Dynafit Salewa Crew Visits Independence Pass

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 25, 2008      

Tim Kelley of Salewa/Dynafit North America called the other day, asking about doing a company trip for some backcountry skiing on Independence Pass here in Colorado. I told him turns could be had up there, though you need to take care and find the smoother areas without too much sun cupping. I met up with their crew yesterday and we had a blast. Two laps, nice alpine hiking to connect some excellent turns, picnic, great weather. Summer skiing at its best.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Tim on our second lap. We climbed north of the Pass, up Blarney Peak. Skied the standard couloir off backside of Blarney, climbed back to Blarney summit, then raked a nice corn pitch back down to our trucks at the Pass summit. We stated at the late hour of 7:00 AM. Such a civilized departure is pleasant, but means if any noonish mountain weather is developing you don’t have as much a time window as those days with an earlier attack. But the snowpack is now what I’d call “summer snow,” meaning most is fairly dense and doesn’t soften quickly after the nightly chill. Thus, you’ve got to start later or the frozen suncups will hurt you like a ride on a bucking bull. Interesting how each season has different logistics — you ARE ready for bull riding, are you not?.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Gaining vertical meant both hiking and snow climbing. Check out those green boots — you could spot this crew a mile away!

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Chris tests Dynafit sole rubber. That’s Snowmass Mountain on center horizon, Maroon Bells to left.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Summit. Dynafit North America, Blarney Peak expedition 2008, sponsored by — Dynafit!

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Dropping into Blarney north couloir. Funny thing about this time of year is you don’t know if you’ll hit an ice patch or perfect corn, so it’s good to take it easy when you could slide into the rocks below your line. Sarah did a good job, with a cautious entrance followed by confident turns to the bottom.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Ryan gets some too. The snow was beautifully smooth in here, with some rough spots at the bottom but nothing too unpleasant.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Our route. For our second lap we hiked on skins and dirt up to the north, crested the pass south of Blue Peak, then walked the ridge back to Blarney summit. Quite aesthetic as you’re above timberline the whole time, enjoying crisp alpine air and views of Colorado’s highest peaks.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Chris on our second descent of the day. Corn snow was creamy by now. I’d told these guys about the burgers and grill back at the truck. After that they seemed to ski faster. Sarah had a close encounter with a snowbridge over a creek, but even that didn’t stop our inevitable finish at the parking lot.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
For trailhead victuals Tim broke out appenzeller cheese, designer bread, and sliced up a tomato. He had a few chocolate bars too, but I had to one-up him by producing a Tobler magnum. Cutting board had to be a demo boot box, but of course! (After all, this is not France, and it’s our own portable gasthaus.)

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
With the grill smoking and everyone munching on treats from our cache, life was good. Even the weather held, though the usual pile of storm clouds was building an attack from the west, as they tend to do when you’re at 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Today’s crew in total, Tim to left, then Chris, yours truly at center, Sarah and Ryan. Why am I always the guy in the red jacket? Good day. Oh, one other thing, I tried to dish up some insider tidbits about new gear from Dynafit, but the guys were as tight lipped as a CIA security “consultant” getting interviewed by a Moveon.org blogger. All I got was some mumbling about “look for gear that’s light but still big for the North American market.” I think that probably means the high DIN Dynafit binding and some other stuff, but we’ll see. Perhaps I can pry some beta out of them for a summer teaser. Meanwhile, I’d better go wax my skis so they’re ready for the next day of endless winter 07/08.


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4 Responses to “Dynafit Salewa Crew Visits Independence Pass”

  1. Scott Nelson June 25th, 2008 3:07 pm

    Seeing all those green boots shred up there is making me hungry for a boot upgrade. Glad to hear the snow is holding up somewhat. I’m heading up tommorrow, probably a repeat of what you did. Thanks for the heads up on start time. I’ll sleep in a bit.

  2. Lou June 25th, 2008 5:05 pm

    Yeah Scott, try that northerly on Blarney (during your ascent, continue to to main summit from summit visible from the road.)

  3. Tim M. June 26th, 2008 11:46 am

    Hi Lou,

    From the first photo, what’s that thingy on Tim’s left-side shoulder strap? Bear spray? Gyro-stabilized latte holder? Throw bag for crick crossings? Do tell…

  4. Lou June 26th, 2008 12:55 pm

    The Euro human lungs like to have a water bottle there, like adventure racers. So the Dynafit packs have that option. Tim had both the bottle holder and a camelback — I guess he stays hydrated.

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