WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Michael and Julie

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 4, 2010      
Were not telling

We're not telling how many of these tracks are Julie's, but it's a few. Her K2 Gotbacks were the lift ticket.

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 Kennedy with her Gotbacks, love at first ski.

Julie Kennedy with her Gotbacks, love at first ski.

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, new knees deserves new skis.

Michael, new knees deserves new skis.

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?

Shop for K2 skis here.


24 Responses to “WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Michael and Julie”

  1. John January 4th, 2010 8:06 am

    One of my kids, 6’3″ size 30 boot, prefers the forward heel position for backcountry. Better balance for snap turns and turning. Had to drill the forward 3 holes 12mm in the Titanal sheet. Great snow at Marble last week!

  2. David Butler January 4th, 2010 8:58 am

    Looking forward to this discussion.

  3. Paul Beiser January 4th, 2010 9:08 am

    New knees, as in knee replacements? Gawd, is there hope for us old farts.. to see Michael out there and those tracks.. I have hope..

  4. Mike January 4th, 2010 9:56 am

    Santa was VERY good to me this year, Manaslu”s and Vertical ST’s. Do you even have a choice in fore or aft positioning, given the pre-drilled holes? On a side note the bindings were white and I can’t bear the thought of putting them on the ski, so still trying to source out the mud colour. Any takers?

  5. Lou January 4th, 2010 10:42 am

    Mike, you’ve got two choices, or if you’re careful you can drill more holes. Yet, no need to get obsessed — Mansalu ski has a huge sweet spot, so positioning the foot is not that critical. What we’ve discovered is that you get a really relaxed ride in the rear position, but it takes some getting used to for skiers who have been on quicker more agro skis.

  6. Jimbo January 4th, 2010 10:54 am

    When are we gonna start blogging knee/hip hardware? I have a friend who is a tech rep…

  7. Lou January 4th, 2010 11:45 am

    John, yeah, long feet would make the front position work fine and it would be the way to go. I should be more clear about that aspect of foot positioning. Sorry about that. Also, it’s true that being in the rear position makes snap turns a bit more difficult. To me, it’s worth using more skill for my snap turns so I have the best ride down. But each to his own. To some folks, the snap turn is the highlight of their day? :angel:

  8. Lou January 4th, 2010 11:47 am

    Two new artificial knees are what Michael is using as an excuse to go ice climbing instead of skiing. He could be making it all up, but he’s usually pretty honest. :angel:

  9. Lou January 4th, 2010 11:49 am

    Jimbo, if one cares to google, they can find excellent videos of knee replacement surgery. I won’t share the link as I might be sued for the cost of the barf bags. But if you can take it, they’re pretty interesting, even amazing.

  10. gillesleskieur January 4th, 2010 12:26 pm


    i think your theory about the mounting position is right. skiing winter snow i hade no problem with the rear mounting position, aldo in the spirng sometime i moved evrything forward and found the ski to perform much better on harder snow… up to very steep hard snow actually..

  11. Lou January 4th, 2010 12:34 pm

    What I usually try to do with the mount is pick a rear hole position that’ll allow use of either set of front holes. Not always possible, but very nice when you can set it up that way.

  12. Jon January 4th, 2010 1:31 pm

    Is that first photo for real? Did someone install a T-bar??

  13. dave downing January 4th, 2010 1:40 pm

    good to see Marble Ski Area is open for the season, and with new terrain south of town it seems 🙂

  14. Greg in Utah January 4th, 2010 3:03 pm

    Look at all those tracks in the first photo. And people say that the Wasatch BC is busy.

  15. Lou January 4th, 2010 3:26 pm

    Greg, it took two weeks to make all those tracks. :biggrin:

  16. Caleb Wray January 4th, 2010 3:42 pm

    You guys have been hammering that zone. I speak out of jealousy. Looks like I need to head over soon.

  17. Greg in Utah January 4th, 2010 6:18 pm

    That would never happen in the wasatch because it never goes more than 3 days without another 24 inches of 5%.

  18. Patrick January 4th, 2010 8:23 pm

    Except for, say, the last 3 weeks of little snow.

  19. Greg in Utah January 4th, 2010 9:08 pm

    Oh yeah. I think I had fallen asleep for a moment and was dreaming

  20. Michael Kennedy January 5th, 2010 7:54 am

    Lou, the new knees make it possible to go ice climbing again. Too painful walking around in crampons before!

    They are working great so far for skiing. I’m still working on getting fit … can’t help the age part of the equation but certainly could lose a few pounds.

  21. Lou January 5th, 2010 8:26 am

    Um, I just ate half of Julie’s Christmas cake for breakfast. Now I’ll join you at Weight Watchers.

  22. Al Arnal January 5th, 2010 5:55 pm

    Wow that slope in the first picture got tracked up fast! We were the first ones to ski it on Sunday and we didn’t start dropping in there until noon. Here’s a shot of what it looked like before the carnage: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=71027&stc=1&d=1262567103

  23. Lynn B January 7th, 2010 4:14 pm

    I’d seriously like to get some of those “K2 Girl Coombas”, but I’m wondering how heavy the two smallest versions of the ski are? Do they ski ‘short’ because of the tips — looks like Julie chose a lower forehead length. Any chance of a review?

  24. LITINHO January 13th, 2010 11:04 am

    HI ALL,

    I’m a guy from BARCELONA who is coming to UTAH next week to freeski. I don’t know if it’s necessary or not to bring the ARVA or if it’s possible to rent the ARVA here in Salt Lake and where can i rent it????

    I would appreciatte if someone can help me…… I use to ski in the french alps but it’s the first time I will ski in the US, and I really don’t know if ARVA is needed or not, if I have to bring also my RECCO….

    Many thanks in advance to everybody…..Gracias y adiós!!

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  Your Comments

  • Michael: Jeff, I'd also make sure the rubber boot sole isn't interfering with comple...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Ok boys and girls, I spent an hour fooling around with a Dynafit "shark nos...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Jeff, if you're trying to do precise release settings, you probably need to...
  • Jeff: Anyone struggling with pre-release on the Radical 2.0? I had two very pain...
  • Joseph: I'm at 3.3kg now including the airbag and all safety gear. 1st aid, tools, ...
  • jasper: Atfred, I have my BD Saga 40 jetforce bag at 23 pounds (10400g). Which incl...
  • MarkL: David - I realize your post was a while ago, but just in case...The plastic...
  • harpo: I have two Life Link releasable grips still inservice, one on a LL variable...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Interestingly, I often carried a much lighter pack while ski touring in the...
  • atfred: With all this talk about lightweight packs, carbon cylinders, etc., I would...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Ok, thanks Bob, I'll look at it. You're probably right. Lou...
  • Bob: Lou, It seems to me that the shape of the boot toe on the TLT7 could poten...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Lee, the empty carbon cylinder can easily be shipped back to Europe, by air...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi guys, I've experimented for years with boot position on ski, I agree, 5 ...
  • Lee: Unless things have changed this is not available in US if you need to send ...
  • PieterG: @Todd: if you are currently mounted at bootcenter and you opt for a shoe wh...
  • Matus: Dave, thanks for clarification. If the backpack fits it is great. With carb...
  • eggbert: Thanks Lou for chasing this down. I looked at the Diamir site and they put...
  • Todd: Thanks Lou. The older binding is on a K2 Coomback (the older 102? underfoot...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Todd, depends on the ski and other ergonomic factors. For example, if you'r...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hack, the trigger handle stows quite nicely. The cylinder can also be unscr...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Gary, they fit fine inside if I'm wearing layers, and can be mounted on the...
  • Todd: I'm possibly going to update my boots and what I'm looking at has a shorter...
  • Jay: This is probably caught up in number 5, but several recent incidents have s...
  • hacksaw: Is it easy to "disarm " the pack for heliskiing?...
  • Gary: Cool small air bag pack, but where do your skins go for the downhill?...
  • Michael: sweet, wasn't aware that was an option. Looking even more appealing. Now ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: The carbon cylinder is filled with nitrogen, and apparently is not very eas...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Eggbert, the release of the Vipec has nothing to do with the shape of the b...
  • Lee: Europe has had carbon cylinders for quite a few years. In the US it is the...

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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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