Monday, June 2, 2014

Skiing the Steep and Deep Spacewalk in Jackson Hole – Avery Stonich

Skiing the Steep and Deep Spacewalk in Jackson Hole – Avery Stonich

Rating: ****

In this article Avery Stonich writes about her thrilling experience backcountry skiing down the “Spacewalk” and the safety precautions that are necessary for extreme runs like this.

Avery had first gone to the Jackson Hole ski resort last year with her husband, and after an amazing experience skiing fast hard-pack under blue skies and a bright sun, she knew she had to come back again. This year the conditions were different though. 19 inches of snow meant there had been delays while the resort bombed the backcountry runs to clear snow buildup- a measure to prevent avalanches. The specific run they set out to do, the “Spacewalk” was only 12 feet wide and featured a slope of over 50 degrees in some sections. As a safety measure they hired a ski guide who knew the area well. They also carried beacons, shovels and probes for the worst case scenario. She says descending the slope was one of the most exhilarating things she’d ever done and the feeling of accomplishment and overcoming fear helped boost her confidence and build character. She’s already planning to return next year to conquer another part of the mountain.

This article was really interesting for me to read because I love skiing and I love being on the edge when I’m going down a run. Unfortunately because of where we live, I haven’t done any real backcountry skiing and am limited to glades and powdered sections of ski runs. She also mentions multiple times how important it is to have proper avalanche safety training. I’ve always looked at avalanches like freak accidents that you only hear about in the news, but this has helped me realise that they’re very real in the world of backcountry skiing. I hope one day to be able to go to Whistler or somewhere with some great backcountry skiing, but I’ll be sure to be well informed about the area and avalanche risks beforehand.

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