One Step At A Time [PIQUE]

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van Veen, tobias c. 2013. "One Step At A Time: The Evolution of Backcountry Guiding in the Sea to Sky." PIQUE Newsmagazine 20.08, 21st February: 4049.


<p>SAR ReportsP.12</p> <p>PiqueCalP.82</p> <p>Night at the OperaP.72</p> <p>FREEYOUR HEELS</p> <p>The evolution of backcountry guiding in the Sea to Sky20.08</p> <p>February 21st, 2013</p> <p>|</p> <p>WHISTLERS WEEKLY NEWSMAGAZINE</p> <p>|</p> <p>TH I S</p> <p>Week I N P I Q U ELetters News Travel Sports Food Arts Music Pique Cal Classieds</p> <p>#103 -1390 ALPHA LAKE RD., FUNCTION JUNCTION, WHISTLER, B.C. V0N 1B1. PH: (604) 938-0202 FAX: (604) 938-0201</p> <p> Founding PublisherKATHY BARNETT</p> <p>PublisherBOB BARNETT -</p> <p>Chief Operating OfcerDARREN ROBERTS -</p> <p>EditorCLARE OGILVIE -</p> <p>Assistant EditorANDREW MITCHELL -</p> <p>Sales ManagerSUSAN HUTCHINSON -</p> <p>Production ManagerANJA WERNER -</p> <p>Advertising RepresentativesLISA RICHARDSON - KATE WHITLEY - ANDREW DALY -</p> <p>40C O VER STO R Y</p> <p>8 12 50 52 62 66 72 82 85</p> <p>One step at a timeThe evolution of backcountry guiding in the Sea to Sky. - By tobias c. van Veen</p> <p>ProductionJON PARRIS - LINDSEY ATAYA - KARL PARTINGTON - REBECCA</p> <p>COVER: This piece is inspired by vintage ski posters. A classic take on a modern theme. Just as ExtremelyCanadian is exploring new avenues inspired by old ideas. - Olivier Roy</p> <p></p> <p>Arts and EntertainmentALYSSA NOEL -</p> <p>Reporters</p> <p>WE E KL Y FE A TU R ES</p> <p>ANDREW MITCHELL - ALISON TAYLOR - JOHN FRENCH - CATHRYN ATKINSON -</p> <p>12 52 66</p> <p>SAR CALLS ARE UP AND MORE SERIOUSOrganizations annual report outlines importance of service.</p> <p>Classieds &amp; Promotions CoordinatorKATHRYN ELDER -</p> <p>Circulation &amp; ReceptionTINA MASTERSON -</p> <p>SKI CROSS TEAM TAKES THREE PODIUMS IN SOCHI Best result this season for team.Improv collective The Fictionals bring their brand of comedy to Dustys.</p> <p>AccountingGRACE BLOK -</p> <p>WebmasterKARL PARTINGTON</p> <p>ON THEIR TOES HIGH ART</p> <p>ContributorsG.D. MAXWELL, JACK CHRISTIE, MICHEL BEAUDRY, COAST MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHY, GLENDA BARTOSH, JACK SOUTHER, MICHAEL ALLEN, FEET BANKS, LESLIE ANTHONY, DAWN GREEN, LYNN MARTEL, ANTHONY GISMONDI, VINCE SHULEY</p> <p>Pique Newsmagazine is an independently owned and operated weekly newspaper serving Whistler. 16,500 copies are distributed to over 130 locations in Whistler and to over 200 locations from Vancouver to Darcy. The entire contents of Pique Newsmagazine are copyright 2013 by Pique Publishing Inc. No portion may be reproduced in whole or in part by any means, including electronic retrieval systems, without the express written permission of the Publisher. In no event shall unsolicited material subject this publication to any claim or fees. Copyright in letters and other (unsolicited) materials submitted and accepted for publication remains with the author but the publis her and its licensees may freely reproduce them in print, electronic or other forms. Letters to the Editor must contain the authors name, address and daytime telephone number. Maximum length is 250 words. We reserve the right to edit, condense or reject any contribution. Letters reect the opinion of the writer and not that of Pique Newsmagazine.</p> <p>72 12 82 66</p> <p>Vancouver violinist launches his Music at Whistler project.</p> <p>Its time to enjoy a Night at the Opera and celebrate the anniversaries of both Wagner and Verdi at Millennium Place on Saturday. On Sunday take the kids on a nature walk with AWARE, enjoy basket weaving at the Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre, then watch the Fire and Ice show in the evening. Something for everyone!</p> <p>PIQUE CAL</p> <p>ISSN #1206-2022 Subscriptions: $45/yr. within Canada, $125/yr. to USA, $75/yr. first class mail within Canada. GST included. GST Reg. #R139517908. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #40016549.</p> <p>4 | February 21, 2013 |</p> <p>82</p> <p>40 Feature</p> <p>ONE STEP at a TIMEeith Read is patiently pla in one foot in d ly p placing n front of the other, climbing his way up the powdery slope, on o he , h der lope e, passing by scraggly Christmas trees at the glorious rate of b ra gly ris ee a us te a few hundred steps an hour. The wind whips o overhead, ur. w w ov d sending a sugary mist of snow cascading from the treetops. g m f di g f m t Above the muted green of the alpine forest is the electric th muted d p t ct grey sky. We are b a huddled bunch out in the wild, slowly y. W e but dd unc h ld making our way in the cold world of the Whistler backcountry m y ld o th W tle d Wh er y with guide outt Extremely Canadian. a ad adi The climb is perfection incarnate a wheelchair ramp b na incline, with wide, perfect switchbacks. As the president of the h wi pe p s s Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and the lead f di ui h guide and program supervisor with Extremely Canadian, Read m h d now 52 and skiing since he was three is the master of efcient nc aste cie travel and movement in the backcountry. Under his belt is a mo ov bac U s repertoire of skills, from a things switchbacks and kic turns to kick e ki m all i backs crevasse rescue and wilderness rst aid. But above all stands the s Bu e ACMG motto: to s serve th public. His g the A MG s gentle demeanour belies an intense de depth o knowledge and experience drawn from some epth of wle om 49 years of skiing. Every second of a lifetime spent guiding rock, 4 kii g ery d fe me alpine, and skiing in the mountains has been subtly shaped into lpi pin sk n this meditative walk up and out of the Oboe drainage. Over the ku ut e Ob Ob nage course of an hour or so, we wind our way up and out of the f wi a d he h valley to the Flute col. all We are on skis, with climbing skins clamped to tip and tail, wi ns lam ip our touring bindings unlocked and our heel risers up. We are part di u ed is p W re of a growing legion of foot-propelled backcountry travellers who ng y tra are returning to the r s of th sport: before chairlifts, machineroots of the ar h cut runs, and restaurant-to-restaurant c e ca there we skiers cable cars, were ers ru s, a re w on long, waxed, wooden planks, skinning up hills and schussing w ,w ph sin back down. In this simple fact, little has changed, which explains ck nt im something of the allure of the backcountry. Its certainly not et ly about some faux adrenaline rush from ducking th ropes; the in sh fr u h backcountry travel has nothing to do with being a daredevil. ou t n ng Though there are unfortunately a growing number of newcomers h i com m who duck ropes without the knowledge, training, or equipment e an issue t this article will grapple with by e emphasizing t that t app users should get trained and hire a guide the majority of h ui t ma f travellers are educated and aware, and moreover, considerate de and thoughtful in regards to the consequences of their actions. que Once out in th untrammelled wild, its all about simply putting the h lle ou one foot forward in front of the other, taking in the alpine air, fo t nt ai gazing with a critical eye on the terrain, making careful and m ma an responsible decisions using the right tools and knowledge and esp i then letting it all come together in the mindless moment that ll c he ha</p> <p>The evolution of backcountry guiding in the Sea to SkyStory and photos by tobias c. van Veen</p> <p>is the descent. Backcountry travel is a reective endeavour that kc e ende o culminates in the gestalt of powder goodness and this is what h es po ss t wh it means to take part in the evolution of ski culture as it rewires ure the clock by combining the benets of mechanization liftth bi g he on ftaccess to the high alpine with the p pace of self-propelled travel. ce g opel l ll vel</p> <p>The mutant offspring he known as the ski gu o ski guidoWith our touring boots set to walk mode for ease of motion, g et we are able to tromp our way up the track that Read has e ac ack a t d established, glid gliding on the atter bits, stair-climbing when is its ir mb b n it gets a tad steeper. Keith has his layers stripped, sunglasses ng gla on, and is using his poles to pack down user-friendly corners. n erExpending h caloric ca his i cache at a tremendous rate, Read end demonstrates what he means when he says that being a guide stra ra hat e t ng i means being a life-long athlete. Thanks to his efforts, the rest o h ffo er of us are scarcely breaking a sweat, following in his footsteps, y ep , taking in the vie talking ab view, about the beers well down wh when iew rs h he</p> <p>40 | February 21, 2013 |</p> <p>Feature STO R Y</p> <p>complete. But Read, he is sweating and mo d moving and ga gazing up at the slope, trying to ascertain the path of least resistance op i sc n a and of the highest margin of safety. f ety Such is the labour of a professional mountain guide: lead the r p fes i ai ead way; break trail; ascertain and manage risk; do so with an eye to kt ge the clients desires and abilities (or lack thereof); and above all, bi iti bili with an effortless grace and calm th pays ultimate respect to that ay fo the mountains. But there are two traits that are becoming newly t mo B s that n emphasized in the ACMG repertoire: objective-based guiding, ed A iv with an emphasis o goal-based touring (as distinct from the touring is on s routine of mechanized guiding at helicopter/snowcat operations); nize o ; and backcountry coaching, with a focus on teaching backcountry an nt th s ea ntr tr travel skills, and at the more advanced levels, managing complex a eve and challenging terrain such as couloirs, steep chutes, and longg ter h s utes, a haul tours.</p> <p>Deep snow drifts and crisp cold wind on the backside of Flute.</p> <p> | February 21, 2013 | 41</p> <p>Feature ST ORYRocks? What rocks? Chad leading the charge into salt and pepper territory.</p> <p>Canada has a rather unique guiding certication; unlike other countries, the ACMG breaks up what is elsewhere a unied program into the disciplines of ski, rock, and alpine, along with newer certications such as indoor gym climbing and hiking. The specialization of guide disciplines was undertaken to feed the high demand for snowcat and heli guides throughout the 80s and 90s, primarily in B.C. As Read notes, in this respect the ACMG has responded to the needs of the public. But whereas heli-ski guides were needed 20 years ago, today the emphasis is increasingly on backcountry travel. The Canadian Mountain and Ski Guide (CMSG) program is now emphasizing objective-based guiding and backcountry coaching. With Extremely Canadian, these two aspects are pushed to the forefront, as Read says, in a way that is pushing and rewriting what were trained to do as certied guides. In the Spearhead, says Read, this mean learning to utilize the terrain far more than it has been in the past, alongside an emphasis on backcountry skills and ski coaching. It is really challenging, says</p> <p>Whistler Blackcomb has world-renowned terrain both in and out of the boundary, and theres no reason our clients shouldnt be able to experience that...- Peter Smartlunch, Simon keeps glancing back up at the powder football elds we have just descended. Finally, he asks: Do we have to go back up there? Yes indeed, indeed we do. Such is the way of the backcountry: what goes down must go back up. Earlier, on the down, the thigh-deep powder had him nearly defeated, but hes nonetheless mind-boggled by every turn, as the rest of us revel in what has been one of the deepest Decembers on record. Read led the descent, directing us where and how hed like us to ski. One of the primary safety tools that we have, to manage people in terrain, says Read, is coaching and controlling how they move thats how you keep them safe. Si Simon is Extremely C di rst i E l Canadians client in the Whistler backcountry.</p> <p>Read. Extremely Canadian has done a really good job challenging people with terrain. Now were taking that into the hat backcountry, potentially doing bigger oing lines. . . its fascinating, and theres a lot of eres skills to be developed. At the moment, however, were just r, past the ropes off Whistler Mountain. untain. Extremely Canadians client is an lient affable Brit, whom well call Simon. Hes been to the outer reaches of chair-assisted hair-assisted skiing in Gulmarg, India, but this trek up and over Flute and down into Oboe Creek an introductory skills tour, indeed r, has him breathless and dripping. Read is ing. a patient teacher, throwing down tidbits of useful information on everything from rything folding skins to pointing out terrain traps. i Down in the quiet drainage over a huddled er</p> <p>42 | February 21, 2013 |</p> <p>Feature S T O R Y</p> <p>BIG SKY DENTAL CLINICGENERAL FAMILY DENTISTRY</p> <p>Happy 2013!DR. D. SOFFER INC. &amp; ASSOCIATES</p> <p>- Dental Hygienists on staff</p> <p>NEW PATIENTS, WALK-INS AND EMERGENCIES WELCOME604-894-5111 Unit #106-1436 Portage Rd., Pemberton, BC V0N 2L1</p> <p>M Matt &amp; N Nat new spring arrivals! i i l !</p> <p>Velo handbag available in Mustard, Fern, Cognac and Cloud</p> <p>10% TUESDAYS mention this ad and receive 10% off of all products on Tuesdays</p> <p>A leap beyond boundary steepsThe infamous steeps camp in Whistler founded by Peter Smart, Greg Dobbin, and Jill Dunnigan has been around since 1994, surviving the dual mountain merger and various owners, expanding worldwide to teach the steeps, powder, and what the neon-attired ski media used to call extreme skiing in locations such as La Grave, France and Niseko, Japan. But ever since being inspired by Trevor Peterson and Peter Mattssons No Wimp Tours in the early 1990s which was hardcore, says Dunnigan, pushing rst descents in the Coast Range Smart and Dunnigans vision has included backcountry guiding the steeps, couloirs, and long tours around Whistler. It is nally with the 2012/13 seasons that the approvals, paperwork, and politics have been resolved. With every step, Read is redening the nature of Whistler Blackcomb as a resort. As a Whistler Blackcomb afliated program, Extremely Canadian is the rst such service to go beyond the ropes. True, while Whistler Heli has been dropping off powder-seekers for some 30 years, and guide associations such as Canada West Mountain Guides and the Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau have provided private guiding services throughout the region, this is the rst ofcial foray of Whistler Blackcomb into the nonmechanized backcountry. As such, it redenes the very idea of resort skiing in North America.</p> <p>Think on this for a second: it makes the backcountry a marketable aspect of the Whistle...</p>


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