Although slightly dismal, this slow and dry start to ski season has been an awesome opportunity to dedicate time to avalanche education and get dialed for backcountry skiing adventures when the snow does arrive!
To keep the excitement high, we recently sat down with Lindsay Mann Davis, our Keely’s Camp Operations Manager, Coach, and Head Backcountry Guide to talk about everything backcountry skiing related! Keep reading to learn about how Lindsay got into backcountry skiing, what she loves about it, and how you can get involved too!
How did you get into backcountry skiing? Tell us a little bit about your history within the sport and where it has taken you today!
Lindsay: My first backcountry skier experience was on Mt. Washington in NH when I was there. I was on my race slalom skis and when I got to the top of where we were planning to ski, I dropped one of my skis. I did retrieve the ski and was able to ski down on two skis. This experience, coupled with my family taking trips out west to ski different places, planted the seed that there was more to skiing than just alpine racing.
When I graduated college my parents gave me my first avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe and told me they’d pay for me to take a Rec Level Avalanche 1 Course.
What is your favorite part about backcountry skiing? What is your favorite thing you have ever skied?
Lindsay: Exploration and Curiosity.
Exploration: Because of backcountry skiing I’ve had the opportunity to ski in some pretty unique places and most importantly have gotten to explore. I really enjoy learning from people and seeing how they look at terrain and see different ski runs and/or how to ski different runs. Conversely, backcountry skiing has also motivated me and allowed me to travel to different places in search of exploring new zones and ski terrain.
Curiosity: The snowpack is dynamic and there is always something to learn when moving through the mountains. I think it is an essential characteristic to continue to be curious in the mountains and that is something I truly enjoy about spending time in the backcountry.
Some of my favorite trips I’ve done have been sail & ski trips. It’s taught me to look at terrain and ski options through an entirely different lens. Often the boat drops you off in one place and picks you up in another – and it adds a whole other layer to thinking about your plan and looking at maps – where can the boat pick me up!
Tell us about a fun memory or story about hut trip living!
Lindsay: There is something so special about hut trips and the teamwork and camaraderie that is formed. In the basic sense, it cancels out the noise of everyday life and you are back to focusing on the basics – food, water, shelter AND getting some good turns in between.
Additionally, it is a truly special feeling for me when I step outside the hut by myself early morning or late at night, just look up at the stars, and know the big thing on the agenda for the following day is cooking good food and enjoying some turns.
Sign up today for our Montana Hut Based Backcountry Ski Camp For Girls if you want to try hut trip living for yourself!
What advice would you give to upcoming backcountry skiers?
Lindsay: Try it! It is another avenue of skiing to be explored. Find good mentors and develop good habits/systems when starting out. It can also be a very harsh environment and there are some days when the best decision is to turn around. It makes the good days that much better!
Check out our 2024 Keely’s Camp Backcountry Camps today to learn more about backcountry skiing and avalanche terrain management with female guides and mentors!