Apr 20 2015

BC Skate Skiing in Desolation Wilderness

There’s a group of Nords in the Tahoe area that love to get out and take extended skate tours in the backcountry. As with any other form of skiing, the majority of folks skate ski on a groomed track at a resort, a XC ski area, or Nordic Center. Conditions for good skating, a firm yet edgeable snow base, are most common at a resort, but when conditions are ripe, there is nothing better than a corn snowpack while it is still frozen, or maybe al-dente as it starts to ripen.

Skating across Aloha Lake, Desolation Wilderness, California

Skating across Aloha Lake, Desolation Wilderness, California. Photo by IMNXCGUY

At that point you get all the real ingredients of skating, with an icy surface that melts under the pressure of a ski edge, allowing the skater to glide large distances with each pump of the leg. Skaters know the thrill of that gliding sensation, but everyone else does not, including, or especially, alpine skiers for whom the act of skating is necessary on occasion, but laborious at best.
Keep earning your turns

Apr 17 2015

Take it off! Zippered baselayers from
Northern Playground


Skinning up in howling winds at 70° north.

Skinning up in howling winds at 70° north.

Regulating body heat when your heart is pumping hard to keep up with your lungs and legs is typically a balance between wearing the right amount of insulation combined with the ability to bleed off the heat and consequent sweat. Some of that can be managed by what fibers you chose to wear next to skin, but in any case, whether you use hydrophobic synthetics, or temperature regulating natural fibers, there comes a time when you either wish you had less on underneath, or more.
Keep earning your turns

Apr 15 2015

The Sweet Spot


Robert Bland harvesting corn with tele turns when it was considered the cool tool.

Robert Bland harvesting corn with tele turns when it was considered the cool tool.

As it was the early 1990s, I honestly don’t remember why I decided to try telemark skiing. What I do remember is being vaguely disenfranchised by skiing in general, turned off by the euro-style stretch pants, the macho swagger that went along with 220 cm skis, and the hey-i-went-to-a-ski-academy perfect turners. It wasn’t a great snow year. I wasn’t a great skier. And those telemark freaks simply seemed to be having more fun than anybody else on the mountain. I was sold.

I was fascinated by the rippers who were flashing their free-heels from the first chair to last call, and I remember the feeling of seeing my first telemark movie: tingly and exciting, like getting a love letter from a long lost girlfriend. It didn’t matter that my boots were too flimsy, the skis were too narrow, and I had zero idea of what I was doing, because the whole thing was contagious, refreshingly different and totally addicting.
Keep earning your turns

Apr 14 2015

USFS to increase snowmobile access in Eldorado NF


Eldorado NF winter recreational use map.  Link to interactive map here.

Eldorado Natl. Forest Service Map

The US Forest Service recently extended the comment period to April 20th, 2015 for their review of winter travel management plans of Eldorado National Forest to determine what changes should be implemented for the future. According to Snowlands.org, “the Forest Service’s Proposed Action for the Carson Pass area designates nearly all the lands adjacent to the highway open to snowmobile use. This includes the route to Meiss Meadow, toward Winnamucca Lake and to Woods Lake.”
Keep earning your turns

Apr 13 2015

Caldwell agrees to Squaw-Alpine link

Troy Caldwell, owner of the parcel of land that sits between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, has reached an agreement with KSL to allow a gondola to connect the two resorts with a touchdown point on his property, aka White Wolf ski resort.

Keep earning your turns

Apr 06 2015

EJ’s story: Right legs are over rated

Note: This story was first published in Couloir magazine XIX-5, Spring 2007. It was the beginning of a new life for EJ that began nine years ago. He is working on writing a book about what has happened since, and the lessons learned. To support him in this effort, go to http://www.gofundme.com/ejpoplawski. In the meantime, read on to find out how it all began…

EJ's back on his feet.

EJ’s back on his feet.

During the first four days at the hospital I kept waking up and asking over and over, “What the F#*% is going on?”

“You are in the hospital. You were in a bad ski accident and, unfortunately, they had to amputate your right leg above your knee” came the reply from my mother, father, sister, or brother-in-law — whoever was by my side.

They would do their best to explain that everything would be all right. And I would mumble something about my sadness, disbelief or anger, then promptly fall back into my drug and pain induced state of semi-consciousness, not remembering anything they had just told me.
I think I just didn’t want to believe it and passed it off as a bad dream. Or maybe the concoction flowing into me through the IV was making it impossible to remember. I can only imagine how hard it was for them to have to break that news to me again and again, wondering if something else was wrong with me.
Keep earning your turns

Mar 31 2015

Status of 22D’s Outlaw beta binding


22D's NTN baby has emerged from gestation an Outlaw.

An honest beta binding, 22D’s Outlaw.

This year has seen its share of beta failures, particularly in the world of new bindings with tech toes. Marker had a batch of Kingpins that were prone to their pins falling out. No word on exactly how many bindings that affected, but it was a manufacturing flaw covered under warranty and something that Marker fixed relatively quickly.

The M-Equipment’s inaugural binding, Meidjo, had issues with the steel pins inside the arm springs bending. M-Equipment recognized it was a bad choice to use stainless steel for those pins, and upgraded them to a harder steel. There were other items not holding up either, or simply not working very well. Most of those items have been fixed with revisions made for S/N A00150 and up.
Keep earning your turns

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