backTurns All Year year-round skiing                

Year-round skier:  Bob Wiebe




How I got started skiing year-round:  I have been backcountry skiing for over 20 years.However, apart from doing the odd summer X-C ski daytrip to Mt.Baker, I had never really considered making it an all year hobby until 2004.The winter of 03/04 was probably my most satisfying "ski season" ever because I had pushed my limits in spite of an aging body.At 53 I am doing things on skis that I would never have considered at 43. In the spring I met up with Mark Harfenist (a regular submitter to this site) and he mentioned rather casually that he did not let the season prevent him from skiing. I thought, "Ya, right! Why should I stop doing something that I enjoy and is a big part of my persona?" The idea really intrigued me. Not only would I be a telemarker (a rather finite species), but a telemarker who does it all year. Twenty years ago I met a fellow, who I believe was one of the first owners of Coast Mountain Sports in Vancouver. I remember him saying that he skied all year and thinking that was someone who I could feel comfortable buying stuff from.A lot has changed since then, but I still think that it is pretty cool to be able to say that I have skied every month of the year.
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip:  The primary goal of a ski trip is to make turns in the snow. Sounds pretty simple; but I wouldn't consider putting my skis on to play on a neighbourhood hill or a roadside snow patch a ski trip.One way or another, you have to earn those turns.
Biggest threat to my streak:  September is probably the cruelest month of the year. Unless you get an unusual dump like we did this year, the old snow is mighty scarce and ugly. I still had to hike a few miles to find a hill that had retained enough ice so that the new snow had some base. The photos that I have included are from this trip to the Coleman Pinnacle along the Ptarmigan Ridge. The first threat to my meager streak was the 3 week vacation that I took in July when I neglected to bring ski equipment.
Type of equipment I use:  For the last 2 years I have used World Piste tele skis with G3 bindings most of the time. I wear Scarpa T2s (2000 model). I have just invested in Havocs, 7Tm bindings and Syner-g-fit boots.
Strategy for skiing through the low season:  Turns-all-year.com became part of my daily routine this year. I tried networking with other enthusiasts, but ultimately I went when I could and when there was snow to be found. Because of it's proximity, the Mt.Baker area was the obvious destination for many of my trips. I did consider Mt.Rainier and the Garibaldi area, but things never did come together.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips:  What is it that they say?..."A bad day of skiing is better than a good day at work". We all tend to forget about the blisters, the fog, the rain, the ice, etc. My September trip to the Coleman Pinnacle probably gave me the least amount of enjoyable turns for the amount of energy expended. A Garibaldi Neve trip in May, 1996 was my most adventurous ski trip, while a May, 1998 overnighter to Camp Muir had the most continuous turns.
Skiing activities in the past year:  I had a Wednesday night pass at Cypress Bowl, which was an unofficial telenight. I also lift skied at Mt.Baker, Stevens Pass, Whistler, Mt. Seymour, and Mt. Cain. I attended the Telefests at the last two mountains. I am a lover of the great outdoors, but I do love to get in as many turns as possible in a day....20,000+ feet of turns vs 5,000 feet in the backcountry is a hard equation to ignore. With the closure of the lifts in April, the Mt.Baker environs supplied most of the runs (and climbs).





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