What Ski Mountaineering Could Be in America

For most of us, ski mountaineering is a vehicle for experiencing the winter wilderness.  We travel solitary or in small groups, savoring the remoteness, the independence, and a higher level of self-reliance.

This creates community: an employee team race at Alpine Meadows, cheered on by the public.

But these past winters re-introduced me to the community that surrounds skiing.  Admittedly, resort skiing is like playing golf with carts (you can do both extremely well and still be remarkably, unhealth-ily, un-fit).  But its simply hard to take your kids backcountry skiing until they reach a level of proficiency and strength.  And most backcountry tours don't end somepldace with a great restaurant and wine.  At least, not here in America.

Which is why I get so jealous and green when I read about Dan and Janine's Italian adventures on DolomiteSports.com.  Or when I catch videos like this one on You Tube or Vimeo.  Can you imagine ski areas holding randonee races like towns holding foot races?  And crowds cheering and celebrating teams simply finishing for the thrill of the race?

What I want out my mountain experiences change with my moods, but I do wish there was more opportunity for "community" to happen in the mountains.  Events like this, I think, may contribute towards that sense of community.  And if the mountains are part of someone's life - even if just for short vacations throughout a year - would someone be more willing to defend them?  Protect them?  Write to their government?  Volunteer more?  I'd like to think so...