One of the great things about the NonStop course is that they don’t only help you to become a much better skier but the help you to really experience life in the mountains. They offered a wide variety of other activities for us to do, including Cat Skiing, Cross country, Winter Camping, day and weekend trips, and many more.
I was really keen to try and do a backcountry trip, so when I saw that on the list of activities, I was in! For those of you who don’t know what a backcountry trip is let me explain. In search of some awesome snow and a great experience you can venture into the mountains in winter outside of the ski resort boundaries.
Since you are now in the vast wilderness, there is no avalanche control like in a ski resort. Therefor you need to carry extra equipment to rescue each other in case of an avalanche. There is also no lifts to take you up the mountain again, so instead you have to attach ‘skins’ to the bottom of your skies, which allows you to walk up the mountain. You also have special bindings that allow you to lift your heal.
We had a fun day! It began with our guide, Steve, meeting us at the rental shop at Fernie Alpine Resort. We then took the Timber Chair lift to the top and crossed over the resort boundary. We were now in the backcountry. We stopped to play with the equipment first, by learning to put the skins on our skies and how to walk with them.
Now it was time to walk a little way so we can have our first run down. It was more challenging than I thought to zigzag up the mountain, I even had one nice fall doing it. The snow pack is obviously deep and not compacted at all, so you can disappear deep into the snow if you fall. After about 30 minutes of walking up, we took the skins off and had a fantastic run down a nice bowl.
The skiing was awesome. At the bottom it was time to put the skins on again and walk back up, we got two more great runs in before it was time to head home. Understanding the avalanche risk factors are key when you leave the resort boundaries, and Steve gave a great intro in understanding this complex subject.
It was great fun! Steve was an awesome guide, and I would love to do a backcountry trip again! Thanks Steve and thanks NonStop for arranging it!