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Saving Ski Weight by Deleting or Minimizing Edges

By Lou Dawson  

Regarding eliminating edges at tip and tail to reduce ski weight. A ski engineer sent over specs for how much ski edges weigh. This especially applies to the new Black Diamond Carbon offerings such as Convert and Aspect, which delete many centimeters of tip and tail edges. (See our weight charts.)

Black Diamond (right) trims quite a bit of weight by using minimal extensions of steel edge at tip and tail.

Black Diamond (right) trims quite a bit of weight by eliminating edges at the tip and tail. Sportiva (left) extends their edges farther. I'm in favor of this as a weight saving trick, but consumer testing will determine how much durability is lost. It's perhaps more important to have the edges extending pretty much to the end of the tail (for control when in the backseat on hard snow), while the tip is less important.

According to my source: “…range of edge profiles and stampings out there with significantly different weights. A typical full size alpine ski or snowboard edge (2.0mm high x 2.2mm wide) weighs 53g/m. Thinner edges on some skis in the market (1.3mm high x 1.6mm wide) weigh as little as 27g/m.” Read more backcountry skiing

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Chasing the Chiwaukum — Washington Cascades Ski Traverse

By Jonathan Cooper  
Eric Messerschmidt drops into a couloir mid-way on the Chiwaukum Traverse.

Eric Messerschmidt drops into a couloir mid-way on the Chiwaukum Traverse. Click images to enlarge.

The Chiwaukum Range is a relatively hidden gem amongst the peaks of the Central Cascades, and often considered to be the cousin to the peaks of the famous Enchantment Lakes Basin in the state of Washington.

With a series of canceled trips due to conditions and logistics, I was eager to get out on something longer and more committing in the mountains. When my friend Eric, who operates the semi-backcountry cabins of Scottish Lakes High Camp, mentioned the Chiwaukum Range traverse just outside his backdoor, I was immediately sold. The notion of ending our trip at High Camp, and utilizing amenities such as a wood-burning sauna and hot tub had me motivated over other ideas floating around. So after we checked the weather and found mostly high pressure thanks to the crest effect (aka rain shadow), Casey, Eric, and I were on our way to spend the next few days in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Read more backcountry skiing

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Black Diamond Carbon Convert – The Review

By Bob Perlmutter  
Black Diamond Carbon Convert is a winner.

Black Diamond Carbon Convert is a winner.

In the ski touring world, as far as I’m concerned white is the new black and carbon is king.

Anyone who has followed WildSnow over the past number of years knows I have been a disciple of carbon construction since it’s inception. My latest carbon footprint is Black Diamond’s new entry into the fray: the Carbon Convert. Read more backcountry skiing

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Catching Colorado Spring Backcountry Skiing — Before the Snirt

By Lisa Dawson  
Spring in the Colorado Rockies.

Early spring ski touring in the Colorado Rockies. Click images to enlarge.

We get out on our backcountry skis whenever we can, and lucky for us, that’s quite often. Years ago we were able to ski tour spring corn-snow for weeks in our home mountains, the Elk range of the Colorado Rockies. Now a dirt layer usually blows in during April. The “snirt” causes lots of problems — weak layers in the snowpack, destruction of our corn cycle and accelerated spring runoff. This year we were hoping it wouldn’t happen but sadly it has. The snirt creates a grabby snow surface that’s no fun to ski. So when a spring storm deposits a few inches of fresh snow over the muck layer, we check avalanche conditions and if it’s safe, we get out to ski before it melts down to the dirt. Recently we were able to catch it. Snowpack was surprisingly solid and we enjoyed every turn. Check out our photo essay on some of our better backcountry days all year. Read more backcountry skiing

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

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