Category Archives: Skiing

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

September 4, 2016 Tonto East Trail, Grand Canyon.

3-Minute Read: Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Several years ago, on a four-day, family backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon when our kids were nine and barely seven, our son, the oldest, told me that he wanted to carry his own backpack. Up to then, both kids had carried daypacks when we backpacked with them (as our daughter still was). I got him a kids pack that fit him and kept it light—with only a liter of water and his sleeping bag and pad and stuffed animals in it. By about 30 minutes into the second day’s hike, he told me the pack was too heavy. So, following one of my own rules about taking kids outdoors, I removed his bag and crammed it into my already overstuffed pack.

Something my son, now 15, did recently, affirmed (yet again) the wisdom of keeping our kids’ packs light when they were little.

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August 22, 2016 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

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 →

May 30, 2016 Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park, Canada.

Ask Me: Where Should We Dayhike or Backpack in the Canadian Rockies?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments


I hope you are well. I thoroughly enjoy your site and it has become one of my first destinations for trip planning. Any suggestions for Banff and Jasper national parks in the Canadian Rockies? We’ll be heading there this summer. My wife and I are fit and can easily cover 10-12 miles a day, more if needed.

Thank you much,

Bella Vista, AR Continue reading →

May 20, 2016 Campsite, Dome Glacier, Ptarmigan Traverse, Glacier Peak Wilderness, North Cascades.

Ask Me: How Can You Tell How Warm a Down Jacket Is?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment


With sleeping bags, we have temperature ratings. But with down/insulated/puffy jackets, what is best way to determine if a jacket will be warm or warmer or hot? Is it the amount of fill? Some but not all jackets indicate the amount of fill.



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May 13, 2016 On the summit of Mount Hoffmann, Yosemite National Park.

How to Have More Fun and Be Safer Outdoors

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

People occasionally ask me the same basic question about hiking, backpacking, or some other outdoor activity: How much do I need to know to do this? They ask that question, of course, because they want to keep themselves and their family or friends safe. And you can find the answers to questions like that—and probably many others that you have—in one place. Continue reading →

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