backTurns All Year year-round skiing                

Year-round skier:  Skip Swenson




How I got started skiing year-round:  About 6 months after moving to Seattle in late 2000, I met and occasionally skied with two TAY posters with rather impressive streaks: Ron J and Mad Dog. Despite their cool-factor, I skied just 8-9 months a year for the first couple of years without much thought of extending beyond that. At one point, Jeanette suggested I post a trip I had made to Adams on TAY, the first I had heard of it, but I didnÕt follow-up. Then a couple of years ago something triggered the idea that having an endless season was something I needed to pursue; I set 12 months as a goal, just to do it. So it began. I've noticed that somewhere between then and now monthly turns became less a goal and more simply what I enjoy doing. If nothing else, it's added motivation to continually get up high. Add to the equation that there's little I'd rather do than ski, and even late summerÕs bulletproof suncups, rocks, and dirt somehow provide a good time.
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip:  Turns Š any kind, any amount. Some runs IÕve made didnÕt warrant a second one, so IÕm not one to count vertical.
Biggest threat to my streak:  A dismal lack of priorities: For a time, I was working so many hours that getting out for a day during certain months took a concerted effort. To resolve the matter, I quit my job. Of late, however, IÕve fallen victim to this trapping once again. This time grad school is the culprit. My friends give me an awful ribbing for it, which helps me get out even when I probably shouldnÕt; theyÕre good friends.
Type of equipment I use:  I ski randonnee in the backcountry, saving tele for the resorts. I have more fun at each as a result. As for my bc setup, I presently ski Dynafit TLT bindings on a pair of very beat-up Black Diamond MiraÕs.
Strategy for skiing through the low season:  Ron and Mad DogÕs secret stash on Mount RainierÉalong with everyone else.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips:  Worst: On an otherwise beautiful, bluebell day in April on the northeast side of Mt. Glory in Jackson Hole, I went over the handlebars rather abruptly after finding a pocket of sun crust. At some point in the process my fibula changed from 1 big piece to 3 smaller pieces, though that didnÕt become clear until much later that dayŃI just knew it hurt. As would stand to reason, my only serious ski injury came the one day I had decided to ski in the backcountry alone. After several failed attempts to ski out, I resorted to sitting on my skis and sledding out. What should have been a 15-minute ski down to Highway 22 turned into a 2.5-hour ordeal, capped off with a rather unpleasant posthole over and down a 10-foot plow line. Once out, I jumped in front of the first eastbound car and hitched a ride to Wilson, where my truck was parked, and then drove to the emergency clinic in Jackson. The only good luck of the day: I broke my gas pedal leg, not my clutch leg.
   Best: ItÕs a difficult question for me to answer, as thereÕs no one that stands out above the rest in all regards. The best trip snow-wise was probably last winter below Crown Point: the Casshole and I had waist-deep, Colorado powder all to ourselves, all afternoon. The best trip experience-wise, however, was probably the first time I climbed and skied Baker. It took us a little too long to get up it and there were a few too many people on top when we got there, but looking down the long road home from atop the Roman Wall was one of those moments IÕll long remember.





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