May 28, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

For me, the 2013-2014 winter began and now ends with Mammoth: a Thanksgiving opening and a Memorial Day close. Yes, in terms of snowfall, this year ranks easily among the most dismal in memory, and yes, too, not a single peak in my projects folder saw daylight, but in the absence of backcountry snow, it was a family-focused ski year for me, and a great one at that (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 2 Comments

May 17, 2014

The Agonies of Digital Media

The Agonies of Digital Media

For those of you with not a bit of digital data in any form, I envy you. You must be out there, somewhere, perhaps as part of some primitive tribe living deep within an impenetrable jungle, though no doubt even now the barons of our digital age are plotting ways to get you, and your children, posting selfies on Facebook and Twitter. A smartphone helicopter drop, perhaps? (more…)

Posted in Musings | 2 Comments

May 16, 2014

Not Another Heat Wave…

Not Another Heat Wave...

Yes, it’s another Southern California heat wave, which means it’s time to check in with my living room thermometer: a lovely 93.2°F as of 5:50pm yesterday. Heat waves are not unusual here in the L.A. Basin; for those of you in cold places, the quick primer is it gets hot whenever the winds change direction, blowing not from the wonderfully cool Pacific Ocean, to our left, but rather from the abominably-hot (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 1 Comment

May 6, 2014

Steep Skiing: The Unweight

Steep Skiing: The Unweight

Three years I’ve been obsessing about steep technique. Three years of drought. It strikes me now that the irony is, having finally found the steep turn I’ve been looking for all my life, I may never put it to use skiing horrifically steep big lines because (1) we haven’t had any snow, and (2) my life doesn’t just belong to me, and me alone, anymore (more…)

Posted in technique | 7 Comments

April 30, 2014

The Vipec’s Viability

The Vipec's Viability

In the immortal words of Lee Lau, NEVER TRUST A FIRST GENERATION TOURING BINDING YOU MORONS. I found myself admiring the clarity of Lee’s admonition as I was pondering the spectrum of reviews on Fritchi’s Vipec tech binding—or should we call it a nouveau-tech binding? Either way, the Vipec is both a remarkable evolution and a vexing reminder that technological advances are rarely without their hiccups (more…)

Posted in Gear | 3 Comments

April 20, 2014

Hangman’s June 2011

Hangman's June 2011

Going through old photos here, and this shot of Hangman’s Hollow at Mammoth Mountain just floors me. This was taken mid June 2011, and that entire cliff band along the crater rim is basically unrecognizable compared to this year. You’d think, looking at Hangman’s at any time this season, you were at a completely different mountain (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments

April 18, 2014

Kabookie vs. Bonafide

Kabookie vs. Bonafide

Short answer: I prefer the Kabookie. I’ve played around with both skis for over a year now, and for my body weight (about 145lbs), I’m just not seeing much benefit from the Bonafide’s full metal sheet. Kabookie and Bonafide are geometrically identical—same sidecut, same dimensions. The principle published difference is that metal sheet, which extends full length on the Bonafide, but only underfoot for the Kabookie (more…)

Posted in Gear | 1 Comment

April 10, 2014

Tecnica Mach1

Tecnica Mach1

New for the upcoming 2014-2015 season is Tecnica’s Mach1, which employs what Tecnica calls a paradigm shift in ski boot construction: designing “from the inside out.” By this, Tecnica means they’ve built the liner to fit the foot, and then built the shell to fit the liner, instead of the reverse. Don’t other boot makers already do this? Yes, to some extent—obviously they’re not oblivious (more…)

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments

April 8, 2014

Steep Skiing: The Downhill Ski

Steep Skiing: The Downhill Ski

When things go wrong with steep skiing technique, the space-constrained uphill ski always seems to be the instigator. Who hasn’t felt their uphill ski catch at the worst possible moment? And yet, as I continue to diagnose the weaknesses in my own steep technique, I find myself thinking if the uphill ski is the symptom of the problem, the downhill ski is the cure (more…)

Posted in technique | 1 Comment

April 7, 2014

The Wildcard Winter

The Wildcard Winter

The long lens came out repeatedly as I drove up and down Highway 395 this past weekend. Some snow fell up there last week—you may not have heard. Sue calls it “The most powerful storm of the winter”, and by this year’s standards she’s not lying. Depending on where you look, the Sierra high country saw anywhere from one to four feet of April No-Fooling snow (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments

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