Superior Highland Backcountry is a local nonprofit organization promoting the preservation and expansion of backcountry skiing opportunities along the highlands of the North Shore of Lake Superior and is a member of the National Winter Wildland Alliance.

Our Story

The Origins of Superior Highland Backcountry

Superior Highland Backcountry was founded in 2017 by Rory Scoles. An avid explorer by nature, Rory fell into the alpine ski industry in 2006, and acquired the pro shop in Lutsen, MN in 2011. Combining his knowledge of the ski industry with his passion for the backcountry, Rory founded SHB with his partner, Elli King, on the belief that there would be strong interest and support from the community of Midwestern skiers.

A Community Waiting to Happen

From the North Shore to the Twin Cities Metro, we have received full house attendance for our fundraisers, promotional events, and classes. From the diehard BC skier who heads west for their powder each year, to the winter camping enthusiast who is interested in a new adventure, Minnesotans have been sharing their stoke for our initiatives. 

With BC skiing so new to the state, we have found that it takes a little explaining. So, our glading applications are taking a little longer than expected, and we field more “What exactly is backcountry?” than the average Mountain West skier could comprehend. But as any BC skier will tell you, our community has endless dedication for the cause, which is that glorious feeling of floating through snow, year after year.


By its nature, quality backcountry skiing requires beautiful, aesthetic locations. Here at SHB we are skiers and environmental conservationists. We see the creation of backcountry ski areas in our region as an excellent way to weave stewardship, human health and enjoyment, and economic vitality together into a single effort. We are skiers, who will pursue the powder each year as long as our legs will carry us. And we are stewards of our land, for as long as our voices can speak for it.

Our Board Members

Rory Scoles

Board Member, Founder

Rory Scoles is Founder of Superior Highland Backcountry, owns and operates Lutsen Recreation, Inc., a full service ski shop and lives off-grid in Finland, MN.

Elli King-Gallager

Board Member, Chair

I moved up to Northern Minnesota as a young person, with a deep desire to connect to the land. I was slowly accepting winter as a necessary part of things when I stumbled into backcountry skiing. This completely changed my outlook on winter and greatly improved my overall health and happiness. I am dedicating my time to Superior Highland Backcountry to make the beauty of these experiences possible for as many other people as we can.

John Wood

Board Member, Vice Chair, Secretary

I’m an anomaly; a later in life skier and East/West coast transplant to NE Minnesota. I love the freedom of moving through the woods and mountains on skis which is why I joined Elli and Rory on the board of SHB. I’m a physician who lived and worked in Cook County for years, but now live in Duluth with my wife and twin boys.

Jerry Lopez

Board Member, Treasurer

I live in Washington County, Minnesota and began volunteering for SHB in 2019 supporting the website. I currently work as a consultant supporting digit product and software development. Prior to this I worked in non-profit and education where my focus was environment education and outdoor experiential learning. I love visiting the Northwoods, scuba diving, travel, and cooking some serious eats. I only recently picked up skiing and look forward to making trips to the Glades.

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