Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | December 30, 2006      

Craig Dostie, publisher of Couloir and Telemark Skier Magazines, has announced that Telemark Skier is now out of print (the recent issue was the last). He told me in a phone conversation yesterday that trying to do two magazines was simply taking too many resources and one had to get nixed immediately. Dostie also mentioned that it was difficult to differentiate a telemark specific book from other backcountry skiing magazines, as there is so much overlap. This made everything from selling advertising to designing the magazine a challenge. We say “good try Craig, we enjoyed the book, thanks for your hard work promoting the sport all these years! You were the first to go for it!”

Mountain Rescue Aspen is holding it’s annual community avalanche seminar this coming January 12 and 13. They always put on an excellent event that’s great for folks new to the winter backcountry, and also serves as a refresher for those with experience (though it’s somewhat basic). With so many experienced backcountry folks now living in this area, we’re wondering if the community seminar could have some kind of “refresher” component for the more expert crowd. This could include an evening presentation about the latest in avalanche safety and snow science, as well as a field day with challenging beacon drills and perhaps a first aid intensive. How about it guys? Statistics show that experienced backcountry skiers are at least as likely to die in avalanches as newbies, so community avy seminar should address that, don’t you think?

Vapor telemark bindings seem to be condensing, but at a snails pace. The ever misty Rottefella NTN was to be tested by major players, but apparently a part on the binding was prone to breakage and they pulled the plug on the demo. Someone told me they wished some AT binding makers in the past few years were that careful. Ouch.

We’ve got a team of teenagers ready for 24 Hours of Sunlight. I’ll be coaching along with a few other parents. See you there?

I was grieved to hear about the death of pioneer climber Charlie Fowler and probable death of his partner Christine Boskoff. I’d never climbed with Charlie but had chatted with him about ice climbing now and then (in another life I was an ice climber). He was an amazing athlete and a super competent alpinist — it’s hard to think the mountains got the better of him but that’s apparently what happened. Probably an avalanche. Condolences to friends and family.

Boskoff was the owner of Mountain Madness guide service, the same company that was owned by Scott Fisher when he perished on Mount Everest during the disastrous events that John Krakaur wrote about in his book “Into Thin Air.” To have two company directors die in climbing accidents seems a rather odd coincidence, but then, life throws curves. No doubt this will be an interesting legacy for the next Mountain Madness director/owner.

On the local front, here at world headquarters in Colorado our winter is trending to the dry side, but is still nothing like the lack of snow Europe is experiencing. I’m headed over to Europe in just a few days, and while it would be nice to visit when they’re having a good snow year, it’s my first trip “over the pond” so just enjoying the mountain culture and doing some journalism (major blogfest) will be enough. Perhaps it’s morbid, but I’ve always had this fantasy about going to Zermatt and visiting Edward Whymper’s grave. I’ve got a few extra days of travel when over there, so perhaps that will happen. Of course the skiing and mountaineering might preempt such tourist meanderings. If so, I’m sure Whymper would understand.

We’ve been having fun with gear around here. My son just got a new pair of Salomon 1080 Guns for his resort boards. Word is these things rip and deserve the name “gun” (surfing lingo, apparently). Testing today up on Aspen Mountain proved that to be somewhat true, though skiing a fat flexi board like that on icy hardpack was evidently a bit out of its design envelope.

The old man took the day off to work on gear and pack for Europe, but still had time to help a neighbor out with a Dynafit tweak. The guy had loaned his bindings to someone and they’d cross threaded the lateral release adjustment barrel. We tried to salvage by forcing a re-thread, but no go. Luckily I had some old TLT heels in the junk bin so we robbed the necessary part of one of those. Neighbor made a contribution to the Europe cash fund, so everyone ended up smiling! Lesson: Never throw anything away. I guess we need another storage shed.


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2 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. Ricky December 31st, 2006 8:30 am

    What kind of bindings is Lou the Younger using on his Guns?

  2. Lou December 31st, 2006 4:53 pm

    Hi Ricky, Salomon S 912, don’t really know if they’re that great, but they’re said to protect knees a bit better so we thought we’d give them a try.

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