Linking Turns: A day in the life of a patroller, how trail maps are drawn and all mountain skis

Midwest Ski Journal likes to highlight a few pieces of skiing internet worth your time in Linking Turns. Find the best, most important, least important and otherwise links here each week. 

This week, MSJ is offering an Outside Magazine triple-header. The folks at Outside are constantly churning out vivid, important and fun stories, so we decided to highlight three of them here. One is a day in the life of a ski patroller, the next showcases the man behind the drawing of trail maps and the third is a gear review for the best all-mountain skis.

TURN 1: A Day in the Life of a Rookie Ski Patroller (Mike Thurber/Outside Magazine)

We all have an idea of what ski patrol does on a day-to-day basis. Often, however, I am guilty of falling in to thinking of them as cops.

This glimpse through the eyes of a rookie patroller at Taos, New Mexico shows just how multi-faceted the job can be. Whether your triggering avalanches at dawn or digging out the patrol shack, all jobs are important and deserve a closer look.

Read through this first person account from one of Taos’s finest.

TURN 2: The Man Behind Most of the Ski Maps in America (Heather Hansman/Outside Magazine)

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved trail maps. Laying it out on the ground and charting a course for the next morning always stoked my excitement on skiing.

I, of course, did not recognize how detailed these maps were and how tricky it is to draw something in two dimensions that can have so much depth and undulation.

Even more surprising is the fact that almost all of these maps are made by the same guy. Meet James Niehues, a Colorado man who has crowdfunded the creation of all of his maps into a book. The kickstarter just closed earlier this month, so look for announcements about his book in 2019.

TURN 3: The Best All-Mountain Skis for Men (Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine)

Finally, we look at the all-mountain ski. I’m a fan of this style of ski for a few reasons.

While it’s nice to have a quiver of skis for all conditions, when you have to travel far for your powder from the Midwest, you don’t want to have to bring multiple pairs of skis.

Plus, with advances in ski technology, the boards on this list can truly handle themselves in anything, including a powder day.

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