Inside a Ski Touring Press Event

Post by blogger | March 22, 2018      

Editor’s note from Lou: Most readers know we’ve sourced much of our gear coverage over the years from Press Events, confabs that seek to unite bloggers and journalists (sometimes one in the same) with gear and other things. While we’re always open about our participation in these mini conferences and find them incredibly useful, we do approach everything with healthy skepticism. Regarding you, our readers, it is fair to have degree of cynicism about blogging based on press events, as too much “insider” coverage can easily become boorish “B to B” or downright manipulative. “look at me here drinking free beer and talking to the CEO, his skis are thus the best…” On the other hand, we are blessed in the ski touring industry by a degree of authenticity that’s sometimes lacking in other spaces — and we hope that shows in how we respond to press events. In any case, since these things play a big part in what we are as a website, I asked Julia to share her take as a newbie. She did a good job, here you go. (Reader comments about the ethics of blogging, regarding press events and such, appreciated.)

Where else do you get gourmet coffee delivered for an alpine start?

Where else do you get gourmet coffee delivered for an alpine start? Is a blogger pampered when they are not allowed to sleep in? Does receiving high quality coffee compensate?

Back in January, I had the chance to attend my second ever ski press event. Louie and I caught an early flight from Seattle to Denver, arriving to
Go Far Shop in Boulder, Colorado for catered snacks and introductions, organized by the hosting PR firm. I noticed Lou and Lisa know quite a few of the reporters, it seems many of the same suspects show up at these events. I even noticed a few familiar faces that I’ve seen on my first PR trip last spring. Introductions and chatting ensue, but even here it’s apparent most of these folks are working for a living, checking out the custom footbed rig, quizzing the shop owner about her retail business, and generally catching up on industry insider scuttlebutt that might be useful later in their reports.

My background as an introverted software engineer is something that I left back home in Seattle, feeling excited and eager to check out a new ski spot in the mountains, meet new friends, and learn how this all integrates with the blogging business as practiced by Lou and his team. Oh, and of course, I’m also psyched to dig into the “featured brands” of the event in a way that’ll be useful for my reviews, and thus hopefully help out our WildSnow readers.

Our group was fortunate to be the first guests at the newly remodeled adventure spot called A-lodge, located near Boulder, Colorado and only a short drive away from a small, tucked away ski resort called Eldora. It’s interesting how the Lodge made a low-key effort to leverage the bloggers and journalists. We got a short presentation on the business, got to meet the owner, Asa, and learn about his now fulfilled dream, but clearly the way this works is we’re to stay there, enjoy it, and report on it. There is no real pressure, no firm agreements about what gets covered and what does not. But there is no reason to beat around the bush, the owners of the Lodge are hoping for some good, diverse coverage.

Fortunately, the place is wonderful (as per how WildSnow works, if we don’t like something or simply are not interested, we don’t necessarily pay attention, but in this case no problem). A-lodge has a fulfilling old cabin vibe that is hard to describe with words: a fine line between comfortable, yet almost camp-like feel of accommodations. I think it is generally the location and the scenery of its mountain canyon locale that creates this unique atmosphere. A special getaway spot in the hills for all kinds of travelers — surprisingly close to metro Boulder but almost feeling like a tucked away lodge in the middle of nowhere Montana. I begin to have dreams about not having a job and staying there forever…

Sego Ski presentation inside the charming A Lodge.

Sego Ski presentation inside the charming A Lodge. This is a good example of how legit these events can be, we got a full lecture in a classroom setting, no messing around. The Sego brand is indeed pretty cool, but we did not demo their more ski touring specific skis so this was more backstory for us than anything else, though they’re now on our radar and we will be checking out skis they provide that are oriented to human powered skiing. (I did, however, get some Sego ski testing done and have more to say, see below.)

Eldora resort is a short drive away, a smaller yet very impressive ski destination. We were fortunate enough to catch conditions right after a storm has rolled though the area, bringing a few inches of fresh. The way the resort works with the press event is basic. They’re glad to have us there, comp us lift tickets and permission to uphill, testing of Dynafit boots and Sego skis commences. Ski Patrol pointed us to a few pow stashes from the previous storm, allowing us to duck roped terrain and enjoy a few untracked turns.

While we were only testing gear for a day, I can say that this crew was not messing around, and everyone had enough skill to be a legitimate tester. While this was a “PR” event, the marketing gremlins were not present — we worked hard at forming our own opinions based on really using the stuff. The split of gear to test was very impressive; ability to tour in the morning, testing the new Dynafit Hoji boot and skiing on some light Dynafit skis and then getting an opportunity to alpine ski on some next year’s Sego skis in the afternoon. The mix was a wonderful contrast to round up the day, providing an added variety component that is valuable in my opinion. Even though our primary background here at WildSnow is backcountry gear – we also enjoy an occasional day or two “sponsored by chairlift.”

Eldora is the only resort I’ve been to that has specifically marked uphill routes for backcountry skiers; after this trip I believe that every ski resort should have these kind of directions for uphill travelers. Those kind of guidelines really help clear up any confusion regarding uphill travel as well as provide a more increased level of safety for both for everyone on the mountain. Experiencing these sorts of “cultural” things is another way press events inform WildSnow blogging.

WildSnow has already published extensive details about the Dynafit Hoji boot. But after checking the boot out up close and personal, in my opinion the Hoji is definitly a one boot quiver to that covers alpine and touring. Sure, it’s not a skimo race boot nor a World Cup GS boot, but it might do the best job of going up, and down, of any boot yet created. Proof will be the full retail phase starting next fall, but looking good.

I got the chance to jump on a pair of next year’s Sego’s UP Pro, a ski designed by the collaboration between Sego and pro skier Lynsey Dyer. Lynsey is a big advocate for women specific skis that are responsive, stable and playful; the UP pro delivers an exceptional ripping big mountain ski complete with a custom graphic design by Dyer herself. If you are looking for an all mountain ski, I did test, and recommend you check these out. The UP pro is not designed to be a backcountry ski and it does weigh quite a bit, probably not what I’d pick for a backcountry ski of choice. With that said, I’m psyched to see a strong women’s line in the Sego brand and such an amazing advocate behind it. Way to go Lynsey and Sego! And I must say, Sego wins the “best ski bus” award. Watch for it, and take a ride.

Of course, there is no reason not to enjoy these trips — and the people organizing it make sure there is no shortage of tasty food and adult beverages. While everyone joyfully socialized for a while during and after dinner, it was interesting how most cleared out and hit their rooms much before the wee hours. This was obviously a work trip. Fun, yes. Entertaining, yes. But everyone was there to bring the goods to their readers and viewers.

It might be too “business to business,” but at this point in the history of WildSnow, I don’t think there is anything wrong with blogging about PR guy Eric “Hendy” Henderson, without whom this unique press trip would not have been possible. The guy is an extroverted genius who lives for connecting people and business. Why is Hendy part of our history? According to Lou, simply because “he’s been helpful and downright instrumental in our success as bloggers, always there to get review gear to us quickly, organizing truly useful yet fun press trips, but more, making it personal to the point of blending business with genuine friendship.” Oh, and let’s not forget the guy is a former Alaskan heli guide who, can, ski. I saw it with my own eyes.

Overall, I am very impressed with the thoughtful, well structured and fun activities Hendy and his team were able to create during the trip. But more, it is masterful the way the downright materialistic, such as fawning over the Dynafit Hoji ski boot, was combined with the actual reasons we get out and do this stuff. Stuff being, our true love for the sport that skiing is. To that end, Caveman Collective was tasked with making a video of mob of gear writers, with subject matter not “what’s your favorite ski?” but rather “what does winter adventure mean to you”? Get a glimpse of what it means to us here.

P.s. I also gotta thank Caveman collective for my new epic LinkedIn pic. Microsoft approves.

Winter Adventure

What does Winter Adventure mean to you? Dynafit Sego Ski Co. Bolger & O'Hearn 1906 New Highs Melvin Brewing Salewa Clo Insulation Boulder Adventure Lodge EldoraBy Caveman Collective

Posted by Meteorite PR on Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


27 Responses to “Inside a Ski Touring Press Event”

  1. Dabe March 22nd, 2018 6:40 pm

    Regardless of Hoji performance, the lack of a toe lug seems to be a disastrous move if goal was 1 boot quiver.

    Can anyone who has used TLT7 speak to the performance enhancement from sacrificing the lug?

  2. Marc March 22nd, 2018 8:58 pm

    Sorry to be picky, but it’s gonna be hard to do any purely alpine skiing using a boot that sports the dreaded shark nose and curtailed heel lug. A one boot quiver it is most certainly not. I’m still buthurt that they made those decisions.

  3. RJMH March 23rd, 2018 4:45 am

    Its the nicest walking ski boot I have ever used. It is a great fitting boot even for my wide feet with lots of toe box. Cant really speak to the comparative track performance as previous boots were all tele but it pivots really well and drags the ski uphill efficiently. On the down.. it ain’t no tele boot. The only place I missed the front lug was with crampons. I haven’t tried the dynafit add on, but a flexible front bale works fine for my use.

    Met a guy skiing last weekend in leathers… told me plastic boot were unnecessary. Couldn’t argue, He was there. He was skiing in them. Life moves on. You get to choose how quickly.

    RE the sponsored gear events. Good for you guys to get comp trips! When blogs get universally positive about gear they get tuned out. Wild snow usually has good descriptions of how gear performs as opposed to press releases, that keeps me reading them. Good for you if you get paid. If you become a shrill it will be obvious and we will move on.

    Oh yeah I bought my TLT 7 based on your review (and fit)

  4. Lou Dawson 2 March 23rd, 2018 8:13 am

    My take is Hoji could be the one-boot, provided “one” didn’t need any-brand crampon and did not use bindings with alpine-like toe wings, but rather stuck with full tech bindings or hybrid tech. I would much rather see a somewhat conventional toe, my recommend would be a toe shape exactly the same as TLT 5 and 6, with enough shelf to hold any crampon but “trimmed” a bit. We’ll see how it goes but in my opinion the Hoji would sell better if it had a more normal toe shape.

    Oh, and does Dynafit have a nefarious plan behind the shark nose, in that it will not work whatsoever in an alpine binding, and thus prevent customers from trying to use the boot as a full alpine boot? As an insider I’ve not heard that particular take, but you know the old saying, “if it quacks like a duck…”

    On the other hand, one has to admit that Dynafit continues to shake up the ski touring equipment world by launching “different” stuff. Some works, some doesn’t, but kudos to Dynafit for their corporate culture allowing this to happen.


  5. markW March 23rd, 2018 8:58 am

    I was happily surprised when I saw a Fritschi list of approved boots for use on Vipec Evo and Tecton bindings.

    The list included the the Hoji boot as approved.

    I knew that the TLT7 was not, so I had figured it would go the same way with the Hoji, but the nose on the Hoji must be shaped adequately to work on that forward fall release mechanism.

    Good for Dynafit for making the Hoji work with Vipec. Or perhaps just a happy coincidence.

  6. VT skier March 29th, 2018 5:36 pm

    “Ski Patrol pointed us to a few pow stashes from the previous storm, allowing us to duck roped terrain”
    I don’t know why that comment bothered me, but If Patrol have said an area is unsafe, for Avy hazard, yet it’s safe for other “special” people that sounds bogus. What will the locals feel, who support the ski area all year, to see others skiing an area that for them is closed, with a season pass at risk if they Poach it.

    Are Patrol being encouraged to allow VIPs, to ski closed terrain, by management?
    Otherwise a great look at the blogger/PR interaction promoting a great sport.

  7. Kristian March 29th, 2018 9:18 pm

    Eldora has a very long history of controversy. Closest area to me, but I stopped skiing there many years ago.

    So Eldora, now we know that your closed terrain is reserved for special people and not for safety reasons.

  8. See March 30th, 2018 7:33 am

    I’ve never skied Eldora, and I basically agree with you guys that VIP access to terrain is obnoxious, but I suspect that avy hazard isn’t the only issue that patrol takes into consideration. Sometimes I think they consider factors like low visibility or other challenging conditions that might be unsafe for the “general public” but ok for more select groups. Or it could be just another velvet rope. I’ve been thinking about this for a while because I’ve heard a lot of complaints about terrain being closed unnecessarily here in CA over the last few years.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 March 30th, 2018 8:36 am

    See, exactly. I don’t know the details of this exact situation and Yulia is at a hut in Canada, but just as with other resorts Eldora most certainly has areas that are roped off from the general public for a variety of legitimate reasons, but ok for small groups of good skiers to hit now and then. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. Again, very common.

    This even applies to avalanche terrain. I can think of one major resort I used to ski that had an area normally closed due to it being difficult to control, and often safe enough for a small group of avalanche safety equipped skiers, but never up to standard of care for general public. The patrol would ski that with a small group now and then. Pretty normal stuff.

    On the other hand, it’s true that sometimes resorts keep terrain closed that should probably be open.


  10. Kristian March 30th, 2018 8:25 pm

    Not buying it at all Lou. I have worked for the major resort.

    Also know the family of the boy that was killed in closed terrain at Vail.

    Terrain is either closed or it is not.

    Elitist access breeds contempt and confusion.

    If the public sees tracks or skiers in a “closed” area, then they know about the hypocrisy and will choose to duck ropes.

    Ducking ropes is illegal in Colorado. Resorts have had skiers arrested and prosecuted.

    But yeah if insiders can have fun and giggles, then I guess that makes it all good.

  11. See March 31st, 2018 8:02 am

    Although I like to think that I might qualify for “more select group” status sometimes, I am a member of the “general public.” Even when I see tracks in a closed area, I don’t go there because I respect the decision of patrol to rope that terrain whatever their reasoning. It is this respect and trust between the resort and the public that is key, in my opinion.

  12. See March 31st, 2018 8:33 am

    If I don’t want to be so restricted by other people’s decisions about where I can and cannot go, there’s the bc…

  13. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2018 9:26 am

    Kristian, just to be clear, there has been functional legitimate “roped” terrain for years at various resorts that is skied by select groups. A good example is Highland Bowl, it was restricted for years, and only skied legally by groups that received permission or when guided, sometimes even groups of ski journalists (smile), which all led to it eventually being opened to the public. The entire process, while sometimes flawed, on the whole in hindsight appears fine to me even though I was very upset in the days when it was mostly closed. Or more, some resorts have “early bird” or “powder day” things where a select group can ride lifts early to partake of perfect groom or untracked powder on slopes that might be closed to the public until the lifts open. I totally agree with you that sometimes resorts go too far with this, and I don’t like that any more than you, but this isn’t binary, there is such a thing as nuances to what “closed” terrain is. Legally speaking, resorts on public land in the U.S., which have special use permits, have broad leeway in how they utilize/close/open/rope their terrain. If private land, even more so.

    This isn’t about insiders somehow making it all good, this is just how the industry has operated for years and years. Again, I’m sure things can be abused or hypocritical, but there are legitimate situations.

    You seem very bitter about all this, I think See has a point (smile).


  14. atfred March 31st, 2018 4:31 pm

    Wouldn’t this fall into the same category as when resorts close certain runs or areas early season for race training?

  15. Crazy Horse March 31st, 2018 8:31 pm

    I recall a trip out to Jackson Hole back in the Miller Soft days when you could actually ski deep powder instead of moguls at the JHMR ski area. Every morning we’d be standing in line waiting for the first box, while Peppi’s Ski School would cut in line for the first 45 minutes of tram action. Pissed me off so much that I went home to Crystal Mountain for the remainder of spring break where your class status was defined by how well you could ski.

    Even at Sun Valley where every day is a groomer day it is common practice for Las Vegas casino owners to surround themselves with a herd of ski instructors so they can cut in line and never have to rub shoulders with the rabble.

    But the USA is a class stratified society more unequal than any other in the hemisphere, so one can hardly expect skiing to be different. How many 100,000 verts of helicopter skiing do you book each year? Hardly a better indication of your status in the “backcountry” ski world!

    At least we peasants can still hike for our turns—until they start charging $160 per day for trailhead parking.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2018 1:24 pm

    Crazy, I can tell you this, after studying the history of lift skiing at Aspen, and seeing what was once a community endeavor morph to a clearly elitist part of recreation culture, I’ve felt no small amount of resentment myself, especially in my younger days, when I had less access, but still feel strongly about when I think of the bigger picture outside of my own little world. On the other hand, the way resort skiing business is being operated around here, at least, has come back to being astoundingly community oriented while also being clearly a corporate profit endeavor, we just partook last night, in a full moon uphilling event they do, with full support of the ski patrol, etc, for free… Lou

  17. See April 1st, 2018 7:15 pm

    Thanks Julia and all for the interesting post. I just reread some of my comments and I think I should emphasize that, while “I respect the decision of patrol to rope… terrain,” this respect is not a given. Although we go way back, I have serious misgivings about developments at my favorite areas. I think I understand why many people just don’t do resort and I may be one of them some day soon.

  18. kevin woolley April 2nd, 2018 7:40 am

    I agree that resort skiing has become a sport for the wealthy. Unfortunately the infrastructure is expensive and time off is a luxury for most people.

    But your statement regarding inequality in the US is incorrect. In the western hemisphere, only Canada and French Guiana are better off in terms of inequality than the US, and French Guiana is very poor. World wide, parts of Europe and developed Asia are less unequal than the US (see link), but speaking generally, democratic societies with economic freedom (capitalist economies) are less unequal than countries with unelected leaders (or leaders “elected” in places like Russia or Venezuela) with little economic freedom, or with government or crony dominated economies. In the developed world, the most equal nations are those in Europe and Asia that are heavily taxed for government social and welfare programs, but they are all democracies with relatively free economies.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2018 8:29 am

    Indeed, when one studies worldwide cultures, some are clearly stratified to an incredible degree. It’s popular to slag the U.S., sure we’re not perfect, and one can make an argument that places such as Norway have it much more figured out (as in, drill like crazy for oil, sell it, make a bunch of money, and finance less stratification) but… Lou

  20. See April 2nd, 2018 9:14 am

    I hope we can all agree that economic inequality in the US is bad and getting worse.

  21. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2018 9:22 am

    Me, I take a nuanced few of it, sure, too much and getting worse is bad, but perfect egalitarianism is impossible without a society so regulated as to be draconian, if not a total failure to the point of famine and worse. More, frankly, I don’t gauge my own success and happiness on how rich some other guy is, especially Bill Gates (smile). Lou

  22. XXX_er April 2nd, 2018 9:29 am

    I think it depends what you wana call wealthy but its probably mostly where you ski and how much you ski, at least in Canada a place like say whistler is high buck and it drives me crazy but get an early bird pass at the small local hill, pack a lunch, ski 60 days costs < 12$ a day for the ticket and whatever I spend on gas to get there

    Instead of almost giving away all that oil for years like say Alberta which is now heavily in debt, Norway decided it belonged to the people who now have a huge trust fund … pretty smart i think

  23. See April 2nd, 2018 9:40 am

    Lou, we are so far from “perfect egalitarianism” that I find your comment somewhat beside the point. I don’t care how rich Bill Gates is. I’m more concerned about the people sleeping in doorways.

  24. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2018 9:44 am

    I’m definitly not accusing Norway of being dumb! I think drilling for oil and selling it is a pretty good move, same for natural gas. As for cost of skiing, agree it’s possible for it to be more for the common man, personally I’d like to see more resorts and thus more competition with perhaps more of those resorts being of the sort that are affordable. Here in the U.S., building a new ski resort on public land is nearly impossible, if not impossible in any practical sense. Even expanding resorts often becomes a ludicrous process. Moreover, most skiers now expect snow grooming and farming, if not incredibly expensive snow making systems. Hence, prices stay up. It’s all pretty interesting for sure, and most certainly has driven the popularity of human powered skiing. Lou

  25. Kristian April 2nd, 2018 10:03 am

    In the US, much of the Ski Industry was created by the the US Army 10th Mountain Division Veterans.

    That era was noted for the humble hard working people that emerged from the horrors of World War 2 and worked to make commonality with all people.

    It was an era of simple rope tows combined with heavy leather mitts. It was an outdoor activity similar to hiking or camping. Many pictures of famous wealthy indistinguishable from others around them.

    Not so much now. :-/

  26. Kristian April 2nd, 2018 1:27 pm


    “boy that was killed in closed terrain”

    What’s up with you Lou?

  27. XXX_er April 2nd, 2018 5:18 pm

    ” I’m definitely not accusing Norway of being dumb! ”

    I think it was actualy more about me calling Alberta Dumb

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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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