We finally have all of our Off-PisteMag logo swag back in stock. This year we have two ball cap styles, trucker and traditional, as well as our 100% organic cotton hoodies with embroidered Off-Piste logo. Our Voile straps are back in stock, too! We went with 18" straps this season to fit your favorite fat boards.
Support the best in grassroots backcountry adventure, and set yourself up with some styling gear at the same time.
The multi-tool market is full of cool tools, but most miss the backcountry skier niche, requiring that you carry an additional tool to cover what the multi-tool lacks. The Brooks Range Backcountry Multi-Tool aims to fill the backcountry skier tool void. Designed with input from mountain guides and dedicated skiers, the tool hits the mark on target.
The Backcountry Multi-Tool includes a knife blade, a flat blade screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and a ¼-inch hex socket that accepts any number of screw bits. The flat blade screwdriver is big (#4), doubles as a bottle opener and includes 6, 8, 10 and 11mm wrenches. The pliers include wire cutters, and the handle of the tool holds four bits for the hex socket, including a #3 Pozidriv,T20 Torx driver (fits Dynafit bindings), standard #2 Phillips bit anda #4 flat blade bit. The tool comes with five additional bits, a #1 Phillips, a T10 Torx, a 1/8-inch Allen, a bit extender and a 1/16-inch drill bit. The extra bits are stored in a small pouch in the carrying case. The entire tool folds into a Leatherman-like package and includes a Cordura carrying case.
Functionally, it works great. The #3 Pozidriv and T20 Torx bits alone are super valuable, and combined with pliers and a sharp blade, you have a solid all-in-one tool for skiers. The weight is reasonable and construction quality is pretty good, too. We did come up with a few gripes, but none of them really speak to the tool’s actual functionality, they are more of wish list for the Backcountry Multi-Tool 2.0. First, we’d like to see a pivot on the ¼-inch hex socket on the tool body. It would help add power to the using the bit tool. Next, the blade lock requires opening the screwdriver to disengage and this seems silly. Finally, a pair of small scissors would be a nice addition. Of course, a more complex blade lock and adding scissors would likely add to the tool’s weight. All in all, the Backcountry Multi-Tool covers just about all ski binding and boot-related tool needs. Finally, there is a single, functional tool to complete the backcountry skier’s repair kit.
Well, it's official, NOAA has issued a full on La Nina advisory for the approaching winter season. Until recently, NOAA was undecided whether the coming winter would be a neutral year or a La Nina year. The sea surface temps now point toward La Nina, although there is of course still some uncertainty.
I have yet to read anyhting about how significant a La Nina influence is expected, but the climate maps (courtesy of NOAA) all show above average precip and below average temps for the Northwest.
As I recall, 2009 saw a late start for much of the Northwest and some skecthy stability issues in the early season, but it ended up being a decent year. However, as I recall 2000 was not exactly a great year in the Northwest or even parts of BC. Of course, I am no meteoroligist. I am just a skier hoping for the best possible snow conditions. The Climate Prediction Center forecast looks good for a successful winter and is likely more reliable than my not so great memory of past seasons.
Who has not dreamed of designing their own ski top sheet? I know I have. Too often I find myslef staring down at the skis on my feet thinking, I could create cooler graphics than these. Have I ever done it, not yet. But you should try!
For the fourth ski season in a row, G3, Vancouver BC-based backcountry ski gear manufacturer, is teaming up with various sponsors to give you four chances to see your graphics atop a pair of limited-edition G3 skis. Last year’s G3 Skigraphiks contest saw more than 250 entries.
The Skigraphics contest runs in four segments, each with an affiliate sponsor who promotes the contest. Here are the details:
Sept. 1 - Sept. 30, Backcountry.com.
Oct. 1- Oct. 31, MountainGear.com.
Nov. 1 - Nov.30, BentGate.com
Dec. 1 - Dec 31, Backcountry Magazine
The contest started in September this year, rather than October, which means you should be able to ski on your own design this season.
Winners of each contest get their graphics used on a current ski from the G3 2011 line. The graphics from the winner of the Backcountry.com contest will be used on the Highball, the MountainGear.com contest of the Saint, the BentGate.com contest on the ZenOxide, and the Backcountry Magazine contest the Infidel. We have skied all of these boards and G3 has really stepped up their performance. The Saint was a big hit with our test crew.
G3’s logo must be used in all entries, while affiliate sponsor logos must also be represented in the respective contest that they are sponsoring.
Submit your designs at www.g3skigraphiks.com, where the public gets to vote on them. Four winners, one each month, will receive a free pair of custom designed skis with their graphic on the top sheet. The grand-prize winner, chosen two weeks after the last contest ends on December 31, will receive a ski package valued at over $1,400. The package will include a pair of skis with their winning top-sheet graphic, as well as G3 skins and G3 bindings.
Check out last year’s winning graphics (posted above) and keep tabs on current entries on the G3 Skigraphiks website. Of course, vote for you fave or enter one and get all your pals to vote for it!
It has been a while since I posted a random clip to fill the time. I recently read in the news that Facebook is the number one time waster in America. Well, to be fair the article said it was the number one social networking site where Americans choose to spend their time. So, in an attempt to provide more time wasting opportunities on Off-Piste I offer you the following video of Ueli Steck. It is not backcountry skiing, but it is some pretty dramatic mountain adventure. This guy is an animal.
We recently got a pair of the new Dynafit Radical ST Bindings to demo. If you are immersed in the world of ski touring (read ski geek like me), you likely know that Dynafit unveiled a new generation of their tech-binding last winter called the Radical Series. If you are not fully up to speed on Dynafit bindings (and other tech-bindings), check out past blogs under gear for a primer.
The Dynafit Radical ST is the standard version from the new Radical Series. Dynafit also makes a stouter model called the Radical FT and a lighter more race oriented model called the Speed. Our focus is on the Radical ST because it is the go-to binding for most backcountry skiers.
There are many subtle changes to the binding including an improved crampon slot, a new mounting pattern, easier to read DIN settings and stouter components. However, the more significant changes include the addition of small towers or stops adjacent to the front pins. These new stops facilitate a truly easy step-in process. A process that, although it becomes second nature with a little practice, has been daunting to new tech-binding users - at least until now.
The second big change is in the heel and climbing lifters. The new Dynafit Radical ST heel unit has two easy to use flips that create low and high heel lifters. The new heel unit is also uni-directional (turns only in the clockwise direction).
The new Dynafit Radical ST toe unit is a 100% upgrade from earlier models. The new stops do a great job of helping you line the boot up for a clean step-in process. I am really impressed at just how much easier it makes getting into the binding, and I was pretty proficient at the old style. Check out the video of stepping into the Radical ST binding.
The new heel unit offers increased functionality when it comes to heel lifter use, but loses some of its on-the-fly mode change functionality. The new lifters are super easy to use and are sure to eliminate the pole tip problems and assorted issues people have had had over the years. However, I miss the ability to spin the heel unit with my ski pole. The new clockwise only rotation eliminates my favorite ski pole grip maneuver to spin the unit back to ski mode, which means that I need to work on a new program to facilitate removing skins and swapping over to ski mode without removing my skis or bending over to twist the heel unit.
According to Dynafit, the new heel system was designed to keep the heel from pre-turning on the ascent and locking you into ski mode mid-slope. The lawyers also recommended that you remove your ski to switch into downhill mode to ensures that you have stepped into the binding correctly. It also keeps people from skiing with the toe locked, and the lawyers like this feature, too.
All in all the new Radical binding is a great upgrade to an already rock solid system. I will likely whine a little about having to reach down to turn the heel back into ski mode, at least until I figure out a new system.
Here is a video demonstrating just how easy the step-in and heel lift deploying processes are.
The Howell brothers are at it again: Powderwhore Productions has just released their 2011-12 ski movie trailer, Breaking Trail.
The new film departs from their telemark specific focus of past seasons in favor of the full gammut of snow sliding tools, telemark, alpine touring and splitboarding. They remain focused on human powered access, and as the title implies, the Powderwhore crew puts in some serious trail breaking hours. In their own words,
Warning! There are no shots of helicopters filming other helicopters or hankie-clad 16-year-olds hepped up on energy drinks spinning to rap music. And you won’t win a Jeep if you come out to a premiere. You will find a mixed bag of highly talented and dedicated individuals who enjoy hiking out into the unknown in search of turns and adventure. All this captured by two video hacks carrying as little as necessary in order to travel fast and light.
Breakin Trail premiers on September 28 in Salt Lake City. Check out the Powderwhore website for full details on their movie tour. They will be in our Hood River neigborhood on October 12.
Warm weather and east winds have favored the expansion of the Mt. Hood Dollar Lake fire. The fire is now approximately 4,500 acres in size. Most of the growth has been to the west, but changing winds today could again impact fire behavior. The USFS is reporting 10% containment with a high probability of continued growth, which is better than the previously rated extreme danger of growth.
From a skiing perspective, the fire may well be opening up some interesting terrain, but much of the area burning is relatively inaccessible come winter. There could be some new skiable lines in the Stranahan and Pinnacle Ridge areas. Here is a link to a full size map of the burn area.
Word from the Northwest Oregon Incident Management Team is that the North East side containment line is in place. Given this work and the proximity to the 2008 Gnarl Ridge burn area, protection of the historic Cloud Cap and Tilly Jane areas is looking good. The next few days, of course, will determine what is to come. The short term forecast is for warm weather and light winds. You can get updated fire information by visiting the Inciweb.org website and choosing the Dollar Lake incident from the menu on the upper right.