of maps as advocacy tools and defining a set of ethics for backcountry travelers. The conference will focus in particular on the Forest Service’s new rule for over-snow vehicle use, which was released this January and requires that Forest Service land managers create specific designations for trails, roads and areas where over-snow vehicles are permitted on National Forest Land. Read more about the conference here, and find a full agenda for the event here.
Five-Hour Rescue after Skier Falls Near Beartooth Pass
Rescue personnel securing injured man into a rescue basket during a 5-hour rescue mission on Sunday, June 14 near Beartooth Pass, Mont. [Photo] Courtesy KRTV.com
BILLINGS MONT. Red Lodge Fire Rescue and the Carbon County Sheriff’s office rescued a 21-year-old man who sustained serious injuries after crashing on the Gardner Headwall, a well-known backcountry zone near Montana’s Beartooth Pass. The young skier accidentally skied into a rock, causing him to fall a significant distance into a tight crevasse where his lower leg was severely injured. Because of heavy fog, rescuers were unable to use a helicopter. Instead, rescuers were lowered to the site of the injury in a rescue basket and they, along with the injured man, were hauled up in the basket using ropes. After a five-hour rescue, the man was taken to Beartooth Hospital. Luckily, the man was wearing a helmet during the crash and is expected to recover. Read more about the rescue mission here.
Like gear for any snow condition, there’s beer for every occasion. So this year, we organized our annual beer review by where and when our panel of home brewers, beer aficionados and a certified beer judge would prefer to drink them. The format is simple: Skintrack beers are lower in ABV and sessionable, Parking Lot/Après brews are satisfying anytime, anywhere (but particularly after skiing), and Hut to Hut beers include those special, high-ABV drinks worth a coveted spot in your pack. Then again, no matter where or how you drink these, they’ll taste good. Here are our favorites from this year’s mountain-town craft beer test.
Left to right: Lost Nation’s Lamoille Bretta, Eylsian’s Space Dust IPA and Telluride Brewing Company’s Bridal Veil India Pail Ale
Like skiing with a local, Space Dust doesn’t just hit the spot, it hits <ITAL>all the spots. One tester appreciated the “nice touch of caramel, floral hops and citrus on the first pour.” Another said, “Fruity hops explode up front then great bitterness sets in for the long haul.” “Malt supports but never interferes with the dry hop finish that leaves a lingering, pleasant aftertaste,” he added.
+ Lasting balance. Telemarkers’ choice. – The aroma is fleeting. = The flavor will last all the way home.
To craft a brew that’s universally praised by testers, Lost Nation uses Brettanomyce, a common microbe used to sour beer. Testers took note, and one found “an intoxicating aroma of Brett, light cloves and citrus.” Summarized another, “Light, malty forefront followed by light bitterness finishing to delicious waves of Brett flavor and a James Brown amount of funk that still drinks smoothly.”
+ Funky but still accessible to the non-funky. – None. = A mid-ABV beer worth hauling into the hut.
An exceptional rye pale, Bridal Veil’s spiciness and hops meld into a sensation not of alcohol but of mouthwatering beer flavor. One tester loved the “dank floral hops and nice malt aroma,” while another mentioned the “spiciness of the rye had a pleasant sharpness that was well balanced with the hop flavors.” “The great spice flavor doesn’t linger, washing to a clean bitterness,” another concluded.
+ Pleasantly sharp flavors from the nose to the aftertaste. – Almost too bitter. = A spicy pale ale with plenty of character.
White, Hinchcliffe and Soderquist claim first descent of the north face off Capitol Peak
Colter Hinchcliffe carves down the north face of Capitol Peak (14,130 ft.) in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. [Photo] Jordan White
ELK MOUNTAINS, COLO. On Thursday, June 4, Aspen locals Jordan White, Colter Hinchcliffe and Riley Soderquist claimed the first descent of the north face off Capitol Peak in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. The trio ascended the 14,130 ft. peak and then skied 2,530 vertical ft. from the summit to Capitol Lake, completing three rappels along the way. “It was a 60-degree pitch. It had cliff bands, and you’re skiing over incredibly gnarly exposure. For one, you’re not allowed to fall on it,” said White about the high-stakes line in an interview with Backcountry earlier this week. Just before the final rappel—which measured around 400 ft.—Hinchcliffe lost hold of a ski, sending it catapulting over the cliff. This runaway ski mishap is part of the reason the team decided to name the line “Peg Leg.” Thankfully, the trio had already completed the line’s hairiest skiing, and only had to rappel down the last cliff band to ski out. To hear more about the group’s adventure, read our Q&A with Jordan White.
Forgotten Avalanche Explosives Trigger Bomb Scare
A member of the Unified Fire Authority bomb squad investigates a suspected explosive device found on Monday, June 8. [Photo] Courtesy The Salt Lake Tribune
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, UTAH. This past Monday, a package containing a suspected explosive device was found in the parking lot of the U.S. Forest Service building in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Police closed traffic at 3000 East and 6900 South to investigate the suspected package. A little after noon, police reported the area was safe, and reopened the roads. According to Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Corbett Ford, the package was actually just an explosive device used for avalanche control, accidentally left by a mountain employee. Read more about the bomb scare in The Salt Lake Tribune.
ALTA, UTAH. This past Tuesday, the Utah Avalanche Center published its 2015 Annual Report, which offers a comprehensive overview of the 2014-2015 season including avalanche incidents and accidents, information about where to access snow reports and information about avalanche education opportunities. According to Bruce Tremper, director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center, Alta saw record high temperatures for the season, and record low snowfall for the year, with only 267.5 inches accumulating between November 1st and April 30th. “But the good news,” wrote Tremper on the Utah Avalanche Center’s blog, “Utah had only one fatality instead of the average of four. We had 116 unintentional, human triggered avalanches reported to us, 26 people caught in avalanches and 3 injured. Nationally avalanche deaths were down as well with 11, well under the average of close to 30.” Read the Utah Avalanche Center’s 2015 Annual Report here.
Avalanche Rabbit Goes Viral
Professional snowboarder, David Carrier Porcheron, escapes a slide while filming in Kamchatka, Russia, just as the infamous rabbit dives in [Photo] Courtesy Daily Mail
KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA. Adventure tourism company Heliport was shooting a promotional video on the Vilyuchinsk Volcano on the eastern peninsula of Kamchatka, Russia, when an avalanche came barreling down the slope, nearly taking out Canadian snowboarder David Carrier Porcheron. Carrier Porcheron skillfully maneuvered out of the slide, but just as he did so, a small rabbit hopped headfirst into the brunt of the avalanche. “DCP [David Carrier Porcheron] was riding and caused an avalanche when this crazy rabbit came in our shot,” said a Heliport spokesperson. Only after the incident, while reviewing footage, did the film crew notice the rabbit dashing through the slide, so they set the footage to music, and the video has since gone viral. Watch the video here.
Next week, Winter Wildlands Alliance will host their sixth Grassroots Advocacy Conference at Golden, Colo.’s American Alpine Club Mountaineering Center. The conference will include discussions regarding the Forest Service’s new Over-Snow Vehicle Rule, the use of maps as advocacy tools and defining a set of ethics for backcountry travelers. The conference begins on Thursday, June 18, and runs through the weekend.
“The overall purpose is to get people excited about winter travel,” says Hilary Eisen, WWA’s recreation planning coordinator. Eisen adds that this will be the largest Grassroots Conference WWA has ever hosted, both in terms of attendance and the conference’s scope.
The conference’s primary focus is the Forest Service’s new rule for over-snow vehicle use. The rule, released in late January, requires that Forest Service land managers develop specific designations for trails, roads and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur on National Forest Land.
“This new rule is a pretty big opportunity for Winter Wildlands and the organizations we work with,” Eisen says, “and this conference is important for getting the word out.” Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief of the Forest Service, will present on the new rule, along with representatives from various forests and snowmobile organizations.
Other topics for the event include a panel discussion on engaging local backcountry communities, using maps as advocacy tools and developing backcountry ethics. Athlete and AMGA guide Donny Roth will kick off the conference with a keynote address on Thursday night.
Learn more about the conference and registration here, and find a full agenda of the event here.