Best in Snow.

Post by blogger | January 27, 2010      

First stop on my western road trip, Outdoor Retailer tradeshow.


Outdoor Retailer can feel a lot like Grand Central Station. Crowded, hectic, impersonal. Everyone is constantly coming or going somewhere more important. Places like this usually give me a panic attack. But you can still find the ski community thriving within. Whether bumping into the guys who mounted your skis, or reminiscing powder days past with old friends and perfect strangers, you can tell that our sport brings out the best in people. Which in turn results in yearly gear innovations and style changes that delight and dazzle.

A sampling of Flylow's upcoming line.

A sampling of Flylow's upcoming line.


This year brings an obvious trend toward bringing more style in technical, backcountry worthy outerwear. Companies such as Arc’teryx grabbed their color palettes seemingly from a bag of Skittles. Trew Gear has come from the opposite direction as a backcountry focused clothing line with cuts and styling drawing from the park scene. Full weather protection and a baggier fit allows for unrestricted range of motion, and perfect integration into the resort. My favorite line this year would be from Flylow which has found a near flawless mix of casual cut, technical specs and brilliant colors.


I’m quickly learning that a short approaches in Montana is equal to mandatory snowmobile access in Colorado. Planning for trips into Glacier National Park this spring call for 6 miles of flat on the approach, or 10 mile hikes with skis on back. These have me a little frightened of my beefy AT boots. Suddenly, the guy (me) who wants nothing to do with lightweight can’t get enough of it. The new crop of boots (such as Garmont covered here a few days ago) coming out is blurring the line between alpine and AT boots by doing things such as blending overlap construction and low volume shells. Performance for the descent still needs to be tested, but I’m a willing subject should my assistance be required.

An Ever Growing Quiver.

Skis. I could tell you about the latest and greatest. The new technology, different dimensions, lighter weight. Skis that will make you a better skier, more attractive, and improve your public speaking ability. But what does it matter. We can lust after almost any ski out there. We love our old skis. Yet we want the quiver. Rocker, reverse camber, wider and flashier. They’re just fun to lust after. Give me a K2 Coomback, or the new Dynafit Stoke — some width, but still light enough for those long approach marches.

I Like Bikes.

The funkiest bike I’ve ever ridden was found at OR this winter. Felt like riding a continuous nose manual.


Kite skiing.

This isn’t a new idea by any means, but during a year of low snow and a super fragile snowpack, the thought of skiing powder on safe no-angle slopes with wind power sounds brilliant. After chatting with HQ Kites and Design, I hope to test out a beginner kite in the near future.

Full Disclosure

Beyond time spent at the OR show, what really grabbed my attention was “accidental storm chasing.” I headed down to Salt Lake for business, not pleasure. I was hoping to get at least one easy tour in, and test a pair of Marker Barons mounted on my “travel” ski. Sadly, as my ski partner and I watched the avalanche forecast climb from considerable to high in 2 hours, the tour was canceled. Our only consolation prize was skiing about a foot of new on top of 30″ in 4 days at Alta. Saturday followed suite with high danger, a free lift ticket, and another 17″ for our “easy backcountry laps.”

After that “disappointment” in Utah, I head to Colorado hoping for better touring conditions πŸ™‚

(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Whitefish, MT, where he is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave has been told that there is nothing to see in Montana, so please move along.)


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6 Responses to “Best in Snow.”

  1. Christian January 27th, 2010 12:26 pm

    Snowkite is one of my favourite activitis. To do the approach doing 30/40 km/h in light winds makes long approaches very much nicer. When going up to the summits, and when it is not clear if the kite will be used, I usually opt for a skisail ( It is a primitive kite. Not as fun, smaller wind range, but more secure. The wind tends to increase towards the peaks, so being able to collapse the sail in second is quite assuring. It is also quite small, so no problem bringing on a tour.
    (The following link is to a trip report to a trip done with a more kite-like skisail:
    Unpacking, sailing and packing takes about 1/3 of the time it takes to skin a medium steep slope going straight up.

  2. John January 27th, 2010 3:13 pm

    White Pine and Pink Pine were awesome on Saturday, over-the-head blower pow! We had to dig a bunch of test pits and pretty much stayed in the trees. It was a mob scene at The Bird and Alta. Got out the door of the 1st tram first on Friday at Snowbird, then sprinted to the Cirque. 1 day of serenity and 2 days of insanity.

  3. Matt January 27th, 2010 5:49 pm

    Definitely check out kite-skiing. Since you have the skiing down, it won’t take long to get the hang of it. I just started this winter and it makes our Minnesota winters more than bearable.

    My steep & deep envy was almost gone after last weekend’s epic kite-sesh.

    3 days & lots of storm reports & ski videos later, and its back in full force.. Oh well, I tried.

  4. Sam Roberts January 27th, 2010 10:49 pm

    Those colors are a photographers dream!

  5. Nick January 28th, 2010 10:55 am

    That’s what I was thinking, definitely photo slut colors!

  6. skiing January 30th, 2010 12:11 pm

    Thanks for the article very much its very educative.I love to ski and I am preparing for the coming season.I bought some skiing gears from this shop and they have good discounts I tell you guys,Just go there and witness by yourself.
    Thanks :biggrin:

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