Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Backcountry skiing leads New York Times Travel ski section

Sunday's NYT travel section was devoted to skiing and the lead story, Finding Bliss in Avalanche Country, British Columbia was all about the backcountry in the Canadian Rockies. Talk about a shift. A few years ago, backcountry skiing was way too fringe to ever land on the pages of the Times. If elite readers were going to plan a ski vacation around the undeveloped north, it would have to include helicopters and snowcats. No more.

Though numbers are hard to come by, because there are no lift tickets to count, backcountry skiing is booming, driven by lighter, better gear and crowds at ski resorts.

Of course, the downside came out in New York Times story. The writer and his friend arrived at their destination only to discover the avalanche danger was too high to ski. They had to stay in a hotel, drinking beer in the hot tub instead. It's the backcountry equivalent of waiting in a lift line... and sometimes you have to wait for days.

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