From legendary athletes to iconic product designers, activists to guides, our world is filled with new views, wisdom, determination and crustiness. This is the Backcountry Podcast.
Backcountry Magazine Contributing Editor Heather Hansman is a recovering ski bum. In her new book, Powder Days: Ski Bums, Ski Towns and the Future of Chasing Snow, Heather threads her own personal narrative—you know, the way she came to once call herself a ski bum—into the American story of ski bumming itself. It sounds so simple on the cover, as if any of us who’ve skied 100-plus days a year could relate. But in the context of today, we’re starting to question not only the future of ski bumming but its past. And Heather goes deep with skiing icons who’ve built a life around sacrificing for snow. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is brought to you by Minus33. For high-quality Merino Wool base layers, tops, gloves, socks, and more, go to Minus33.com and use 33BACKCOUNTRY15 at checkout to get 15% off your first order.
42 min 47 sec
Like most ski bums, legendary photographer Lee Cohen was only planning on skiing at Alta, Utah, for one season. Forty years later, he’s still there, shooting skiers in the Wasatch. Since his first image was published in the late ’80s in Powder, he continues to be one of the top shooters in the game. One of his favorite subjects is his son, Sam, himself a professional freeskier. It hasn’t always been easy for either of them: Sam admits he had to ski hard to get beyond the old man’s shadow. While their vocation is different, the canvas on which they ply that craft is the same. And they’re tight. If you didn’t know any better, they sound more like brothers than father and son. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by 10 Barrel Brewing Co. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution.
55 min 34 sec
A 22-year veteran avalanche forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center, Drew Hardesty doesn’t simply give the avalanche forecast for the greater Wasatch. He tells the snowpack’s story. He’s part scientist, part philosopher. Part skier, part poet. What other forecaster might relate a scene from Cormac McCarthy’s book The Crossing to a blown avalanche forecast? How many snow scientists were Naval Intelligence officers during Desert Storm or have received a federal Valor Award for aiding 17 lightning strike victims on the Grand Teton? Drew’s life experiences allow him to see the snow through different eyes. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by 10 Barrel Brewing Co. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution.
45 min 59 sec
In April, we reached out to gear and apparel manufacturers to get their take on what the coronavirus pandemic might mean to the outdoor industry. It ended up being our most listened to episode and, in response to the many calls for a follow-up, that’s just what we did. Joining host Adam “Howie” Howard are Thor Verdonk, Alpine Technical Product Director for Lange, Rossignol and Dynastar; Jason Levinthal, founder of Line and J-Skis; and Dan Abrams, cofounder of Flylow. How accurate were their prognostications from the spring? Tune in to find out. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by Majesty Skis America. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution.
47 min 45 sec
Like all mountain pros, Nancy Bockino has had a lot of gigs to make it all work. Unlike a lot of mountain pros, Nancy seems to do what she loves year-round. Based in Jackson, Wyoming, Nancy spends the winter ski guiding and teaching avalanche classes for Exum Mountain Guides in the Tetons. Come spring she’s off to the Eastern Sierra to ply her craft guiding alpine climbing and ski touring south of Mammoth for International Alpine Guides. Then, in the summer, she’s back in Jackson working as field ecologist in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wherever she goes, Nancy speaks to the trees. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by Majesty Skis America. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution. The Backcountry Podcast is also available on Apple, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher.
45 min 44 sec
No matter the job, Todd Walton’s work stumping for outdoor brands has never taken him far from backcountry terrain. As the executive director of Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA), Todd’s latest efforts focus on advocating for the very places and experiences he’s known throughout his career. Once a small, grassroots nonprofit focusing on the mountains around Sun Valley, Idaho, WWA today leads advocacy efforts in nearly every western state. In this episode, Todd dishes on WWA’s latest efforts, the Biden administration, “skiing kind” and the radical changes in winter recreation. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by Majesty Skis America. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution.
40 min 29 sec
November 20 was a sad day for the ski community. It was the day POWDER magazine officially halted operations after 49 years of production. It was a staggering turn for the magazine many feel influenced the sport like no other. Among those reflecting on the loss are former editor-in-chief Steve Casimiro, former associate editor Mike Rogge and former interns Ingrid Backstrom and Adam Howard. The four look into the crystal ball to see what the future looks like without POWDER. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by the Vermont Department of Tourism. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution.
46 min 14 sec
Powder, stoke, spines—they’re ski movie staples, but they don’t fully show what goes into a successful day in the mountains. Swedish filmmaker Bjarne Salén is changing that. As he captures Cody Townsend’s The Fifty, a project to ski all the lines in the heralded book 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America, Salén speaks up from behind the camera, giving insight into the role filmmakers play in skiing big lines and, in doing so, breaking down the imaginary fourth wall. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by the Vermont Department of Tourism. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution.
44 min 42 sec
What will backcountry ski travel look like this winter? How will the skiing economy deal with the uncertainty Covid-19 presents? Will trailheads be packed? (Yup!) Backcountry’s Adam Howard joins backcountry pioneer Andrew McLean, film star Mike Hattrup and freelance writer and editor Megan Michelson to discuss what Covid-19 means to the backcountry community and resorts grappling with a booming uphill scene. This episode of the Backcountry Podcast is sponsored by the Vermont Department of Tourism. It’s also possible thanks to support from our listeners—if you like what you hear and would like to hear more, please make a contribution.
53 min 32 sec
With supply chains throughout the world interrupted by the Covid-19 crisis, no industry has been left unaffected. And though we’re nearing skiing and riding’s offseason, even next season’s gear—whether that’s boots made in Italy, apparel made in China or skis made domestically—may be on the line. To get a perspective from across the globe and at home, with brands large and small, Adam Howard and Lucy Higgins speak with Thor Verdonk, global brand director of Lange, Dan Abrams, cofounder of Flylow Gear, and Jason Levinthal, the founder of Line Skis who now runs J Skis and 4FRNT.
48 min 1 sec
How have adventurers and adventures been impacted by the current Covid-19 pandemic? And what was it like for those out in the mountains when the crisis emerged? What about those who earn their livelihoods in the backcountry? In this episode, we go out there and back, connecting with Leavenworth, Wash.-based splitboarder Ryan Irvin, who has widely shared the story of his personal battle with coronavirus; photographer and writer Mary McIntyre, who was on a skiing and sailing expedition to Greenland when her ship was turned around by travel restrictions while halfway across the North Sea; and Chamonix-based guides Miles and Liz Smart, who’ve been on lockdown in France through the heart of their guiding season since the middle of March.
47 min 58 sec
These days, we’re seemingly looking at everything through the Covid-19 filter. Today, Backcountry’s Plan B Facebook Live Podcast looks at climate change with Bill McKibben, author, climate activist and founder of 350.org; Sam Killgore, communications manager at Protect Our Winters; and Dr. John Hausdoerffer, director of the Master in Environmental Management Program at Western Colorado University. Along with hosts Adam Howard and Lucy Higgins, they’ll consider what the global pandemic and the resulting economic crisis will teach us about carbon emission reduction.
44 min 44 sec
After a few weeks of adjusting to the new normal of social distancing and self isolation, host Adam Howard is joined by editor in chief Lucy Higgins to discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the backcountry community. Higgins and Howard chat with Nick Sargent, president of SIA (SnowSports Industries America), about the organization’s #curbyourturns social campaign; they’re also joined by Backcountry contributor Heather Hansman, who talks about her recent feature on mental health in the skiing community and how what she’s learned applies to NOT skiing during the COVID-19 crisis; and Dr. Brian Irwin, physician and medical advisor to the Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, discusses terrain closures in New Hampshire’s Tuckerman Ravine.
41 min 40 sec
OK, we’re bragging here, but the CEO of Icelantic interned at Backcountry Magazine in 2004. That was just after she earned degrees in Spanish and International Business from UVM and just before she started at a brand-new ski company with her high school friends in Colorado. Through Icelantic’s meteoric rise to near fall, Loevlie found her voice and learned how to make the tough calls.
57 min 18 sec
Dana Gleason retired a millionaire after selling his company, the legendary pack manufacturer Dana Designs, in the late ’90s. But he was adrift and having too much fun skiing powder to feel purpose. His daughter changed that with a simple request: build me a minimalist hip pack. Soon after Mystery Ranch was born, and it’s been going strong for 20 years. And, Dana’s still crazy!
1 hr 8 min
From making avalanche probes in his Vancouver kitchen, Genuine Guide Gear founder Oliver Steffen has been at the forefront of a slew of trends in backcountry skiing. Known for clean, inspired design, G3 has been a leader in telemark bindings, probes, shovels, skins and, now, tech bindings. We talk to Steffen about the culture of innovation that keeps G3 hopping.
The iconic traverse between Blackcomb and Whistler, B.C. is a paradox. It’s super crowded near its entry and exit points, yet you still have to winter camp if you want to complete the multiday route. But with huts going in, will it be more popular than ever? Or more controlled? Filmmaker of the new movie Spearhead Seth Gillis shares his opinions.
46 min 2 sec
Like many of us, Canadian ski mountaineer Greg Hill is concerned about how his travels to the trailhead and around the world were contributing to climate change. So in 2017 he decided to realign his priorities and sold his F350 and his snow machine and got an electric car. The result was a short film and a changed man. [Photo] Anthony Bonello
Over his three-decade career in skiing, Mike Hattrup has worn many hats: Freestyle athlete, film star, product innovator, mountain guide. He’s also a hus- band and father. How has Hattrup kept it together for more than 30 years? A new knee helped. But mostly it’s been hard work and living on the cheap.
1 hr 3 min
When Olympic Downhiller Wiley Maple wrapped up the 2018 World Cup season, he and some in his Aspen gang called “The Freaks” went to Chamonix, France to scare themselves on some legendlines—badas- sery of the sort we fully approve. What kind of mind manages these wildly different forms of skiing? And, after his best friend and World Cup ski tech died suddenly this spring, would Maple sign up for more? [Photo] Wiley Maple
47 min 26 sec
When you think of Cody Townsend, you think TGR and Matchsticks star, Freeride World Tour podiumer and the dude who went straight down “The Crack” and into an otherworldly viral reality that landed him on broadcast morning shows. But then he read a book: 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America. Now he’s dumped the heli and bought some skins (OK, he got them for free) and has skied 20 lines of what promises to be a gooey, YouTubey feast. [Photo] Anthony Bonello
59 min 18 sec
Equal parts athlete, influencer and activist, Caroline Gleich has changed the way we look at pro skiers. And, over her career, she’s changed the way she looks at herself. Unapologetically “open book,” Gleich dishes on putting up with social media trolls, wedding-day stress, the Trump administration and recovering from injury.
46 min 24 sec