Idaho- The most incredible backcountry skiing experiences can come in mysterious places.

Dan Noakes, known for his chill backcountry skiing videos, released a five-part documentary earlier this year that details his travels through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. Outdoor Idaho combined the documentary into one full episode, which can be watched below. Very few people have done the challenging traverse, as it tested Noakes’ limits.

I recently had the chance to chat with Dan via email about his experience of making this challenging journey. For Dan, the inspiration for this project came from stories he heard about the Frank Church Wilderness:

“When I first did the traverse, I only planned on making a video about the traverse itself, but to be honest, the hiking and the little skiing I did was super boring to watch. I also don’t think I did the traverse so gracefully. I just felt like the traverse alone was not that great of an accomplishment compared to the big feats out there that backcountry skiers are doing, but I kept hearing rumors about the Forest Service burning down old cabins of people who once inhabited the Salmon River backcountry, so I investigated more and I found Scott Amos and Sandy McRae who were able to tell me the stories of the old prospectors in the area and the people who lived and worked in the Salmon River country back in the day.

When U.S. Congress passed the Wilderness Act, the Forest Service started to cut off road access to the miners, basically making it impossible to stay in business. There are rumors by Yellow Pine locals that FS officials paid arsons to burn down mining structures illegally. So I learned that the Frank Church Wilderness was once inhabited by thousands of people, mainly working in mines, and there were a few homesteaders as well. That all changed with the establishment of officially designated Wilderness land.” 

Dan also explained to us how the skiing is in the Frank Church Wilderness, which he recommended to backcountry ski packers:

“The skiing out there is amazing. There are no people. It is super remote. Good terrain. A ski packer’s paradise. I think ski packing, ski camping, whatever the term gets coined as, is the future for those who want to travel deeper in the backcountry. It is almost like a poor man’s hut trip. Better if you bring a hot tent for sure.” 

Image/Video Credits: Outdoor Idaho/Dan Noakes

RELATED: 1 Hour Of Relaxing POV Backcountry Skiing

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