LINKing Turns: Search and rescue needs rescuing, politics and skiing in NH and a backcountry-only resort in CO

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 we look at a remarkable and important piece of outdoor journalism, a less important, but fun piece of journalism and an announcement of a new kind of ski area.

TURN 1: America’s Search and Rescue Is in a State of Emergency (Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine)

This is an unbelievable piece of journalism my Marc Peruzzi of Outside Magazine.

Search and rescue operations are crucial in areas where backcountry skiing is popular. As its popularity continues to explode, those operations are getting stretched too thin.

In addition, as Peruzzi explains, the coverage of search and rescue is a “patchwork,” leaving some areas under-covered and others covered by commando-like super rescue teams.

SAR operations in the United States are a patchwork. Depending on where you are when bad luck strikes, you might be saved by a commando squad with a chopper on speed dial, carried out quickly by a talented group like the Volcano Rescue Team, or forced to wait for hours, even days, until well-meaning volunteers with limited resources reach you in the backcountry. Historically, this was a reasonable approach, with the level of rescue services available in a given area generally matching the demand. These days, though, demographic and cultural shifts have led more people into the wild, putting emergency operations in some places under enormous stress. Which is why it’s time to reevaluate our approach to SAR before things get worse.

Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine

According to Peruzzi’s reporting, the situation is dire out there. This sentence is haunting.

Meanwhile, some SAR leaders report changes in the kinds of rescues they’re doing: there are more Instagramming adventurers getting in over their heads, more mushroom hunters in flip-flops losing their way in the woods, and more people navigating with their phones until the battery dies.

Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine

I won’t say more because you all have to read this yourselves. It’s a long read, but it’s worth it. Great work, Marc.

TURN 2: It’s Primary Season in New Hampshire. Time to Go Skiing! (David Shribman/The New York Times)

First of all, good on David Shribman for convincing the editors of the New York Times that the best use of their campaign coverage resources was to send a guy skiing. That’s awesome!

Shribman took a really interesting, unique look at how New Hampshire buzzes in these election years and how candidates can be found speaking just minutes away from some of the best resorts in the east.

It’s a busy time and for a politics/ski enthusiast, it’s heaven.

“This is part of why New Hampshire is so unusual,’’ the former Gov. John H. Sununu told me. “Our voters work hard at knowing all these candidates and they work hard at skiing in our White Mountains.’’

David Shribman/The New York Times

A really fun article here from the Times. I’m happy they assign stories like this for its readers.

TURN 3: Colorado’s First New Ski Resort In Nearly 20 Years To Open Next Month (Matt Lorelli/Unofficial Networks)

Some really interesting news here that a number of blogs and outlets had posted last week.

The gist: Colorado is opening a backcountry-only ski area near Steamboat.

Now, there are places like Silverton, Colorado, where it’s mostly backcountry-inspired, but there is still a lift and a chopper.

This area will be manpower only and will have a learn-to-backcountry bent to it, which I think some Midwesterners find really appealing.

I think I speak for many resort skiers that backcountry skiing sounds appealing, but the training, the gear and the danger of doing it can be a high hurdle for many of us.

Now, if I could show up with some buddies, rent the touring equipment and learn how to backcountry in an avalanche-controlled area first, it could lower that barrier to entry. A great idea here.

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