Backcountry Skiing News Roundup — 24 Hours of Sunlight and More

Post by blogger | February 1, 2007      

Outdoor Retailer tradeshow 07 is history. I liked seeing the new Duke randonnee binding from Marker, good to see the heavy duty niche possibly filled with a no compromise rig. And nice to see Dynafit with their own booth, as they now have a product line that can easily stand on its own. Former Dynafit importer Life-Link was in the booth next to Dynafit, and while the buzz was definitely on Dynafit, Life-Link’s solid product line was still holding its own.

Most amusing part of the show was how the NTN telemark binding was presented. The binding was on a sort of pedestal (or throne, if you will) at the BCA booth. Groups of lookers would come by the throne and get a spiel from a BCA booth boy. To innocent eyes it had all the appearance of tourists taking a museum tour with a guide spouting a canned lecture. I found it quite amusing. NTN is said to ski downhill great, but it’s pretty obvious the binding has little if any use for ski touring as it is heavy and probably has icing problems, not to mention what appears to be only a nod to safety release. Yet just like the Duke, I have no doubt NTN fills a niche and wish Rottefella well with their project. In fact, as telemark skiing has become somewhat of a lift served sport that demands incredibly beefy gear, I have no doubt BCA will do quite well with NTN.

Of course the ultimate downside for the show this year was air pollution that bordered on deadly. I’ve flogged this in previous posts, but it bears repeating that one might wonder why environmentalists are rabid about how many dirt roads might exist in a certain backcountry area, while the real environmental problem is how transportation is managed in urban areas. Even stranger is that many environmental advocates are sitting in those very cities and breathing ozone while they write checks to the Sierra club to help restrict mountain bikes from more backcountry. Weird. (End enviro rant.)

Most people who’ve made backcountry skiing their sport have experienced moonlight skiing. It’s indeed a special thing so no surprise that media articles about the experience pop up now and then. A recent piece in Rocky Mountain News is one such. One thing the article doesn’t mention is that a good way to get reliable and avalanche safe snow conditions for moonlight “backcountry” skiing is to simply climb up a ski resort that’s closed for the night. We do that quite a bit around here. In fact, I think I’ll get out there tonight if weather permits!

24 Hours of Sunlight is happening this weekend. In case you live under a rock, this is the ski race where you spend 24 hours climbing up and descending, and see who can do the most vertical in that time. It’s brutal and fun — at least fun for the first half hour. I’ll be crewing this year for our team of teenagers, the Young Gunz, as well as helping out Polly McLean and a few other participants. At the same time I’ll do a chronoblog of the race from the scene, so look for that starting Saturday morning. (defunct link removed 2015). Press release below.

Local Sponsors Step Up To Support 24 Hours of Sunlight

The City of Glenwood Springs, CO and Bighorn Toyota, also of Glenwood Springs, have stepped up to support the second annual 24 Hours of Sunlight Endurance Race on Sunlight Mountain February 3-4. The event is slated to draw thousands of spectator’s and approximately 200 racers from around the world to compete in the grueling 24 consecutive hours of vertical laps on a closed course.

The City of Glenwood Springs will lend their support with the first ever allocation of funds through the Tourism Promotion program to attract more visitors to the area. The annual event has already drawn strong support from many retailers and service providers in the Roaring Fork Valley and, with the addition of the endorsement from the City of Glenwood Springs, is slated for continued success.

Bighorn Toyota, participating as a sponsor of this event for their second year, represents the automotive sector of the city’s economy and renews their commitment to the Glenwood Springs community through their continued interest in furthering this special event which will benefit the Valley View Hospital Foundation.

The event has already attracted top competitors like renowned mountaineer, Andrew McLean and Greg Hill who is the world record holder from last year’s race for most human-powered vertical feet. The generous support of the community and the City of Glenwood will ensure that this race will continue to attract the best in the field, putting this event on the map for pros around the world and attracting more visitors and media to the area.

“We are excited and grateful for the community’s support of this event. 24 Hours of Sunlight has great potential for becoming the next big, nationally-recognized event in the Roaring Fork Valley,� says Lisa Willison, Account Director for Real Time Marketing who owns this event.

The event kicks off with a launch party at the Glenwood Springs Qdoba Mexican Grill on Friday, February 2 from 7-11pm with live music from “Take the Wheel.� The event is open to the public.


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11 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup — 24 Hours of Sunlight and More”

  1. Randonnee February 1st, 2007 10:10 am


    What are the width dimensions if the Seven Summits?

    The excellent Real World Backcountry Skiing Gear Weights chart lists the 170 cm Seven Summits at 1322 grams and the 169 cm FR 10 at 1644 grams. Wow! If the Seven Summits is of similar width dimension, that is a significant difference in weight. Even if Seven Summits is a little narrower than FR 10, I think it would be fine or even better for most backcountry conditons where I ski.

    I am eagerly anticipating more description of the performance of the Seven Summits especially compared to the FR 10 (I have skied the FR 10 for the second season now).

    Thanks for the excellent blog. I believe that I have learned as much or more excellent randonnee ski gear information from as in magazines (and I have paid for magazines).

    I finally just bought the book Wildsnow and have enjoyed reading it. If I get your approach to life correctly, it would appear that despite your noteworthy accomplishments among famous ski mountaineers you keep in touch with practicality, humility, and humanity.

  2. Lou February 1st, 2007 11:16 am

    Thanks for the kind words Rando, I try…

    Seven Summits is 113/78/100 so not exactly a wide body.

    One way Dynafit makes these skis lighter is the binding mount reinforcement is mostly just a sheet of thin aluminum alloy. The lack of a heavy thick binding mount plate in the ski makes them lighter and more supple, but bindings on these skis must be mounted with care and epoxy is essential. If telemark bindings are used, in my opinion they’d need to be release bindings to protect the ski and mounting screws.

    As for ink and paper, it’s done. Makes too much global warming anyhow…

  3. Greydon Clark February 1st, 2007 1:25 pm

    Lou, for more information on the Sierra Club’s efforts to clean-up the country’s air–

  4. Lou February 1st, 2007 1:59 pm

    Looks like they need to work harder in Salt Lake City… efforts are one thing, results are quite another…

  5. Greydon Clark February 1st, 2007 3:09 pm

    Does Salt Lake have the political will to abandon coal, embrace mass transit, and stop sprawl? Sierra Club lawsuits can only do so much.

    Oh, and thanks for the updates on the trade show. The NTN and the Duke look interesting.

  6. frank February 1st, 2007 6:53 pm

    Hey Lou-

    Too bad we didn’t bump into each other at the OR show. One day was more than enough for me…

    The air in SLC was indeed the worst I have ever experienced. Worse than Mexico city, worse than Lima… SLC will never have clean air as long as anything is released into the air there, since the prevailing winds just take the air into the wasatch. As for the OR show using political clout, the rumors are that they already did. Rumor has it that the show threatened to move to Denver, Vegas or Chicago (the only other convention centers large enough) unless SLC made some concessions, among them the fact that the entire show is powered by wind energy credits. That’s what I heard. Some info here:

    Small steps, for sure, and the kind that you seem to think have no value whatsoever, but in my book it’s better than nothing. 🙂

  7. Matt Kinney February 1st, 2007 7:07 pm

    Lou, lou , lou, first you go off on how telemark skiing is becoming a resort sport, then give kudo’s to the 24-Race on AT gear being held at a … ski resort. I think most of these races are held at resorts with groomed trails, tents, etc….

    I love ya lou, just confused.

  8. Lou February 1st, 2007 7:16 pm

    Randonnee was always a partially resort sport as the tradition in Europe has always been to use ski areas for access as much as possible, and to ski the area with your AT gear if you were out for a day that included a tour. It’s tele and nordic that pretty much separate from downhill skiing resorts until the revival in the 1960s. You haven’t studied your history, I guess you’re probably doing too much skiing!

    More, to compare randonnee racing to the marked increase in resort telemark skiing just doesn’t fly.

    And, let’s not forget that rando racing is not lift served, it’s human powered!

    But I hear you. It must be a bummer for you backcountry telemarkers to see your sport taken over by resort skiing, with this driving gear developments. I’d feel the same way if Dynafit released a downhill binding that sort of toured (grin).

  9. Lou February 1st, 2007 7:37 pm

    Guys, just to show you I’m not a total curmudgeon: A guy sent me an email about this because he had trouble getting the comment function to work. Some of it looks good (though the magnet you put on your fuel line is known to be a gimic). One has to wonder why something that cleans exhaust at least a bit is not already on every engine in Salt Lake City.

    Of course what I’d like to see is an incentive program that rewarded people for using stuff like this, rather than punishing them for not. More, goverment should reward people for not driving. But governments love to punish rather than give money out, so…

  10. Steve February 2nd, 2007 9:45 pm


    The NTN was on a wooden work bench in the BCA booth at OR. You must have put it on a pedestal in your mind!!! : )

    Good show report.


  11. Sibylle Hechtel February 4th, 2007 4:36 pm


    Thanks for the review of the dynafit gear. I’m planning to update my old touring gear (some 1980 Kästle LW skis with three-pin bindings and equally old leather Alpha boots) but wasn’t sure what to buy. I’m an alpine ski instructor and have raced cross country, so I have skis at both ends of the spectrum – heavy and bomber on downhill, or very light and not so good going downhill – but I want something in the middle that will at least turn going downhill.

    I found your reviews of skis and bindings very helpful. Too bad I missed OR – I may be there in summer after my book comes out (Fun Climbs,


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