Jul 27 2015

First Look: Spark R&D Dyno hardboot binding

The vast majority of snowboarders prefer soft boots for the same reason I prefer tele boots over alpine boots — comfort. Unfortunately when you need mountaineering versatility soft boots don’t perform the way hard plastic boots do. True, hard plastic boots don’t perform in soft snow the way soft boots can, and soft snow is typically the prize splitboarders are chasing, but not always.

I spoke recently with a Seth Lightcap, marketing director of Jones Snowboards and an avid splitboarder and he confirmed the preference for soft boots and strap bindings, “except at altitude.” That’s where crampons are practically required and hard boots get the nod.

Top down view of the Spark R&D hard boot binding system - Dyno plates with Dynafit toes.

Top down view of the Spark R&D hard boot binding system – Dyno plates with Dynafit toes.


If you’re ready for that side of splitboarding, you’ll need to figure out what boot works best for you, but it’s a pretty solid bet it’ll be a plastic boot of sorts. That also means you’ll want a binding for hard boots.
Keep earning your turns

Jul 09 2015

BD recalls first year JetForce® packs

BD's Halo28 JetForce airbag pack

BD’s Halo28 JetForce airbag pack

A voluntary recall has been announced by Black Diamond, Inc. of all first generation JetForce® avalanche safety airbag packs sold under the Black Diamond, Pieps, and POC brand names. According to a letter by Peter Metcalf, the CEO, President and Founder of Black Diamond Equipment, the recall affects all packs using BD’s JetForce® technology sold during the 2014-15 ski season.

The recall, though voluntary on BD’s part, is strongly advised for all current owners of JetForce® packs. Although no one has been injured or buried as a result of a flaw in the firmware controlling how the airbag inflates, BD estimates the problem affected less than one percent of the JetForce® systems manufactured prior to this notice. The nature of the JetForce packs combined with BD’s long standing reputation for quality and their recognition of the importance of reliability with safety oriented products made the recall necessary.
Keep earning your turns

Jun 22 2015

G3 Expands Climbing Skin Connections

 

New minimal metal twin-tip tail hook from G3.

New Minimal Metal Twin-Tip tail hook from G3.

When it comes to climbing skins it’s important to be mentally prepared to split hairs when it comes to differences. Which is another way to say that if you’re new to the sport of backcountry skiing, don’t worry about who makes the best climbing skins, just get a pair. You need to get some time under your belt to be able to appreciate the differences between nylon, mohair, and blended skin fibers, and the multitude of glue formulas out there.

However, there is one area where you don’t need to be very experienced to appreciate differences between climbing skins and that is in the tip and tail kit. In that arena, G3 has recently come out with some first rate options for securing your climbing skins to twin-tipskis, or skins for splitboards, particularly where they attach at the ends.
Keep earning your turns

Jun 18 2015

Waterproof apparel formulas voluntarily change

Editors Note: This is a fairly technical report on a change that has occurred to the technology we commonly refer to as “waterproof/breathable” for outdoor apparel. The short version is the chemical composition changed from C8 to C6 while you weren’t looking. What follows is the reason why, and what it means going forward.


 

The nut of why we like PFCs.

The nut of why we like PFCs.

In 2005 an EPA Science Advisory Board report found PFOA to be a likely human carcinogen.

One year later Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator obtained commitments from eight major producers of perfluorooctanoatic acid (PFOA), to phase out its manufacture. The EPA’s aim was to eliminate PFOA from “facility emissions and product content” and other precursors or similar chemicals that could break down or function like PFOA. Known as the 2010/15 Stewardship Program, the Agency’s goal targeted 2010 with a 95% worldwide reduction of PFOA and to eliminate it by 2015’s end.
Keep earning your turns

Jun 15 2015

Review: BCA’s Scepter ski pole

 

BCA's family of Scepter ski poles.

BCA’s Scepter ski poles.

Adjustable length backcountry ski poles have become a commodity. Now that everyone has figured out how to make their own Flick-Lock style adjustment mechanism getting a decent adjustable ski pole is as simple as figuring out what your budget is and buying the most conveniently available model.

There are certainly differences among the many brands and models, but the latest to the plate has what could be considered an artful blend of functional utility with a price that is bound to fit any budget loose enough to allow a dedicated BC pole.
Keep earning your turns

Jun 04 2015

Spring Skiing 2015

 

Ripping freshies at Sonora Pass, end of May 2015.  JeremyD photo.

Ripping freshies at Sonora Pass, end of May 2015.
JeremyD photo.

Even though we’ve been conditioned to think of June as Summer, since Memorial Day kicks off the summer vacation season, according to the calendar it is still Spring. For years I’ve maintained that spring skiing is the best season for BC skiing, not the cold wintry months of December and January as the herd believes.

It is true that if you get a big dump in those months the skiing is indescribably fantastic. Such conditions are neither guaranteed, or as it has been lately, even likely. More likely the snow will be thin with obstacles abounding, and generally cold enough to hold what little snow exists.
Keep earning your turns

Jun 02 2015

Review: The God of Skiing

 

An appropriate mug for The God of Skiing's cover - Fritz Stammberger.

An appropriate mug for The God of Skiing’s cover – Fritz Stammberger.

With a name like The God of Skiing you can’t help but wonder who or what Peter Kray has written about. It’s a heady title to say the least. After reading it I can say he does a stellar job of describing the experiences that are endemic to a skiers life, and some of the characters who have shaped the culture of skiing.

From the get go Kray misleads you into thinking he’s recounting history when he references an article from Sports Illustrated on the story’s protagonist, Tack Strau. In classic Kray style he pulls you through a forest of picturesque metaphors while meandering through incidents real and concocted that lull you into thinking you’re finally getting the inside scoop on a mythical figure you somehow missed. As the story unfolds, you realize that’s how Tack would have wanted it, even if he didn’t plan it that way.
Keep earning your turns

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