MOUNTAIN LIFE - Blue Mountains | Fall 2019

BACKCOUNTRY LIMBERLOST Rising phoenix of eastern skiing Believe it or not, the eastern backcountry ski scene is growing. No, we’re not talking about steel-edged, XC skis, we’re talking about full mountain touring gear. The stuff people ski big mountains on. The skins, the touring bindings, the desire to ski your way up, in order to rip fresh pow on the way down. Our lack of vertical isn’t hindering the passion for this sport; eastern organizations like the Vermont Backcountry Alliance are creating areas where backcountry skiing is promoted and encouraged. They are working to glade tree runs that will never have a lift going up them. Mont Tremblant also encourages people to skin up their up-trails and use one of their 102 downhill trails. They even host an alpine touring festival every year. Ontario is not immune to the lure of this growing sport and in the last few years the Almaguin Highlands Backcountry Skiers have been busy exploring the Crown land near Huntsville. They pore over maps, spend summer months hiking into areas, and think about skiing all year round. “There’s a real hunger for it in Ontario,” says Jeff Edwards, founder of the group. “But people are tight-lipped about their spots. There are a lot of places around here, some of them private, some on Crown land, but nobody wants to share. We’re taking the approach of ‘let’s make some public areas and make it easier for people.’” In 2018 Edwards approached Huntsville’s Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve about glading some runs and they were receptive. Greg Sturch getting the goods at Limberlost. 73 words & photos :: Colin Field