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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    805

    Question Do you like to hit it RAW? - Ski or ride Solo?

    have spent 28 years of my life surfing and only the past 16 years in the mountains my thought process might be different on this.. Flame away (par the course) but I have a question that's been on my mind for some time.

    Do you ski or ride by yourself in the backcountry? If so would you approach terrain differently if skiing with a partner?

    With surfing there might be days where you show up and paddle out with a friend... most times that's just not the case. However once you are in the water you really should be comfortable with being able to SWIM back to shore without the assistance of your board, a leash, fellow surfers or lifeguards.

    So why is it that some people feel more comfortable or confident while skiing or riding with a partner. If your setting off avalanches you are doing it all wrong...

    Im not going to paddle out in double overhead surf and think if something happens to me these other yahoos in water will be responsible for my safety. Sure the surf community is good about that but it seems polar opposite of skiing and snowboarding?

    Thoughts..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    stevens pass
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    277
    solo trips are great but the risk factor goes way way way up.

    that is for any wilderness activity imo. I fish solo all the time, and I am constantly evaluating risks and erroring on the side of caution when alone in the woods. go slow, watch where u put ur hands and feet, and be very deliberate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    SF & the Ho
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    5,641
    Also w scuba. Similar hate for people that dive solo. There are Pros and cons for buddying up. Depends on your interests and how your comfort with relying only on yourself in potentially catastrophic situations.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Udapimp
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    578
    yes and yes
    way more cautious alone.
    embrace the gape
    and believe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Australia
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    161
    Same for Mountain Biking. The tracks i get to are a little tricky to find and way out in the bush. Half the time i have a friend and go hard, but the other half when im alone i take it easy. Not so much speed easy but i dont hit the jumps as hard or i ride around the real big ones.

    Just good risk evaluation. If something really bad happens your chance of dying goes right up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Warrrrrrrshington
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    1,070
    There's a double standard. Side/back country ski alone, you're an idiot. Solo some bad ass peak, you're a legend.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Durango, CO
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    94
    The day I was buried in an avalanche 30 years ago off Berthoud pass I was originally going to go solo but talked a buddy into coming with me that morning before leaving and he ended up digging me out. Saved my life. After that, I haven't wasted money on lottery tickets because I used up all my luck.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Squaw valley
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    2,572
    I bc ski solo often.
    In the winter, I go mostly when the avie danger is low, and I am conservative.

    In the spring, corn, when the risk is mostly falling, I ski the same terrain, solo or with a partner.

    And sometimes is nice to be by yourself, you can make go/no go decisions based on how you feel, as opposed to how your partner feels about a given couloir.

    If you ski in a group, and ski something close to your limit, it's rare that everyone is exactly on the same page, risk wise.

    I think steep skiing is similar to climbing unroped. You are totally on your own, wether you ski with a partner or not.

    I think a lot of people feel safety in numbers, but you should always think that youre going to solo, that you are 100% confident that you can make it totally on your own.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    900
    solo often over the years, both surfing and skiing bc. where i live there are days in winter when it's zero degrees f, snowing size ways, the surf is pumping, and there's no one else around. sitting out there just taking it all in and picking off whatever waves i want. love bc solo days. really allows you to focus on every detail. i actually prefer going solo on higher danger days as there's absolutely no conflicting interests, and the focus is heightened. it's natural to make more conservative choices when going solo. which is why i've always felt that going solo is the safer option more often than not. solo is all about not having to lean on someone else if you fuck up. solo means don't fuck up.

    love going with others as well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Colyrady
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    3,802
    I think that often people think they are safer with other people than they actually are. Many avy victims in recent years have been with others and either it took too long or they were killed by trauma.

    Sure if you get buried in an avalanche solo then you are screwed but just don't get into situations where you are subject to that exposure, which is basically how you should be playing it in groups anyways.

    As far as injuries, I consider it mandatory to have a PLB or other emergency device regardless of solo or with others.

    Soloing is a different experience and with some additional risk but one with its own rewards too.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Tahoe
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    12,256
    i ski solo a lot. i also ski in groups a lot. each has it's own inherent risks. each provides different rewards. there's way more to it than this but some top of the head examples include
    1. skiing alone. i recently broke my leg in the backcountry. without my partner i probably would have it out from where i was (it would have been horrific). but if I was even another 1/2 mile out I could easily be dead now.
    2. tunnel creek. hate bringing it up but that is an example of a lack of safety in numbers.
    in short, when you're by yourself a small emergency can turn into a life and death situatuion. when in a group, someone else's decision can hurt you. People that chastise someone for going into the BC alone should shut the fuck up.
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    While I would not expect anyone to get me out of the water if get bite by a shark, I sure hope anyone around would lend me a hand once back on the beach. Or something like that. If you want to make a comparison between surf and snow, you need to go some where, park your car, hike a ways in and have no one see you. I often surf a spot that requires a 200 yard walk, scaling down a cliff and surfing with the land lord. If you are out alone, and no one is on the cliff, no one can see you from the road. But that still feels a lot closer to help, my car, and my cell phone than even where powdork broke his leg. And like he said, he was not far out there. There are some places I will not surf solo, but that has more to do with sharks, access and cell phone coverage than the waves. OTOH, if I don't know a break well, I don't like to blindly paddle out on a solid day of swell. I'm thinking of 15-20' Majors I saw on Kauai one day with no one out. Yeah, skipped that.

    I sometimes ski bc solo. I actually prefer being with a partner. I do ski more fun stuff. I have to be very very very confident a big face will not slide to hit it solo. I only need one very when with a partner. Especially one who I trust, or even better is more conservative than me. I also will hit more challenging hits. I don't think I will break anything (myself or gear), but if I do, it would be nice to have some one around. A lot also depends on the type of terrain, and where it is, with or without a partner.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2011
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    ^^^^Would the landlord be another name for fluffy/sheriff/man in the gray suit?
    Did the last unsatisfied fat soccer mom you took to your mom's basement call you a fascist? -irul&ublo
    Don't Taze me bro.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    900
    oui oui

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    New Mexico
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    1,108
    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    i ski solo a lot. i also ski in groups a lot. each has it's own inherent risks. each provides different rewards. there's way more to it than this but some top of the head examples include
    1. skiing alone. i recently broke my leg in the backcountry. without my partner i probably would have it out from where i was (it would have been horrific). but if I was even another 1/2 mile out I could easily be dead now.
    2. tunnel creek. hate bringing it up but that is an example of a lack of safety in numbers.
    in short, when you're by yourself a small emergency can turn into a life and death situatuion. when in a group, someone else's decision can hurt you. People that chastise someone for going into the BC alone should shut the fuck up.
    Yes, yes, and yes! I will add though that if you have a partner who's knowledge, experience, and trust level are top notch you (I) have the opportunity to venture into deeper further higher places (yes I just did that). I do go to different places based on who I am or am not with, that's just the reality of things, it's part of making good decisions that are going to get you home. Im totally fine with going alone or with people that I might not trust to get me out or make experienced knowledgable decisions, but I'm damn sure going to take every bit of that into consideration when I decide where I'm going and what my options are going to be when I get there. side note... I don't take anyone who i think is too stubborn, stupid, or arrogant to listen when I decide it's a no go, your definitely better off out there on your own
    Fear, Doubt, Disbelief, you have to let it all go. Free your mind!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    tourin BC
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    2,776
    there is zen in solo ...

    I could rant about this for hours. the guys at roger pass visitors center used to know me well(b4 i had a sled) and knew my story and all the reasons why I toured alone. they would laugh as I would spell it out, other would look in horror !!!
    my family have said when I was young I often played alone, BMX'd alone. then when I got into X-country mtn biking I would go on big long crazy missions and my parents would worry lots coz no one knew where my fav down hill tech trails where. (no one rode there 20 years ago) 1 fark up on the mtn bike and it could be 30km to a dirt road! so I guess I had conditioned myself ... hmm ...
    on snow I like to explore. in the past I ahve had all season so time is not the issue it is to others. there is always tomorow, next week next year. some days people get shity at me walking all over this ridge that ridge. then next week people saying how the fark did you find this line.

    alota my solo's have been very conservative, but not all! more than a few have been off the hook stupid(refer to a few threads at fernie and kh side country) the big thing for me was being out there every day and devoting your life to the game. I cant imagine how hard it must be for a dentist from texas to go for a holiday and touring in crested butte ...

    yes I've been to both places ... chalk and cheese ...

    I sled solo ... I tour solo and always will ...

    my father sat me down, only a few yeas ago, and he spelt it out that he was concerned that a simple broken leg from hitting a tree at the end of the day, tired legs, as the sun was going down temps were dropping and nobody knew where I was, would spell the end. my answer was that sums up tree skiing ...

    I only need to see all sleds out of the alpine, if you want to wreck in a creek on the way home, you better be good at walking ...

    yes ratbaggers have proticols for the trail out ...
    We, the RATBAGGERS, formally axcept our duty is to trigger avalaches on all skiers ...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    The Continental Divide
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    7,273
    I feel selfishly happy standing on top of an untouched line that I worked hard for. Not sharing. Mine all mine.

    I ski/tour solo more than most. Love it and need it. You guys have done a good job stating reasons/issues above. There's a direct connection to the wilderness that you can only achieve alone. After all these years I've got good handle on what is safe and fun to ski on any given day. Obviously some outlier event could occur, but I don't let outliers run my life, whether it's suffocating in a tree well or winning the lottery.

    To add - I like doing the initial planning, I like doing the route-finding, I like evaluating the snow, I like being in charge of my mission. It gets complicated with other people in the mix. Messy. And as a ski instructor I really need personal time on the snow. I spend time in bounds skiing alone as well as touring. Today I'm going to ditch my buddies and execute my powder plan. Apologies in advance but I've hit critical mass on being sociable.

    You want to know what scares the cr@p out of me? I-70 with slick roads, 18 wheelers and aggro tailgaters. I feel incredibly unsafe.
    Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
    Henry David Thoreau

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    here and there
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    14,856
    I can second all before. I dial it back a notch and enjoy be it kayaking, skiing or mt bike.

    I do like going with a group but i have become more selective about who i can tolerate any more. I have to distance myself from the bullshit, stupidity and negative vibes most folks excrete.

    Another factor for me is my work schedule, i can only go play when i have time for it and more often than not it means i go alone or not at all. I gave up trying to coordinate with flaky friends long ago.
    watch out for snakes

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    The Continental Divide
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    7,273
    Quote Originally Posted by scottyb View Post
    Another factor for me is my work schedule, i can only go play when i have time for it and more often than not it means i go alone or not at all. I gave up trying to coordinate with flaky friends long ago.
    This made me think of another aspect, timing. I like to follow the weather and snow rather than the calendar, work week, other people's schedules and agendas.
    Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
    Henry David Thoreau

  20. #20
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    Feb 2008
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    here and there
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheRa View Post
    This made me think of another aspect, timing. I like to follow the weather and snow rather than the calendar, work week, other people's schedules and agendas.
    Yup, I have no problem working weekends and holidays in trade for being off week days. Prefer it actually. Not only are my chances better of connecting on that weekday pow storm or high water event I can get stuff dun and not stand in lines like the 98% of sheeples.
    watch out for snakes

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    900
    Quote Originally Posted by scottyb View Post
    Yup, I have no problem working weekends and holidays in trade for being off week days. Prefer it actually. Not only are my chances better of connecting on that weekday pow storm or high water event I can get stuff dun and not stand in lines like the 98% of sheeples.
    bingo. Workin for the mid week. Traffic, lift lines, busy trail heads. Never could understand the allure.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Salida, CO
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    1,013
    I never ski solo...always have my dog with me...I might take higher risks but wont expose him to them

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    The Continental Divide
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    7,273
    Quote Originally Posted by whipski View Post
    I never ski solo...always have my dog with me...I might take higher risks but wont expose him to them
    Cool, I'm getting a dog next year. Really looking forward to a K9 partner.
    Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
    Henry David Thoreau

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    8,203
    I tour solo a lot. Bring the dog many times too. When he's along, I definitely stick to mellower terrain. Learned my lesson early on the taking the pooch on the gnar isn't fun for him or me.

    I like the serenity and ability to slow down and really think things through when you are solo. Although I'm moving slower, the whole tour usually takes less time. Funny how that works. It's also really nice to not have to worry about anyone else but yourself.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Your Mom's House
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    6,359
    I tour solo occasionally. All decision making in the BC really comes down to risk management. Risk management requires both an evaluation of the hazard AND an evaluation of the potential consequences. Being out there solo does change the potential consequences, so yes it changes my decision making.

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