Thanks largely to COVID-19, backcountry skiing promises to be bigger than ever this year. This is hardly a surprise. In the backcountry, there’s no social distancing, capacity limitations, or reservation requirements. You don’t need an EPIC or an IKON pass.
In the world of skiing, Elyse Saugstad stands on one of the highest peaks. Winner of the Freeride World Tour in 2008 and recipient of the Best Female Performance Award at the Powder Awards in 2013, she was also named one of the Top 50 Women in Action Sports by ESPN in 2014.
US avalanche deaths have climbed steeply since 1990 as new gear has become available for backcountry travel. Until then, avalanches rarely claimed more than a handful of lives each season in records going back to 1950. The deaths of the past weekend bring the total avalanche deaths this year to 24.