Touring is something that’s well known throughout the ski world. Usually it requires adapted gear and special skills that help folks reach lofty goals and loftier peaks. Avalanche training, guides and maps are all part of the game. So maybe you don’t have all that stuff nor do you really care about letting a lot hang out just so you can get some fresh air in the mountains. Well, sometimes I feel exactly the same way – like today.
‘Backcountry’ is the phrase typically used in the States for going hiking back in the wilds. ‘Sidecountry’ is a newer word used to describe terrain that you can access from a resort’s boundaries. And ‘frontcountry’ is the word we lazier skiers use when talking to those who go after the other ‘countries.’ It makes us feel like we actually accomplished something special – and in front of the right audience it sounds pretty cool. Today my group skied the frontcountry and we did it right.
A classic Squaw frontcountry tour goes from one end of the joint to the other. Squaw (see map) has a ridgeline that’s about 6 miles long with 30 chairs scattered along the way. It starts at the Squaw Creek Resort chair and goes all the way over to Solitude. You must take a lap on Silverado and finally you need to hit Broken Arrow. It takes about 2 hours to get from one side to the other but double that if you want to reinspect some of the gems you find along the way – there are plenty! Just like any classic backcountry tour, this one ends with a Holy Grail at the end of the trail: the Arc Bar at Gold Coast.