The WildeBeat

The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.


The WildeBeat edition 77: Yosemite Snow Vox Pop

This is a supplementary transcript of our audio program. CLICK HERE to listen to the original program, and see the associated show notes.

Some people think snow campers must be super-human; we surprised a few of them at Yosemite National Park to see what they think. This week on The WildeBeat; a Yosemite Snow Vox Pop.

[Intro Music & SFX; 0:07.6 and under]

News from the Wildebeat, the audio journal about getting into the wilderness.

This is program number seventy seven.

I'm Steve Sergeant.

[Intro Music: 0:04.5 ends]

STEVE: Yosemite National Park holds a special place in the history of cross country and backcountry skiing. Howard Weamer has over thirty years of experience skiing the Yosemite Backcountry, and he was there almost at the beginning.

HOWARD WEAMER: Wayne Mary, and Ned Gillette had -- well, Wayne first, had brought Nordic skiing into Yosemite. I mean he really started the nordic boom, in the West Coast, in the Sierra here, by bringing these lightweight, edgeless... skis, sold ski packages in Yosemite Valley for like thirty five or forty bucks you could buy skis, boots, and poles.

STEVE: These days, a lot of people explore the Yosemite backcountry on snow shoes as well. But no matter how they get around, the Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular trailheads for snow-season wilderness trips in California. The park closes eleven miles of the road at the Badger Pass downhill ski area in the winter, and from there, the road becomes a popular trail into several backcountry areas. Plenty of people seem to think that backcountry snow camping is kind of an extreme sport. I skied out the Glacier Point road to the Summit Meadow area to create a Vox Pop on the subject. A Vox Pop is a radio story format pioneered by the British Broadcasting Corporation; an abbreviation for the latin "Vox Populi", it means, "voice of the people." The people will do all of the talking.

KEVIN SCHWARTZ: We have some Japanese and Korean Exchange students... we're going to camp overnight; snow camping and we're snowshoeing, and it's going to be fun.

TAZUO HAN: We're going to Dewey Point, and we're going to camp in the mountains for one night... by snowshoeing. Tent and sleeping bag.

KEN BRANSON: It's actually the first year that we've got out and we just bought the snowshoes this year.

KARINA SCHWAG: I honestly haven't done that much cross country skiing... it's kind of, I feel like kind of an outdated sport, but I've always wanted to bring it back into my life, and I've been trying to sucker friends into being interested in it. I think I finally got a few that are like, "let's do this every year -- let's do this a couple times a year." So I'm excited.

RICH RASMUSSEN: I'd say they should get some skis on, and try a little on the trails, and then push off into the sides a little bit and get a feel for it. I mean once you get back you'll feel it's not that extreme, and there are people who do many more extreme things than we do.

CHRIS GORTON: It's not extreme if you're prepared, and you just come out and have agood time.

KARINA SCHWAG: I think people are into more extreme, exciting sports, but I prefer to do something where you can kinda choose where you want to go, what you want to do, and you have a lot more independence and freedom, and you can choose really adventurous hikes and big hills, or you can just kind of dink around and play in the snow... I'm all about death defying feats of extreme sports but I think that there's a beauty in the other sports that are overlooked often.

CHRIS CLAY: We can get so focused on our clocks and our heart rate monitors and our alitmieters and our pushing it and getting in and out fast that we can kind of miss the smells and the sounds of the mountains.

RICH RASMUSSEN: I think it's all the attitude you bring to it. If you don't think it's hard, and you enjoy the sights you get to see, and the exercise, it's not hard at all. We live quite well in the winter in the backcountry.

TAZUO HAN: All of us are just normal, just we want to do it, we want to make it. So we made it. I don't think we are super heros or something like this. We are just normal, young people, and we are just a little more ambitious, I think.

CHRIS GORTON: We skied out last night out about four miles and camped in snow and then this morning skied out to glacier point and now we're heading back in.

TAZUO HAN: I'm really worried about cold, and they say it's going to be really cold outside and sleeping in the tent.

CHRIS GORTON: Yeah, you get used to it after you do it a few times.

RICH RASMUSSEN: We use layering technique, we have polypro type long underwear, and then pretty much now, because we're expending a lot of energy we're stripped down to that and a shell just to keep us from the rain... but the layering technique is the way to go. You can shed them where you're working hard and put them on when you stop and are getting cold.

CHRIS GORTON: Right now I'm just wearing long underwear with a fleece top, and then last night I had a down jacket, and that was about it, it wasn't that cold.

TAZUO HAN: Right now I wear two pants. I just wear three layers on the top. Not that many layers.

RICH RASMUSSEN: My sons, two Eagle scouts and myself, are getting to spend a weekend ... skiing with sleds overnighting at Dewey Point, and had a tent out there. Ate well.

KARINA SCHWAG: We brought luxurious food, I thought, but no, next time we're going to bring full-on sushi dinner -- the whole number. And the snow was really excellent yesterday... and the hills were really hard on Thursday and we didn't start hiking until one or two, and we got there way past dark, and it was very exciting. But mid-day yesterday, everything softened up, and it was totally wonderful, yummy, good views, and soft powder on the bowls, and --

TAZUO HAN: Actually, I sleep really well. It was warm enough. So, I was bothered a little. But it was fine. But I really worried about bear comes up, but fortunately a bear didn't come. And it was really nice night -- star was amazing last night.

RICH RASMUSSEN: ...the stillness back here, the quiet, is something that makes it very unique.

CHRIS CLAY: You do miss something when you don't just kind of quietly go out somewhere and spend a few days there.

TAZUO HAN: It was really an amazing night. And snow is Yosemite was beautiful, and if you have a chance to come to the U.S., try this.

STEVE: The voices you heard, in order of appearance, were those of KEVIN SCHWARTZ, TAZUO HAN, KEN BRANSON, KARINA SCHWAG, RICH RASMUSSEN, CHRIS GORTON, and CHRIS CLAY.

STEVE: Have you had a good time this winter getting into the wilderness? Would you like to share your stories about it? Do do you have comments on this edition of our show, or do you have suggestions for future shows? You can call our toll free comment line at 866-590-7373. We'll post all of your comments on our companion podcast, Vox WildeBeat, where it's your turn to talk. See our wildebeat dot net web site for details.

[Closing Music: 0:10 and under]

STEVE: Next time -- counting essentials.

STEVE: Our official website is WWW dot WILDEBEAT (that's W-I-L-D-E-B-E-A-T) dot NET. Please click on the support link to make possible future editions of this free service. The WildeBeat is produced by Steve Sergeant, with help from Jean Higham, as a public service of Effable Communications.

This has been The WildeBeat, program number seventy seven. Thank you for listening.

[Closing Music: ends.]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.