Skiing the Mailbox — Couloir and Backcountry Magazines Arrive on the Same Day

Post by blogger | November 7, 2006      

Oh happy days — yesterday we got our Backcountry, Couloir and Popular Mechanics magazines all on the same day. I was up all night!

The new Couloir arrived with another stunning “naked” cover that’s not as good as last month’s art shot, but still functions as stoke fuel. Backcountry’s cover is a tight B&W shot of a powder eater that’s also a fine incentive to skip work. What’s weird is that not only did the magazines arrive on the same day, but the style and angle of the cover shots are almost identical. A conspiracy if you’re into that sort of thing, but to me just proof that serendipity is alive and well.

The new Couloir has their popular ski review which this year includes rather detailed weights they say were all obtained by scale at the Couloir offices. A weight chart is missing — me hopes that’s on tap for the website. Real detailed ski weights are a great contribution because manufacturer published ski weights continue to vary wildly from reality.

This issue of “Coolee” also presents the annual Couloir Backcountry Hall of Fame. Notable human inductee this year is Mark Wariakois, the tenacious gear inventor at Voile who’s brought us all sorts of excellent shovels and bindings over the years. My favorite mechanical inductee is the Dynafit TLT binding. Peter Kray’s description of the TLT’s rise is interesting, but misses the binding’s early debut instigated by Lock Miller (owner of the Marmot Mountain Works mountaineering store in Washington state and California), as well as Couloir’s and myself’s early journalistic coverage and testing of the binding starting in 1993, while it was still considered a novelty or worse by most North American ski mountaineers (if they even knew about it). I guess tooting your own horn is unattractive so missing those details was appropriate. So we get to toot our horn here instead. Beep beep.

Keep that jacket clean!

Backcountry’s book has some good stuff as well. We laughed at the ad showing a guy eating free crackers and ketchup for lunch — dressed in his new $200 Cloudveil softshell. We hope the boy was modeling his free bro-gear, or else his financial priorities need adjustment since Schoeller fabric is low on B vitamins and tastes crummy even after slathering with mashed tomatoes.

To be fair, the obvious Cloudveil message is: “This jacket is so good I’ll starve to afford it.” Probably true.

Okay, that’s not really “content,” so kudos goes to Backcountry’s feature that covers “Highways and High Routes of North America.” Plan your road trip now, because the info is out. Surprising omission was Independence Pass of Colorado. Oh well, that place is no secret.

In all, nice to see our sport getting such honoring coverage. And least I forget, Popular Mechanics gets us straight on how our whole planet may be taken out by a killer asteroid. I guess global warming is getting boring as a threat. Whatever — ski it while you can.



4 Responses to “Skiing the Mailbox — Couloir and Backcountry Magazines Arrive on the Same Day”

  1. Jon Fredericks November 7th, 2006 8:05 pm

    Good show Lou.

    I’m not sure if it is really worth being mal-nurished in order to own a “cloudveil”. I added a CV piece to my inventory a few years back, and have since been suprisingly dismayed by the unbelievable poor zipper design and saggyness of the whole deal. Do you remember in 1st grade when your zipper would come apart on your winter coat and mom would have to try to futz it back together, only it was uneven when she did it? Yeah, that’s the deal with this shop rag. Maybe they’ve come a little father in quality the past few years, but I’m still not tempted to fork over the beans (let alone eat ketchup) for a CV piece anytime soon. Maybe if they bought me a prime rib dinner and gave me a jacket……maybe then I would wear it.

  2. Lou November 8th, 2006 6:16 am

    Hi Jon,
    One thing nice about having Cloudveil and so many other excellent backcountry clothing makers is that almost anyone can find a fit. Each maker seems to tailor their garments differently. Cloudveil’s jackets fit me great and are the only jacket I’ve ever found with long enough sleeves, but their pants are always slightly long and I have to wear them high or get them hemmed. But I have a friend who could be Cloudveil’s pant model, they fit him so good. Marmot’s jackets have sleeves that are too short for me, but their pants fit perfect. North Face fits me pretty good, Patagonia is usually too tight… and on and on.

    I don’t see anything different about Cloudveil’s current zippers from other makers. I do remember their early jackets did have less beefy zippers. I’d give them another look if you’re shopping, and remember that all the major makers stand behind their products with excellent customer service that usually goes beyond legal requirements.

  3. David November 9th, 2006 11:26 am

    Ketchup packets + hot water + tab of butter + salt + pepper = yummy free soup…or at least that’s the way I remember it. Free condiment meals are harder to come by in the backcountry.

    I don’t own any cloudveil stuff, but I do appreciate their advertising sense of humor.

  4. Hamish November 9th, 2006 10:35 pm

    …and pickle relish on a saltine tastes like apple pie!

    Did you see the back cover? I found the Avalung ad far more intriguing than the front. The BD caption actually reads that the poor skier getting piled on by huge blocks of hardslab is GLAD to have her Avalung. Does anyone actually know the outcome of this incident?

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