KEENE VALLEY The Mountaineer will be hosting the sixth annual Adirondack Backcountry Skifest the weekend of March 1 and 2. The Backcountry Skifest celebrates the ski experience both here in our own backcountry and in the greater ranges of the world. Backcountry skiing means natural skiing on natural snow in natural terrain, and combines all of the elements of touring, climbing and downhill skiing into a real winter mountaineering experience. Local backcountry gurus and Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides in Keene Valley will lead guided tours for all ability levels. Backcountry Magazine will host a presentation Saturday evening at Cascade Ski Touring Center on Rt. 73 between Keene and Lake Placid. We are incredibly lucky to have such a great group of local and guest guides for this event who are willing to come out and share their depth of experience and knowledge with other skiers, said the Mountaineers Vinny McClelland. Novice skiers can join Emilie Drinkwater and Jim Sausville for an introductory tour and learn the basics of backcountry skiing. Intermediate skiers can traverse the High Peaks through Avalanche Pass with David Thomas-Train and Tony Goodwin or head for a favorite glade or backcountry trail with Colin Loher and Bill Dodd. Experienced backcountry skiers can join a tour of one of the High Peaks' challenging slides with Jesse Williams and Jeremy Haas. Major sponsors for this years event include Primaloft and Backcountry magazine. Garmont, Scarpa, Voile, Black Diamond, K2 and Karhu have generously provided the latest demo equipment for event participants, and additional sponsors include Mammut and Marmot. The Skifest is a benefit event, with proceeds supporting the New York State Ski Education Foundations Nordic racing programs and the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, stewards of the Adirondack Parks backcountry ski trail system, including the famous Jackrabbit Trail.