Plans change and stuff happens. If you are goal oriented, you know you will not succeed unless you persevere, but at the same time, group desires and competence should be taken into account. Changing plans to accommodate conditions or abilities can be frustrating, but instead of forcing the issue when things aren’t working out, look at that day’s outing as a reconnaissance mission and consider how you could make a subsequent outing more successful.
Skiers can be a forgiving crowd, but as the old saying goes, “There are no friends on a powder day.” It is inconsiderate to surprise your partners with an early quitting time, especially after a late start, or to jeopardize the team and your own safety with a solo exit.
Julia Niles showing considerable consideration… for a powder day.
Showing up with a gaggle of unanticipated friends drastically alters the group dynamics for the day, especially if a difficult tour is planned. Groups of two to four well-matched skiers are the most efficient size for the backcountry and larger groups can be dangerous, especially if the abilities are unknown.
Breaking trail can be a gut-busting effort and some people thrive on it. If you are not in a position to help out, a simple “thanks” and acknowledgment go a long way toward keeping peace in the backcountry. Trail breaking can also be very slow, with subsequent people having a faster and easier track. As such, it is important to give the trail breakers some distance for avalanche safety reasons, as well as avoiding the sensation of breathing down their neck.
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Category: 04 Partners