Hyping the Humble - Backcountry Touring in the Wasatch

Hyping the Humble – Backcountry Touring in the Wasatch

It is easy to overhype someone.

And when put into the context of local ski-bro culture, too much hype makes bros uneasy. Too much hype threatens to disrupt the hierarchy of radness. Too much hype makes alpha-bros skeptical. Alpha-bros, you see, are a very skeptical bunch.

This skepticism can only build so much before it reaches a tipping point and becomes full-on resistance to the idea of another bro’s radness. The more epic the stories of some other bro’s skiing, the more exaggerated a bro’s one-ups must become. And as a bro’s one-ups are dragged from the realm of what he knows he sort of did, to what he knows he’ll never do, a bro becomes defensive. And a bro on the ropes, is not an open-minded bro at all.

Pictures. Photographic evidence of unquestionable radness. The stories they tell have the power to clear the air of skepticism. With pictures as proof, even the most resistant bro sees clearly. So before we go any further, pictures:

Backcountry ski mountaineering
Photo Credit: Billy Hass
Skiing powder in the Wasatch backcountry
Photo Credit: Billy Hass
Skiing waist deep powder in the Utah backcountry
Photo Credit: Jim Harris

Here at Jans we have a quiet, unassuming badass in our ranks. All of these pictures are of him.

Many in this company couldn’t tell you his name. Some couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. And still a few couldn’t tell you with certainty whether he’s actually a fellow employee.

This is not his first year working for Jans. And we are not a big company.

His name is Tyler Falk. He splits his time between our tune shop, Rennstall, and our Backcountry Ski shop, White Pine Touring, does his job with a purpose, and then heads about his business. He’s one part expert backcountry skier. Two parts humble rockstar. And all lunatic.

But Tyler is not a bro. At least not in the sense that he gives two shits what the other bros think of him. The hierarchy of radness is not something that concerns Tyler.

For him, it’s not about proving anything to anybody. His motivation for roping-in and climbing an ice wall on his way to the summit is purely selfish. He likes the thrill of it, and he doesn’t care if anyone knows that he did it. By the time he’s skied down and made his way in for the night shift at Rennstall, he’ll probably forget to even mention it.

Tyler is not alone. Here at Jans we have a lot of people who spend a great deal of time touring in the backcountry. Their resort passes are scanned sparingly, and they don’t have a great deal of use for skiing within the ropes. Their knowledge of the Wasatch backcountry is expansive, and their experience vast. From our instructors who teach American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) avalanche courses, to those who lead our guided ski tours, the level of expertise is immense.

But they’ve all had their moment in the spotlight. Featured in blogs, and emails, and taken on paid photo shoots. This isn’t about them. This is about Tyler. So more pictures:

Roped ascent while ski mountaineering in the Utah backcountry
Photo Credit: Billy Hass
Skiing a narrow chute in the Utah backcountry
Photo Credit: Billy Hass

From wide open bowls, to pencil-thin chutes, to secret tree stashes, Tyler skis hard, fast, and on the edge. But make no mistake, the routes he chooses are well researched, calculated, and approached with years of experience and training. His trips into the backcountry involve diligent monitoring of avalanche forecasts and a reliance on his own research and skills. It’s this commitment to hard charging – yet educated – out-of-bounds skiing that makes Tyler one of our most respected backcountry experts here at Jans. His enthusiasm for skiing is as contagious as his love of “pain game” climbs, terrifying.

alpine touring in the Wasatch
Photo Credit: Billy Hass

And while all of this may have made Tyler seem like some sort of backcountry Terminator – cold, driven, concerned only with mountain domination – nothing could be further from the truth. He’s as friendly and funny as they come, and always willing to give some helpful advice to those of us who aren’t as experienced (crazy) in the backcountry. But in true Tyler fashion, only when asked.

As often as you’ll find him roping in for ascents, and picking his way down sickening chutes, you’ll find him out matching powder turns with his friends. Just for fun. Because that is what real bros do.

Nate Tomlinson, Senior Content Writer

Cover Photo Credit: Jim Harris


Related Links:
AIARE Avalanche Courses in Park City, Utah
Utah Avalanche Center Forecasts

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