Central Colorado just had wintry storm number 4 (WS4). Backcountry skiing is in full swing at higher elevations, though lower areas will probably be without a truly skiable snowpack for a while yet. After all, it is only October.
Sun Valley Trekking has acquired a new yurt for their quiver of backcountry shelters in Idaho. Check it out. I’m SVT’s webmaster, so I’m way past due for a trip out there to enjoy some Idaho pow and get first-hand experience with a long time client. Such is on tap for this winter — should make for some good blogging.
As many of you know, Life-Link imports a somewhat limited number of Dynafit bindings every year. The units sell out and are hard to find in the fall, and new models such as the Vertical series arrive slow. The folks at Life-Link tell me that this years crop of bindings is coming in sooner than later, and many are already here on the “dock.” Dynafit is becoming ever more popular, and should continue that trend now that “big mountain” skiers are finding out you can mount a set on a pair of big planks and thus trim weight from what can sometimes be a hefty load. Ergo, when your movie sponsorship deals run out and the sound of that last free helicopter fades into the distance — go Dynafit!
Here at Wild Snow we’ve been making quite a few behind-the-scene improvements. I just got done creating a link index in the famous Dynafit FAQ, and continue adding older backcountry skiing blog posts to the archive (nearly done with March 2005). Our advertisers are still excited about representing themselves to all you blog readers, so a big thanks for stopping by and checking things out. We’ve got lots of gear blogs coming up, including backcountry skiing binding details for both the old and the new.
The ISSW (International Snow Science Workshop) was completed in Telluride, Colorado a few days ago. I asked one participant what sort of undercurrent themes ran through the event this year. “I heard a lot about avalanche instruction, and how it appears many people are not applying their knowledge to make good decisions,” he said, “instead, people with avy education are still going out and rolling the dice.”
As for avalanche safety training, how about evaluating your level of gonzo with our personal risk quiz (see Avalanche menu item above), then taking an online avy safety refresher course?
Rando Racing: The second 24 Hours of Sunlight is scheduled for this February 3-4. This year’s race will be somewhat different and appears to favor non-skiing modes of travel. The course is divided into an uphill and downhill, with the uphill a slightly overall lower angled climb that will eliminate any equalizing advantage randonnee and telemark skiers have over x-c skiers, foot runners and snowshoers, all who carry much less weight on the climb and thus are quite a bit more efficient than rando/telemark on the uphills. (Races like this are won on the uphill, since time gained on the downhill is minimal in comparison, but a longer lower angled downhill is an advantage for skiers as they can glide it out much faster than foot travel.) Having equipment classes would do much to improve this situation, but appears from reading the website the race will only have age classes with no divisions based on gear, though that could change (we’ve suggested it). Whatever the case this year’s 24 Hours should be interesting to participate in our watch. I expect some of our local nordic uphill/downhill specialists will do well if they go for it, but I’d imagine foot runners such as Bernie Boetcher will do best.