Dec 16 2014

Review: BCA Float 32 Airbag Pack


Float 32 - big enough for a day trip, or hut-to-hut.

Float 32 – big enough for a day trip, or hut-to-hut.

Okay, so you’re ready to plunk down for an airbag pack, but you need to do it for less than a thousand bucks. In that case one of the models you should be considering seriously is BCA’s Float 32.

It uses compressed air, so that means you can practice blowing up the airbag for half or less the cost of a cartridge of compressed nitrogen. Your cost will be dependent on finding a local ski, scuba, or paintball shop to do the refilling. It also means that if you travel overseas you will have a hard time finding a place that will refill your cartridge, but stateside you just need to search on the web a bit for a nearby shop if you’re traveling.
Keep earning your turns

Dec 08 2014

Review: BD’s Carbon Convert (2015)

What is it about skis that is so danged exciting? As much as I like to think they are just another utilitarian piece of gear to get me to the goods, the fact is, the sensation of skiing comes primarily from the ski. Everything else is just connecting you to it, although, with tele, the connection system adds to the sensation. Regardless of that petty distinction, the reason skis are such an endearing subject is their contribution to skiing is integral, nay, essential to the experience.

Viva le Carbon Convert - in white. Don't let it out of your sight!

Viva le Carbon Convert – in white. Don’t let it out of your sight!

So even though I like to discount the importance of skis, since any skier worth their salt can and will adapt and elicit a smile from any ski, some skis just do it with a whole lot less effort. They tickle the meter without even trying and you can’t help but giggle in delight after taking ‘em for a spin. Such is how I might describe Black Diamond’s Carbon Convert. In a single word, I’d say, “playful.”
Keep earning your turns

Dec 07 2014

Low budget, lightweight ‘clinometer


Lightweight, low budge 'clinometer.

Lightweight, low budget ‘clinometer.

Knowing the angle of the slope you’re on is important for bragging rights and avoiding avalanches. There are plenty of options available for measuring slope angle, with price usually providing an indication of accuracy.

There is a new slope angle estimator heading to market that is a simple sticker that you apply to your ski poles. You need to apply it along the length axis of the ski pole accurately. Assuming that is done with precision, then all you need to do to estimate slope angle is hold the pole up vertically and then, either look across the slope with it to estimate slope angle, or down slope.
Keep earning your turns

Dec 02 2014

Sugar Bowl – Tahoe’s BC Resort


Mt. Lincoln presents many levels of ski terrain, extremely steep to mellow cruising.

Mt. Lincoln presents every level of terrain,
from insanely steep to mellow cruisers.
photo by Cathy Howard.

Lake Tahoe offers some amazing choices when it comes to ski resorts. A total of 15 resorts are sprinkled around the lake, with a huge variety of terrain and amenities, from Squaw Valley’s Olympic caliber steeps, Homewoods unparalleled view of Tahoe’s deepest blue depths on her western shore, Heavenly’s night life to Soda Springs overlooked slopes. There is something for every flavor of skier and that’s just the terrain served by lifts.

When you add in backcountry options the only reason there aren’t more tracks on more slopes is due to a scarcity of parking. As a turn earning Truckee local that’s an important factor in my choice of Sugar Bowl as my favorite local destination. The majority of skiers are enamored with the vertical available at Squaw or the sidecountry options of Alpine Meadows, but why follow the herd?
Keep earning your turns

Nov 30 2014

Beacon Review: Arva’s Neo v2.0


Arva's Neo: Impressive

Arva’s Neo: Impressive

When you consider what the most important criteria are in an avalanche rescue, keeping it simple has to be one of the most important. There are plenty of things going on and you don’t need complications when you’re already facing the most serious one possible.

To that end Arva’s Neo is undeniably one of the best avalanche transceivers for recreational and professional ski mountaineers. Not by a long shot, as there are many (5 in a comparison of 9) close contenders in a tight race, but a winner nonetheless. The reason is ease of use in single and multiple burial scenarios with reliable signal acquisition, thanks to superb 60+ meter range and excellent signal separation thanks to good engineering inside.
Keep earning your turns

Nov 24 2014

Review: Dynafit TLT 6 AT boot


Dynafit TLT 6 CL

Dynafit TLT 6 CL

When you’re ready to go long, whether that means deeper into the backcountry, or higher, or simply maximizing vertical even if it’s just line of sight from the trailhead, you know that weight matters and downhill performance will be compromised. Whether that compromise is too much depends in large part on how well you can compensate, and the conditions at hand.

Dynafit’s TLT6 is the follow up boot to the ground breaking TLT5 with it’s UltraLock system that lets you switch from turn to tour mode by loosening or locking the single cuff buckle. Though it is no longer a new idea, the system is still impressive for its dual purpose functionality and simplicity.

The TLT 6 fixes what ailed the TLT 5, eliminating the flexible toe and expanding the toe box for more comfort. It remains a minimalist boot that, for its size and weight packs a serious punch, but there remain limits to how much power you can coax out of such a small package.
Keep earning your turns

Nov 19 2014

Review: G3 Carbon Synapse 101

Carbon is the rage in skis these days, and for good reason. From the rumblings I’m hearing, it won’t be going away anytime soon. One example of why is G3′s Synapse. It has the requisite muscle necessary to make up for what heavier skis do with mass. At speed they get a bit skittery, but when you need to slow down and hold fast, they do so with aplomb, no flinching.

G3 Synapse 101  130-101-118 in five lengths between 165 and 185 cm

G3 Synapse 101 130-101-118 in five lengths between 165 and 185 cm

Given just a smidgen of depth with a softer top to the snowpack you can enjoy cruising at speed with Synapse. That’s when you notice how nimble and quick they are edge-to-edge, or fluid when you want to open up and let ‘em run.
Keep earning your turns

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