Tourism in Toyland

Post by blogger | June 22, 2012      

When we travel through Europe in a mini rental car we enjoy being in a flock of bird sized vehicles. Even the road construction crews flit around in trucks with 11 inch wheels.

As we head up to the Pacific Northwest, our Chevy turbo diesel Duramax crew cab truck, with camper and excess baggage rack, is a trusty Clydesdale. We lumber along in a herd of large beasts. The radio blasts blues from Chicago. We power past truckers with triple trailers and look out across thousands of acres of desert, ranch lands or cultivated fields. Everything in this part of our grand country is large and loud.

Boys and their toys.

Boys and their toys.

And when our gas guzzler needs a refill, we meet folks with big toys.

Our favorite today was a pontoon boat, with a gigantic Mercury outboard motor. This square craft plows through the water at a terrifying 40 mph — the owner said so. They didn’t say how it handles but a ride down the slide launches you high enough for a 360 degree flip before you hit the water. As he topped off 100 bucks of fuel, the bearded captain smiled, “I already got my swimsuit on.”

Fuel prices in Utah, interesting disparity between gas and diesel.

Fuel prices in Utah, interesting disparity between gas and diesel.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


63 Responses to “Tourism in Toyland”

  1. Xavier June 22nd, 2012 11:12 am

    My haiku

    Big truck heading for snow
    PNW passive aggressive will sneer
    Tofu and smartwool underwear.

  2. Lou June 22nd, 2012 3:28 pm

    The white place shivers.
    Collapsing water cries.
    This drink is ours.

    (Part from a haiku generator…)

  3. Toby June 22nd, 2012 4:33 pm

    Not exactly on topic, but this reminds me about the topic of ever increasing materialistic values of our society. Where are we going with this consume? Bigger, better, more and more… I used to be a serious gear head, but now I have a project to stop buying new piece of gear for next 12 months. Keep driving with my VW TDielsel here in euroland

  4. Lou June 22nd, 2012 5:13 pm

    Toby, yeah, one of the reasons we post about this stuff is that the balance between materialistic endeavors, and those of the mind and spirit, is always an issue for us. This causes our attention to the matter, humor or otherwise. To me, a big part of this is balance. One has to acknowledge that one of the reasons so many of us can live long and healthy lives is indeed the materialism, and that during those lives perhaps we can be less materialistic. Of course, one can also move to India, give up everything, and make their living begging on a corner in Calcutta. Nothing stopping us from that choice, really….

  5. aemono June 22nd, 2012 5:53 pm

    Hmm.. balance. This brings to mind a blog post I read a couple of years back (not wildsnow) by a skier driving up to Alaska; somebody clearly from outside the ski/alpinistic world weighed in pretty rudely with a comment about spoilt, rich people burning up the planet.. the original poster returned indignantly – and many would say justifiedly – with a phrase something like: “I can assure you that none of the people on this trip is remotely rich..” Yet if we are to have an honest concept of balance, on a planet where a couple of billion people live on a few euros/dollars a day, and a further couple of billion consider themselves fortunate to make €/$100-200 a month, and barely a billion can hope to bring in 12-15K per year.. maybe we have to concede that the rude poster had a point?

  6. TonyBob June 22nd, 2012 6:19 pm

    I don’t think I’ll find balance until all these companies stop making new and better gear. I think it’s their fault for throwing things out of whack every season.
    Or, I could stop looking….

  7. Brian June 23rd, 2012 6:30 am

    its not about the gear

    people skied deep pow with skinny skis for a thousand years before the ski industry said we need short/fat skis

    have you checked out the price tag on a middle of the road mt bike lately? they are half the price of a 250cc dirt bike. this industry will kill itself like the boat industry did 10 years ago when you needed to get a new boat every year.

    kevlar this ti that; oh, and don’t forget the carbon fiber. its exhausting

  8. RobBJ June 23rd, 2012 6:46 am

    You note an “interesting disparity” between gas and diesel. I hardly see much difference but I do notice a huge disparity between the cost of gas in the US and Europe..hence the difference in the size of the autos and the toys!

  9. Lou June 23rd, 2012 8:40 am

    Rob, many years ago diesel was cheaper, and packed more energy, and was thus the better deal if you had something that would burn it. Then due to refinery capacity issues it got expensive, presently it’s reached parity or is even less expensive than regular gas sometimes. “Disparity” might be the wrong word but if you’re into diesel the differences or sameness of its pricing to gasoline is definitely interesting. We probably could have worded that better…

  10. Lou June 23rd, 2012 8:49 am

    Aemono, yep, we all have it big in terms of material wealth. Enjoy, and give back in whatever way you feel called to do… the rude poster was making a point that’s not exactly new news, and guilt about our prosperity doesn’t accomplish anything… in my opinion, sitting around feeling guilty about being a member of western civilization could be considered as indulgent as ostentatious displays of overt wealth.

  11. Lou June 23rd, 2012 9:00 am

    Tony, the original telemark skiing movement, back when granola meant something, was indeed about doing more with less. Sadly, the sport got taken over by wimps who due to their lack of core had to do less with more. More bigger skis, more bigger boots, more bigger bindings, and on and on until tele gear was just, well, big and granola became a dirty word.

    But, there is still hope. Hit yardsales and consignment stores, build a ski setup from gear that’s around eight years old at the newest. Make it a goal to spend less than $300 on a complete backcountry skiing setup. Do it that way, and you too can say no to the endless parade of newer/better.

    Of course, my job is to shout, jabber, keyboard, yell, spew and rage about the latest newest coolest stuff. But some of my socks are older than two years, so even Mr. WildSnow himself still has a touch of granola in his core. (grin)

  12. peter June 23rd, 2012 10:05 am

    here’s a nice little song about big toys.

  13. aemono June 23rd, 2012 11:50 am

    Yes, as Brian says, of course it’s not about the gear.. but maybe some of us need to remind ourselves about that more often ..hell, i’ve always considered myself a tough, austere, mountaineering type, but in recent times i find myself looking at people’s gear..and threatening to judge them on how cool/wide/new/kevlaron fibrous etc their equipment is.. turns out i’m just a dilettante fashionista after all (..even worse, not only do i know about the characteristics of the gear and what it’s worth, i even know what country it was made in – it’s Patrick Bateman hits the backcountry..)

    But, Lou, i don’t see the relevance of your guilt inference either.. i wouldn’t say there’s great danger of W.Europe or N.America collectively being overcome by a tidal wave of guilt anytime soon (..some other kind of tsunami maybe yes..) that early 20th century injection of Nietzschean individualism has sufficiently inoculated us against any such eventuality. Rather it’s a question of consciousness, of being aware of how we thru our individual choices propagate a model of civilisation that erects itself as a standard to be emulated and that may have grave consequences for the future of our small planet and the quality of our children’s lives..

    ..and going back to gear, specifically ski gear – and just to be a little provocative now that i’m in the saddle – just what the hell are people doing with all this wonderful new gear? ..and particularly in N.Am? Because if one looks around at who’s “pushing the envelope” in the last couple of years, one doesn’t see that much.. stand-outs would be Andreas Fransson’s Denali adventure and maybe Federico Varengo’s Aoraki and Tasman descents (as covered in TetonAT).. if i’m not too mistaken, “Euros” on pretty much prehistoric/skinny gear – correct me if i’m wrong?

    ps perhaps Dave Watson’s attempt on Chogori should get a mention too, and yes i don’t doubt there are others doing stuff and not getting publicised ..gotta wear a GoPro i guess!

  14. Matt Kinney June 23rd, 2012 12:57 pm

    …..also the original AT ski movement, back when granola meant something, was indeed about doing more with less. Sadly, the sport got taken over by wimps who due to their lack of core had to do less with more. More bigger skis, more bigger boots, BIGGER SNOWMACHINES, more bigger bindings, and on and on until AT gear was just, well, big and granola became a dirty word.

    😆 I couldn’t have retyped it better.

  15. Lou June 23rd, 2012 1:51 pm


  16. Xavier June 23rd, 2012 1:58 pm

    A limerick now,

    There were some bloggers from Merika arguing who was core,
    spouting the same old nonsense and really being a bore,
    saying euros are better than dollars as they were really being rad,
    while Kinney was getting all worked up about snowmobiles being bad,
    Lou was defending his gear whore blogging while maintaining a Buddhist chant,
    while others were posting on their laptops and having a good old rant,
    Nostalgia for times past and gear and techniques of old,
    when you gear was pretty shitty and your ass was pretty cold,
    ignores the future possibilities and becomes tiresome to the young,
    in whom i have great optimism despite the old farts couth.

  17. XXX_er June 23rd, 2012 2:37 pm
  18. aemono June 23rd, 2012 3:27 pm

    Ay! the doggerl man speak sum truth, lettuce just hope he doan geddit wrong widda.. youth?

  19. Xavier June 23rd, 2012 4:32 pm

    YEs replace young with youth please.

  20. josey jasen June 25th, 2012 12:21 am

    I’m so glad I found my solution online.

  21. ptor June 25th, 2012 1:01 am

    Balance always gives the best flavour to life but the problem here is that energy, which is unlimited, is not free. Amerika and Kanada are classic examples of how energy control creates imbalance in the psyche and ego of the people. Having to work to earn private banknotes to pay for mobility and generally being alive is slavery or the highest order. People tend to escape into material indulgences for feelings of self worth and to magnify their illusions of freedom. We all should be flying around in anti-gravity machines by now but that choice has been deleted from the list.

    @Brian -To the best of my awareness, some of the oldest skis were fat and rockered and it was the industry that finally listened to skiers that fat skis were the proper tools for off piste skiing.

    @aemono – People are having a good time with all this new gear and that is the point. Envelope pushing doesn’t exist anymore because all the letters have already been sent back in the 80s. You also forgot the 2 greatest descents of the new millenium, Luis Sitzinger’s descent of the Diamer Face on Nanga and Chris Brazeau’s solo of Mt Bryce’s N Face (with fat skis). Why don’t you go out and lick some stamps yourself?

  22. Myro June 25th, 2012 2:22 am

    Greetings from Slovakia.
    Well here in Europe the cars are made smaller, but mostly still lower and lower on gas because of unbelievably high prices of gas. We’re a country without oil mines, so we have to obey Russia and Ukraine, where prices are twice lower…

  23. Wookie1974 June 25th, 2012 2:51 am

    I was wondering when Ptor was going to chime in on this. Respect: you’re walking the walk.
    Me – I struggle with this, and I am encouraged that I hear other people thinking about it more and more. I’ve set a modest goal of not buying any new gear until after next season, unless something breaks. It’s harder to do than I thought – but the fact that others are encouraging me and talking about it too helps. I wish I was strong enough to do it all alone – but I’m still part of the herd, I guess.
    Its not just about the planet, either. The endless cycle of consumerism is draining too. I used to like shopping for gear, and part of me still gets fired up about it all, but more and more its just a drag. The money, the time, the pressure to seem a “knowledgeable” customer, and the drive to be part of the in-crowd….all those things stress me out.
    Its been a struggle to admit that I’m susceptible to marketing manipulation, and it’s a struggle to wean myself….here’s hoping I can do it.
    A big thanks to the others who are showing the way and providing inspiration.

  24. Lou June 25th, 2012 8:27 am

    Wookie, yeah, one thing I’ve noticed more and more is the amount of time all the possessions take. Owning too much stuff can definitely be a form of slavery.

    I’d not claim to be a master at living simply, and my work simply doesn’t allow me to go too far with that, but I’ve been trying for a number of years to do the thing where every time I bring something new into our home, I get rid of something else. More, I’ve been trying to just simply get rid of alot of the little junk that I just have piled up in case I need it, and end up just moving around and changing storage, thus taking more time out of my life. One lesson I’ve learned is if I do have more major possessions, like our truck camper, is to set them up for as low maintenance as possible and to store them in a way that keeps them from getting wrecked by weather or abuse. In other words, being a good steward of what we are fortunate enough to acquire.

    You guys might laugh at the above when you see all the gear we deal with day-in day-out to keep going, but I even try to do that in a way that doesn’t make us end up swimming in a time consuming sea of junk. Yeah, we’ve probably got more skis in the garage than many skiers, but it could be 5 times that number if I didn’t stay on top of it… And you should see the UPS charges for the stuff we return after reviews…

    I’ve lived very simply at times of my life, so I know what it’s like and how to do it. But I think it can actually be a pretty materialistic endeavor as well, if you obsess on it as the end-all be-all, or do it as the result of white middle class guilt, But any degree of asceticism is a worthy endeavor if done with higher goals in mind, such as simply living without debt and raising a family responsibly, or spiritual contemplation or philosophical endeavors you subsequently share with other people. Think Walden Pond, for example, or the way individuals such as Jesus or Siddhartha lived their ascetic periods and did their ministries.

    Super interesting and worthy subject. Good on you Wildsnowers for bringing it up!

  25. Lou June 25th, 2012 8:37 am

    Regarding fuel prices and car sizes in Europe. When you think about it, what meaning does that really have? People over there still drive a ton, they just keep adjusting, as we do here. Any sea change in driving habits has still not happened, and the mass transportation infrastructure is still not that great in most places. It is axiomatic for environmentalists to think higher gas prices will lead to some kind of public enlightenment and things like more trains. Perhaps to a degree, but more, expensive fuel has just led to smaller cars like the Nissan Versa we own that are driven as much and in many cases more. People like cars. Cars are cool. Cars give you freedom. In my opinion, best way to deal with this is just build better and better cars. Which has been the net effect of higher gas prices. In other words, there is a reason you see gasoline fueled Toyota trucks driving around with bumper stickers that say “live simply.” Cars allow you to live simply? Actually, in many ways, they do. If they didn’t, lots of the simple life people I know wouldn’t own them, instead, they do.

  26. Andy June 25th, 2012 9:58 am

    I think that all this consternation can be directly correlated to the heat and lack of spring/summer snow.

  27. aemono June 25th, 2012 2:18 pm

    Ptor, i agree wholeheartedly that having a good time is very much the point, and i also still have a lot of fun sometimes on pretty old gear (don’t you?)..and do i need a quiver of fifteen skis to have fun? aah, no?..let’s face it, skiing on practically any kind of gear is fun, i’m not sure i can think of anything much better (well, sex is still pretty good too..:)

    as regards ALL the letters being sent..i doubt that you really believe that? maybe they’ve just gone out of fashion like snail mail ..and yes i did forget Sitzinger’s exploit – and i’m sure others – and i have to admit i’ve never even heard of Chris Brazeau, i’ll be sure to look him up ..and thanks for the provocation!

    Wookie, i identify with practically everything you say..that heavy bear who goes with me, i feel him sometimes anyway but when you add the tiredness of serious konsuming.. as Lou says, stuff can be slavery..and yes, think of Jesus and Siddharta by all means, but, whatever about licking stamps, that’s setting our sights really high..even realizing that there’s no need to go to Kolkata because you can beg on street corners in Manhattan, Madrid or Macugnaga too ..but how many of us will be strong enough for that? (Walden Pond or a even a few days spent in primitive mountain huts here and there might be more realist!)

    And excuse my ignorance but aah.. what the fvck is granola?

  28. ptor June 25th, 2012 2:55 pm

    Aemono, Yes I really do believe that the most difficult ‘things’ in ski-mountaineering like steepness, exposure, size and commitment have already been done. Now it’s just filling in the blanks on the ‘unskied map’ and that’s basically combining luck with timing and conditions, preparedness, desire/inspiration, money and commitment. It’s awesome that new generations get to experience devirginizing mountains on great adventures at home or abroad.

    Please nobody think that I’m some kind of purist because I’m not. I believe in minimalism and I’m kind of that way out of sheer practicality but I heliski once in a while and I now have a car after 20 years without. But I don’t believe that humans have to not buy new skis or not travel or not enjoy life to save the world. It’s not our responsibility. I say it’s the burden of government and the military to bear the brunt of ‘austerity’ for the shitty system they have cornered us into. Time to release the hidden technology to the masses, stop creating the problems that the people are forced to face the dirty solutions to and usher in a new era of humanism that melds technology and nature into a system where people can thrive. Speaking of which, y’all should check out the movie ‘Thrive’…

  29. Lou June 25th, 2012 5:35 pm

    Ptor, o ye of little faith! By definition, the next wave we do not know about, and may be long gone before it happens, but it’ll happen… and it’s not going to be created by some media event, that’s for sure! I think it’ll be driven by ever more advances in equipment and technique, both of which we can not predict.

  30. Lou June 25th, 2012 7:00 pm

    I’d add that another frontier of ski mountaineering in North America is for more people to learn to enjoy it as a day-to-day activity that’s not “extreme,” but rather sustainable on through the years for a given individual. This is common in Europe, but the American way of looking at it tends to be driven by this obsession with extreme skiing, TGR movies, heli madness, etc. The EU scene is much more crowded (on the whole, other than the Wasatch), but also feels much more “core” and less forced. Just people out doing athletics, with nothing to prove. Sure, we do that here as well, but the discussion seems to almost always come back to things like “what’s next?” “how steep?” and so on. I like the extreme end, don’t get me wrong, but I really see a difference between the different sides of the pond. As Ptor alludes to, perhaps we need ever more emphasis on just going out and doing alpinism, at whatever level, just for fun and gladness, not to be the next wave, or whatever… Just some thoughts…

  31. d June 25th, 2012 8:22 pm

    I support those thoughts. I’m tired of the pervasive obsession with “go big or go home”. The new phrase of that culture is “crush it”.

  32. Mark W June 25th, 2012 8:44 pm

    Matt, I think I see your point. I’m pretty minimalist, use light skis, move relatively quickly, and pay a bit on performance for the downhill. This doesn’t bother me much, as I don’t have as much time for outings as I once did. Speed makes a real difference. Now, on the other side of the coin, I’ll admit that some of the FAT, rockered, lead-laden planks are actually superbly fun to rip on–for the downhill. Touring with ten or twelve pound skis is a bit absurd for me, but I guess that’s just ’cause I don’t have the sled to rocket me up yet! Ha! Funny, but likely that I’ll never own such an machine, and as of yet don’t perceive that I’ll miss having one.

  33. Xavier June 25th, 2012 9:16 pm

    Mark W,
    There are FAT rockered skies that are nearly as light as rando-weenie sticks such as some of the latest offerings from DPS and Dynafit and La Sportiva, Couple them with the latest Dynafit TLT5’s and super light tech bindings such as Pures and you have gear that you can speed up the hill with AND rip down the hill on.

    It’s gear such as this which is encouraging people to venture out into touring as it lowers the skill level and pain for entry. Sure this gear costs a lot of money but if you look after it , it can last a long time. Many of us who buy this expensive gear do so by saving our pennies and driving very old cars and NOT engaging in the material madness and acquisition of ” stuff”.

    The ski touring orientated industry with the revitalization in design, form following function and the innovative use of lighter , stronger materials and the bright young designers is exciting for our sport.

    I suppose it’s the demographics of Wildsnow ( which I think tends towards an older demographic) that brings out all the old codgers with their neo-Luddite views and nostalgia for the past and sneering contempt for the future and advancements in technology. It’s expected….but still very tiresome.

  34. Mark W June 25th, 2012 10:55 pm

    I realize there are amazingly light, fat, rockered skis, and I know I’ll be on them full time eventually. Yeah, it’s expensive gear, but backcountry skiing is really what I do, so I accept that. I enjoy watching things change and develop in gear. And what we are witnessing now is an amazing age for the sport. I’m glad we can all be a part of such an era. Skiing is fantastic whether the gear is good or bad. We are truly fortunate to be skiing on the gear of today.

  35. trevor Jones June 26th, 2012 8:51 am

    -On Lou’s 7:00 comment on AT skiing, sustainability and extreme skiing. I was living and skiing in the Tahoe region a few years ago and i found myself thinking about the same thing. Perhaps California’s culture of instant gratification and, well, laziness helped. I found that those who were in “AT skiers” tended to be the happiest skiers around doing it for the right reason, and not really extreme skiers. Of course maybe some extreme skiers were using the gear to get up the hill. But generally if they weren’t up there for the right reasons they just didn’t want to walk or ski up a hill. And above all with the right motivation they had as you mentioned, longevity. at skiers to be a little older 40+ and among the few who were practicing their sport for the right reasons i.e. they didn’t have something to prove or some social reason to be on the side of a hill…. Lou; Thanks for your comment and all your hard work

  36. Matt Kinney June 26th, 2012 10:55 am

    Xavier….I think you are amiss on your perception of old codgers skiers sneering with contempt at gear advancements. (That may be true in the sport of bowling.) I ski the best bc gear I can get my hands upon as do most skiers. We choose whatever suits our skill level, personal goals, and finances.

    I tend to guide a few “older codgers” each season and they have the latest and best gear on their feet. Some of them used to tele, but I ski with then anyway. 🙂 . I haven’t seen leather in years nor bamboo poles.

    Many of the more challenging lines I repeat ski today, I skied with 1980’s crap gear. It wasn’t crap gear then, We talked gear just like we do now, flipping through magazines(internet) and dreaming(credit card). Like many I have a true fondness and pleasant memories of those early gear experiences. I still love being in the Chugach all day skiing whatever presents itself. All of us have it physically easier these days thanks to advancements in designs and engineering of ski gear.

    “just doing alpinism” nice lou.

  37. Lou June 26th, 2012 11:02 am

    I was wondering where Xavier found all the posts and comments on WildSnow that proved our demographic has many sneering Luddites. If any of you guys make accusations like that, it might be a good idea to back it up with some examples. I have not doubt one could find a few quotes out of our +2,000 blog posts and +20,000 comments, but the percentages would belie any take that our demographic is dominated by sneering Luddites. In fact, most of our readers embrace gear innovations, enjoy shopping, and are known to smile.

  38. Xavier June 26th, 2012 11:59 am

    Sneering Luddites may have been a bit much but I was in a poetic mode and it kinda rolled off the tongue as my passion for the latest advances in ski mountaineering gear reached fever pitch as I lay typing on my bed glancing at the full life size poster I have on my bedroom ceiling of Fede, TLT5 designer.

    What are the demographics of Wilsnow anyway?I know Kinney is no spring chicken!
    My sense from the posts is that the ” old codger” brigade is in the majority.

  39. Lou June 26th, 2012 12:24 pm

    Xavier, poetic moments happen to the best of us (grin).

    Demographic is at the sweet spot where most backcountry skiers worldwide are, from late 20s on through middle age, with a few codgers thrown in there for good measure. The overall demographic in North America is a bit younger than the average worldwide, with Europe defining the demographic as they’ve got the most backcountry skiers. We define “backcountry skier” as one who does it mostly under their own power, with some mechanized access (sled,heli,lifts) thrown in.

    My intention with Wildsnow has always been to keep it relevant to what the majority of predominantly human powered backcountry skiers are interested in. Can’t claim to be a magician with that, but it is indeed my intent. Hence, even when we wander from exact skiing related stuff, we try to keep it to things such as car camping (rv or budget), backcountry cabins, land use politics, and so on. We’ve also found that many of you do wax philosophical and spirtual, and thus we hit on that stuff a bit in the content now and then, though not heavily. History is also important here, and that’s where as the demographic gets older you generally get more interest, though I’ve met plenty of 20-somethings who know who Bill Briggs and Fritz Stammberger are.

    If a slogan helps: “, for the thinking backcountry skier!”

  40. Silas Wild June 26th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Wow, “tourism in toyland” sure stirred the pot of websurfers who wish they were having fun. Welcome Lou and Lisa to the Promised Land of turns all year, keep an eye on those UW Atmos precipitation models, they will guide you to fun, if not burley, skiing even on days the NOAA forecast says will be no fun! Enjoy your visit, hope to see you out there.

    Hey Lou, please send me a lifesize portrait of Mario (not Fede) to worship! His boots make me so happy. Fede will admit, he was just the marketeer and paper pusher, like he now is for Salamon. So thankful Bene (or who?) talked Mario into coming out of retirement.

  41. Lou June 26th, 2012 3:27 pm

    My take, from many insider conversations: Federico, Mario, and others worked as a team, the new boot designs over past few years didn’t necessarily come from any one particular person. Mario is actually pretty conservative when it comes to new designs, but is very good at implementing designs once he’s convinced to do them (grin).

  42. Xavier June 26th, 2012 3:39 pm

    Thank you for that clarification and rebuttal of Silas Wild’s wild attempt to discredit Fede to a mere ” paper pusher and marketer” . Fede’s brilliance both as a designer and public relations master was well documented in the monumental Teton Gravity Research, TLT5 thread despite Big Steve’s( another one of Silas’s PNW cadre ) attempt to mock Fede on the forward lean issue. I suspect a conspiracy between them.

    Fede’s poster is staying on my bedroom ceiling along with my Andrew McLean whippet hanging by a wire gate-carabiner shrine.

  43. Lou June 26th, 2012 3:48 pm

    One thing about designers, especially when they’re on a team, is funny stuff happens and things don’t always turn out the way they would if one person was taking care of getting everything right. From what I’ve heard, the TLT forward lean was one of those types of things, it just kind of happened to end up where it ended up, which was in many cases too much. In my opinion, one of the reasons for that is the boot is so rigid, it makes the forward lean feel like a bit more than it might seem like in another boot with a bit more “give.” The big mistake was it not being adjustable out of the box. What a pain (literally) for a lot of people.

  44. g June 27th, 2012 9:22 am

    well the benefits of the telemark industry is that I found a pair of rossi black widows [remember those] in a garbage can last year, complete with those silly historic volle “releasable” bindings. One scrape and wax session and they were like new. I skiied on them all winter with my little kids at the local hill. back to the real granola, eh.

  45. Rob Mullins June 27th, 2012 9:57 am

    Silly ideas, some! Very thankful for the opportunities that we have including so much wealth and time for leisure activities. We have so much well-funded leisure time that some create misguided dissertations about the nature of leisure activities and consumption of resources!

    If we stop buying the vehicles, stop using the gas, those resources will simply be heartily gobbled up by those in the world with less than us who strive to have more! Stop using gas and the Chinese and Indians will then have cheaper fuel, and will raise their standard of living cheaply while those who gave up the resources accept a lower standard of living! Europeans and North Americans have reduced their number of offspring for a generation- and that potential replacement generation instead is replaced by ambitious immigrants with large families.

    Yes, we must be reasonable and good stewards of the resources of the earth. And yes, those of you who worry about it should just stay in the city and stay out of the mountains, then I will find more solitude again in the mountains around my home!

  46. Kathy June 28th, 2012 1:29 am

    wooooaaah! that was huge!

  47. Wookie1974 June 28th, 2012 2:34 am

    I think somewhere along the way the posts moved towards a discussion on sustainability and the environment. Thats an important topic. I disagree with you, Rob – the “everybody else is doing it” defense doesn’t play with my 6 year-old, and anyone who views the environment as a moral responsibility, as many do, can’t use it to justify poor behavior.
    I do recognize that we ALL make choices and not everyone makes the same ones. I am encouraged that Rob, and so many of us here, share a common love for the outdoors – and despite some appearances, we are all on the same side. What we do and say does make a difference. We influence everyone around us.

    The original point was more about consumerism. I LOVE new gear. I love all the gizmos and stuff – all I’m saying is that I feel like I’ve reached a point of diminishing returns, in respect to my enjoyment of the gear. Others around me too.
    Contrary to the idea of Luddism – I’m curious to see what the ski industry will do to respond to this new trend. I’m not oping out, I’m opting IN – to something different.
    In other words – a new pair of carbon boots for 1000 USD isn’t getting ME excited – what is the ski industry going to offer guys like me to get me to spend that money? Is Lou going to start writing posts about ski maintenance and jacket repair? Will a hipster market develop for “vintage” goggles -and does this create an investment opportunity for forward-thinking dirtbags?

    Readers want to know.

  48. Lou June 28th, 2012 7:06 am

    Wookie, good ideas, indeed, more repair and maintainance posts would be good and I’ll definitly try and throw some of those in the mix. While we do have a lot of new gear around here, you’d be surprised at how much repair and upkeep we still do, so we should write more about that. Lisa sewed some new boot cuffs on her pants, for example, and I was just re-winding the winch on the Silverado and changing the massive amount of oil the thing contains, which I got under control by using Mobile 1 synthetic and extending the change interval. Otherwise, the oil changes alone were going to send us into debt (grin)! Concerning automobiles, we do have some nice cars and trucks, but thing is, we tend to buy these things and drive them, not buy-sell-buy-sell endless cycle. Louie has almost 300,000 miles on the Cherokee I bought used years ago, and the plan with the big truck is to own and drive that thing for LONG time. Otherwise it’ll never pay for itself. One glitch in all that is how business tax deductions are structured, with depreciation and all that. If you do see me messing around with a new ride, that’s probably the reason.

    And if all else fails, we’ve still got the 1947 jeep with the 1981 motor (grin), and boy does that thing need some maintenance and repair, like, rebuild the engine?

    Oh, I forgot, our house we’ve lived in for more than 20 years, now that baby needs some work as well, and some of that could actually make appropriate blog posts. For example, when I renovated the 100+ year old structure, I super-insulated it. Works great, but I’ve noticed over the years that we’re getting slightly less heating efficiency, due to things like windows not fitting tight, door weather stripping, stuff like that. Not sure how to tie some of that stuff into WildSnow, perhaps combine building a ski workbench in with fixing a window? Could happen.

    Back to the ski stuff, yep, lots of work on the actual skis and bindings as well, so more blog posts on that, thanks for bringing it up!


  49. XXX_er June 28th, 2012 12:42 pm

    It costs you money to consume so being CHEAP is usually also very green

  50. Lou June 28th, 2012 9:51 pm

    XX, yeah, perhaps in some ways you can measure a person’s carbon footprint by how much money they spend, so long as they’re not spending it on carbon credits (grin). But seriously, using spend to evaluate green is way too crude to have much meaning. For example, say a person is sending their kids to medical school, how do you calculate that out? Or what if the money isn’t spent, but rather invested in Exon stock?


  51. Rob Mullins June 28th, 2012 10:40 pm

    It is not possible for the world’s population to continue to live without using the modern technologies such as fossil-fuel engines and etc. on and on. So would some environmentalists and Orgs just want to stop using fossil fuels and sit by to watch the worldwide crises, starvation, wars, that result? Really, clueless parroting of meaningless poor ideas.

    We do need to use our intelligence, research, and technology to be good stewards of our environment, reduce harmful effects such as pollution, etc.

    Please, if someone has a problem with consumerism, do not consume. Please, if you have a problem with consumerism that results in buying toys and driving to the mountains, just stop it, we local mountain folk would be good with that!

  52. XXX_er June 29th, 2012 2:46 pm

    “” But seriously, using spend to evaluate green is way too crude to have much meaning””

    IMO its not about how much money you made, its about what you didn’t spend …what you hang onto

    Agreed its crude but if you look at how many ways of living/things that cost less are also somewhat green I think it might suprise you, consider that buying a used anything is recycling, if its a small used vehical it burns less petro to boot,and living in town means I can walk most places and park my small cheap truck, I always find it ironic that a lot of the serious greenies I know also live WAY out of town and have to consume large amounts of petro as part of their lifestyle, me … I always say I am cheaper than I am green

    And I let junior & junior pay their own way …very cost efficient because they didn’t take 6 yrs to do a 4 yr program at the university of whatever is close to good skiing

  53. Lou June 29th, 2012 3:07 pm

    Xer, I understand your take, but have to argue that you’re off base. What if you had and extra million laying around, and donated it all the Green Peace? So that makes you less green because you spent more money? You’re talking about asceticism, which can be a noble endeavor but doesn’t necessarily make you more green. This especially true if you live in an industrialized country and use virtually any amenity, as even if you don’t pay for those amenities, building and maintaining that infrastructure uses immense amounts of energy. Fact is, if you really want to win the green contest, you’d need to move to a third world country, live in a cave, eat grass and moss, and don’t even use their medical care, hospitals, roads, or anything else that takes energy to build and run.

  54. Xavier June 29th, 2012 4:03 pm

    XXXer used to work for IBM and amassed his filthy lucre by selling hardware and software to multi- nationals who used it to plot world domination before becoming a newborn ski ascetic holed up in Smithers who now proselytizes about living cheap on his fixed retirement income and has become more Kermit than YOU. Kidding..we love you Triple X baby! Grin!

    As Lou says, asceticism is a noble endeavor and one that attacks me personally, however I can’t afford to become an ascetic yet… too many bills to pay and not enough in the retirement account yet…but soon and then I will
    glory in my Kermitizm with a glowing aura of smug eminating from my Goodwill clad body.

  55. Lou June 29th, 2012 4:07 pm

    I’m moving to Smithers.

  56. Crazy Horse June 29th, 2012 5:02 pm

    Don’t you see? The answer to gear guilt is staring us in the face. VIRTUAL SKIING! Just read Wild Snow on the internet instead of actually skiing, let Lou test drive all the new gear and your recreational carbon footprint will shrink to the level of the average Indian.

    Otherwise you will be condemned to the gear arms race like me as I try to keep ahead of advancing age.

    And by all means attend the Global Warming Hoax conference I’m organizing in Colorado Springs this August.

    Crazy Horse

  57. Lou June 29th, 2012 6:55 pm


  58. aemono June 30th, 2012 7:16 am

    Hey, the Global Warming Hoax! ..i’ll be expecting Senator Imhofe to start posting on wildsnow next (waaait a minit – that probably was the good Senator..posting as crazyhorse!) but it’s given me a brilliant idea:

    What about all us concerned backcountry skiers get together like the AGW deniers and try to perpetrate the Round Earth Hoax! ..because i mean it’s patently obvious that the earth is bloody FLAT isn’t it (only a bunch of stoopid scientists could think otherwise)..but when i say flat i mean REALLY FLAT, because there ARE no mountains, are there? ..think about it, all the benefits for us if we can put it over on the city folks, firstly we’ll have the hills to ourselves and also we’ll save the planet (tho it obviously don’t need to be saved) cause those city folks won`t be travelling to the mountains – what don’t exist – and there’ll be huge savings on gas, suvs, hotels, lifts and ski gear etc ..and i might even get a Nobel! ..what d’yall think?

  59. Lou June 30th, 2012 8:48 am

    Ah, another person still worried that a few people don’t believe global warming. My advice, get past that and put your energy into reversing it. First step has to do with blowing hot air (grin).

    One thing I’ve noticed in this, over past years of the climate issue, is that people love to debate and chatter about the issue, as if arguing about it is the same as doing something about it. Time to move on? In other words, if someone still believes the earth is flat, does that have anything to do with the price of tea in China?

  60. Tim June 30th, 2012 8:24 pm

    hi lou, linguistic gymnastics are fun, but do you believe in global warming?

  61. Lou June 30th, 2012 8:49 pm

    I don’t regard global warming as religion, have seen evidence of it, and would agree it’s happening just as I’d agree that the wind blows or that the sun shines. While I don’t regard global warming as a belief system, it does require some belief on my part to come up with my theory that people talking about it are causing some of it, and that talking about global warming is kind of like watching the national news, in that doing so you get a warm fuzzy feeling you’re somehow participating in the solution, while actually, you are not.

  62. ptor July 1st, 2012 1:07 pm

    AGW/Agenda 21 and the glaciers melting for the last 10,000 years are two entirely different things. Also, I guess nobody’s watched Thrive yet. Wakie, wakie!!!!

  63. XXX_er July 2nd, 2012 9:31 pm

    “XXXer used to work for IBM and amassed his filthy lucre by selling hardware and software to multi- nationals who used it to plot world domination before becoming a newborn ski ascetic holed up in Smithers who now proselytizes about living cheap on his fixed retirement income and has become more Kermit than YOU.”

    I did not sell anything, I was not a DOT. com millionaire I was just too young & stupid to know any better so while you guys were skiing and screwing sorority girls I worked everyday fixing HW which eventualy got me the DB pension which ain’t much so I don’t spend much but spending less doesn’t make me an acestic by any means cuz I make good decisions & very much still live the good life, If I had a million bucks I am not sure what I would do with it

    I think the genie is out of the bottle on the world situation and I am not sure the earth would not have got warmer on its own just because the earth has got warmer and colder in history for whatever reason, so my becoming a true ascetic isn’t really going to change the world but consuming less is the best thing I can do …it also costs less

    BUT I’m a dead ringer for David Suzuki and have been mistaken for him literaly hundreds of time that I know of and most Smithereens think David Suzuki actualy lives here … nobody can beat that kinda green eh?

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  • 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.

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