‘Bringing the backcountry straight to your ears’: Cripple Creek Backcountry brings ‘Totally Deep’ podcast live to Breckenridge
Shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday, while the first attendees at the Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s annual Benefit Bash began to file in, Randy Young and Doug Stenclik took their “Totally Deep Podcast” on backcountry skiing live to the Riverwalk Center.
“It is time to elevate the levels,” Young said.
“We are elevating the levels more than ever before,” Stenclik added.
Saturday’s live broadcast came two days after the third anniversary of Young and Stenclik’s launch of their backcountry skiing podcast. The co-owners of Cripple Creek Backcountry skiing store in Carbondale, the duo of Young and Stenclik have recorded 40 podcasts since beginning, all with the motto of “bringing a little bit of the backcountry lifestyle straight to your ears.”
The two avid backcountry skiers pride themselves on witty banter and insightful knowledge, and during Saturday’s show, Young and Stenclik shot the breeze with two of the most knowledgeable people on avalanches in Colorado: Friends of CAIC executive director Aaron Carlson and CAIC executive director Ethan Greene.
Below are a few soundbites from the live podcast at the 10th annual Friends of CAIC Benefit Bash, which Carlson said raised $47,000 in ticket sales alone on the way to $100,000 total funds raised.
To listen to “Totally Deep Podcast,” visit: CrippleCreekBC.com/blogs/totally-deep-podcast.
On the loneliness of backcountry skiing
“Backcountry skiing is mostly solitary,” Stenclik said. “Not necessarily you by yourself, but you have few longtime partners. They are the only ones you go out with. Aaron is lucky, he gets to ski with all of the forecasters and he’s always on tour, so you probably have a lot of those (friends). But for the most part, we don’t get a lot of backcountry skiers in one place. (That’s why the benefit bash) is great for the community.”
“You just see the stoke,” Carlson said. “You just see the stoke coming through the doors.”
Carlson on expanding avalanche curriculum
“We are doing more video, more content for our presentations,” Carlson said. “We focus more on Colorado. So our goal is that every school-age kid in Colorado does not leave school without some kind of avalanche education.”
“And one thing that we are working on now,” Carlson added, “is a ‘Know Before You Go To Work,’ designed for people working in avalanche terrain — mining, utilities, railroads. We’re really pushing it out that way.”
On lessons learned from backcountry trips abroad
“What was the biggest takeaway from that day for you guys?” Stenclik asked.
“Communication, between partners,” Carlson said. “It’s just really important to communicate. I was in an avalanche accident in Japan, and the whole reason it happened was because of a lack of communication. I am a huge proponent of radios, I’ve jumped on the radio bandwagon, I think it’s awesome.”
“And that’s every kid’s dream,” Stenclik said. “We are living it now.”
“And I think I can do a better job making sure the radio is always in the pack and your partners always have a radio,” Carlson added.
“I am fully on board (skiing with radios),” Stenclik said. “I introduced it last year, we used it constantly in South America, because our cellphones didn’t work around these podunk towns we were in. ‘Well what bar are you at?’ Really useful there. … The radios worked and we were so on top of it, and that’s not the culture in South America. Most people are not doing that. It’s slightly more stable snowpack, I say that because as Blaze, our forecaster, would say, ‘Did we get it or did we get away with it?’ And we probably got away with it quite a bit, and I’m aware of that. But one of the things we did to minimize that is we never loaded two people ever in avalanche terrain, and we would space it out huge from rock band to rock band, and you can’t do that without being able to communicate.”
CAIC director Ethan Greene on how he found his career
“I went to Colorado State University,” Greene said, “their atmospheric sciences program, and it was really fortunate to land in with the mesoscale meteorology modeling group there, and there were some people working in snow. So I spent a few years modeling snow drift formation around Camera Pass and in Rocky Mountian National Park.”
“And is that a thing?” Young asked Greene. “Like, ‘snowdrift formation,’ is there a whole field around that?”
“Oh yeah, there are like six or eight people,” Greene replied. “No, in all seriousness back then that was actually true. There weren’t that many people doing it. But the guy I was working with, Glen Liston, he was doing some really interesting work and I was fortunate to spend time with him. Now, with climate change, there is more funding and research into cryospheric sciences. So the snow distribution both for water and for surface energy balance and how it’s affecting the climate, that’s all really important. There are a lot more people working in those types of subject now.”
On bidding on Alaskan heli-skip trip at the benefit bash
“Just put a bid in,” Young said to Carlson.
“Maybe if it doesn’t have a bid by the end of the night, maybe I’ll buy it,” Carlson said. “But the worst part is when you are bidding on something (on your phone), and you see you are outbid (you say) ‘I’ll bid a little bit more.’ Then your buddy pulls his phone out (and says) ‘Damn it.’ Then it becomes real competition.”
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