Backcountry Skiing and Injury
while i was out of town the wasatch had gotten hit with a dump! the internets was buzzing with how awesome this october treat was. full on powder skiing in october. photographer ian provo posted some absolutely stunning photos from the october shred session on mount superior. 3 weeks prior i had hiked superior.
here is his video from that day…
Provo Bros. shred Oct. 27 2010 Utah from Ian Provo on Vimeo
i was in seattle working with coaching clients and visiting friends while all this was going down. this obviously made me even more excited to get back to the satch. for november i’m lucky enough to live right on the slopes of brighton ski resort. this makes for an easy skin out the front door into the brighton backcountry. i found this warren miller segment on brighton that shows exactly why i’m excited…
also at my finger tips via twin lakes pass is the backcountry skiing near alta (emma ridge area). i simply skin up to twin lakes pass (40mins or so) and i’ve now got all the alta terrain and little cottonwood canyon at my finger tips.
upon arrival i figured i’d start skiing every day, regardless how crappy the conditions were. the first day i was just buzzing from being on skis. i ignored the lack of snowpack. as i skied down into brighton towards home at about 40mph a ski hit a covered rock. before i knew it i was double ejecting from my skis and rocketing into the ground. had there been another rock there, i would have been in trouble.
undeterred i figured i’d add 1,000 feet of uphill each day until i couldn’t take anymore. my sponsor mountain hardwear had sent me a new winter running jacket to wear test. the stoke just kept piling up and even though conditions weren’t good… i just had to get into the backcountry. the jacket is the perfect backcountry skinning jacket. here is a quick look of the mountain hardwear effusion, it’s coming out fall 2011.
the next day i learned a bit from my crash and kept it safer. i skinned up under the lift at brighton and found a secret stash off the top of the ridge. i had a great day, no issues. once up on the ridge however i got a birds eye view of mount wolverine’s bowl. from a far it looked perfect, wide open and completely untracked. i got my 2,000ft in for the day and figured i’d head out for wolverine the following day.
day 3 – with no new additional snow, i knew the skiing wouldn’t be very good… but i didn’t care. as long as i got 3,000 feet of climbing in and few turns. the route to get to mt wolverine on the brighton side includes climbing over mount millicent. this peak is essentially a rock pile. with just one storm having hit the wasatch so far the snowpack was low. no one had even been up millicent yet. boulders with death holes in between them that are lightly covered in snow is not exactly fun or smart. this pictures sort of shows what i was dealing with.
but i pressed on. figured in my mind it might toughen me up a bit and get me used to carrying my skis over sketch terrain. after a couple hours i arrived at mount wolverine. skinned right up to the high point, stripped my skins and shoved off. i was excited! i had never skied mt wolverine afterall and it appeared i’d be the first person this season to do so. i was skiing way faster than i should have been. i forgot to unlock my bindings. snow conditions varied wildly across the bowl. i crashed. hard. as i came to a stop i knew i had done something to my right knee. i screamed. what a “f’in idiot”. i’m left with a grade II mcl tear. best case scenario is 4-6 weeks. worst case is there is additional meniscus damage underneath.