A solo ski tour provides a large dose of backcountry medicine

Story and photos by Leonie Sherman

If you love the mountains you need a pair of skis. And if what you love about the mountains is the crystal clarity of the air and how your heart and mind mirror that stillness with just a short immersion, you need a ski tour. Solo.

It took five seasons on skis before I had the courage to tackle a simple overnight ski tour on my own. Even then only the loss of my steady ski companion spurred me on. After cramming more exhilaration, challenge, and satisfaction into 24 hours than I often cram into a week, I’m making a solo ski tour an annual ritual.

I don’t consider myself extremely skilled or experienced, so for my first solo tour I chose a mellow route up a high alpine valley and back. Normally …