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Backcountry enthusiasts weigh in on out-of-bounds dangers

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 12 2014 06:21:28 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 12 2014 09:50:23 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

For days, avalanche experts have warned the backcountry is dangerous, and ripe for avalanches. For some the warnings are not enough. We asked local residents what is the limit, and when does the risk become bigger than the reward.

Stuart Lange is a manager at Ph.D. Skis in Bozeman. He tells NBC Montana he pushes his own personal limits all of the time. He considers himself a skier who loves more than just the groomed runs.

"This is off-the-resort access at Bridger, about a 25-mile hike outside the boundary," said Lange.

He also tells us he understands what one step into the wilderness can mean.

"Once you leave those gates, you take a lot of responsibility on your own shoulders for your safety," said Lange.

Not only does he check avalanche reports before going out, he also tests the waters once he is there.

"You typically dig a snowpit and do your own analysis of the snowpack so you know first-hand what you are getting into," said Lange.

We found not everyone is as cautious as Lange. Inside the shop we found 23-year-old Tyler Faulkner. He was traveling from Havre, and was headed to Cooke City.

"I don't really look at that stuff," said Faulkner.

Video from Spokane-based Peak Media demonstrates the draw -- the powder, the scenery. It is an experience only people who have done it can explain.

"It's just like pure freedom out there, you know, it is worth it in my eyes," said Faulkner.

But Lange says even with years of experience, he still advises all backcountry enthusiasts to do their homework before stepping out of bounds.