MAR 25, 2016
It takes years of ski tours, avalanche courses, beacon practice, and even surviving bad judgment to build a strong repertoire of backcountry wisdom.
At Atomic we want to provide you with the best backcountry equipment and learning tools. We want to make sure that skiers understand the responsibility they are taking every time they go out into the mountains and make conscious decisions about where and why they are skiing—this is why we’ve created the Mountain Academy.
“Mastering the mountains is not completely realistic for humans. We can go into them and push our boundaries, but if the mountains decide to, they will push back,” says Canadian Freeskier, Nick McNutt. “On a recent hut trip in Austria, we saw just that: an unstable, rocky snowpack. We had to lay lower than we wanted, but still enjoyed being out there.”
“Experience and education are the best ways to feel good about the choices you make in the backcountry and Mountain Academy is a great place to get started.”
On their excursion into the Kitzbüheler Alpen in Pinzgau, near the biggest Mountains in Austria’s Hohe Tauern Range, Nick McNutt and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, hoped to ski everything in sight, but with a shallow snowpack and unstable conditions they had to cater their ambitions. After a cancelled early season contest, all they wanted to do was make the most of their time in Europe, which meant a lot of skiing and exploring new places, but the conditions didn’t allow them to ski everything they wanted. Much of their time was spent having conversations about the conditions, doing snowpack assessment, and skinning around to find terrain that suited the conditions. Sometimes just the experience of being in a new place and short, mellow laps has to be enough, even for guys like Sage and Nick, who regularly find themselves sliding down spines and faces of Alaska’s biggest peaks.
“There are so many factors to consider when venturing out into the mountains,” says Sage. “And although it is impossible to guarantee that you are always making the perfect decision, experience and education are the best ways to feel good about the choices you make in the backcountry and Mountain Academy is a great place to get started.”
Atomic’s Mountain Academy is a piece of the learning process, which is really what skiing is all about. From the first time you step into ski boots, until you are finding your own personal limits and testing how much you can push past them, being in the mountains requires humility. The more a skier learns, the more one will discover how much there is to continue learning and that the mountains are the final teachers. The Mountain Academy is another source of information and a place to test what you know and discover what you don’t. It is a place of reference, with information gathered from mountain professionals, and a community for those who care about making decisions to stay safe. The Mountain Academy is a tool that can be used alongside avalanche reports and field information gathered during the winter and a place to refresh and stimulate the snow-safety mind during the summer months. It is a foundational tool for all skiers to help them make the best decisions possible when traveling in the backcountry.