Mt Baker Boulder Glacier — Park Headwall Ski

By Julia Dubinina | July 11, 2019  

Steeps on Mt. Baker’s Boulder Glacier.

On June 1st, with spring weather in the PNW finally cooperating, Louie and I set out to ski the less popular side of Mt. Baker, the Boulder Glacier. It was pleasant to pull into an empty parking lot on Friday night — a different sight compared to the crowded Easton/Squak trailhead. We enjoyed a full six hours of sleep, waking at 3:45 am.

We were hiking by 4 am, getting our first view of Mt Baker about an hour in. The Boulder Creek trail is not regularly maintained. There are lots of trees blocking the path, creating contortionist opportunities while carrying skis on your back. After that, a swamp, so bring extra socks! Louie and I joked that this may be an excellent trail for Xtratufs.

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Black Crows Orb Freebird Ski Review — Nimble Yet Stable

By Beau Fredlund | July 8, 2019  

On the way to Mount Rainier this June. Photo by B. Fredlund

As someone who REALLY enjoys backcountry skiing, I seek out the best equipment for the craft. In searching I’ve come across the Orb Freebird by Black Crows, and find it skis remarkably well. Thus this review.

To preface this post, my opinion is that an expert skier can make elegant turns, and still have tons of fun, on almost ANY pair of skis, particularly when the snow is good. However on the flip side, as a ski guide and passionate skier that rides 130+ days a year in all types of conditions, I think it is good to be particular about your equipment. Especially when there is a desire to continually improve your skill, be safe, and have the most fun in environments that can be very dynamic. Consequentially, we seek out the ‘magic’ boards, or as close as we can find a design that works most optimally.

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How Elastic is the Plastic? Tech Binding Research

By Lou Dawson | July 5, 2019  

Hey all, summer boredom strikes the heart of the boldest skiers… time to measure more bindings so this post stays updated.

Below, a bit of bench work regarding “elasticity” and “elastic travel” of touring bindings, defined as how far your boot can move in the release function and return to ski mode without ejecting (i.e., “return to center”). Thus ostensibly “absorbing” shock and vibration, in turn making your day safer.

Fritschi Tecton has what I'd call 11 millimeters of travel, as it can go slightly past my measurement point.

Fritschi Tecton yields what I’d call 10.5 millimeters of travel, as it can go slightly past my measurement point. Excellent (and virtually the same as 10 millimeters).

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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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