There’s nothing safe about backcountry skiing. That word shouldn’t be associated with the sport
— Kim Miller, President Scarpa USA
This is the fifth video in our series covering a panel of industry experts discussing avalanche risk in backcountry skiing and the industry’s part in that, hosted at Outdoor Retail Winter by Verde PR.
In today’s clip, Scarpa’s Kim Miller talks about engaging new snowsport enthusiasts in a backcountry safety, through in-bound uphill skiing for safe education and through communication with new backcountry skiers.
Miller looks back to the influx of new climbers when sport climbing made rock climbing “safer,” drawing parallels to the current influx of new backcountry skiers.
He said at the time they realized one of the best places for new climbers to learn is at an indoor climbing gym, and, likewise, uphill skiing at resorts (that allow it) is a good introduction for learning the basics of backcountry skiing.
“That’s just the beginning of the story,” Miller said. “There’s nothing safe about backcountry skiing. That word shouldn’t be associated with the sport … The first thing you need to do is educate yourself to those risks.”
While people who have spent a lot of time backcountry skiing understand that, he said, we have to understand new skiers need help in understanding protocols, tools and risk.
“It’s not about the gear we’re using, that’s a secondary kind of point.” Miller said. “We have to learn the protocols and understand the inherent risks we’re exposing our self to … we can’t assume that just because we put on all this amazing gear now that we’re – quote – safe.”
He said an analogy is an airbag in your car – if you have to use it, something has gone wrong.