Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | December 6, 2008      

We’re getting quit a few WildSnow visitors on Saturdays. Heading out skiing this morning, but here are some news items for you weekend browsers:

More new designs at our shirt shop. Give the gift of a WildSnow T or hoodie this holiday season!

Backcountry Skiing

Sample of the many WildSnow shirt designs. Left image is front of this design, right image is back.

A rando racing clinic will be held December 20th at Loveland ski area, Colorado. The event will bring together Dynafit, SCARPA & CAMP for demos, and several 2008 US Ski Mountaineering Team members will be clinicians helping folks “speed up.” As of this writing the plan is to start clinic with a skin up the mountain before the lifts open, but a person could probably show up at any time during the day. For more info contact Bryan Wickenhauser at Team Crested Butte

Some industry news: We really do like the Dynafit Manaslu ski for what we feel is the perfect Colorado backcountry plank. Dynafit NA says the 169 and 187 are gone and people are scrambling for the last few pair of 178s. I was on this ski yesterday, and was pleased how I could work “powder” patches that a skinnier less forgiving ski would have just dived to the ground in.

Demo a pair of Manaslu. Head for what we used to call “mank” and see how they do. If you’re relatively new to this game you might be surprised at how your definition of “powder” can change according to what ski you’re on. The idea is to combine light weight with width. Other fat all-mountain skis may downhill as well, but they’re a drag for human powered skiing. That’s why we like skis such as Manaslu, Goode, K2 Baker SL… If you’re shopping, check out the sticker on the Manaslu that quotes our WildSnow take.

With the recent hype about overlap boots, I feel like a mouse chirping in the wilderness when I talk about tongue boots. But they do have their place. On my feet, usually. To that end my favorite is still the Dynafit ZZero, though the Scarpa Skookum and Garmont Axon are cool, offer plenty of 4-buckle beef, and are nearby as I write this (oh, the comfort of my boot pile!) Dynafit says they’re selling more ZZeros than last season, and we’re happy to see that since lightweight Dynafit compatible boots are the WAY. Enjoy (and don’t forget that Skookum has Scarpa’s removable and customizable footboard, which makes arch fit problems a thing of the past, thank Skad!)

Speaking of skiing shoes, I mentioned in a blog a few days ago that Black Diamond has no more Factor boots in their warehouse — they’re not even doing pro deals. A lot of people have told me they want this boot and are waiting for price drops from retailers. PSA from me is be very careful not to shop too late for your Factors, especially if you’re in the more popular size range (around 28). Their Method model is quite similar to the Factor, but was marketed differently. It’ll be interesting to see if they run out of that one as well.

One last Dynafit gear tip. I’ve been told some ZZeus boot users are perplexed at how the AT heel block is removed. Trick is not only to remove the three obvious screws at the bottom, but to back out the Dynafit binding fitting screw on the back.

Oh, I almost forgot. We have the Tecnica Agent AT here, being tested, and a guest review on tap. They’re a valid choice for a beefy overlap boot, and are on the larger side of the volume equation for those of you who need room for wide or messed up feet. So keep that in mind. MSRP on them is steep, but we expect they’ll get discounted eventually like everything else.

You may have noticed we’ve got a few new Wildsnow supporters in our sidebars. We’re at a point with this website where we couldn’t operate without advertising income. That’s because we’ve got fixed costs such as a dedicated webserver, technical maintenance of the site and server that I have to farm out, stuff like that. So let’s have a hand for our new supporters.

Folks, please help us by exploring all our sponsors. Believe me, every one of them reads your comments, watches how much traffic we get, and appreciates every click you can give ’em! And if you’re concerned about us being too “commercial,” please know that unlike many other websites we continue to stay away from obnoxious fly-outs and pop-ups in consideration of your WildSnow website experience. More, not a month goes by that I don’t turn down some sort of cheesy “partnership” scheme that would probably produce revenue for us, but would drag us down into the cloudy depths of exploitation and get in the way of you guys simply visiting, reading, and commenting.

Have a terrific weekend!


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


10 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. Paul M December 6th, 2008 11:48 am

    Hello Lou,

    I am interested in purchasing a pair of Manaslus and was wondering what size you recommend. I am fairly new to backcountry skiing, last year I had a pair of Volkl Gotamas (183cm) mounted with a pair of Dukes. This year I am looking to invest in a lighter-weight setup. I noticed you have a pair of 178’s. I am 6’1”, 165 pounds and have been skiing for around 25 years.

    I have noticed that you lean towards a shorter ski for pack-ability reasons. I also noticed that you mentioned you think the Manaslu skis shorter than its length due to the rockered tip. The 178 seems to be the ski for me, but I am worried that it will seem too short at high speeds due to its rocker. Your thoughts on the whole 178 vs. 187 issue would be appreciated.

  2. KR December 6th, 2008 3:37 pm

    The Manaslu 187 seems to ski a bit short to me, which is fine. I like it so far after 2 deep days. It is so light that the weight is taking a bit of getting used to for me.

  3. Lou December 6th, 2008 7:41 pm

    Paul, I’d go for the 187 if I was you, if at your size you’re talking about skiing fast and aggressive, and you’re coming from a 183 Gotama/Duke setup. But, at your weight you’d be fine with the 178 other than for fast skiing. I skied my Manaslus again today in some mank, and they worked great. But I wasn’t skiing fast by any means.

  4. Lou December 6th, 2008 7:43 pm

    KR, experiment with binding position if you can’t seem to find the sweet spot.

  5. Mark December 7th, 2008 2:40 pm

    How do you like the inserts that the Manaslus come with?

  6. Lou December 7th, 2008 3:52 pm

    Mark, the inserts work fine. And you don’t have to use them if the boot/binding position you want is a bit off from where the inserts are.


  7. Niklas December 7th, 2008 3:56 pm

    Hi Lou!

    Thanks for a great site.

    In preparing for a winter in the alps, I’m thinking of adding a pair of fat, yet light touring skis. Has anyone any experience with the Goode Vision ’96 and how do you think they ski compared to the Manaslu?

  8. Adventure December 8th, 2008 3:35 am

    That Manaslu looks nice!
    I don’t really need a new pair, but I’m gonna think about it anyway 🙂

  9. Bryan Wickenhauser December 8th, 2008 1:02 pm

    Lou – Thanks for posting the December 20th Rando clinic at Loveland!


  10. Matt Kinney December 8th, 2008 2:27 pm

    That new “hoodie” (step one…) is real nice and I’m grabbing one of them!!! Need a new hoodie anyway. Nice selection of shirts you are producing. Nice to have a selection of ski shirts for this niche. Thanks Lou!!!

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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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