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Monday, March 8, 2021

How To Balance Risk And Reward In The Backcountry

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In a world of instant gratification, it’s sometimes easy to assume that it’s all just waist deep snow, heli drops and pos-cliff-drop-first-bumps in many ski movies. There is, however, a different side to these movies, one that’s frequently kept under wraps by many production houses – and that’s the level of risk in the backcountry.

“A man who’s dedicated his life to skiing and exploring some of the highest-consequence terrain out there”

The reason we rarely see this risk is largely thanks to the work of the avalanche safety professionals and mountain guides who have spent their life perfecting their craft in order to (somewhat) reduce the dangers for the athletes as they hurtle down the steepest faces in sight at Mach loony.

One of these mountain guides is Patagonia ambassador and Wyoming-based Zahan ‘Z’ Billimoria – a man who’s dedicated his life to skiing and exploring some of the highest-consequence terrain out there.

Throughout his time guiding and skiing some bloody serious terrain, Z has seen just about everything; from the intoxicating highs of scoring a dream line and crushing blows of losing friends in the mountains. 

“From the intoxicating highs of scoring a dream line and crushing blows of losing friends in the mountains”

With high reward comes high levels of risk. But how much is it all worth? ‘Solving for Z’ beautifully explores this relationship and the dangers too much of either can play on your decision making in the backcountry.

This, of course, is all told through the experience and learnings of one of the most considered and experienced guides out there – Zahan.

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