Category Archives: Skiing

Stories and images from my cross-country and backcountry skiing adventures, from family- and beginner-friendly to expert-level trips.

February 7, 2016 Wallowa Mountains, Oregon.

12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter

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By Michael Lanza

Staying warm and comfortable while Nordic or backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in winter is a constant challenge—we sweat, our bodies and clothes get damp, then we get cold. But it’s not impossible. In fact, as someone who runs hot when moving and cools off quickly—and who gets cold fingers very easily—I’ve learned some tricks over the years that have made getting outdoors in winter vastly more comfortable and enjoyable for me. Follow these tips and you could be more comfortable on cold-weather outdoor adventures, too. Continue reading →

January 31, 2016 The view from Baldy Knoll, Teton Range.

Photo Gallery: Backcountry Skiing the Tetons

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By Michael Lanza

After some 18 trips in Grand Teton National Park—backpacking, dayhiking, climbing, canoeing, backcountry skiing—I’ve yet to lose the sense of awe I get every time I look at these sharply angled peaks, which resemble the archetypal pictures of mountains shaped like upside-down V’s that we drew as children. But there’s definitely something unique and special about getting out here in winter, when the high country wears a thick mantle of white. And there’s something very special about traveling through these mountains on skis. Continue reading →

January 25, 2016 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating the Centennial Year of the National Park Service

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By Michael Lanza

When the National Park Service turns 100 on Aug. 25, it will mark not just the diamond anniversary of what writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called “the best idea we ever had”—it marks the evolution and growth of that idea from a handful of parks created in the early days to a system in many ways without parallel, that protects 52 million acres of mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, deserts, prairies, caves, islands, bays, fjords, badlands, natural arches, and seashores in 59 parks. Without that protection, these places that draw visitors from around the world would otherwise almost certainly have been exploited and destroyed. Continue reading →

January 18, 2016 White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

10 Tips For Getting Your Teenager Outdoors With You

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By Michael Lanza

“That sounds totally boring.” “Other parents don’t force their kids to do things they don’t want to do.” “I hate (fill in the activity).” If you’re a parent of a teenager, you’ve probably heard these responses from your child, or any of an infinite number of variations on them—like a personal favorite that my son, at 14, laid on me: “You get to choose your friends, but you don’t get to choose your family.” If you’re trying to persuade a teen to get outdoors with you—which these days often entails pulling him or her away from an electronic screen to engage in physical activity for hours—your child can summon powers of resistance that conjure mental images of Superman stopping a high-speed train.

Even though my kids, now 15 and nearly 13, have dayhiked and backpacked hundreds of miles, paddled whitewater rivers and waters from Alaska’s Glacier Bay to Florida’s Everglades, and cross-country skied and rock climbed since they were preschoolers, we still sometimes encounter blowback to our plans to do something outdoors. But we’re usually still successful, and our kids look forward to most of our adventures. Here are the reasons why. Continue reading →

January 12, 2016 Lower Yellowstone Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Video: Cross-Country Skiing in Yellowstone

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By Michael Lanza

Consider these statistics: Yellowstone National Park receives about four million visitors a year. Ninety percent of them see the park between May and September. Less than four percent of visitors come between December and March. And yet, in many respects, winter is the best time of year to see Yellowstone: Wildlife congregate at lower elevations, making them easier to see (except bears, of course), waterfalls form towering columns of ice (like 308-foot Lower Yellowstone Falls, in the lead photo, above), and the geysers and other thermal features take on a different character when the landscape grows hushed under a thick blanket of snow.

Plus, you can see the park’s major features, like the Upper Geyser Basin—home to Old Faithful and one-fourth of the active geysers in the world (and the greatest concentration of them)—on skis. Cross-country skiing groomed trails in Yellowstone, many of which are beginner- and family-friendly, is one of the coolest experiences in the National Park System. Continue reading →

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