Week In Review January 3: Heli Ski Op Found Guilty and Whistler Goes Underground

Tragic week for ski accidents, Euros put us to shame, and Kanye digs ski stretch pants

Heli Ski Operator Pleads Guilty To Federal Land Trespassing

Southeast Backcountry Adventures (SEABA) agreed to a plea deal this week that will cost the company over $20,000 for operating illegally on federal land last season. The offenses came to light after a heli ski client died on closed federal land last March. Since then, the Anchorage-based tour company has reportedly admitted that 54 of its 78 operation days in the 2012-2013 season were spent on a closed section of federal land, a section of land reserved for environmental studies. In addition to the 20 grand, SEABA will also be placed on a two year probation.

Those crazy Euros Are Out There Skiing WTF Snow

Yo Powdersnob, think this season has sucked so far? You mad bro? Well Europe’s Likebomb crew just told us all to stop our whining in their newest edit, “It’s Not Powder Skiing, It’s S*%t-F*%k Skiing”. The European contingent headed to Engleberg this December for some deep early season conditions and instead found some of the gnarliest, blue-iced faces in recent memory. But instead of packing it in and upping their Tinder game, they decided to ante up and ski, taking on borderline treacherous conditions, hucking cliffs, and straight-lining rocky chutes that would have most of us crying “uncle”.

New Series Highlights Whistler Underground

The shiny Whistler façade is in trouble this season thanks to skiers Nick McNutt, Eliel Hindert, Jordan Clark, Flo Goeller, and Andreas Unterberger. Touted as “uncensored Whistler,” the boys’ new series, Under the Weather, features the local lifestyle of on-the-cusp ski stars that stay out a little too late and ski a little too fast. After a breakout 2013, McNutt and Hindert are two skiers to watch this season, and now we can on a fairly regular basis, thanks to this season-long series. Besides some massive switch pow landings, if we learn one thing from the teaser, and one thing only, it’s this: There will be blood.

Bad Week For Snow Safety
Let’s not dwell on the understatement, but it wasn’t a good week. Ten skiers were lost to slides in the French Alps, two to separate slides in Wydaho, and another in Colorado.

In addition to those tragedies, the Formula One racing world holds its collective breath after one of its best racers ever, German-born Michael Schumacher, remains in critical condition after a fall in the French Alps backcountry. The seven-time World Champion was wearing a helmet when he hit his head on a rock beyond the Meribel ropes Sunday morning. His condition has improved according to several sources, but he remains in a medically induced coma.

This week’s events were further enhanced by a New York Times article that reported that while helmet use is up, head injuries have yet to decrease.

Ski Reporter Slip-Up

Here’s a fun fact: This lady is more dedicated to her ski reporting job than I am. Take a digger and keep the cameras rolling? No thanks—I choose to lick my wounds in private. I guess she’s just a cut above.

P.S. That looked like a little more than just a slip and fall, kind of scary actually.

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

The News That Didn’t Quite Cut It
North Korea has ski lifts. And to prove it, here’s a regal photo of Kim Jong-un sitting on it.

And Kanye digs ski stretch pants!

Add a comment

  • MZ

    SEABA is based out of Haines, AK…. Get your facts straight. BIG difference.

  • MissCC

    Also, it was not a SEABA client, it was a guide.

  • Ben

    It appears my original comment was moderated, however I feel it necessary to point out that schumacher wasn’t in the backcountry. Off Piste in Europe does not mean back country, just off an ungroomed run. He was under the main gondola.

  • smolgarf

    did the BLM ever do those studies? are they ever going to? were they going to do them in the winter? would heliskiing interfere with their studies? besides use of fuel, has heliskiing ever been shown to be a detriment to the environment or wildlife around haines? no, no, no, no, and no.

    • smolgarf

      all that terrain is historic heliski terrain, BTW, part of a thin sliver of permitted heliski mountains just north of glacier bay park and south of the chilkat river. the permit map shrinks every year for no meaningful reason. goats jumping off cliffs because of helis? false. backcountry skiers? where are they? BLM study? where’s the study? noise? laughable. got a decibel reading on that noise? of course not. because it wouldn’t even register. none of these reasons to shrink the map would stand up in court.

      • RIP

        In light of the assistant guides death last March, the Federal government did their due diligence in investigating all the information and procedures that happened that day. For the sake of the family and friends, it can shed light into the possibility of consequences that could have been avoided. Not that being in a closed area could have impacted that day, their could have been some questionable decisions into why the group was there in the first place.
        All companies have to follow the same rules in Alaska. State land is fair game, federal land is not. If people want to continue to helicopter ski in AK, simple rules that are enforced by the feds (regardless of how contrived and absurd) need to be followed. period. This leads many to question the protocols and operating procedure of certain companies. Alaska heliskiing is largely unregulated and some companies prefer it that way, but not realistic considering the risks and liability.

        • smolgarf

          it’s our duty to question contrived and absurd rules.

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