backTurns All Year year-round skiing                

Year-round skier:  Ben Hatchett




How I got started skiing year-round:  The moment skis were attached to my feet, it was all over, or, should I say, it all began!
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip:  I use Lou Dawson's definition of 'glisse' on snow; pretty much any linked glissed turns count, though I have not had to use any method other than skis yet. When you ski year-round without going north of 38 degrees N latitude, you can't be too picky!
Biggest threat to my streak:  A full body cast (knock on wood), meteoric impact, or completely forgetting what month it is (highly unlikely, but you never know).
Type of equipment I use:  I like to consider myself a true skier, meaning that I enjoy all types of skiing, and hence, all types of equipment. I primarily ski on a large-waisted atomic rando set-up or various atomic telemark skis, with a waxless setup with clamps for the occasional low angle forest tour and whatever skate skis are in the closet, but this in no way means that the 215 karhu xcd's sit idly in the back of the closet. All are fun. I'm really stoked on the blackdiamond sabertooth crampon for couloir climbing as well.
Strategy for skiing through the low season:  You must learn to love many miles of hiking for 3 turns, while everyone else cruises by on their mountain bikes wondering what the heck you are thinking, skiing in september. Get to know the patches that hold snow year round, and talk to the old timers who might have some words of wisdom for where the goods lie. Or, make friends with those who live in the northwest and ski all year, and make sure to time your visits so that they coincide with your local low-snow times.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips:  The best ski trip was a recent month long spring chuting sojourn along the east side of the sierra, which involved around 50000 vertical feet of the finest corn in the universe, 13 classic couloirs, azure skies second to none, days spent with friends and days solo, and a spring that will never be forgotten. If I had to pick a worst, which is hard to do, it would have to be the beginning of a tour that involved several miles of skating before i knew how to skate, and resulted in me being significantly slower than my friends, who kindly waited for the grommet to catch up and promptly asked them about teaching him how to skate. But the turns were good.
Skiing activities in the past year:  Over 200 days this season, about 130 in the backcountry, and still counting, the summer skiing is in fine form here in the central sierra, and the turns continue to be farmed just a 15 minute drive and an increasingly longer hike from my door.





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