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Off-Piste Magazine, 2000-09

Off-Piste Magazine, 2001

Mar 2001, p. 8, Skoog, Lowell, "Extending a Classic: Lured Back to the Ptarmigan Traverse"

This article, written after research for this project was started, contains historical information about the exploration of the Ptarmigan Traverse on foot and by ski (see subject index). It also mentions ski scouting trips by Dwight Watson and Walt Hoffman to Sibley Pass in 1937 and by Charles Hessey toward the Chickamin Glacier in 1948. It describes the author's ski trips across the Ptarmigan in 1982 and 1988, and the lure of extending the route southward from Dome Peak to Image Lake, as Ira Spring's 1957 party had done on foot. The article includes photos of the route from Sahale Peak, a skier climbing Red Ledge, camp at White Rock Lakes, Bruce Goodson and Matt Firth near the summit of Dome Peak, and skiers climbing and descending the Chickamin Glacier.

Off-Piste Magazine, 2002

Jan 2002, p. 17, "Heli-Assisted Nordic Tours"

North Cascades Heli-Skiing, based in Mazama, offers helicopter accessed ski touring. "The concept is that with one reasonably priced flight into the heart of the North Cascades, you are set for touring. Use it to stage a multiple day mid winter tour or make a day trip out of it and get home before dark." North Cascades Freeheel Institute offers guiding for nordic tours.

Mar 2002, p. 4, Haywood, Rich, "Ski Mountaineering World Championships"

The "first ever World Championships of Ski Mountaineering" were held in Serre Chevalier, France on January 23-27, 2002. The first three places were won by France, Italy, and Switzerland, respectively. The U.S finished 16th and Canada 17th. (The author was a member of the Canadian team.) The UIAA (International Union of Alpine Associations) and ISMC (International Council of Ski Mountaineering) are working to make this a winter Olympic event in the 2006 games.

Off-Piste Magazine, 2003

Jan 2003, p. 17, Burr, Eric, "The Open Christie - A Naturalist View of Backcountry Skiing"

In the early 1960s, the author was an alpine touring skier, using Head skis, Kandahar cable bindings, Marker toe pieces, touring adapters, and leather ski mountaineering boots. He made one of the earliest trans-Sierra tours ever done, in 1965. "A couple of years later," he writes, "I landed in Olympic National Park to work as a snow ranger under Jack Hughes, who traveled all over the park on light wooden cross country skis. We did the monthly snow courses, checked avalanches up the Hurricane Ridge road, and scouted places like Seven Lakes Basin for ski touring possibilities." From Hughes, the author learned the basics of Nordic ski touring, which emphasized efficient cross country travel, not tight downhill turns.

In 1971, the author moved to Kirkwood in California, where he alpine patrolled on touring skis, instructed part time, and helped lay out touring trails at the new resort. With two Norwegian friends, he helped revive the telemark turn but recalls, "we paralleled most of the time because in most conditions it was easier." Their technique was the open christie, "with tips slightly splayed or open, and the turn steered with the outside edge of the inside ski, leading the turn in what some call a reverse telemark or a telemark with an early lead change." The open christie never caught on, and telemarking has become "something more akin to snowboarding than ski touring." The author thinks this is probably for the best, since skiers seeking the steeps stay out of the preferred habitat of Lynx and other wildlife.

In an Afterword, Steve Barnett writes that in the mid-1970s, when he was trying to learn all he could about free-heel skiing in mountain terrain, Eric Burr was one of the few living authors he could find on the subject. Burr became the "token paralleler" at telemark ski camps in the early 1980s, but he used the open turn rather than a conventional parallel christie. Barnett describes Burr as "completely anti-modern" in his approach to skiing, and praises his mountain skills and snow safety knowledge. The article includes a photo of Burr making an open christie and another of a skier descending a pristine basin near Hurricane Ridge.

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