2-Way Radios Review – FRS, Talkabout, Ham, BCA, for Backcountry Skiing

By Lou Dawson | February 20, 2018  

Update, February 2018: New FCC rules may change the feature set of the type of radios covered in this blog post. Current radios will be forward compatible so no worries, though new models of FRS “blister pack” radios may have a few additional “channels” and more channels with higher power. More, you’ll notice most blister pack radios are now labeled as “FRS” instead of “FRS/GMRS” and include verbiage such as “no license required.” We are in the process of updating our radio related blog posts, and writing a new post covering the rule changes. We don’t see any need to wait for redesigned radios, though they’ll be fine if that’s what you end up with. The new rules went into effect September 28, 2017. More information on the ARRL website. Going forward the radios we recommend will be called “FRS” instead of “FRS/GMRS” and may have a few channels not covered by older model radios (we’re verifying how that works.) The blog post below is edited to reflect this change in the FRS and GMRS terminology.

I’m a big advocate of using 2-way radios for communication while backcountry skiing, especially in avalanche terrain. To minimize risk in avalanche areas, it is essential to spread your party out, often traveling or skiing downhill one at a time. Thus, communication can be a challenge; shouting and wild gesturing only go so far, especially in storm conditions. For example, in one documented fatal accident party members below a skier tried to gesture and shout for her to turn out of the avalanche path, but she keep heading down and was killed by a slide.

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Black Diamond Carbon Whippet 2018-2019 Unboxing Teardown and Modding

By Lou Dawson | February 19, 2018  

(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)

Alex did a good first-look at the new Whippet, thought I’d piggy back as well as embarking on the trail of the mod.

It's not really a box, but everything is tied together so the retail process stays pristine.

It’s not really a box, but everything is bundled with zip ties so the retail process stays as pristine as the crisp white powder you will probably experience once you have this ski pole in your glove nestled hand.

Tip safety protector and socket filler come nicely packaged.

Tip safety protector and socket filler come nicely packaged.

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2018 SCARPA Gea RS — New, Improved and Tested

By Julia Dubinina | February 16, 2018  

(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)

Side by side

Side by side — new Gea RS on the right.

Who loves boots that fit just right? Me, me, ME! After trying numerous models, four years ago I became the owner of SCARPA Gea RS and loved them from day one. As I mentioned in my overview of women’s boots at Outdoor Retailer last year, my feet don’t like ski boots. My wide forefoot aches and hurts in most boots. The process of fitting ski boots might be my least favorite part about skiing. It seems to get more time consuming and frustrating each time I do it.

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring 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 ski touring news and information here.

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