Back in my alpine climbing days, we used to say, “Go lite. Freeze at night.” And we did. With the new light weight backpacking gear, it’s no longer necessary to freeze at night. After 5 years of trial and error, I’ve got my base backpacking gear down to just under 10 pounds: that includes everything except food and fuel. With 5 days of food, I’m around 20-22 pounds. That kind of weight has made backpacking fun again. See Light Weight Backpack Gear List
I just figured out that the loops that come with Black Diamond skins are adjustable. If you have wide or narrow skis, you can adjust these loops to fit the tip. And it’s a very simple but clever idea. [Read more…]
Winter was kinda on and off, but then February kicked in and now there’s 10′ of snow.
Last year, I was forever changed by the Dynafit TLT 5 Performance boot, the quintessential backcountry ski boot. It is crazy light, walks like a hiking boot, and skis like a beast. Unfortunately, its narrow, low-volume last squeezed my 6th toe like a vise (6th toe is a bump or bunion behind your little toe). I could walk in them in relative comfort for a few hours, but on long tours of 4-6 hours, my feet suffered. And unfortunately, because of the flex toe on the TLT 5, it can’t be punched or stretched significantly in the 6th toe area. As a result, this season I have been through 3 ski boots trying to find one that fits and that walks as well as the TLT 5. [Read more…]
Daytime temperatures in the Tetons have been around zero since Wednesday. The low temperatures make skiing in the backcountry a double edged sword. You freeze your ass off all day, but the snow stays cold, dry, and light on all aspects and there are very few skiers tracking it up. [Read more…]
As ski season approaches, the tension is building. Everyone wants to get out there and get some turns. I watched a video this week that stopped me dead in my tracks. “A Dozen More Turns,” by Terra , is an excellent but terrifying movie about an avalanche accident that left one person dead and another seriously injured. As disturbing as this video is, EVERY backcountry skier should watch it. But I’ll warn you, it’s the stuff nightmares are made of. It’s images haunt me. It makes you think: one minute you’re having the best ski day of your life, and the next minute you’re having the worst day of your life. And the only thing seperating them is timing, decisions, enthusiasm, and snow conditions.
The pull of the “Dark Side” is strong, and one must maintain a constant vigilance to resist it. This video is the sad story of one stoked Tele skier’s descent into the dark side of backcountry skiing:
The Fixed Heel Hell
Whether you’re a stoked Tele skier or a rabid Randonee rider, this video is a classic, must-see piece of work.