Skiing backcountry video (2)With much of the Northeast getting hit by major snowstorms on a weekly basis as of late, the conditions for backcountry skiing are the best in recent memory. But Vermont officials are warning skiers and snowboarders about the dangers of venturing off-trail into backcountry powder.

According to, the Vermont Department of Public Safety issued the warning after rescuers found a skier late Wednesday (February 11) who was lost for nearly six hours near Mount Snow. The skier was found in deep snow and was hypothermic and dehydrated. He was one of nine skiers who went missing and had to be rescued in the last two weeks.

Officials say deep snow can present significant danger to backcountry skiers. Vermont has a law allowing rescue agencies and resorts to bill skiers who get lost after ignoring posted warnings. (Read about Vermont warning skiers about the dangers of off-trail, backcountry skiing.)

When done right, backcountry skiing can be a beautiful thing, as shown here by Vimeo user Jon Miller.

Of course, when done right, backcountry skiing can be an amazing experience. But you need to know what you’re doing, and it’s not something you just jump into when you have once-in-a-generation deep pow.

If you are going to try backcountry skiing, start by trying it in a group. Make sure to tell people where you’re going. You’re going to be working much harder in the backcountry, so your body will need fuel. Be sure to bring both food and water. Have a map, compass, cell phone, extra clothes and a headlamp. And make sure to do it early in the day, not your last run when it’s about to get dark.

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