Ryan Krueger,

The Lookout
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Sunday, September 22, 2013 - 6:20pm Ryan Krueger

Photo by Noah Howell

While the view from the lift line rarely changes, the backcountry experience is new every time. Elevation, the newest film from Salt Lake City–based Powderwhore Productions, premiers in Bozeman on October 1, taking viewers from one backcountry adventure to the next in search of elusive, untracked lines.

The film documents a diverse mix of riders and locations across North America: telemark skiing in the Teton Valley, snowboarding in the Wasatch, lightweight touring in Washington and Wyoming, and deluxe camping in the Tordrillo Mountains of Alaska.  

The film highlights elite riders who spend their time exploring the terrain in their own backyards. Jake Sakson skis in the Teton Valley and talks about areas so vast he rarely comes into contact with other riders. “It’s sometimes a lot of work to get out to ski the stuff you want to ski," he says, "but that’s what makes it special.” 

Photo by Noah Howell

The people featured in Elevation are alike for one reason: they love riding in the backcountry, earning turns under their own power, and exploring new locations along the way.  

“There’s the act of skiing, but then there’s the whole act of discovering and I like mixing the two together," says backcountry skier Andrew McLean. "There’s just this sense of exploration that you really can’t get anywhere else.” 

The Dorais brothers are featured prominently in the film, holding notable speed records on the Grand Teton and Mount Rainier. They claim they “just want to ski a lot, try and go fast, push ourselves, and go to some pretty places.”

As the natural skiing experience becomes more prevalent, Powderwhore has chosen to stay fixated on the authentic element of the sport, creating a film without the use of helicopters or large-scale productions. Their newest film portrays the real skiing experience, not just an intangible reality that the majority of viewers will never grab hold of.

Photo by Jonah Howell

In this most relatable of ski films, it's refreshing to see that the everyday skier is not lost. While the athletes featured are talented in their own right, it’s not always about the best trick or the biggest line, rather the people themselves who spend their time in these places.

Backcountry riding requires no validation—it’s out there waiting for anyone that’s up to the challenge. Elevation shows us what it means to get out under our own power in places where nothing comes easily... and it’s that much better for it.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:39am Ryan Krueger

Words and photos by Ryan Krueger

Sometimes insanity pays off—in this case, checking the snow report every single morning, expecting the results to be different. After weeks of nothing, a chance of snow in the forecast told me that just maybe the ski hill had received something throughout the night that the city of Bozeman had not.

At first glance, it seemed a mistake had been made. A grey day in town with no accumulation and the snow report was touting 23 new inches overnight? As unreasonable as it sounded, anyone who has spent a few seasons skiing Bridger Bowl knows that these kinds of anomalies are what make our home resort special. And sure enough, it was exactly as stated—the best powder day in a long time.

By the end of Tuesday there would be 27 inches of snow on the ground and it continued to fall for the next three days, delivering powder days into the weekend and leaving us with a storm total of 52 inches.

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Monday, October 8, 2012 - 12:38pm Ryan Krueger


Don’t give up just yet. It’s easy to become sedentary when the leaves turn colors and the temps start to drop. Excuses stack up like the decaying foliage—excuses based on assumptions: that the weather isn’t good enough or that the days aren’t long enough or that the summer is over. And gone with the excuses is time spent outside—at least until you can ski again, right?

Think again—fall is the season for recreation. Between the snowy summits and scorching sun lies an abundance of smooth, empty trails—void of heat stroke and hords of fair-weather recreationists—waiting to be enjoyed.

The frost on your windshield won’t last all day, so get outside. It won’t be long before the snow is here to stay and a lengthy winter envelops our region. (Followed by springtime mud that’ll keep your wheels and feet off the dirt for far too long.)

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Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 12:00am Ryan Krueger

Putting on our pads and helmets at the base area we couldn’t help but feel a little bit like super heroes. Full-face helmets and a full range of pads, “I sure hope we don’t need any of this,” I said, cinching the last Velcro strap. A day filled with lift-accessed mountain biking ahead of us we were a mix of nervous energy and eager anticipation.

Bike Riding at Big Sky Resort
Photo by Dave Reuss

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Friday, October 1, 2010 - 12:00am Ryan Krueger

Waiting for SnowThe first snowfall of the season is the greatest. That fall feeling is in the air as the flurries begin to come down from the sky and coat the ground for the first time. The entire town seems to feel different. I find myself watching the radar and checking the weather constantly throughout the day, anxiously watching the snow outside. While some people are inside their homes mourning the potential loss of another season, my mind goes elsewhere. All I can think about is early season skiing. I pace around the house after work and watch the weather go from rain to snow to rain again and snow once more. In Bozeman, the precipitation seems wet and rather lacking. But to anyone who considers themselves a skier, they know that this day-long mix of rain and snow probably means a decent snowstorm at higher elevations. A phone call to a couple friends confirms my ambitions. Tomorrow will be the day.

Each of us with our specific time constraints, we decide that we might as well do this right and go after a good old-fashioned dawn patrol to start the season. So we did just that. As the 5:30am alarm went off, followed by the other 5:30am alarm (you can’t be to careful) I woke up, put on my ski gear, made a plate sized pancake and climbed into the car. As I sipped my coffee on the way out of Bozeman and up the canyon it seemed as though we had made a giant mistake. The ground in Bozeman was empty and fairly dry, and the accumulation that we noticed on the way up was hardly more than a dusting. I had to keep telling myself that this would all be worth it but I wasn’t quite sure that I believed it. Too late now, we will ski with or without snow.

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