Ski Mountaineering Partners – Intro

| June 30, 2008

Superficially, ski mountaineering is an individual sport. You do not need a partner to make turns, enjoy deep powder and appreciate a mountain setting; yet having one transforms the experience into something even greater. Partnerships are at the core of the sport, and without them ski mountaineering would barely exist.

Reto & Hombi from Switzerland
Reto & Hombi from Switzerland.  These guys have been making turns together for years!

Behind any great ski mountaineer, there is a great partnership. Partners motivate each other, provide complementary skills, make breaking trail easier and increase each other’s safety in the mountains. Almost all of the greatest adventures and mountaineering feats in history have either involved, or were the result of strong partnerships. Where you go with your ski mountaineering is closely linked to the partnerships you create along the way.

Finding good partners takes time, effort and persistence. It does not always happen easily, but the rewards last a lifetime. More than money or skill, a strong partnership is your ticket to the most exotic locations on earth. Where there is a partnership with a will, there is an adventure waiting to happen.  Oftentimes you may not even appreciate what a great skiing partner you’ve found until they are no longer around!

Seasoned partners are prized friends and interesting people. After years of skiing together and hundreds of shared experiences, they develop an understanding that borders on mind reading and reduces communications to the bare essentials. Comments like “why don’t you take it and hook under the rock” make perfect sense to a like-minded partner, but could take hours to explain to others. This type of understanding between partners is essential when the going gets tough.

The key to finding good partners is first to be a good one yourself. Partners have an unquestionable responsibility to each other and, consciously or not, people seek out others that they can trust. This sense of trust is the root element of enduring mountaineering friendships and the ideal starting point for new ones.

Tomorrow – What Makes a Good Partner.

15% off Motorola SX600R radios for keeping track of your partners, at


Category: 04 Partners

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

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