‘I don’t wanna jinx it,’ Nate says, about a half mile from the car ‘but this is the first ski tour that I haven’t seen any other people. All day. Ever.’
‘Really?!’ I respond. I’m genuinely surprised. I mean, sort of. Isn’t mountain majesty and solitude one of the many fine attributes that draws us out of the house/canoe/office/bed/wherever in the first place? It is for me!
‘Yeah, I think so,’ Kartchner replies.
‘If I tell you to close your eyes while we’re walking down, just trust me then,’ I say. I wouldn’t want his jinx to undo the day we’ve had.
Nate visits the Abracadabra Chute. Magic for sure!
He laughs. ‘Ok.’ We keep walking, stumbling as we go. We’ve been stumbling for the last 2.5 miles, ever since we switched out of ski boots and back to shoes.
We don’t see Continue reading ‘Shotgun Chute and Abracadabra Chute’
Alpine touring boot technology has come a long, long way in just a few short years. Dynafit, for example, has clearly learned a thing or two about how to improve this facet of a ski tour.
Although there is now much competition in the space, a very popular boot choice for dedicated backcountry skiers in the last year or two has been either the Dynafit TLT 5 Mountain, or its even-lighter, partially carbon fiber brother, the Dynafit TLT 5 Performance. It’s been interesting to watch Dynafit rise from relative obscurity in the field of boots, to quickly become quite popular.
Cutting to brass tacks, the TLT Performance costs $250 more than the TLT Mountain. That price difference garners one a weight savings of about 12 ounces per pair of boots, and a stiffer upper comprised of carbon. That stiffer carbon upper helps the Performance to ski somewhat better on the downhills. Aside from color scheme, that’s the only real difference between the boots.
But, since carbon has been known to wear poorly against the metal pivot point of ski boots, I opted for the TLT Mountains, with their solid plastic shells. I wanted the boots to last for a while without causing any wear issues.
Fully mod’ed boots with a switched liner, and plastic on metal at the pivot point. Aside from a season’s worth of wear and tear, they don’t look all that different than how they arrive from the factory. But they weigh a lot less..
Being conscious Continue reading ‘Modifying the Dynafit TLT 5 Mountain Ski Boots’
Mount Timpanogos's Cold Fusion couloir (the continuous line of snow extending from the summit down to the looker's right) occupies a fine spot on a beautiful piece of real estate.
Well, we didn’t ski it from the top (a perfect excuse to return!), but we did ski it in positively blower Utah conditions. This was no less than a snorkel meter 2 event, for the record. Timpanogos’ Cold Fusion was as close to heaven as Utah offered up on Saturday. With a text from Jim Knight the evening before, I knew only that a few people had signed on, and where and when to meet (Pine Hollow, 6 am). Arriving a full hour late intending to catch up to the group, I pulled in to see several folks milling about. I might have recognized Jim’s van if my head weren’t in the clouds. As it was, at the Continue reading ‘Cold Fusion’
Drank in some excellent scenery today whilst traveling solo. I’ll post up a few pics before I write about what was on my mind throughout the day (in coming days). As for the turns? Teeth chatteringly bulletproof on every aspect I visited (every one?). Except that I didn’t get any tooth chatter because I was doing my best impression of a mouth breathing valley girl during each descent. Beautiful.
Waterfalls mean it's hot out there. Pretty nonetheless.
This tree was something else. It had grown around this large rock, and sometime along the way, presumably got struck by lightning. It's really thin at the burned out section, but still supporting the weight of the full tree above.
Anyone know the name of this peak? (I don't, either)
And then the sun was setting, lighting up the space beneath those grey clouds...
By now, everyone in the intermountain west is pretty much an old hand at this low bar winter. I think many have become adept at playing this year’s most popular mental game by now. You know the low bar game. It entails heading out for a ski day with the ‘expectations bar’ set so low as to virtually guarantee a successful day. ‘Ninja’s dropping out of trees on us?’ No problem. ‘Need to buy a new pair of skis after this one day of turns causes irreparable damage?’ We live in a disposable culture. ‘Pruning shears will be necessary at all low elevation exits?’ Standard Wasatch fare. ‘Bears are out?’ Bears in Utah are small. ‘No snow?’ Snow is a luxury when the globe is warming. As you see, (and probably know) – it’s all about managing one’s expectations.
Today, my personal low bar was set in the ‘I’ll ski Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, as long as it’s on a slight incline’ range. That’s pretty low – chicken noodle soup is rather chunky if you think about it.
Also engaging in the low bar setting philosophy today was Jon Swain, whose bar was probably set to ‘powder, please, even just two inches’ as usual. Just to highlight his powder dedication, I’m pretty sure Jon would walk the length of the Gaza strip wearing a large bull’s-eye if there were the promise of skiing powder once finished.
Swain brings his (higher) bar to the hills and enjoys the rewards.
Strangely, the powder gods Continue reading ‘Milking the Low Bar’
Get inside the powder cloud with Swain. Yes.
Yesterday was one of those days where it felt good to be an integral part of the much maligned 5%. You know, Occupy Wall Street, the 1%, the 99%, all that? Except here in Utah, the labeling generally includes a slightly wider swath. Such that we’ve got what’s known as the 5%.
5% water content snow. For those who haven’t tasted this particular flavor of champagne Continue reading ‘Drowning in Powder’