I normally don’t like going on rants and being negative but there has been something that has been bugging me this winter out in the backcountry. I have spent a lot of days this winter in ski boots and have skied a lot of really great snow and some not so great snow, but I have also seen a lot of really bad skin track etiquette. Now I know I am probably not the person to be bringing this up but I feel it is quite necessary to at least mention this. I know people have probably been shaking their head at me before when looking at the skin track I laid down.
Moving on to what is bugging me… I find it very disturbing the amount of skin tracks I am seeing that are being laid down in unsafe areas that are very blatant danger zones and I am even more shock when I see them cutting across a beautiful powder face like the one in my photo. What you don’t see in this photo is the terrain trap at the bottom of the face. There are 2 tracks across this face one in the middle and one at the bottom. Yes I know the conditions were stable but we are dealing with mother nature here and no matter how smart and good we think we are she will bite us in the ass. This face in particular is the subject of some very poor skin track etiquette and it is such a same that a. people are just too lazy to take the hard route which is the safer way or b. they are absolutely careless. During my tour up this face I witness the skier who skied the center punch stop 3/4 of the way down the slope and re-skin making a mess of the slope. When I dropped in I witnessed 2 skiers standing in the terrain trap watching me ski my line on the far left of the picture. I just shook my head because I knew had something happened I could have buried them.
As backcountry skiers it is our job to help promote our sport and share our wisdom with others. I am not claiming to be an expert by no means and I am sure there are some that will question the skin track I put in on the far left of the picture. Yes I fell a couple of times but I was breaking trail and I was not able to see what was underneath at times. I am learning and I appreciate the people that have taught me how to skin and where to put a skin track. I just want everyone to be aware of their surroundings when in avalanche terrain. I would love to know what others opinion on this is and what advice others have for laying down a skin track?