Feb 11 2016

1st Look: Carbon Sender for Hucksters

A-Sender from Kitten Factory skis.

Carbon Sender from Kitten Factory skis.

If you make a habit of skiing hard and landing big airs Look’s Pivot binding is back from retirement for a reason; no other binding offers as much elasticity in the heel to absorb landing forces as it does. Period.

For backcountry huckers there’s a new adapter plate that fits in Pivot bindings for touring. Indie ski maker Kitten Factory’s familiarity with handmade carbon fiber skis spawned a related project: the Carbon Sender, a lightweight carbon fiber plate molded to fit in a Look Pivot binding. Two climbing posts at the back level your stance when skinning, while the toe of the boot is held by a pair of pins mounted to semi-rigid walls of carbon fiber similar to Dynafit’s DNA binding, except KF adds a manual clamp that prevents the pins from letting go when stomping an icy traverse.
Keep earning your turns

Feb 08 2016

1st Look: Scott Superguide Carbon

Scott Super Guide. Mostly unchanged for next year, except the buckles, which can be held open so they don't relock when you're not looking.

2016 Scott Super Guide; mostly unchanged for 2017.

Generally speaking new converts to the world of alpine touring come from the ranks of hard snow chargers where only stiff boots can hold up to such abuse and terminal velocity. However, wild snow comes in many more textures and flavors. With so much more variety, a boot with a progressive flex is preferred to mere stiffness, if only to be able to detect the subtle textures, especially the kind associated with crusty muck. Which is why experienced AT skiers will appreciate Scott’s Super Guide AT boot.
Keep earning your turns

Jan 31 2016

Review: Voile’s Revelator Splitboard

Voile ups the ante with the Revelator splitboard.

Voile ups the ante with the Revelator splitboard.

The Revelator has made some very favorable impressions right from the start. Light, stiff and very responsive, this board upped the ante with top-notch construction and superior performance. The first thing I noticed while setting up the board was how light it felt (Pawlonia Wood Core). Most split setups can easily be twice the weight of your normal board so right off the bat I knew I might like this.

The next standout was the new Voilé Channel Puck System, which vastly increases your stance options. Using the Alignment Guide (on your initial binding setup), you’re able to slide and angle the pucks (within reason) up and down the channel to fine-tune your stance fairly quickly.
Keep earning your turns

Jan 26 2016

Airbag Effectiveness – Less than you thought.

Terrain consequences are extremely important. If the avalanche we may trigger will take us over a cliff, into trees, down a very large avalanche path, or into a terrain trap, then we have a low chance of survival, despite whatever rescue gear we may carry.
— Bruce Tremper

Avalanche that claimed the life of a Utah man on Gobbler's Knob in the Wasatch Mountains.

Avalanche that claimed the life of a Utah man on Gobbler’s Knob in the Wasatch Mountains.

In the aftermath of a recent rash of avalanche deaths, in particular the latest fatality in Utah involving a skier who wore and deployed an airbag yet died anyway, it bears repeating that when it comes to avoiding becoming an avalanche statistic, caution is the better part of valor. The fatality occured on Gobbler’s Knob, in the Wasatch mountains. Not only was the victim using an airbag pack, he was with Tyson Bradley, an experienced mountain guide. Tyson has been guiding in Utah for over two decades, with climbing and ski mountaineering experience around the world. Yet all this knowledge and preparedness does not make anyone all knowing or immune from making a bad call.
Keep earning your turns

Jan 14 2016

Meidjo lures a Luddite

…tele tech bindings that use the duckbutt, like the Meidjos do, are pointing directly at the future of telemark.
— Cesare

Disclaimers

Cesare rides Colorado pow with Meidjos on V6's.

Cesare rides Colorado pow with Meidjos on V6′s.

I am a certified retrogrouch and notorious late adopter. But I’m not a Luddite, I swear. I have a smart phone and I’m even beginning to learn how to do some cool things with it. I can write code; that’s FORTRAN, right? I’ve never used a GPS in my life… not once. But I can navigate precisely in a whiteout with a map, compass, and altimeter. I have some modern ski gear, kind of… if you consider skiing unbuckled black and silver T1s in walk mode to be modern.

Keep earning your turns

Jan 08 2016

Airbag Pack Overview for 2017

This is a quick roundup of new avalanche airbag packs coming our way for the 16/17 ski season. As of today, these are the only packs I’ve actually seen. More to be added later, so check back in a week for a longer list of new or significant changes.

Arc’teryx

Voltair blows up big, packs down easy.

Voltair blows up big, packs down easy.

Tongues have been wagging for awhile now about Arc’teryx version of an avalanche airbag pack that, like Black Diamond’s JetForce, is powered by an electric fan inflating the airbag. Yesterday I got to see the Voltair up close and personal and it was impressive. Instead of a fan, Arc’teryx uses a blower, which is able to move more air quicker; not dramatically, but significantly. The airbag wraps around the wearer’s head on three sides, adding 150 liters of volume.

The power for the Voltair comes from a 22 V lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable. This system allows a user to practice inflating and the subsequent repacking several times for a fraction of the cost of systems using compressed gases. The benefit to users is their ability to build familiarity with a system that has the potential to save their life. Gordon Rose, Senior Design Engineer at Arc’teryx says, “In a high consequence situation, you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall back on your training.”
Keep earning your turns

Jan 06 2016

Pt I: Outdoor Retailer Winter 2016

Fischer's Travers - one of many new AT boots for 2016.

Fischer’s Travers – one of many new AT boots for 2016.

Once again the annual Winter Outdoor Retailer show will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. This year the show will be held at the beginning of January, not the end. The show kicks off today with the On-Snow Demo at Solitude mountain. Yours truly will be there checking out what is new and reporting back to you in the coming days and weeks.

Overall it appears there are a lot of progressive improvements to products, but nothing revolutionary. Of course each manufacturer would disagree with that assessment, and that’s what going and seeing the actual beta products is about.

My focus for today at the On Snow demo at Solitude mountain will be to see if the upgrades to many AT boots are significant enough to motivate buying new gear. Thus, my targets will mostly be in the lightweight, skimo style boots like the new Arc’teryx boot designed by ace boot designer Frederico (Garmont, Dynafit) and Fischer’s new Travers that uses BOA laces on the lower shell.
Keep earning your turns

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