It’s March and spring ski season is on the horizon! As the weather starts to warm up, we’re looking forward to bluebird days in the skin track.
One year ago, we entered our first quarantine experience with no idea of what was to come. Backcountry areas were predicted to see mass turnout, user conflict, accessibility issues, and problems with human waste for the rest of spring. Outdoor organizations and businesses alike emphasized education for new users and patience from experienced users. Codes of ethics, like our Ski Kind campaign and #RecreateResponsibly, were created at local and national levels for all outdoor activities and all kinds of adventurers.
The mountains teach us to lean into our challenges with curiosity, openness, care, and compassion. The last year of challenge after challenge has shown us that you, our Alliance community, continues to be curious, open, caring, and compassionate.
Every spring, conditions are variable due to warmer weather and this season’s weak snowpack has already demonstrated the need for caution for all backcountry travelers. More than ever, we hope you continue to stay safe and #SkiKind.
And if you find yourself in the skintrack wondering how to protect these wild winter landscapes, consider joining our Alliance by donating or becoming a member to support our work for the long-term. Discover how you can give back(country) today to help protect the places of refuge we all know and love.
Whether you’re an ice climber, skier, splitboarder, snowshoer, or however you enjoy winter: thank you for being here.
-Winter Wildlands Alliance
The Rise of Snow Rangers
A report from the Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) forecasted a 29% increase in participation for winter outdoor activities this season, but with so many new users getting out into the backcountry, land managers are already struggling to keep impacts in check. User conflict, safety issues, parking and human waste are just a few of the most acute.
Enter: Snow Rangers.
It Take a Snow Village
Tucked among the stout pines and firs on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe is a large yurt surrounded by miles of Nordic trails. In a normal year, hundreds of local K-12 students make the trek to this yurt from their schools and classrooms at the nearby Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. This is Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships’ Winter Discovery Center, one of over 70 Winter Wildlands Alliance SnowSchool sites across the North American snowbelt.
The Importance of Wilderness for Snow Science
NASA’s SnowEx program relies on wilderness areas for their research. From WWA Ambassador and SnowEx scientist, HP Marshall: “Non-motorized areas are important because the satellite approaches are sensitive to snow disturbance. There are huge undisturbed areas we need to map that feed the reservoirs in the West, and so we need undisturbed areas that have reasonable human-powered access, to allow us to perform snow observations with all of our equipment.”
February 2021 Policy Update
Avalanche safety, Protect America’s Wilderness Act Plus, and Secretary of the Interior Confirmation Hearing.
Submit to Backcountry Film Festival
Did you know we accept films year-round? We’re always looking for stories of outdoor stewardship, grassroots policy and advocacy work, backcountry adventure, and snow cinema by human-powered advocates, athletes, brands, activists, adventurers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Wild Winter Gear: ON SALE!
Whether you’re looking for YETI products that benefit wild winters directly or a new trucker hat for your upcoming ski tour: we’ve got something for everyone. Check out our spring sale and get wild!
Wild Winter Events
Our Backcountry Film Festival virtual tour season is coming to a close. Have you watched yet? No worries – our national screening is still available and directly benefits our policy and advocacy work as well as our support for grassroots groups around the country. Watch today!
Every week, our friends at Bluebird Backcountry, host Disco Fridays! If you live near Steamboat Springs, CO, go check it out and get your disco on. And check out their main events page for even more fun. Bluebird blends the convenience of a ski area (lessons, rentals, and ski patrol) with the expertise of a guide service (avalanche courses and guided out-of-bounds experiences) with the best of the backcountry.
“Bring it on and @ski_kind.”
See more at our Instagram profile.