Better late than never, snow is falling in the NW. Mt Baker is opening, Mt Hood is open and expanding terrain available. Here's a shot from Max Reitz up in 4 bowl at meadows. They hiked up to catch the latest round of snow . . . We also just got a couple gear items in the office this week that I am looking forward to getting out this week. First is a pair of Tremor soft-shell pants from Outdoor Research. They look very nice, Gore windstopper softshell with removable gaiters....
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
A friend sent this link my way - I heard that the latest Warren Miller film had some footage of paragliding skiers too. I can just imagine what a US resort would say if you tried this here.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Well, I wish this was a first-hand account but I have not been up yet. A couple friends in town made it out following the last stormcycle and here is what they found.
They agreed that the coverage down at treeline is marginal but the the skiing up high was pretty darn good. Thanks to Sam Davis and Max Reitz for getting out and sharing the pics. Looks like more snow this week . . .
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Although the weather forecast calls for clear weather through Thanksgiving, the hills are starting to look more like winter in these parts. The resorts are opening limited terrain and there is skiing to be had above treeline.
We had a small wax and tune party the other day to get the sticks ready for action. It was warm and raining while we worked on skis and by the next day it was snowing; we even got our first snow in town.
It was fun to get a variety of skis together and compare everyone's opinions on them. I decided we would post our 2007-08 ski review here as a pdf (3MB file) to feed the fire so to speak.. Praise Ullr and have a good Thanksgiving . . . and don't forget to subscribe to Off-Piste!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I just wrapped up the December 2007 issue and it is scheduled to ship out November 30th to subscribers and retail shops. This issue has a variety of features ranging from, Iran - A tale of Two Worlds to My Pet Bug and a great instructional article on tour planning. Gear coverage includes hooded softshells and there is a great recipe too.
Look for it at the shop in December or, better yet, SUBSCRIBE now and get it delivered to your door!
Mt. Hood finally got some snow this past weekend - the resorts are reporting almost 2 feet at the base areas. A little more snow would be nice . . .
Sunday, November 18, 2007
We have been getting feedback that our rss feed and our comments area were not working. We did a little troubleshooting this weekend and believe we have both up and running properly. Thanks for letting us know and thanks for visiting the site.
We posted a preview of Chris Davenport's Ski the 14ers book back in September, well word is there is a movie in the works too. Check out the clip below
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
A recent article about a proposed resort development caught my eye. The plan, proposed by a private developer, is to create an entire resort town south of Park City, Utah in the Heber Valley. Admittedly, I am a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to building resorts in the mountains. It is one thing to expand and 'improve' existing areas to meet demand but when development is undertaken simply in the name of 'more is better', i get surly. Sure i enjoy my fair share of lift skiing, have spent my fair share of good times in arguably overdeveloped resort towns, but I believe the best experience is found elsewhere. The developer and, according to the article, the State of Utah claim the development is a positive asset to the state economy. I disagree. I believe that in the long-run, it is the quality of our natural environment, our water resources, and the integrity of our landscapes that will determine our economic well-being.
We have a movie set for for review in an upcoming issue of Off-Piste called Resorting to Madness. It documents the struggle for balance and growth in our mountain towns. You can view the trailer below.
Following two weeks of sunny fall weather, winter is trying to make a comeback here in the Northwest. Hood is till thin on snow but the forecast looks good for more. Word is that Whistler is sporting 40+ inches and may be spinning the lifts sooner than expected. Mt Baker was not as fortunate on the last storm cycle but their base is growing and the forecast looks promising there too.
It is ski swap season and if you are in Portland, Oregon, the Portland chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club is hosting its annual gear swap on December 4th. Details are here
The first annual Northwest Snow and Avalanche Summit is November 17th in Seattle. The event will be followed up by Snowbash, the annual fundraiser party for the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC). Snowbash is an evening of music (Tallboys!) and dancing to benefit the NW Weather and Avalanche Center. There will be a live auction, raffle and silent auction with all of the proceeds benefiting the Friends of the NW Weather and Avalanche Center. Tickets are $20 in advance via Brown Paper Tickets (www.brownpapertickets.com) or $25 at the door.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Softshell fabrics like Schoeller have been gaining momentum for a handful of years now. They are great for ski touring because they really breath. They do not always offer the same protection form the elements that laminated shells offer but the improved breathability is a worthy trade off when your focus is climbing to ski.
The recent surge in softshell products has created quite a diverse collection of shells and fabrics. The December issue of Off-Piste takes a look at a handful of different hooded softshell jackets. One jacket that we have been using for almost a full year now is the Outdoor Research Mithril Stormshell. Although most softshells do not offer full storm protection like a laminated shell, the Mithril offers incredible protection from the elements. The Ventia fabric that OR uses is, simply stated, bomber. The trade off is in breathability. The Mithril may not be the most breathable shell but its ability to repel the elements is unmatched. This is a jacket designed with the worst Cascade weather in mind.
I used this shell for several days of climbing and skiing on Mt Hood during a search and rescue effort in weather that set records for wind and precip levels. Imagine high winds combined with precip ranging from rain to snow to ice for several days running, the kind of weather where your hood and goggles never come off and you can wring the water out of your gloves. Well, the Mithril survived this cycle with style. I stayed warm and dry in literally some of the worst weather you could imagine and was physically active the whole time. The Mithril is not as breathable as most softshell fabrics (like the more common Schoeller fabrics) but if protection from the elements is your priority, the Mitrill can handle the worst. The Mithril has become my goto jacket for foul weather adventure.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Garmont introduced a new Dynafit compatible boot this month. A beafy four buckle job, the Axiom is designed to meet the needs of the folks looking for big boot performance. We have not skied them yet but here is what Garmont has to say . . .
The Axon is as responsive as the best alpine boots, powerful to arc the biggest skis, and as mobile as the best ski mountaineering boots. The Axon hits the mark with the growing popularity of big skis mounted with Dynafits by serious big-mountain backcountry skiers.
Look for more details when we can get a pair to test.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
While we are hanging onto a fine sunny October here around Mt. Hood, ski season is not far off and the press releases and announcements are a flying. Following Garmont's announcement that they will be working with Rottefella to offer an NTN compatible boot, Black Diamond recently offered a press release describing their new boot line and giving Fall 2008 as the launch date.
BD plans to offer both AT and Telemark boots. According to BD, they will debut three AT models in the Power Series – the paradigm breaking, four-buckle Factor, a softer flexing Method and the Women’s Shiva. Each boot blends alpine overlap construction with lightweight touring functionality combining the performance an alpine skier demands while providing a highly articulated walk mode for access to the backcountry.
On the telemark side, BD will break out with two collections geared around its Power and Efficiency platforms. The Power Series is built around the Custom, Push and Women’s Stiletto. All three boots raise the bar with progressive flex, torsional power, and alpine inspired fit technologies. The Efficient series adds the Seeker, Women’s Trance and Axis blending smooth, predictable bellows with high torsional stiffness in a lightweight versatile package.
Another release we got was for a clothing company called KJUS Skiwear. Founded in Norway, I am not familiar with the clothing but they produced a movie/infomercial to promote their line and it is available on the web. Big deal? Well, yeah, except for Lofoten, the location where it was filmed. This island chain in Norway is stunning and the movie is worth watching just to see the area, some very cool terrain right on the sea. you can check out the video here - 2007/08 film.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Tannis Dakin from Sorcerer Lodge up in the Selkirks sent us a few photos of a work party up at the lodge this summer. Snow has been coming and going up in the mountains this fall and they are ready for the winter to kick into gear. Here is what Tannis had to say . . .
Lots to talk about up here in the Golden area this fall. Sorcerer did its annual workweek this summer and finished off a beautiful new set of stairs to the second floor. You don’t have to creep gymnastically down the sides to avoid the creaks in the middle of the night anymore. . . . the photos show the day hikes I always promise the work crew - in between the sweat, bugs, dust and sawdust, we do get out for a few hours.
More interestingly for those of your readers who might come to this area, is a new initiative begun by the backcountry lodges of Golden. We’ve set up a website called wisegoat.ca. This is a venue for folks in the industry to share our weather and snowpack information with each other and with the public. Check out the link below for more details. The local newspaper published a story for us. We’re pretty excited and we want everyone to know about it! Real hard info should be getting posted around Christmas by all the participants.