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Day 1 - SkiBlog-SkiBlog Heliskiing Video Blog Series

Posted Jan 09 2012 12:00am
After arriving at the Crescent Spur lodge on Saturday evening, we were greeted with an incredibly friendly and welcoming staff and treated to a delicious dinner. The lodge, with all of the fixtures, doorframes, and woodwork homecrafted with British Columbian wood, provides a remarkably warm and amicable atmosphere to relax and enjoy the time here.

Sunday - day 1 of heliskiing, proved to be much more than I was used to after growing up skiing on the east coast. I was not nearly prepared for the humbling conditions that awaited me in the Caribou mountain range. Crescent Spur has over 1,500 square miles of privately leased skiing area with only 20 skiers per week - if you don't get in some good turns here, you won't anywhere.
Tip 1 - Safety Orientation
Heliskiing presents a unique set of hazards you will not find anywhere else. It is very important to go over safety and emergency information to prepare for the worst. After warming up with a brief indoor presentation on safety fundamentals and learning about the types of dangers, we went outside for some on-snow training.
Tip 2 - Safety Equipment

Crescent Spur is a great organization when it comes to skier safety. All guests are provided with a two-way radio, a transponder beacon, a snow shovel, and a probe. These tools are invaluable, and the knowledge of how to use them correctly can make the difference between life and death.

Tip 3 - Feet together, skis weighted equally

Although I consider myself a fair skier on-piste, there are some essential adjustments to make when backcountry skiing. First, make sure you keep a narrower stance than normal to account for variable snow conditions. When your skis are closer together, it makes it more likely that your skis will go through the same snow condition. This also helps to keep your skis more equally weighted than you normally would on-piste. Carving doesn't exist when skiing powder. The forces interacting between your skis and the snow are substantially different in powder conditions than packed snow conditions. Basically, you want to think of your skis floating on the snow and banking against the snow througout turns. This is more of a passive turn - you are just using the snow as a bank to push your skis against than actively turning and edging your skis.

Tip 4 - Make sure your video camera is on video mode

Somehow my camera turned out to be on photo mode instead of video mode, so instead of four great videos I was expecting to find at the end of the day, I found four shoddy photographs. Hopefully the rest of this week will work out better.
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