AMC Backcountry Skiing

With many downhill ski resorts in the Northeast expected to be closed or restricted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, backcountry skiing is booming. In fact, going back to the early spring, outfitters across the region reported shortages of backcountry equipment as skiers skipped the crowded resorts in favor of more remote options. The sport…

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In 1987, I received a phone call from a books editor at the Appalachian Mountain Club. Would I be interested in writing a backcountry skiing guidebook for New England? I was a 27-year-old budding journalist, ski bum, political activist, and climber; I’d never written a book. The invitation seemed incredible: Somebody wanted to pay me…

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As New England ski resorts announce visitor restrictions this winter, a surge of skiers are heading to the backcountry to seek solitude and powder. With national outdoor retailers reporting that sales of backcountry ski equipment have tripled in the last year, this winter is expected to see unprecedented numbers of backcountry skiers, many trying the…

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A frigid northwest wind greets me as I near the summit of North Doublehead Mountain in Jackson, N.H. The temperature is hovering in the mid-20s, but the fierce gusts make it feel much colder and will keep me from lingering too long at the top. No sweat, I think. I’m not here for a picnic. I’m…

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Snow has fallen up on the slopes and down in the valleys that make New England and upstate New York such a spectacular ski region. You can break trail for a few miles or a few days, depending on your ability level. If you’re looking for a starting point, David Goodman’s Best Backcountry Skiing in…

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Have you ever skied a “lost” ski area: a hill that once had maintained trails, some sort of lift, and a base lodge or warming hut—but doesn’t anymore? The hill is still there, and we’ll focus on that shortly, but for now, picture the ski area itself. It’ll put you in the right frame of…

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This season, try your hand at a winter sport that combines the aerobic challenge of cross-country skiing with the powder-fueled rush of backcountry snowboarding: splitboarding. The sport was invented in the early 1990s by a Utah skier and avalanche forecaster, Brett Kobernik, who wanted to climb mountains on skis and descend on a snowboard. Tinkering…

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We broke trail into the fading light of dusk. Just as we thought to grab our headlamps, our destination’s soft outline materialized in the falling snow. We had made it. The cabin door was partially sealed by rime ice and snow—nothing a good shove couldn’t handle—and after passing through it and dropping our packs, we…

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Getting to Katahdin is as much of an adventure as being there. Just ask the countless Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who have ended their 2,185-mile journey on the 5,268-foot summit that doubles as the AT’s northern terminus and Maine’s highest peak. For our little crew of four skiers, reaching Katahdin meant delaying our trip twice due…

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There’s something magical about frozen waterfalls. Streams that fed swimming holes only months before have become icy fortresses, with intricate layers paused midcascade, sharp spikes dangling from rocks and sparkling like chandeliers. In a word, mesmerizing. These six snowshoe and ski routes showcase some of the region’s finest frozen formations. 1. Jewell Falls | Portland,…

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