Did you just spit out your coffee wondering if Michelle had finally, really gone all the way over the edge? Casper has WHAT country? That’s right – I said it. Casper has backcountry. And it rocks.
This town continues to amaze me. Just when I stuff it in a neat little box I find a whole new way to be active (like Prana) or have a totally unexpected powder day, right in my own backyard. Mind you, my definition of backyard is pretty big – just like my state.
Teton pass backcountry users: riddle me this. If you have a leisurely Saturday breakfast at home and eventually make it out mid-day, what will the parking situation be? The correct answer, assuming the avalanche danger isn’t crazy high, is ‘absolutely dismal’ and you my friend had better start warming up that thumb to bum a ride from the Stagecoach parking lot. In Casper? Not so. But here’s the trade-off – the backcountry isn’t swamped because it’s roughly located in the middle of nowhere.
Located about 1.5 hours from Casper, the Bighorn National Forest is 1.1 million acres and spans into Montana, but the biggest peaks are in Wyoming. Not that we were peak bagging – this was just a Saturday ski. Lap after lap we explored new lines and enjoyed 18″ of new snow, all to ourselves. Our chosen spot sported less vertical than Teton Pass, which suited my short attention span quite nicely. As an added bonus, we didn’t have to worry about anyone ski cutting the slope above us and causing a massive avalanche, or about beating the 15 parties we saw in the parking lot. Nope, this was backcountry skiing in its purest from – just set a skin track and enjoy the ride down.
So where exactly is this almost epic backcountry? I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you (not really… but I’m not telling so it’s a moot point).
Actually-helpful-ski-video-of-the-day: How to dress while skinning in the backcountry.