Troy Walch, a 42-year-old ski tech at Crow's Feet Commons, is the backcountry equivalent of a James Bond-meets-MacGyver mashup: smooth, prepared, and can fix anything.
How long have you been a backcountry skier? How'd you get started?
I've been hiking to ski lines for about 20 years now. I first moved out west in the fall of '92 and landed in Salt Lake City where I got a job working in Snowbird's parking lot. We started hiking out in the Catherine's Area beyond Alta from that resort. That access to fresh snow adjacent to a lift access area really opened my eyes to the vast world outside ski area boundaries.
What's the biggest misconception about the sport?
It's a toss up between "overly dangerous" and "overly expensive."
Best ski memory from last season?
Skiing with the guys from Three Sisters Backcountry and staying in their yurts overnight.
Favorite piece of winter gear?
Snowmobile pops into my head first, but that's just for access. The best tool I don't want to live without? My Dynafit bindings and boots—the only things that could get me off the telemark gear.
What new gear are you most excited about
(or, what's on your wish list)?
4Frnt Hoji skis. Beautiful!
Got any ski trips on the calendar?
Annual trip to Jackson to ski the Tetons and up to Big Sky/Gallatin, of course.
Alaska this year for sure. British Columbia would be the dream trip, though—the Powder Highway through Nelson, Revelstoke, etc.
Favorite regional ski destination?
The Wallowas. Great touring, tons of cold snow, huts (if you can get one booked), and endless skiing options.
What are your winter goals?
Ski more, work less! Do a self-supported overnighter into the Three Sisters Wilderness and ski North, Middle, and South Sister and hike out to Cascade Lakes Highway.
Three things that should live in every backcountry skier's pack, but probably don't (aside from beacon, probe, shovel)?
Packable down jacket to get warm if you end up out later than expected—happens every time. Snow science kit. Dig a pit—don't be lazy! Extra gloves and goggles, man.
During a big tour, do you eat space food or meat and cheese?
Real food! Meat, cheese, chocolate, pretzels or whatever else I can scrounge up. A thermos is pretty crucial. Extra coffee or hot chocolate is huge.