It’s always fun when we get to set up our friend’s backcountry rides. Michael Kennedy is of course super busy with making Alpinist magazine into something that embarrasses most other rags, while his wife Julie jams on the 5Point Film Festival. So yeah, Julie and Michael know our destiny here at WildSnow HQ is to fiddle with ski gear, so we get to set up their rigs. Then if the planets align with the snow crystals in a special way, we all get to go out and test the stuff with our friends. So we did.
Julie has been two planking for 53 years — definitely a skiing goddess. She began her glisse career during child years in the northeast, ski instructed in Aspen, then spent years backcountry skiing with the likes of Chris Landry, husband Michael, and many other illuminati of the snow.
You really wonder why Julie doesn’t just stay on the same gear she used back in 1976, as it’s certain she’d make that stuff look good. But every backcountry skier deserves to be pampered, especially those of the female persuasion. So that’s exactly what happened when Julie got in her first run on her birthday present K2 Gotbacks.
Actually, she was more than pampered, more like fall-over-ecstatic after feeling what a modern rockered fatty could do. “Skiing for 53 years has been good,” she said, “and it just got a whole lot better!”
Michael and I were climbing buddies during our misspent youth. I continued my misspent youth longer than he did, but he ended up getting new knees before me. Go figure that one out. At any rate, new knees deserve new skis, and what better choice than a Manaslu for the Colorado backcountry pow Michael loves to hunt? We mounted the Manaslus with a set of Dynafit ST Vertical, and he’s flying.
Interestingly, I’ve been mounting all Manaslus in the rear binding position, and everyone is happy. This in spite of some folks saying the ski does better when mounted in the more forward position. My theory? Those who want the forward position are testing the ski at the resort where they’re hitting hardpack and bumpy terrain requiring a quicker ski, while those who prefer the rearward position are on 99% backcountry soft snow, and have no problem being in the “couch.” Just a theory, anyone else tried both mounting positions?