Backcountry Skiing Gear Plans and Avalanche Thoughts

Post by blogger | November 18, 2005      

We’re looking forward to a fun winter of comparative gear testing here at world headquarters. A full gamut of backcountry skiing randonnee bindings are ready to go — everything from the Black Diamond Fritschi Freeride and Explore, Dynafits, all the Silvretta Pure models, and both Naxo offerings. Every binding is sitting on a shelf in my shop, patiently waiting for their honored location on a cool pair of planks. For that, we’re mounting a variety of skis. Here is the rundown so far:

  • Black Diamond: Lyric or Havoc, Ethic, and Frantic
  • Atomic: Kongur, MX09
  • Dynafit: Freeride 8.0, 10.0
  • For boots, I’m planning on running the Dynafit Freeride, Garmont Megaride, Scarpa F1, and perhaps a Scarpa Tornado for a one-rig setup if the ski lifts seduce me (this pesky season pass is staring me in the face, perhaps I should hide it from my sight?).

    Avalanche safety musings:
    Heading up to the season kickoff avy seminar tonight in Aspen. Thinking. Is there ANY way to help prevent some of these stupagedys (stupid tragedy) from happening every winter? You know, stuff like guys who own beacons but don’t wear them, guides getting people caught, kids skiing corn snow during afternoon heat, etcetera?

    I did a stupagedy once myself, and not a winter goes by when I don’t think of what, if anything, someone could have told me that would have kept me out of stupid trouble. In my case, I was either ignorant or in denial about how much risk I was really taking. If nothing else, that’s what I hope can be conveyed to Colorado skiers this winter. It is stunning. In the Aspen area with it’s scary Colorado snowpack, there is more statistical likelihood of being killed in a backcountry skiing avalanche over that of being killed in a car crash! That’s just sick. We go out to do something that’s supposed to be so healthy — even spiritually fulfilling, and it’s more dangerous than driving? Perhaps we need a Ralph Nader of backcountry skiing? Please Nooooo. Let’s take care of ourselves and our friends — and do it with intention.


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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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