Feb 292012
 

The “earn” in backcountry skiing’s notorious phrase, “Earn Your Turns,” is almost entirely directed to the act (if not art) of skinning uphill. For those who are not familiar with “skinning,” skiers and splitboarders adhere a nylon strap to the bottom of their skis in order to climb uphill. Each skin has been fabricated to hold millions of tiny hairs engineered so that they lay flat and in one direction which allows for uphill gliding only; the hairs catch/grab the snow as it starts to slide downhill, stopping the ski.

Skinning, while aerobic, can range from incredibly easy (on the flats), to strenuous (deep snow), to precarious and even life threatening (if you slip on hard snow or ice). As backcountry skiers and boarders contour up a mountainside, every so often it becomes necessary to change direction due to obstacles or hazards or a slope to steep to make a gradual turn–thus, the kick-turn. Our IFMGA guide and master kick-turner, Mark Puleio, shows us in this first post (of two) how to make the perfect kick turn:

For Hard/Firmer Surface Conditions:
Step #1: Ski past where you want to turn and make a flat platform
Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Step #2 Clear the uphill ski of snow and turn 180 degrees
Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Step #3 Place uphill ski flat/level in the new direction of travel
Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Step #4 Transition weight onto uphill ski
Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Step #5 Flex downhill hip back, allowing the downhill ski tip to rise
Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Step #6 Bend downhill knee slightly and pivot ski along boot cuff to turn in new direction
Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Step #7 Skin off in your new direction!
Sun Valley Trekking guide Mark Puleio shows how to kick turn while backcountry skiing.

Subscribe to our blog or come back soon to catch our second part regarding kick turns as Mark will show you techniques to help those ski partners who need a little support when kick-turning.

 Posted by at 8:22 PM
Feb 292012
 

Yesterday, Mark Puleio (IMFGA) and Joe St.Onge took the Sun Valley Trekking guides and interns out for a refresher training day and to test out their Outdoor Research technical clothing. Craig Wolfrom was along to capture images of the lessons which included aiding guests while skinning and kick-turning, self arresting, kicking steps, short roping in 3rd and 4th class terrain, as well as building a sled with skis and lowering an injured skier. The terrain Joe and Mark chose proved the perfect challenge and every lesson was completed flawlessly.

Mark showing how to use a runner clipped to a backpack to assist a kick-turn:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

Interns taking notes while Joe goes over proper ice-axe placement:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

Mark and Joe going over proper body positioning and ice-axe placement for self-arresting:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

Short-roping in mixed terrain:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

Joe belays Shane up to a stance:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

Climbing and belaying through mixed terrain:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

After building an “T” anchor, Mark lowers a party down a steep and narrow chute:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

Guides building a rescue sled:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

Guides practice lowering an injured skier:
A photograph from a guide training day with Sun Valley Trekking.

 Posted by at 10:39 AM
Feb 272012
 

On February 22nd and 23rd, a storm raged through the Smoky mountains bringing with it abnormally high winds.  Early in the morning on the 23rd, we believe a rare micro-burst came down on the area surrounding our Boulder Yurts.  This sudden blast of wind snapped a neighboring live tree in half whose top section came down on the smaller of the two yurts.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.  While the impact did collapse the roof, the damage to the structure was not wholesale; only six 2×4 rafters and a dozen of the lattice wall boards were damaged along with tears in the roof.  Please keep in mind that the tree that snapped was a living, healthy tree, there were no “standing dead” trees, and that this was a very unexpected occurrance.  We have already cleared the debris, ascertained what repairs are necessary, and have ordered the appropriate materials to get Boulder back up and running at full capacity.

The larger Boulder Yurt and the hallway were unaffected by this incident and have been in continual use since the accident.  Feel free to give us a ring if you have any questions.

Here are some images from Friday’s clean up session…

The culprit:

Now & for a limited time, Boulder yurt offers a spectacular outdoor deck area!

The yurt facility is still functional:

 Posted by at 10:09 AM
Feb 232012
 

You wouldn’t know it by the weather we’ve had here in Hailey, but, the mountains north of Ketchum have been getting hit with great snow this past week! The first set of images, captured by guide Kyle Coshow, highlights a break in the storms, good pow, and the fun terrain Galena Pass has to offer. As for the second set, Joe St.Onge had a great day guiding the “Bros in the Snow” traversing the Boulder Mountains from Mushroom Ridge to Galena Lodge. Awesome powder turns, many face shots and skiing to the lodge where cold beers by a warm fire finished a classic Sun Valley ski tour.

Idaho Powder Skiing

Idaho Powder Skiing

Idaho Powder Skiing

Joe’s tour:
Idaho Powder Skiing

Idaho Powder Skiing

Idaho Powder Skiing

Idaho Powder Skiing

 Posted by at 10:00 AM
Feb 212012
 

One of the best aspects of hut/yurt living is the ability to enjoy fantastic meals after a day spent recreating in the stunning landscape surrounding our six different locations. Our kitchens are fully equipped so you only have to bring your ingredients! Here is a great vegetarian recipe from Deborah Madison’s, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, cookbook that’ll pack in some protein thanks to the quinoa; always great to help your tired ski legs recover.

Potato Quinoa Croquettes
1 large Russet Potato–Idaho
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 small onion finely diced
2 tbspn sunflower seed oil, plus one for cooking
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley, and/or cilantro
1 egg
1/3 cup cottage cheese, grated jack, or mashed tofu
salt
1 cup bread crumbs

Boil or steam the potato until tender then mash with fork and mix with cooked quinoa. Saute the onion for two minutes then add spices and cook until onion is tender; add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add potato-quinoa mixture and remaining ingredients and salt to taste. Work the mixture together. Divide into portions, coat in bread crumbs, and saute in oil. Enjoy!

 Posted by at 9:19 AM
Feb 152012
 

February Corn?!
With the recent warm days and cold nights, Sun Valley Trekking guides: Joe St.Onge, Brian Vaughn and Patrick Graham went out yesterday to check for the 1st mid-winter corn and found it. 3000′ feet of carving brought smiles to everyone’s face on a beautiful sunny February day.

Don’t worry, there is still powder out there too….

Skiing corn snow on Durrance Peak north of Ketchum, Idaho

Skiing corn snow on Durrance Peak north of Ketchum, Idaho

Skiing corn snow on Durrance Peak north of Ketchum, Idaho

Skiing corn snow on Durrance Peak north of Ketchum, Idaho

 Posted by at 1:03 PM