In the last 4 years, backcountry skiing has experienced a massive surge in interest. Following the COVID pandemic when resorts around the nation closed, sales of backcountry equipment skyrocketed by as much as 60% at many retailers. Today, according to SnowSports Industries America, there are more than 6 million backcountry skiers in the United States.
That’s a wonderful thing — but it’s also making the backcountry even more dangerous on some levels. Earning your turns in the quiet solitude of the backcountry is an incredible experience. On the other hand, inexperienced backcountry users are more likely to put themselves and others at risk of death or serious injury. Backcountry skiing is a serious sport, and it requires training and knowledge to approach safely.
Last season, between the spiking number of backcountry users and the record-breaking amount of snow that Wyoming got, Teton County Search and Rescue crews were working full steam. At one point, they completed five rescues in as many days. It was a combination of lack of knowledge, heuristic traps, social media creating false confidence, and outright bad luck. There was something to learn from every rescue.
In TGR’s new film, “Backcountry Safely,” TGR, in partnership with Friends of Bridger-Teton, explores this issue. Through interviews with professional athletes, rescuers, teachers, and trainers, TGR takes a look at what it means to ski safely out of bounds.
Runtime: 20.5 minutes