Backcountry Skier

Front Cover
Human Kinetics, 1999 - Sports & Recreation - 271 pages

The backcountry. It's beautiful and tranquil, yet challenging and even dangerous. Backcountry skiing encompasses all of these attributes, giving adventure seekers the heart-stopping thrills they desire and offering skiers a new and different way to enjoy their sport.

Long popular in Europe, backcountry skiing is now gaining fans on the other side of the Atlantic. And it's no wonder. This fast-growing sport combines the best of both cross-country and Alpine skiing. What better way to commune with nature, get a great workout, and have fun!

If you've been wondering how to get started in this exciting sport or if you're looking to brush up on your backcountry skills, Backcountry Skier has all the information you need. Author Jean Vives-an exercise physiologist with more than 30 years of backcountry skiing experience-shares his wisdom as well as the techniques he's used for the past three decades to help you become an accomplished wilderness skier.

The first few chapters help you prepare for an outing in the backcountry. You'll find clothing and equipment recommendations; information on conditioning for the backcountry, including weight training and flexibility exercises; and tips on preventing injuries and administering first aid.

The following chapters ensure a safe and enjoyable backcountry experience. Vives describes proper ascent and descent techniques and explains how to:

- read the terrain and snow,
- understand mountain weather and recognize developing storms,
- navigate safely and design an effective ski route,
- detect and avoid avalanches,
- eat for peak performance,
- utilize winter camping techniques, and
- survive during an emergency.

Also included are tips on trail skiing etiquette, skiing with children, backcountry photography, and hiring a guide or instructor.

Vives' valuable advice is as essential as your compass and your first aid kit. Don't hit the trail without reading this book!


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Gearing Up
BackCountry Conditioning
Climbing Techniques
DeSCent Techniques
Reading Terrain and SnOW
Mountain Weather
AV0iding AWalanches
Appendix A Tourist Offices for Alpine Countries

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Jean Vives is uniquely qualified to write this book. He has more than 30 years of backcountry skiing and mountaineering experience. Plus, his doctoral research on backcountry skiing won him the Charles S. Houston Award from the Wilderness Medical Society. In addition to skiing the Haute Route in the Swiss Alps between Chamonix and Zermatt, he has twice skied the Colorado Haute Route from Winter Park to Crested Butte. The latter took 28 days to complete and covered 170 miles, making it the longest ski tour in the United States using Alpine touring equipment.

Vives has published numerous articles on backcountry skiing that have appeared in Outside, Powder, and Ski magazines. A former codirector of Aspen Alpine Guides and member of Aspen Mountain Rescue, he has climbed and trekked all over the world. As a professor at Kathmandu University in Nepal, he taught high-altitude exercise physiology. Vives lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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