There are ‘rules’ in wide-open backcountry |

There are ‘rules’ in wide-open backcountry

Allen Best

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Newcomers to mountain towns can justifiably be amazed at what is considered a breach of etiquette. This seems to be especially true of skiers and other travelers of the backcountry in the wintertime.For instance, cross-country skiers get cranky about snowshoers messing with their tracks, as was evident in a spat at Crested Butte several years ago. And both get outraged at the rapid demolition of the snowy landscape by snowmobilers. Of course, if you’re a cross-country skier, you understand the reason for this crankiness, and it doesn’t entirely have to do with aesthetics or proprietary instincts. Skiing across frozen snowmobile tracks amid a slope of powder is almost akin to encountering a patch of dirt.In Jackson Hole, Teton Pass is like a mini-ski area, except that it’s all backcountry. And there, even among backcountry skiers, there are mostly unspoken rules of etiquette. Vanessa Pierce, a guest backcountry columnist for the Jackson Hole News & Guide, notes a recent excursion when she took big, arcing tele turns. Reaching the bottom, she looked back upslope to admire her work, but was instead chastened. “Um,” her skiing partner said diplomatically. “We’re going to have to learn how to farm our turns.”The goal, she explained, is to use only as much space as you need, leaving room for others to get fresh turns.Brewing biz robust in Sun ValleyKETCHUM, Idaho – Cabin Fever Ale is among the latest offerings of what the Idaho Mountain Express reports is an expanding number of brewers in the Wood River Valley.The oldest, founded 20 years ago, is Sun Valley Brewing Co., which is located about 10 miles downvalley at Hailey. It is now large enough that it recently began selling its White Cloud Ale at 25 grocery stores in Idaho owned by the Albertsons chain.Another company, River Bend Brewing Co., is a one-man operation in Hailey that distributes to local restaurants. The latest addition is Trail Creek Pub, which opened in November in Ketchum.The Brewers Association reports annual 7 percent annual expansion of the microbreweries even as sales of the major breweries are declining. Still, the biggies dwarf the sales of the locals, yielding this exhortation from the micro guys: “Drink Local.”Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism