Snowmobiles — 2017-2018 — “Shot” Capacitor Starting

By Lou Dawson 2 | October 18, 2017  

This post is reluctantly sponsored by Cripple Creek Backcountry — they sell ski gear. Perhaps Doug and Randy will begin stocking ski racks for sleds, but then, their typical customer is in more need of new ski touring boots.

Should I be embarrassed about enjoying that first SnoWest magazine of the season, with their shiny new snowmobile reviews and other “interesting” stuffing? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll never know. Let me get past that.

Ski-doo shot start.

Ski-Doo shot start. Click images to enlarge.

Remember a while back I reported on the (possibly revolutionary) capacitor driven electric airbag backpack that Scott is coming up with? Something must be going on with capacitors because, behold, SnoWest reports Ski-Doo will be selling sleds with what they’re calling “Shot Start.” This is also a capacitor powered system.

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New Zealand Tasman Saddle — NZed Hospitality and Weather Windows

By Jonathan Cooper | October 17, 2017  
Taking advantage of short weather windows to take in the expansive Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park.

Taking advantage of short weather windows to take in the expansive Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park.

“Hey Louie, what are the odds you’ll eat a heaping spoonful of dry milk powder?”

Yep, the cyclical, cynical humor days of hunkering down waiting out storms are all too familiar. The critical difference this go around is the abundance of well built huts in this otherwise inhospitable place. In most ways better than a tent, though lacking in the excitement thin nylon walls can induce.

This dispatch is mostly recorded at the Kelman Hut, also known as the “Fridge on the Ridge”. We’ve dubbed it the “Kilton” (Kelman Hilton) because of the relative amenities that are included.

We are approaching a week on the upper Tasman Glacier and have skied about three days. Our initial arrival was as exciting as they come. A rapid progression of events led us to a ski plane in a flurry of moderate organization. The flight itself was relatively short, but there is something so unique and awe-inspiring about flying through a mountain range in a small single prop plane and touching down on a glacier. Teleportation.

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WildSnow Ultimate Ski Touring Binding Quiver — 2018

By Lou Dawson | October 13, 2017  
MTN binding is quite similar to Atomic Backland we covered last year.

Salomon MTN binding (same as Atomic Backland) could probably be called the “WildSnow Binding of the Year.” But not always. Check out our other picks below.

Ultimate binding quiver. We’ve got most of the bindings in play that we cover below, all were tested at one time or another. If I could wave a magic ski pole, I’d have every one of our WildSnow test crew enjoy this entire selection.

(Note, I couldn’t help but come up with options that overlap our arbitrary categories — inevitable, since tech bindings are in a mature state of design. In reality, with the exception of extremes at either end of the gamut, just about any binding works for any type of ski touring. When you think about it, that’s amazing and a credit to the design engineers who’ve sweated over this product category for thirty years.)

The uber-light solution (our Category 1) is a dilemma for us. Reason being, we believe _all_ bindings in a functional real-life quiver should have at least somewhat adjustable retention-release in both vertical (up at the heel) and lateral (side) modes. As well as ideally yielding somewhat “standard” heel lift options (flat; medium; high), necessary for much of North American ski touring. A number of contenders are thus disqualified as they lack adjustable release or only go to medium height. That’s not saying we’re totally against riding such bindings…they work for some folks, but using them should be an informed personal choice — something we can’t recommend in an overview post such as this.

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New Zealand Sourjourn TR 2 — Mueller Hut, Mount Ollivier, Tasman Saddle Hut, Hochstetter Dome

By Louie Dawson | October 12, 2017  

Editor’s note: In light of recent events, we weren’t sure where to go with our content. Today we decided to share some of the joy we find in the mountains.

This post kindly supported by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.

After an enjoyable day skiing up on Mt. Temple, iffy weather was forecast for the next few days. We decided to tour out of Porters Ski Area for the morning (where it was supposed to be better weather), and then head down south to take advantage of any good weather near Mt. Cook. We skinned up Porters, but after a while of battling high winds that wasn’t going to let the snow soften, we turned around and headed back to the car. Good exercise, and our first taste of NZ wind.

We packed up our Spaceship Campervan and headed out along the “pie highway”. Our first stop was the famous Sheffield Pie Shop. Delicious! The drive south through rolling sheep covered hills with snowy mountain backdrops was incredibly beautiful. The views just kept getting better as we approached the high peaks near Mt. Cook. I knew the Southern Alps were big. I wasn’t quite prepared for how steep, glaciated, and dramatic the peaks in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park are. Mind blowing, to say the least.

Pre-dawn alpenglow on Mt. Cook.

Pre-dawn alpenglow on Mt. Cook.

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  Your Comments

  • Allan: See- I really don’t see the tapered (waterski) tip profiles as having a red...
  • Allan: Lou- Yeah the SG95 and SG88 came out 3 years ago. The SG95 is on v3 cosmeti...
  • See: Thanks for the explanation of tip taper, Allan. If it works, that’s great, ...
  • Richard H: Well, this thread has cost me over the last 18 months. Following feedback a...
  • SeanS: Michael Papenfus and Bob: I know this response comes long after the init...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Yeah, hasn't it been out for a few years? I don't remember when they first ...
  • biggb: 2014 Sochi Olympics?...
  • Allan: Lou- After reading the Skialper review of them (and selling off my Dynafit ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Superguide 88 is in our Ultimate Quiver 2017-2018. Such a fine plank. Lou...
  • Allan: Rob and Lou- Rob, I'm with you on the Kreuzspitze bindings. I have some SCT...
  • Rudi: It has just come to my attention that the Ski Trab Gara Titan Release bindi...
  • Herb Jones: A note on sizing. I have measured the inside length dimension s of a few bo...
  • See: Also fwiw, I’d really like to see some disinterested but technically compet...
  • See: For what it’s worth, I’m not knocking tip taper. Like I said, I don’t under...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Anyone using our comment notification system, Microsoft (Hotmail) is blocki...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Chris, I'm glad Fritschi was able to reduce your stress level (smile). Esse...
  • Dorothy Cooper: what an enjoyable read - thank you!!...
  • Robert V Coppolillo: Ack, as usual...pilot error on my end! I'll buy the Skialper guide today! W...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Guys, thanks for supporting SkiAlper, they're the right place for comprehen...
  • Lisa Dawson: Mac, thanks for sharing the tragic history of the Three Johns Hut. NZ is a...
  • Allan: Hey Rob, See- The skialper 2017 guide is on their site. I meant 200g lighte...
  • Mac: The hut blown off the ridge was Three Johns Hut, 1977: Four members of the ...
  • Louis Dawson: It was cool to see they use different planes than the standard Dehaviland b...
  • Lisa Dawson: I always enjoy your story telling, and the beautiful photos. Thanks for sh...
  • See: The 108s are my most new school skis— there’s no camber underfoot (but I’m ...
  • Robert V Coppolillo: Hey See---Yeah, that Scott ski looks cool. Is the Skialper guide out yet? I...
  • Robert V Coppolillo: Hey See---Yeah, that Scott ski looks cool. Is the Skialper guide out yet? I...
  • See: Well, I guess Rob is mentioning dampness with reference to titanal, but tho...
  • See: Just checking specs on websites, I’m seeing 1750 g for Zero G 108/185 and 1...
  • Scott Robbins: Do the Radical FT 2.0 Toe Plate Extensions (the plastic bit that goes aroun...

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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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