Bozeman, Mont. • Ben Werner glided up the craggy mountain bowl between Hardscrabble Peak and Frazier Basin in the Bridgers, his heels lifting off his skis with every step. He paused periodically to assess his route up the slope.
Before Werner ascended the bowl, he’d tested the snow’s stability on a small hill with a similar slant and aspect. He directed his skis toward the hillside and coasted along, looking around for any signs of cracks or slides. The snow held. He continued his path upward.
In backcountry skiing, deciding where to climb up or ski down a slope can be the difference between life and death. And the mountains are deceiving.
Werner would know. He’ll soon be releasing the third edition of his 2011 book, “The Bozeman and Big Sky Backcountry Ski Guide.” The book documents popular backcountry runs across the Gallatin, Bridger, Madison, Absaroka and Beartooth ranges. Werner