Apr 25 2016

Review: Fischer ProFoil climbing skins

ProFoil climbing skins - Fischer's classic XC waxless crown pattern in a full length, removable package.

ProFoil climbing skins – Fischer’s classic XC waxless crown pattern in a full length, removable package.

Time for an update on Fischer’s new climbing skin technology, their ProFoil climbing skins. Unlike traditional skins that are modeled after the fur of seals, these are essentially a full length sheet of plastic scales like that found on waxless cross-country skis. Like climbing skins, they are attached or removed to the base of your skis as needed with a combination of tip and tail fixtures plus traditional skin glue.
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Apr 18 2016

EMS & Sport Chalet file for bankruptcy

One way to gauge the validity of lamestream media reports that the economy is doing well and recovered from the Great Recession of 2008/09 is how the retail world of recreation is doing. Recreation depends on the availability of disposable income. When times are tight, having fun gets sacrificed for paying the bills and putting food on the table. In a strong economy, more people can afford time off and toys to play with.

When I heard Sports Authority was filing for bankruptcy I could have made the mental link to the state of the economy, but since they don’t carry much if any hardware I’m interested in, it didn’t register. However, when I heard about Sport Chalet closing 8 of their 30 odd stores that hit home. This was just part of the plan when the Vestis Retail Group, the parent company of Sport Chalet and Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy.
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Apr 12 2016

Overview of next gen tele bindings

DIY tele tech bindings are thriving.  TTS cable with a G3 Ion toe.

DIY tele tech bindings are thriving.

I was really hoping to end this season with a set (or two if they skied similarly) of bindings that I could go into next season with and be confident I had a good setup. I’m pretty close, but I need more time on these setups to have more confidence. And I don’t have two similar setups, so I will have to make some changes.

Here is a brief overview of the bindings I tried over the last two years: Rottefella Freedom, The M Equipment’s Meidjo, Burnt Mt. Design’s Spike, two pair of DIY TTS bindings, one with a Dynafit toe, the other a G3 Ion toe. Here’s my synopsis.

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Apr 11 2016

Thule’s One-Minute Chains revisited

These chains still going strong after three seasons. No crawling required.

These chains still going strong after three seasons. No crawling required.

The problem with chains is they’re a pain in the ass to put on and take off. For common chains, by the time you cave and admit you need them, putting them on usually requires crawling on your belly in slushy snow while the wind howls. It’s a miserable, time consuming process.

There are alternatives. Get a pair of more expensive chains. In the world of chains you do get what you pay for and the pricier ones are better for how easily they go on and off. Economically they’re expensive, but less so than 60 payments on a new vehicle with all- or four-wheel drive transmission. What I don’t know is the longevity of these chains, but my pair of Thule Easy-Fit chains are still working fine after three full seasons and a dozen days of use. I call ‘em 1-minute chains.
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Mar 29 2016

RIP: Mitch Weber—Telemark’s Visionary


The smile behind the legend. Photo by SLHMTB.

The smile behind the legend. Photo by SLHMTB.

Last Saturday, March 26th, just two days before his 60th birthday, the man behind the world famous Telemarktips.com, Mitch Weber, passed away. He leaves behind his wife Laurie, daughter Allison, son Neil, and step-son Jt, plus close friends like Big Tim, Mitch’s “manager” and countless friends and friendships made through the online community he created through its associated forum.

Mitch burst onto the ski scene in 1998 with Telemarktips. The world wide web was still in it’s infancy, but it was already past the budding shoots stage and was ready to leaf. Mitch picked up the remains of a budding tele-centric forum, Telemarque.com while the Terminator whipped the imaginations of American backcountry skiers into a telemark fever. Mitch came along and added just the right twist to stirring the telemark potion and in short order the ski industry was in a lather over all things telemark and then some.
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Mar 28 2016

Scarpa & Scott drop heel inserts on NTN boots

Not even a heel groove is left for Scarpa's 2017 TX-Pro.

Not even a heel groove is left for Scarpa’s 2017 TX-Pro.

Good tele skiers know there’s a time and a place for parallel turns and if it doesn’t add much extra weight, why not add that ability? Unfortunately it looks like lawyers are about to put the big kabosh on the final pieces of the “pink pony,” the Holy Grail of telemark systems with a binding that telemarks well, tours well, is lightweight, has a safety release, and when you want or need it, can even let you lock your heel. The ability to do all those things requires a system of compatible boots and bindings.
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Mar 22 2016

Binding notes from BC Mag’s 2017 Gear Test

Darren Padgett adjusts a Radical 2.0 for size and release settings.

Darren Padgett adjusts a Radical 2.0 for size and release settings.

After a week in the trenches wrenching bindings at Backcountry Magazine’s annual Family Camp, also known as their annual Gear Party, er, Test at Powder Mountain, Utah I can tell you a few things about what Alpine Touring bindings were liked, and what were not. Bindings at the test included G3′s Ion, the Dynafit Radical v2.0 and v1.0, Fritschi’s new black Vipec 12, Marker’s Duke, Baron, F10 and F12, Tyrolia’s Adrenaline (under various mfg. names) and a carbon Ambition, Salomon’s Guardian and their new tech binding, and race tech binding from Hagan. In the tele world there was the Meidjo, Outlaw, and TTS to be tested, and some Axls, Vices, Enzos, and Freerides for testing skis in telemode with duckbilled boots.
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