Ski Touring News Roundup – Enter October – Resorts and Argon

Post by blogger | October 6, 2016      
Arva downsized argon cylinder for their airbag backpacks.

Arva downsized argon cylinder for their airbag backpacks.

I’ll lead off with the usual disruptive stuff happening in avalanche airbag rucksacks. At ISSW, this little argon cylinder was sighted at the Arva booth. Increased interior pack volume, decreased weight. Shopping for a ski touring airbag pack? Things are indeed crazy, but I don’t think you to need wait any longer. For example, when this cylinder becomes available it’ll fit an Arva pack you purchase this fall. Likewise, if you go with the sweet lightweight Mammut packs I’m betting compatible carbon cylinders will soon be available, as they presently are in Europe. Clearly, competition is breeding innovation.

Imagine you had a private jet 16 credit cards and a fat bitcoin wallet. Would you pick your lift served ski resort according to THE TOP 50 RESORTS? Ignoring such things, you’d probably trend to locals such as Chamonix, Zermatt, or Cortina.

But if you were short on jet fuel, you’d maybe wing it to Whistler for their vast natural terrain, or Aspen for the aprè and that little gem of a slope known locally as Ajax. Thus, cynicism aside, I think the recent edition of Ski Magazine actually nailed it by rating Whistler as number one and Ajax number two. The runners up can all bow down. Or wait. On the other hand, Alta at #23? I guess the raters didn’t like the stairs up to the bar, or the state of the carpet.

I got a handle on how Ski Mag rates the resorts, based on their chart for ranking the Top 10 Colorado. Examples of Colorado upper and lower ratings, with commentary:

Après — Aspen 1, Crested Butte 13 (That’s just plain weird, I mean, something wrong with Kochevars?)

Grooming — Snowmass 4, Steamboat 19 (They should reverse that rating.)

Challenge — Telluride 5, Breckenridge 23 (As it should be, are there even any bumps at Breck? Or, should we rate on the number of helmets headed directly for you at any given moment?)

Snow — Beaver Creek 8, Crested Butte 30 (Crested Butte, bring your rock skis?) — Aspen Highlands 1, Vail 20 (I had to slip that in. Highlands Bowl, need we say more?)

Global Warming in the news. Yes Virginia, the heat does affect us skiers. Easily noticeable in retreating glaciers — and here in Colorado, higher rain levels in December. Lots of panting media blather regarding the the Paris Agreement, which takes effect November 4. But, exactly what “effect?” Sounds like this is just another way to create larger bureaucracy and a bunch of finger pointing, as the agreement has no force of law and any actual changes countries make to their gas picture are entirely voluntary.

The whole thing sounds like a bunch of B.S., quite frankly. Interesting looking at the list of signatories. I mean, North Korea? Kim Jong-un is not going to sign anything he actually has to comply with, that’s for sure. Come to think of it, in Kim’s case, how about we start with his nuclear fire crackers? After that, perhaps he can tell us how he’s going to reduce greenhouse gas while increasing agricultural production so he can actually feed his starving population? Or consider our own country. If China grew all their own food instead of buying zillions of tons from us, how would that change the gas picture? Or how about this for a thought experiment: for an immediate significant reduction in greenhouse gas we stop all food exports and associated production.

Ok, I’d better go positive. Northern Hemisphere is getting snow! Check out the Teton Pass cam.

WildSnow Outer Local: On November 11, 2016, one of our esteemed guest bloggers, Alex Lee and his ski mountaineering partner, Nick Vincent, will be at our local shop here in Carbondale, Colorado, Cripple Creek Backcountry, presenting a slide show on their backcountry tour of the Eastern Alaska Range. See you there!

Other upcoming events at Cripple Creek Backcountry:


  • October 15, 5pm: Ski Season Kickoff Party
  • October 29 & 30: Backcountry Ski Swap


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    12 Responses to “Ski Touring News Roundup – Enter October – Resorts and Argon”

    1. See October 6th, 2016 12:26 pm

      “(T)he agreement has no force of law…The whole thing sounds like a bunch of B.S..” I can’t tell if you’re in favor of doing nothing or advocating agenda 21.

    2. Lou Dawson 2 October 6th, 2016 12:43 pm

      See, I’m in favor of doing things that work (smile). I’m of that persuasion with a lot of political issues we won’t get into here. Lou

    3. Max October 6th, 2016 1:17 pm

      If fully agree, the whole UN climate change blabla is just a fig leave to redistribute wealth again. In order to tackle climate change, one would have to look at the facts first, meaning one would have to acknowledge which are the largest sources of man made greenhouse gases. Even using the UNs own dataset, food production tops everything. Agriculture, deforestation, land torching accounts for about 40%. Power production for another 35%. And that most likely understates greenhouse gases from domestic animals, which the UN estimates at 7% of total while newer research points to up to 50%. The entire transportation sector (cars, trucks, planes ships) accounts for 12%, yet that is where 99% of the focus lies. Tesla wont stop climate change. Don’t get me wrong, I love electric cars, because they don’t emit other stuff and for air quality as well as noise pollution they are a blessing. But it wont’ stop climate change. If you swapped all cars, trucks, planes and ships to electric engines overnight, you save about 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That is two years of Chinas emission growth. There is no doubt that there is an urgent need for action, but this climate agreement wont do the trick for sure. But the UN envoys clap themselves on the shoulders now, then go into their private planes and fly to the next convention.

    4. See October 6th, 2016 3:18 pm

      Well, if you guys are proposing a major overhaul of our agricultural system, I’m with ya.

    5. Lou Dawson 2 October 6th, 2016 3:40 pm

      It was just a thought experiment, but clearly the overhaul could be good, we could start with the ethanol debacle. Lou

    6. JCoates October 6th, 2016 5:05 pm

      Hate to say it Lou, but I don’t think things will change until the government gets involved. Humans are lazy by nature and we won’t change until we have to–possibly after its already too late. Its a lot easier to blame China or other developing countries for the world’s pollution but I bet someone in in Beijing right now thinking the same thing: “Why should we change when they aren’t?”

      Europe’s headed in the right direction but they have always had a clearer perspective on history. Americans can’t seem to look past the next 20 years.

    7. Lou Dawson 2 October 6th, 2016 5:17 pm

      Fair enough. No intention here to blame everything on China, though they do make their fair share of C02, including that created by us making all the food we ship over there (smile).

      Honestly, I don’t have any firm opinions about solutions, other than everyone should be thinking mitigation and preparation.


    8. Kevin Woolley October 6th, 2016 5:38 pm

      Everyone in the United States and Europe could decide to live a stone age lifestyle and it would make no difference. The two billion people living a subsistence existence in Africa, South Asia, and Central and South America are going to live a much more carbon-intensive lifestyle as their standard of living improves. Who exactly gets to tell them that for the good of the planet, their continued poverty is required? Also, for a good laugh, the next time someone starts with the green argument, bragging on their electric car or solar panels, ask them if they do any travel by air.

    9. See October 6th, 2016 7:32 pm

      Every little bit helps. It aint all or nothing.

    10. byates1 October 6th, 2016 9:36 pm

      imagine, if you just went skiing

      needless, is all this

      just learn

      just ski

    11. Shawn October 6th, 2016 10:53 pm

      The billions of attendant animals required for food are the biggest problem humanity faces regarding climate. Animal ag runnoff kills the oceans, their methane emissions are cooking us, and the petro derived monoculture feed crops have thoroughly disrupted earth’s ecosystems.

      Be the change you want and immediately stop eating meat until it’s disrupted and made from stem cells or algae or bacteria from ski boot liners. Past cultures didn’t have a plant based choice, plains Indians couldn’t have survived without the bison. Right now it’s totally possible in our culture for individuals to cheaply subsist on plant based diets.

      Worrying about whether developing countries will follow suit is a low vibration mindset. Work the high against the low for best results.

    12. Gaffer October 11th, 2016 10:31 am

      I agree with Lou. True to form, the combined factors of globalism, capitalism, and the melodramatic English/Drama majors of the world [the media] have managed to transform a good message, “don’t pollute” into “the sky is falling” into little more than numberless money-making opportunities. As self-proclaimed environmentalists continue to adjust their marketing pitch from GLOBAL WARMING!!! to CLIMATE CHANGE!!!! to the next substance-free fear-mongering slogan+mountain of supporting data, the no less clever developing world (a category the Chinese adopt the moment the conversation shifts from their space program, which had more successful missions than NASA last year, to the amount of pollution they generate) has figured out a way to make some dough. It should come as no surprise that there is still a lot to learn about the climate despite the number of surface knowledge data sommeliers spouting the latest tripe from NYT/Fox science/opinion columns. The result is that the hardened thermometer-watching, ice-core licking climatologists have had to delve deep into obscure experimentation to keep their funding streams flowing (and boy is it flowing) at the expense of losing most of their audience. Obama’s successful legacy-building aside, the Paris Agreement is little more than a feel-good gesture for Europe/US and a way for the developing world to make some money…not that they don’t need it of course, I’d rather we pull aside the climate change curtain and attack some of the very real geopolitical challenges with financial and other aid. Oh well, I’ll stick with and encourage “Don’t Pollute” at my level and ignore the politicized, incentivized hype (science-based or not).

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