As spring rolls around, so do spring time ambitions for ski touring. With new missions comes new and different gear to test here at WildSnow. A couple of friends and I are heading up to the Coast Range of British Columbia for a ski traverse of a classic ice field. More on that later, for now here is a quick look at some Petzl ski mountaineering accouterments.
Biggest “ski” news I’ve seen lately might be the recent decision by a federal appeals court to allow the Alta, Utah resort snowboard ban to remain. Here at WildSnow we’re somewhat amazed by that, as we can’t help but think riding and skiing are so similar it would be difficult to even come up with legal definitions. For example, what if the guy gets on the lift with his splitboard as two skis? In that case can he ride cable to access the backcountry out of Alta’s permit area? According to this report, “The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with lawyers for Alta who said luring skiers with the promise of a snowboarder-free experience is a private business decision that doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.” As many of you know we are not unfriendly to business, but when a business uses public land we feel there might be a more accommodating definition of things such as “rights.”
Spent some time on Black Diamond Helio 105 in a variety of snow conditions. Spring skiing, need I say more? You can tell these planks are made by Blizzard in Austria, with a few twists. They’re not as “edgy” as you might expect from our Österreich skiing deities, yet they belie their below average weight with a damp-solid feel. Reasonable snap combined with 21 meter radius keeps powder fun and breakable crust manageable, though you do notice the relaxed sidecut if you try to go “carvy” on piste. I happen to like that type of geometry.
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Splitboards are a dynamic tool for the backcountry snowboarder; the potential they help us access is truly limitless. I have ridden a number of different splits, from fully rockered twin tips to fully cambered swallow tail shapes, in a wide variety of conditions. Time to put down my thoughts on what’s been working.
Owning a quiver of splitboards for all of the different conditions you will encounter out there can be unreasonable, so what should you look for to simplify life? It is imperative to find a shape and size that will “ski tour” uphill exceptionally well, as the reality is we spend 95% of our time going up. Of course, we all live for the gravity assisted descent, so that same tool must perform equally as well on the down.
I’ve been utilizing a Jones Solution splitboard for almost four years, and the new 15/16 model for about a year and a half. The shape and design of the Solution makes it a recommendable tool for the board quiver of one.
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