February 28, 2014

SIA 2014: Accessories

SIA 2014: Accessories

BCA releases the Tracker 3 avalanche beacon, which promises to wed the original tracker’s real-time speed and simplicity with a smaller, lighter body. Expect the Tracker to once again dominate the beacon market. For those of you who need a wildly expensive helmet, POC offers the race-oriented Skull Orbic Comp H.I. MIPS (MSRP: $480), which employs an internal sensor to let you know when the helmet has (more…)

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February 26, 2014

SIA 2014: Bindings

SIA 2014: Bindings

I don’t normally expect to be dazzled by anything in the ski binding universe, but 2014-2015 looks to be a big year in the Touring space. First of all we have the Vipec—currently 20% off at Backcountry—and this pretty much falls into the gotta-have-it category. The only reason I’m not buying a pair of Vipecs right now is (1) I’m broke and (2) I want to see if any durability fixes come in during the off season (more…)

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February 25, 2014

Significant Rain/Snow?

Significant Rain/Snow?

Weather may be typical SoCal mundane right now, but the Los Angeles Times reports what could be the wettest storm in years is en route for later this week: forecasts call for as much as one to two inches of rain in the basin, which in a normal SoCal winter would qualify as…a normal SoCal winter storm (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 9 Comments

February 22, 2014

SIA 2014: Boots

SIA 2014: Boots

Ski Mountaineering Racing advances are percolating their way into standard Touring lines, bringing us Scarpa’s handsome F1 EVO ($699) and La Sportiva’s 4-buckle Spectre ($599). Both boots come with a consumer-friendly retail price (unlike their $3K carbon racing cousins) paired with reduced weight: two pounds, seven ounces per boot for the F1, and a little over three pounds for the Spectre (more…)

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February 20, 2014

SIA 2014: The Skis

SIA 2014: The Skis

If you want a quick narrative for the trends in ski design for the upcoming 2014-2015 winter, let’s go with a combination of consolidation and chasing. With a few notable exceptions, makers aren’t offering big, audacious changes. Rather, many of the best skis return unchanged (or with minor tweaks), and many second-tier skis come back looking more like this year’s winners (more…)

Posted in Gear | 1 Comment

February 1, 2014

SIA Denver 2014

SIA Denver 2014

There is snow in Denver—and a reported two feet or more of fresh in many nearby Colorado resorts, making for a wonderfully snowy beginning to the 60th running of the Snowsports Industries Americas’ annual Snow Show. I’ve roamed and roamed about the convention center floor today, and I’ll be at Copper Mountain for the On-Snow demo days as well (more…)

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January 27, 2014

Snow Valley: January 2014

Snow Valley: January 2014

AARRRGH!! Really: Aargh! There’s no other way to say it. I feel my stubborn side kicking in, and now I’m wondering: who will quit first? Will Snow Valley management throw in the towel and close, or will I and my kids give up and stay home? Based on the look of things today, I’d have to say Snow Valley has absolutely entered the heroic-measures phase (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments

January 21, 2014

Summit: Still Solid

Summit: Still Solid

I can’t say if Snow Summit is currently offering the best skiing in California, but I can say their snowmaking capability remains unmatched. Where Snow Valley just down the road seems about ready to flatline, Summit’s ski runs feature full, abundant, rock-free coverage from top to bottom and edge to edge (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 1 Comment

January 19, 2014

On the Leacock Trail

On the Leacock Trail

Hiking the Leacock Trail this morning, I found myself contemplating the viability and/or wisdom of selectively removing unpleasant memories from our minds. This is apparently a new avenue of research in the various behavioral sciences, as a possible means of cutting-edge treatment for people suffering from things like PTSD (more…)

Posted in Musings | 6 Comments

January 13, 2014

Skiing’s Man-Made Future

Skiing's Man-Made Future

As I contemplate the reality of what appears to be the worst Sierra winter any of us have ever seen, I find myself thinking about the obvious importance snowmaking is going to have for the survival of many ski areas. We’re back from a week in Flagstaff, skiing the Arizona Snowbowl, which has recently installed (after endless legal battles) a working snowmaking system (more…)

Posted in Musings | 6 Comments

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