Couloir Magazine — New Issue — March 2007

Post by blogger | March 27, 2007      

Department of print media worth more than a glance:

Randonnee boot sole dimensions for backcountry skiing.

The March 2007 graced our mailbox a few days ago. Along with the mag’s articles and enjoyable display of full page “Chute Corps Gallery” photos, I enjoyed publisher Dostie’s opening editorial about the desirability of effective binding release for avalanche safety during backcountry skiing.

Many (if not most) skiers and snowboarders with an avalanche in their past will tell you that having said toys attached to their feet during their ride for life made it more like a plunge to death. My own experiences prove that out, and intuition eliminates the one tenth of one percent of doubt I might retain.

Thus, I’ve always found it unfortunate that people ski avalanche slopes with randonee bindings dialed up with DIN numbers worthy of King Kong — or use non-release cable bindings (otherwise known as telemark bindings).

But is safety release (even properly adjusted) enough to help you reliably “throw a shoe” in an avalanche? In the case of rando bindings, forces from an avalanche may not mimic the release pressure a binding is designed for, so any DIN you pick may be too much. As for tele bindings, statistics seem to show safety release may not be that important for day-to-day skiing — so tele backcountry skiers will probably continue using non-release bindings.

All this leads to the conclusion that the next level in avalanche safety will be some sort of deployment trigger that sheds your skis or board, inflates an airbag, and perhaps invokes a passive Avalung-like device.

Lashing this up is a bit beyond my welder and disk grinder — I guess I’ll leave it to trained professionals.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


6 Responses to “Couloir Magazine — New Issue — March 2007”

  1. Bryan Wickenhauser March 27th, 2007 12:18 pm

    Lou – Sully & I are drilling out the F1’s for the upcoming Elk Mtn Grand Traverse! We’ll try our best to get the nordic racers/folks converted to AT-ism for next yrs. race. Its a pretty thin snow pack on the CB side, with lots of open water crossings. BTW- you can make the F1’s pretty water tight especially when compared to a nor-dork boot (which to your dismay has been the boot of choice for this race in years past.) See ya in Aspen Saturday AM!!!

  2. brian harder March 27th, 2007 8:06 pm

    Hey Lou,
    Bryan and Eric are going to do something that occured to me when I first stepped into rally gear this season. I did the GT back in 2001 and thought it was one of the best events I had ever done. Although I had a great time with my last minute partner, I hated the Combi set up I was on and longed for less precarious feeling gear. Although I’m out this year I will be watching the results with great interest. Even if they don’t smoke everyone (which they might anyway), they are sure to have more fun when the tips point down. Kick some ass, boyz!

    On a separate note, my thumb tendon is back with its better half and now it’s a three month wait for biology. Skied the Pass one poled anyway while everyone was suffering at the Life Link finals. Getting creative with the work outs. Don’t tell my surgeon. See you next year.

  3. Lou March 27th, 2007 9:21 pm

    Yeah, we are cheering for the rando racers! As the years progress, I’ll bet people will figure out better gear, but what I’d really like to see is the organizers add a leg or two to the race that had more steep downhills and a few boot climbs up steep gnarl. Why they won’t do that and instead have made it into a nordic race is beyond me. Perhaps some entity makes a ton of money off it or something, and they want it to remain easy so they get lots of participants? Curious minds want to know. Ultimately, it just makes me sad — a nordic skate race that’s tries to come across as a ski mountaineering comp — I weep.

    Brian, I’ll bet your thumb will be better soon, all that alpinist blood heals things fast!

  4. gene March 27th, 2007 9:40 pm

    I echo Lou’s sentiments about the GT, wishing for more challenging terrain that would neutralize the Nordic beasts. Maybe someday the stars will align and absolutely foul weather with safe snow conditions will do the trick? As to remaining easy? Haven’t had that happen yet. Good luck to all.

  5. Lou March 28th, 2007 4:40 am

    I admire the athleticism it takes to ski 40 miles in one push, but plenty of nordic “ski marathon” races do that.

    They actually had challenging weather a few years ago, and most people were so ill prepared that the race turned into a retreat from Moscow with 40% attrition. Check out report:

    Amazingly, the race only has about 6,000 vertical feet of gain yet covers approx. 40 miles of ground, much of which is either nordic trails, groomed snowcat roads or resort ski runs. Throw in 2,000 more vertical feet of steep terrain, with a few boot climbs, and we’d perhaps have a mountaineering race that would take the winners longer than eight hours to cover and require backcountry boots and skis instead of nordic race gear.

    I suppose it is what it is, but I’d sure like to see it be more of the “backcountry” ski race it’s promoted as and the media pants about.

  6. el lechero April 3rd, 2007 5:21 pm

    The CB boys killed it.

    Hey Lou,

    Back to the releasable bindings and avalanche question:

    Almost nobody agrees with me but I would way rather know that my G3 “non relaese cable bindings” are not going to come off in avalanche terrain.

    I aim to ski out of slides rather than kick a shoe in them.

    What is your opinion on that?

    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • 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.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version