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Backcountry skiing is pretty new to me. Sure, decades of alpine and cross country skiing as a young adult, snowboarding as a 30-something, but never before on the big fatties spewing cold smoke off-piste (that’s all the cool words I could come up with at once.)

But since moving to Durango, it is clear that to achieve full stoke, you gotta get away from the chairs once in a while. So I poked around, did some research, took a class from San Juan Mountain Guides and generally went for it. In the process, there was new gear to be acquired (oh, hot damn!)

The team at Pine Needle Mountaineering has been nothing short of stellar. Nothing short of patient. Not a whim of pretension or condescension. Just helpful, and honest, and caring, and encouraging, and wise. The coulda blown me off as some newcomer-poser-come-lately. They coulda simply sold me the most expensive stuff. Nope – they sold me what was good for me and on my timeline.

My new RMU North Shore's with Dynafit bindings - SUPREME STOKE!!

Great boot fit, the skis and bindings I wanted, and the patience to work with me.

Supporting local is great – supporting local AND awesome is best. Thanks to everyone at Pine Needle for making me feel welcome and supported in learning about this exiting new sport. The stoke is high!!

(now everyone please do a quick snow dance for us down here in the southwest)