WildSnow Reader’s Rides – Mrs. WildSnow goes to EU

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Being Mrs. WildSnow has its advantages: lots of play days out in the beautiful backcountry with gear that gets tuned by the skiing equivalent of a NASCAR mechanic. More, sometimes we get to seek the snow. Lou (AKA “His Blogness” or so he tells me to call him) reports that the Alps are buried. We’ve swung it so he can go back, only this time the wife is tagging along. Yahoo!

Yesterday, Marble, Colorado. Testing out the Euro setup.

This weekend, Marble, Colorado. Testing out the Euro setup on semi-corn. The skiing was actually quite nice..

Of course this shall be blogged. Big. I’ve been tasked to cover my gear, then once we’ve flown the coop I’ll blog the female perspective on what will be a dream-come-true ski traverse in the Alps. The destination will not be revealed for a while yet, but it’s classic in the Tirol.

Here’s what I’ll be riding, more gear posts coming, especially clothing. Girl clothing. I threw in some shopping links as well, imagine that.

Skis
Got to bring the Gotbacks, K2, that is. These planks allow me to ski a wide variety of snow conditions with a smile on my face, even though I’m just an intermediate skier unless the snow is perfect. Powder, corn, sastrugi… anything is fun on these babies. They are wide enough to float, shaped enough to carve and while not a rando race ski they’re still light enough for multiple laps. I can’t wait to go!

The full ride. K2 Gotback, Dynafit TLT Speed bindings, TLT5 boots.

The full ride. K2 Gotback, Dynafit TLT Speed bindings, TLT5 boots.

Boots
Dynafit TLT 5. I love these boots for their feather weight and movement freedom. Almost like wearing a running shoe, my legs fatigue less on the uphill, and feel strong for the glisse. Every time I upgrade to lighter gear, I get a huge dose of ROI. The fountain of youth for me is shaving off grams, and these boots have turned the clock back to those days of endless energy.

Bindings
Dynafit TLT Speed, customized a bit by the man. I simply want less weight. It’s true my TLT5s do have some mean forward lean. A binding such as the Speed holds your boot in a way that creates less forward lean. Good.

Ski Crampons
B&D with their aftermarket mounts. in EU you show up with these or go home. I always pack these in the spring anyways since they are the ticket for scooting up an icy trail.

Boot liners
Intuition. I’m 90% happy with the stock Dyanfit TLT-5 liners. But little things like laces down over the instep and thicker foam got me to go aftermarket in the liner department. Dynafit has people who police bad boys like Lou who mod their boots too much. We’ll see if they can chase us down in the Alps. Bet not, we’ll be in a different hut each night.

Dynafit TLT 5 women's rock, but I needed more liner. Intuition Pro Tour.

Dynafit TLT 5 rock for women as well as men, but I needed more liner. Intuition Pro Tour is my choice for now, more later as I get more miles on these things.

The Pro Tour liners look good when new, later, you don't.

The stylish Pro Tour liners.

Safety Straps
No brakes. Less weight. And, straps are necessary on the glaciers. So we’ll use what Lou optimistically calls “thong straps” that we cobble together ourselves. We’ll see how well they work, then Lou will find out if his optimism is appropriate.

The thong strap, or is it the strapless thong?

The thong safety strap, or is it the strapless safety thong? Let's see how Google indexes that!

His Blogness rigged up some custom parts on the bindings.

His Blogness rigged up custom parts on the bindings, including personalized top plates from B&D Ski Gear.

Skins
A pair of Gecko climbing skins were under the Christmas tree and they have changed the skinning game for me. No more dilemma of trying to choose between a heavy skin that grips, or a light one that glides but cannot climb without a crampon. Whoever invented these skins hit every target: they glide, they grip, they’re light, and I can strip them off with minimal effort. Because Geckos are so easy to handle, I even take better care of them, rolling them up tightly and stashing them neatly in a bag after every climb. I’ve used the Geckos for more than 30 days now, and they’re still working though the glue has become a bit patchy (which might be from me accidentally using them on dry Ptex with old skin glue residue). For the tail fix, I sewed a WildSnow “tm” rat tail on the back, which hooks to a screw on the tail of my ski. This is my favorite attachment method since it is easy to lean over and whip off the skin without dismounting.

Clothing blog is coming, and perhaps I’ll get highly technical (ha) about which ice axe to pick from our WildSnow eispickel quiver. Hmmm, which bikini top to wear on the deck while toasting the day’s ski with fellow hut dwellers? Oh, and regarding Mr. Sweet Tooth’s desert photos, I’ll one-up that and wrangle a few recipes to share. Stay tuned.

Comments

27 Responses to “WildSnow Reader’s Rides – Mrs. WildSnow goes to EU”

  1. Scott Newman March 19th, 2012 8:48 am

    Glad to see that Lou is taking you along. You speak German, don’t you?

  2. Ryan March 19th, 2012 11:56 am

    Nice writeup..however please leave “Marble” out of it

  3. Rob March 19th, 2012 1:11 pm

    Your timing is good….we’ve had a pretty dry spell the past few weeks, but fresh snow has fallen the past few days. Enjoy the huts!

  4. Lisa March 19th, 2012 1:34 pm

    Scott – my favorite ski instructor, how nice to hear from you. My German is rusty but good enough to order a strudel, but Lou is now better at that than me. Wish you and Margaret were joining us. Any plans to visit CO this summer?

  5. Lou March 19th, 2012 1:38 pm

    Um, isn’t that “second favorite ski instructor?”

  6. Jim March 19th, 2012 6:34 pm

    Guys, Some tips. Always invite the wife skiing. Give her a turn to set the pace and the track. Always ask how she is doing, and give all complaints high priority. Compliment her skiing, and clothes, and tell her she rocks.
    Let her pack as much food as she wants for the lunch. Buy her the best gear. Be patient at the trailhead, and leaving the house for her to organize everything and get those last few items even if there is 15″ fresh and its sunny and calm. Leave the car running at the trailhead while she gets organized to keep some warmth going a bit longer. Turn around when she is ready to turn around. Ski what she feels comfortable doing.

  7. Jen March 19th, 2012 7:17 pm

    Nice to hear from the female perspective. I’m looking forward to the clothing reviews! Wondering your thoughts on the attachments of your strapless safety thong. I go brake-less 90+% of the time but when the terrian necessitates a safety leash I lean toward attaching the leash to my bindings with a small zip tie. The thought is the zip tie will fail in the event of a rag dolling tumble or being taken for a ride in a slide and free the ski from my boot. Always appreciate another perspective as the leash-no-leash debate in the backcountry.

  8. Lou March 19th, 2012 8:03 pm

    Jen, Maruelli sells a 40 kg “fuse” for the safety leash. I was going to integrate those into Lisa’s binding safety straps but didn’t see a big need for this considering the style of skiing we do. Easy if needed, you just tie the cord through one end of the “fuse” and clip into the other end. They’re just little chunks of plastic.

    Also, that cord we use on Lisa’s bindings breaks quite easily.

    Lou

  9. Lisa March 19th, 2012 8:44 pm

    Jim, LOL. Lou can relate. I’ve always been impressed with his patience and now it’s paid off since I break trail for him.

  10. Lisa March 19th, 2012 8:58 pm

    Jen, clever idea to use zip ties! I never go without some sort of lease for fear of losing a ski, and am always searching for a simple, light solution. Zip ties would also be handy to have in my repair kit.

  11. Forest March 20th, 2012 4:34 am

    Jim – you are brilliant! I try very hard to always follow that advice without any pacing involved. ;-) Truth is that there is no better way to enjoy the backcountry than with our dear wives/girlfriends. Happy travels Lisa and Lou!

  12. Lisa March 20th, 2012 6:29 am

    Forest, thanks for your kind wishes!

  13. Rob March 20th, 2012 6:51 am

    haha, one of the funniest skiblog I’ve read in a long time. Well written, have fun!

  14. Rob March 20th, 2012 6:53 am

    And certainly more interesting than the Natural Walking Plate, or whatever this italian disaster invention is called :-)

  15. Lou March 20th, 2012 8:50 am

    Easy there Rob, people had the same words for tech bindings when they were first invented, and look what happened! As for the humor, when all else fails make fun of religion, preferably religions popular in North America (grin).

  16. SedgeSprite March 20th, 2012 11:57 am

    Found the zip ties to be quite brittle below freezing.

  17. george fowler March 20th, 2012 12:06 pm

    i am looking 4 one rear full lockdown piece 4 the old red silveretta 404 bindings as mine broke after years of great service.
    i will pay all shipping costs.
    pls. e-mail me and i will arrange payment and my address.

  18. george fowler March 20th, 2012 12:09 pm

    an update,call me collect in canada at 403 609 8795 to have me arrange shipping etc.

  19. harpo March 20th, 2012 12:11 pm

    Yeah zip ties never worked as a fuse in a ski leash for me. I tried them both with and without the plastic sleave that comes with the B&D leashes, and various different strengths of zip ties. I was finding I was replacing them every 2-3 outings regardless of wether I released or not.

    Now I just use a key ring as the fuse. I have found in one or two violent crashes that they do deform and release the leash, but are much more durable otherwise.

    Anyone know where I can get the Maruelli fuse?

  20. ATEve March 20th, 2012 4:07 pm

    I use most of Jim’s tips whenever I go skiing with my husband. (He especially likes to be complimented on his clothes.) The only tips I tend to ignore are the ones about turning around when he wants to turn around and skiing what he is comfortable with. If he comes with me, he knows we’re going to use the available daylight and try to find the steepest lines. He knew the job was dangerous when he took it. (grin)

  21. Lou March 20th, 2012 4:27 pm

    I was wondering when someone was going to call us on our blatant sexism (grin).

  22. Patrick March 20th, 2012 5:13 pm

    Lou, over recent decades, I haven’t dared to ski-venture with both wife and girlfriend as you suggest. However, I’m intrigued. That kind of 3-some arrangement sounds like it could result in a pyro-explosive situation.

  23. Jeff March 21st, 2012 11:11 pm

    Lisa — in looking at the pictures of your TLTs it looks like you removed the Dynafit powerstrap. Is that correct? If so, how do you like skiing without the strap? I always wonder if the strap makes much of a difference. However the one time I experimented with removing the strap the boot seemed way too squishy and I felt in the back seat all day. Thoughts?

  24. Jim March 22nd, 2012 11:38 am

    +1 with brittle zip ties below zero for fuse on BD coil leashes (which by the way are the bomb) . My zip ties disintegrated after -8F. Now I use some spectra fishing line 200 lb test.

  25. Lou March 22nd, 2012 11:43 am

    Jim and all, yes, zip ties are not the way to go for a fuse. Their strength is incredibly inconsistent. I’ve had some that broke in my fingers, others that seemed quite strong, some that got super brittle in the cold, some that did not. Probably depends on which factory they were made in in China, and what weird way they sourced their plastic.

  26. stefano March 30th, 2012 12:24 am

    From Nice Rob:

    “And certainly more interesting than the Natural Walking Plate, or whatever this italian disaster invention is called :-)

    …Dear Skier Friends,

    Of course not all my ideas was nice and immediately “on fashion”.

    Probably All my ideas was counterclockwise…

    But be sure behind any of mine products you’ll find ideas, first and, study / experience etc… behind…

    My Safe Loop Takes lot of time to be defined, still if it look like “a piece of plastic…”

    Pls there are milion type of plastic… try to brake them into a sunny day or into a cold Polar day… try to do the same think with “PLASTIC” items that was into the snow /sun for several months… than try to do the same with my Safe Loop…

    Ciao
    Stefano

  27. stefano March 30th, 2012 12:30 am

    ..To Lisa,

    My wife is happy to hear about another skiers girl !

    She was my beautiful ski mountaineering partner….

    And my first Click-Clack & NWP enthusiast customer…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SNJe2jm6I4&feature=player_embedded

    Now we can easily pull back the 2 slit with our kids in our non too steep snow trip.

    Ciao
    Stefano

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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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