Event Report: Get Out and Ski Backcountry Festival

As alpine lift ticket and equipment prices continue to rise, more and more skiers are looking to the backcountry to satisfy their sense of adventure while gaining positive health benefits.  The Catamount Trail Association offers opportunities for those new to the backcountry to try new equipment, practice new techniques, and learn about other strategies and accessories that help set the stage for positive and safe excursions.

photo credit: Sheri Larsen

The Catamount Trail Association hosted its 2nd Annual Get Out and Backcountry Ski Festival at Bolton Valley Nordic Center Sunday January 24th.  Sixty-six enthusiastic skiers from throughout New England experienced a perfect day of backcountry skiing on some of the best terrain in Vermont.

Designed for skiers who had previous cross-country ski experience,

Full ski rack!

this all day event focused on the basic techniques needed to feel comfortable in the backcountry. Numerous companies including Rossignol, the Ski Rack, the Outdoor Gear Exchange, and TSL Snowshoes were on hand with demos, giving participants the opportunity to experience first hand the various types of backcountry gear.

Under the sunny skies and powder conditions, expert instructors led groups of skiers through Bolton Valley’s backcountry trail network. Lessons on ungroomed backcountry trails and in powder filled glades covered basic balance and edge-control, climbing and descending techniques, and the classic telemark turn.  Many skiers were captured on video and were able to review their technique as an additional learning opportunity at the après ski social.

While the perfect day of backcountry skiing came to an end,  Amy Kelsey, Catamount Trail’s Management and Protection Director, gave an informative talk about being prepared for the unexpected in the backcountry and what accessories one might carry to meet those needs. Jim Fredericks, Catamount Trail’s Executive Director followed with a talk about matching the proper equipment to the personal needs of the individual.

The Catamount Trail Association will also host the 3rd Annual Backcountry Challenge Race and Tour on March 14th. This 17km race or tour starts at the Trapp Family Nordic Center and ends at the Bolton Valley Nordic Center. For more information, go to www.catamounttrail.org or call 802-864-5794.

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