Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | December 13, 2007      

I’m headed out for some gear testing this morning, but a few quick things:

If you’re trying to ski all the 14ers in the United States, now is your chance for some that come into condition only once in a while. Head to Hawaii for some turns. Yep, they got some snow up on the volcanoes and it’s time. More here.

As noted in our news scroller, sad news is that Colorado had its first avalanche fatality of the season this past Monday, when Luke Oldenburg died of complications from an avalanche accident December 2. Oldenburg was buried around 6 feet deep, upside-down — it’s hard to even imagine how tough it would be to dig fast enough to save a person in that position. Sadly, this is another example of folks who had beacons and shovels, and used them well, but were up against the sad fact that being buried in an avalanche is like having a plastic bag pulled over your head. One has to wonder if an Avalung could have made the outcome different — but technology can only go so far. The bigger point of this sort of thing is that avoiding such accidents is key. Our avalanche rescue technology is amazing, but it’s still simply too slow and will probably be so until we have common use of more proactive options such as airbags, breathing devices and the like.

If you’re in this area (central Colorado), 14er skier Chris Davenport is having his first book signing tomorrow (Friday) evening in Aspen, at the Ute Mountaineer from 5:00 to 7:00. Davenport is doing a good job of promoting his 14ers book, with kudos in the Denver Post and Boulder Daily Camera. We think Davenport’s book is a stunning contribution to North American ski alpinism. Hope to see you there. (To check out his book, see banner link to left.)

Oh, one more thing. Can’t let a blog go by these days without gear. New at HQ, we’ve got Scarpa F3s and Spirit 4’s for some review action over the next week, and the pair of Trab Duo Freerando 07/08 we just received weighs in at a svelte 47.2 ounces per ski (171 cm). I’m thinking of mounting those with the F3s for longer low angled tours, such as hut research trips for Such a setup will probably ski downhill well, but feel really efficient on the trails due to low overall weight and the metatarsal flex of the F3. Also, we got another pair of Garmont Axons in for a long-term test by a pro skier in Aspen. More soon about all.



11 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. Kydan December 13th, 2007 10:54 am

    Good work Lou, FYI, 1st link is very much broken.

  2. Danny B. December 13th, 2007 11:07 am


    I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the Spirit 4’s, maybe even a comparo with the Zzero Carbon as I’m waffling between these two boots. Thanks!

  3. Scott Bower December 13th, 2007 12:30 pm

    I think Mauna Kea is only a 13er, but it would definately be a rare descent.

    From the pics, it looks like you’d need your rock skis, though.

  4. Charlie December 13th, 2007 12:44 pm

    Your Mauna Kea link’s totally hosed, but this:
    should give a feel for things up there.

  5. Lou December 13th, 2007 1:14 pm

    I thought one of those volcanoes was at or above 14,000?

  6. Lou December 13th, 2007 1:54 pm

    Fixed all the links, sorry about that, in too much of a hurry to leave the office — imagine that!

  7. John C. Lamb December 16th, 2007 9:12 am

    My friends and I very much enjoyed last night’s 14’r book signing and presentation at the Mountain Movie Theater in Steamboat. The theater was all but sold out with enthusiastic skiers of all ages, with at least 20 people in line for a book for quite a while. I enjoyed talking with Chris for several minutes at the Epilogue Bookstore in the afternoon. Chris and Lou are the inspiration for my first winter 14r attempt, the east route at Mt. Quandary (no couloirs for me yet).
    PS – Lou, I’m looking forward for your ideas on how to stiffen the F3 a bit (new tongue, maybe?), while still retaining the unbelievable comfort of the boot. It is great for skinning and hut touring, but it doesn’t seem to drive the edges on my 188 Coombas too well on harder surfaces.
    Thanks to Erica at the Epilogue Bookstore and, to Chris for the outstanding book and cinematography.

  8. brian harder December 16th, 2007 1:57 pm

    Hey Lou,

    I have a random, unrelated gear mod question for you pertaining to my Dynafit Ti race bindings. I was surfing the site this morning and read your F1 review and a mod you performed there got me thinking.

    Last year at rally races I had a hard time getting out of my bindings at transitions. I’m sure you recall my flailing at the Powderkeg relay as Romeo flew in popping a ski off before he even stopped. Very slick. I really have to lean on mine with my pole and I thought it was a binding issue. I have seen many racers simply pick there ski up and pop the toe with their thumb. I want that! Your grinding of the toe in your review made me think that the issue is the rubber. Thoughts?


  9. Lou December 16th, 2007 5:30 pm

    Hi Brian, good to hear from you. Thumb 100%?

    Yeah, if you can pop the bindings open easily without a boot in them, then what makes more resistance is the boot “trigger point” above the binding arms that rise up when you’re out of the binding. Problem is, nearly that same trigger point is what snaps the binding shut on entry. My suspicion is that you could remove a bit of rubber in this area and end up with it easier to thumb out like Romeo. But if you remove too much rubber, the binding won’t close on entry. This would make a good blog, perhaps I’ll do it Tuesday.

  10. Dean Wood December 18th, 2007 1:22 pm

    I know this isn’t entirely on topic but I am looking for some advice.
    I used to be a ski instructor and used to race to a high level and am now looking to find some ski mountaineering boots.

    I have slowly moved more and more into backcountry skiing and am now really planning any trips out I have as backcountry trips. So I am for the first time thinking about getting some proper ski mountaineering boots to make the uphills as friendly as the downhills. I am going to be going to a proper boot fitter, but would like to have as much knowledge as I can going in.

    I have tried some on before, Scarpa Denali TT’s(really really really didn’t fit my foot and Scarpa Matrix. The question I have is how much room there should be around the forefoot. I am aware the fit is going to be a bit slacker than I am used too, but I was amazed at the amount of room around the forefoot, I could virtually wiggle my foot from side to side in the boot, although my ankle was held reasonably.

    I apologise for being off topic and the length of this but I am looking to gather as much info as possible before my fitting so I don’t make a mistake.

    Thanks in advance.


  11. Lou December 18th, 2007 3:12 pm

    I like the fit snug on both sides of forefoot, but enough room in front of toes to not bang liner while walking, and enough room above toes for a bit of toe curl if trying to keep feet warm.

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