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Excerpt: Go Big and Go Home


By John Reid

Six experts give their best advice on taking mountain sports to the next level. Here’s how to up the ante – and stay safe doing it.

Backcountry Ski Guide

At just 31 years old, Marty Schaffer is revolutionizing avalanche education through progressive programs at the guiding company he co-founded, Capow! Guiding.

Sell me on this sport:

Backcountry is like being connected to your soulmate instead of just dating. The resort is a good foundation and a good experience, but backcountry is about finding true love.

Favourite piece of gear:

A thermos. Starting your day with warm water kicks your liquid drinking to the next level. A thermos of hot tea is the perfect thing to sip on.

Advice for progressing from the resort to the backcountry:

Take an Avalanche Skills Training (AST) course, go with a guide, or find a really experienced group.

If you could pick one place to go backcountry skiing:

Blanket Glacier Chalet. I grew up there. It’s the best, and safest, skiing in the world. We have easy access without any overhead hazard to seemingly endless tree skiing.

Best advice for a rookie:

Slow down, look up, take in all you can observe. Resorts train us to rush to lines and, in heli, you rush to get to the machine. For backcountry, you need to appreciate all of the experience, whether that’s hiking to the top, studying conditions or skiing down. Take it all in. […]

→ Keep reading this piece in Volume 3 of the Canadian Rockies Annual and learn more from Barry Blanchard, Sarah Hueniken, Tatum Monod, Casey Brown and Karsten Heuer! 

The team at the Canadian Rockies Annual is devoted to high-quality storytelling, carefully curated content and top-notch photography – all wrapped up in a meticulously and thoughtfully designed publication. Please consider supporting our efforts by subscribing (available worldwide) or picking up a copy at one of our retail locations. 

Lover of limestone, lynx and larch! John Reid is a Rocky Mountain writer and usually the first to say something positive after the third false summit.


The views and opinions expressed in the articles on are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editor, the editorial team or the publishers.

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