Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | November 6, 2008      

I’m feeling relieved. Mind numbing presidential campaigning is over, winter is coming on strong, is humming along with a functional design on our new server. We’re still making design and function improvements here, but the pace has slowed considerably. I have to admit to liking the geek stuff a bit, but I’d rather be blogging — or skiing. So good!

Gear rumors are flying. I heard someone might do North American distribution of ATKrace products, including their Dynafit binding knock off. I’ve always been interested in ATK’s stuff, but frankly was turned off by the binding being such a blatent copy of Dynafit.

Indeed, if you know the inside story of the sweat and tears that went into getting the Dynafit where it is today, you’re not inclined to be a fan of clones. On the other hand, ATK has made some interesting changes to form and function, such as the toe automatically locking in tour mode when you snap in. And the things are light. So it’s probably worth reviewing their stuff once it gets past customs.

From a business standpoint, one interesting aspect of this is that the ATK Dynafit clone is not DIN/TUV certified, which makes me wonder how it can be sold without concern of lawsuits. But then, they’ve sold all sorts of crazy telemark bindings over the years (I know one fellow who almost ripped his legs off when his no release tele skis got trapped under a log, for example), so I guess it’s possible to sell non certified bindings without fear of financial disaster.

Department of web confusion: A buddy came by the other day and asked me where the heck that link was to the website that gets all the British Columbia backcountry huts and lodges under one URL. Yeah, that got buried in our news ticker. Here you go: Backcountry Lodges of British Columbia. Take my word for it, if you’re goofing off at work with vacation dreaming, this website is rad. Just don’t tell your boss you found the link on! Otherwise he’ll probably ban us all!

Kootney Coldsmoke Powder Festival is scheduled for February 20 – 23 at Nelson, British Columbia. If you’re into this sort of thing, Kootney looks to be the must-attend festival of the year. The event includes everything from rando races to clinics, all blanketed by a puffy quilt of high quality polvo.

Department of radical expeditionism: I have to admit to trip envy regarding Andrew McLean’s plans to ski mountaineer off a cruise ship. Then the boat broke and his trip got aborted.

While I have full sympathy for anyone who’s adventure vacation gets wrecked by something so out of their control (Andrew is a good mech, but repairing a cruise liner is probably a bit beyond his kit), today I did get a chuckle out of this. I was reading about the currently happening Darwin Range Ski Traverse in Patagonia, which is kind of the antithesis to what Andrew was up to.

In the Darwin blog, they’ve got a definition for something they call a “Golden Anvil,” as “an IPOD or any other device that doesn’t work anymore but is too valuable to throw into a crevasse.” Seems to me that a broken Antarctic cruise ship is the ultimate Golden Anvil.

All that said, when is the next ship leaving? And how much gasoline does it take to get from here to Nelson in a Silverado with a snowmobile in the bed? Perhaps the cruise ship would be cheaper?


18 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. Pat November 6th, 2008 1:52 pm

    It seems really rando rally race specific and still pretty pricy. I can see how some competition could be a good thing and drive innovation, but it looks really niche market to me.

  2. Colin November 6th, 2008 1:39 pm


    More information from Ushiaia here and also on Dav’s blog.


  3. Pierce November 6th, 2008 4:35 pm


    I need you to set the record straight for my friends and I. What is the proper pronunciation of Dynafit? Is it deen-a-fit or dine-a-fit? I’ve heard it both ways from various sources and don’t want to make a major faux-pas if I run into the owners some day!

  4. Lee Lau November 6th, 2008 4:40 pm

    wow – the Darwin Range traverse sounds cool. I thought Eric Shipton and crew were the first to traverse this range – this group’s route is different.

    It seems wildly appropriate that Steve Ogle is on this trip. He had a great line about a trip he did to the Queen Charlottes that i really liked – “It’s one thing to be the first person to ski tour in an area; its quite another to be the last person to ski tour in that area!”

  5. Grant November 6th, 2008 5:56 pm

    Some Swiss mates of mind had the ATK bindings last year but say they are going back to Dynafit because of issues they had with the toe of the ATK not working right towards the end of the season. They are super light, guess somethings gotta give and durablity seems to be it for ATK. Got love the auto lock.

  6. Lou November 6th, 2008 6:06 pm

    Pierce, in English the most common is deen…. but I’m trying to remember what it sounds like from the Teutonic speakers. I’ll check tomorrow and get back to you. Since the binding originated over there I’d tend to figure that pronunciation would be the one to adhere to.

    Good trivia! I love it!

  7. Njord November 6th, 2008 8:30 pm

    Phenetically in ze German is: “Die-na-fit”. They really don’t like the “y” in german…


  8. Lou November 6th, 2008 8:56 pm

    Njord, that’s my recollection… I think the answer to Pierce is that it’s pronounced both ways depending on where you are and with whom you’re speaking.

  9. Chase November 7th, 2008 9:39 am

    Hey Lou,
    Thanks for rehashing the info on Backcountry Ski Huts in
    BC. I now have it in my favorites.
    Not to change the subject, yesterday I was at a local ski shop
    and they had the new Technica AT boots. I tried them on an
    my first reaction was, WOW these things are super light. The
    down side to these boots is the price, a woppping 850.00 dollars.
    That’s absurd. Lou, correct me if I am wrong, but thats got to be
    the most expensive AT boot on the market. I think I will stick with
    my beat up Garmont Adenalins that fit like a glove.

  10. Lou November 7th, 2008 9:45 am

    Let’s just say we’re not impressed by the Tecnicas…

  11. dave downing November 7th, 2008 10:00 am

    @Lou — not impressed by the Tecnicas? Or not impressed that said promised pair is not here yet? 🙂

  12. Lou November 7th, 2008 10:14 am

    I got a bunch of feedback on them over the last few months. Mainly the price seems whacked, but they’re said to not be as beefy as they appear. Thus I’m not impressed. I’ll eat crow if necessary. Done it before.

  13. dave downing November 7th, 2008 10:17 am

    Agreed I haven’t heard a lot of positive either. But I’ll still give them a run before I pass judgement 🙂

  14. Lou November 7th, 2008 10:23 am

    So will I. But like I said, not impressed…

  15. Pete November 7th, 2008 11:53 am

    Especially since they are not die-na-fit compatible.

  16. Lou November 7th, 2008 12:14 pm

    Dynafit compatible is a big deal, even more now that so many of the beef boots have the fittings.

  17. brandon November 7th, 2008 1:37 pm


    if you were planning to purchase a new avalanche transceiver this season for use in and out of ski areas, which would you buy?

  18. Chase November 7th, 2008 1:39 pm

    Ok, whatever, all I ment was they are light. Lou, I agree with you on the beefyness issue or lack of. Thats why I would never have this as my AT
    BOOT! It wouldn’t make it through a single season with me. I’d distroy it.
    Go Garmont!

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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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