Editorial: Join the Club

“I love skiing up hills.”

That’s a direct quote from Derrick Knowles, my buddy, Outreach Coordinator for Conservation Northwest, and frequent contributor to Out There Monthly. I’m making him explain to me why he was pushing to revive the Kettle Range Ski Club.

“To bring together a community of backcountry skiers to share skills and ideas,” says Knowles. “It’s about building a community of skiers in our little corner of the state .”

The club was active as recently as ten years ago and is best known for creating the Snow Peak Shelter off Sherman Pass. Perhaps its most renowned member is Nils Larsen. Larsen, a globetrotting backcountry ski guru, who will be showing some of his ski films at Kettle Range Ski Club revival meeting this month.

Larsen is keeper of copies of the club’s old newsletters and likely a few good stories. The whole enterprise harkens back to the days when recreation groups stayed in touch through the U.S. mail and when local guidebooks were self-published, and the idea that remote wilderness would ever get developed seemed far-fetched.

Getting a bunch of backcountry skiers together in one room to talk about the possibilities of the new season and how they can pass their knowledge down to another generation sounds like a great thing to do. It’s also a great excuse to head up to Republic, which Knowles refers to as “a great little mountain town that hasn’t been discovered.”

I ask Derrick to explain, in terms anyone can understand, what it is about backcountry skiing he loves so much.

” Being in the wilderness. Having the best snow. Solitude. Excersize. And I love skiing up hills.”

Jon Snyder, Editor-in-chief

Kettle Range Ski Club Revival. When: Friday, November 9, 5:30 PM Where: Parish Hall, Republic WA. Festivities include an informal ski swap, happy hour, potluck BBQ (barbeque provided), local live music, and several films, including Nils Larsen’s Skiing in the Shadow of Genghis Khan – Timeless Skiers of the Altai and other classics, including Sinners and Scrapple. Join in bringing back the Club and celebrating the forthcoming winter season. Call (509) 435-1270 for details or just show up with a potluck dish to share.

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