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Tagged ‘touring‘

DIY: Resizing Fixed-Length Ski Poles

I have a quick tech tip for you today. Fixed-length poles are becoming more popular for backcountry skiing because they’re stiffer and generally lighter than adjustable poles. They are, however, not adjustable. If you get too big a size, you’ll find yourself walking around with your hands up like a mummy, feeling like an idiot with cold hands.

When we were in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago, we stopped by Skimo.co to say hi. The store is amazing. If you like skiing lots of vert on light, capable gear, you’ve got to check the place out. When we asked Jason if he would shorten Taylor’s carbon ski poles, he suggested a simple home fix: boil the handles off, cut, reglue. Perfect!

Skimo.co: all of the lightweight european kit that you can't buy anywhere else.

Skimo.co: all of the lightweight european kit that you can’t buy anywhere else.

So, if your poles are too long, or you can find a great deal on longer poles and want to cut them down, I’ve got you covered, step by step. All you need is a big pot of boiling water, a hacksaw, and some glue. Buyer beware: some poles have a tapered shaft, and if cut too short you’ll have a hard time filling the extra space to glue the handle back on. Read on →

Winter Returns: Skiing Considerable Danger

This weekend heralded a true return of snow to the Pacific Northwest, and with a less-typical SW flow, the Mt Hood area received more snow than the more-Northerly cascades. With an avalanche class lined up for Sunday, but a clear schedule on Saturday, I was eager to sneak out and see if we could nibble some powder. Taylor, my usual compadre, was also free, and we found room in our car for Angie, my longtime friend and recent splitboard convert.

Taylor enjoys the change of scenery

Taylor enjoys the change of scenery

Read on →

Confessions of an Ex-Freeskier

Mt Hood Morning from Cloud Cap Road

Mt Hood Morning from Cloud Cap Road

I used to be a freeskier. That even sounds funny to write, but it’s true. What I mean by that is that I used to measure the quality of my skiing by my speed, the steepness of my lines, and how much time I could spend in the air. I lived in Salt Lake City and I skied at Snowbird. The tram on a powder day when the canyon was close was the be-all end-all. Nothing was better than being the first person to hike out to Baldy on a powder day and rip GS turns with face shots all the way down the untracked face.

Moon over the summit.

Moon over the summit.

But something happened to me. After twenty years of skiing, the sport started to lose its shine for me. I went through the motions, hucked the cliffs, skied fast and stomped it on hardpack, but my heart wasn’t in it. This was the winter of 2011-2012: one of the best on record in the Wasatch. I should have been in hog heaven, and on good days, I was. But on the off days when I felt bored on my skis, and spoiled for feeling bored while skiing, I wondered whether there wasn’t more to the sport. That winter I started telemarking more (we all make mistakes, forgive me), and I started to tour more.  Read on →

Choose your Tools: Gear Selection for Backcountry Skiing

I am excited to announce this project, which will be ongoing over the course of the next few weeks, published in digestible parts. I hope to produce a resource that’s valuable to you, whether you’re new to ski-touring or a backcountry master. After this introduction, look forward to a series of posts which will appear in the blog feed, and which will also be linked to from the bottom of this page. Cheers! and happy skiing!

The purpose of this series of posts is to break down not just the gear required for different types of ski touring, but also the principles that govern gear choices for the backcountry and the result that these principles have on gear selections for different days out in the field. Plenty has been written about this subject, but there is a lot of misinformation, or at least, a lot of poorly organized and synthesized information out there.  I propose that a gear list of the sort that one finds on some full-page spread in Powder Magazine or on the TGR forums, while useful as a mental checklist, doesn’t contain much information that is transferable to different climates, snow packs, objectives, and styles of skiing.

Read on →