November 23, 2014

Backcountry Skiing Returns…

Backcountry Skiing Returns...

Dan Mingori & Nate Greenberg have just released the 2nd edition of their backcountry skiing guidebook, ‘Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra,’ and it is a substantial update. You can read my review of their original 2008 edition here; the 2014 release happily keeps all the original material (with minor tweaks), and adds coverage of (more…)

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November 13, 2014

Black Diamond Carbon Convert

Black Diamond Carbon Convert

If you ask me, Black Diamond has been victimized, to an extent, by the very same perfect powder that makes Utah skiing so famous. Skis tuned to perform in that incomparable Wasatch snow just don’t tend to translate as well in other, less amenable climates. For that reason, reviewing Black Diamond skis always makes me anxious. They’re a great ski company, no question…but they just don’t seem (more…)

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November 12, 2014

La Sportiva Vapor Nano

La Sportiva Vapor Nano

If you want a ski with lots of surface area and very, very little weight, La Sportiva presents the aptly-named Vapor Nano: 103mm underfoot and 5.29lbs per pair (spec). The Vapor Nano is a carbon fiber ski, and an expensive one at that, featuring what Sportiva calls “Nanotube” construction, a nano-ish technology designed to deliver torsional rigidity at the lowest possible weight (more…)

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November 4, 2014

Lange RS 130: Liner Updates Make a Difference

Lange RS 130: Liner Updates Make a Difference

Lange has been making the RS-130 for so long and for so well it seems almost presumptuous to review it. This is the boot for citizen racing and elite frontside performance. Still, there’s an update for the 2014-2015 season, and while modest, it is consequential. First, the skier: you’re a racer. Lange makes a number of fantastic boots for those who’ve never run a course, but the RS really is a racing boot (more…)

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November 3, 2014

Pumpkins, Snow, & Rainbows

Pumpkins, Snow, & Rainbows

Are we not overdue? Depending on how you see the glass, we have now gone three years in a row without a true Sierra winter. Three years! It seems like a lifetime. Throughout this summer I have avoided all news of warmer ocean temperatures and shifting patterns and currents because my poor heart simply can’t stand any more disappointment (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 1 Comment

October 30, 2014

Dynafit Huascaran

Dynafit Huascaran

Dynafit’s Huascaran took me completely by surprise. With the Huascaran we know we’re getting a light ski, but who could have expected how solid it is? Skiing the Huascaran in-bounds at Copper Mountain, I got no sense I was on an underweight touring plank. To the contrary, the ski seemed right at home across a variety of frontside conditions, demonstrating a smooth, playful character (more…)

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October 28, 2014

Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Here are two interesting tents with very different approaches to the challenge of building a viable solo shelter. The overriding ethic of Big Agnes’ Fly Creek Platinum 1 is “make it light!” MSR’s Hubba NX Solo, on the other hand, comes at the problem more from the angle of “make it right!” (more…)

Posted in Gear | 5 Comments

October 21, 2014

Wildrose Peak Panorama

Wildrose Peak Panorama

As with next-door neighbor Telescope Peak, Death Valley’s Wildrose Peak features striking juxtapositions of desert and alpine landscapes. Wildrose is in the Panamint Range, squeezed in between Death Valley, to the east, and Panamint Valley, to the west—both places so severe and austere they practically demand contemplation (more…)

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October 10, 2014

Volkl Reboots the Mantra

Volkl Reboots the Mantra

The Mantra has changed. Yes, there have been minor tweaks to Volkl’s All Mountain masterpiece over the years, including the daring addition of a dash of tip rocker. But this time is different. For the 2014-2015 ski season, Volkl has rebooted the Mantra, giving us a ski that substantially departs from the concept and feel (more…)

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October 3, 2014

Fransson

Fransson

He was one of the titans of modern extreme skiing, with a traditional, mountaineering tilt that connected him directly to the most storied names of the past. On September 29, Andreas Fransson and ski partner J.P. Auclair were killed by an avalanche while ascending Mount San Lorenzo on the Chilean-Argentinian border (more…)

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