Archive | The Vault


The Art of the Uptrack

The Art of the Uptrack – How to Make an Efficient Skin Track Larry Goldie – Owner, Lead Guide at North Cascade Mountain Guides First, there was the epiphany. It was a deep day, sixteen inches of new and still snowing. The hookup began as many do, spontaneously meeting at the trailhead with the same objective in mind. I was… Read More

Read More
newbie backcountry skier

Backcountry Skier Personalities – The Newbie

Backcountry Skier Personalities – The Newbie We’ve all been there. New gear or new to the sport, the Newbie is both endearing and embarassing. The Newbie You needn’t search far afield for the Newbie. This species is ubiquitous around North America and commonly sighted at sidecountry locations and roadside attractions made popular by their easy access and moderate terrain. A Newbie… Read More

Read More
rando racer

Backcountry Skier Personalities – Rando Racer

Backcountry Skier Personalities One could argue that a Rando Racer is not really a backcountry skier, and that the easiest way to take the fun out of backcountry skiing is to time it. But there’s been some bleed over between the rando race scene and the lightweight touring world, so here is the Rando Racer backcountry skier profile. Stay tuned… Read More

Read More
Bro Brah

Backcountry Skier Personalities – The Bro Brah

Backcountry Skier Personalities We all know a Bro or two. A classic ski bum stereotype, the Bro Brah is found all over the world.  Stay tuned for the still to come Rando Racer and Newbie profiles. The Bro Brah Few skiers are as easy to identify as the quintessential Bro Brah. The Bro Brah is part ski bum and part… Read More

Read More

Backcountry Skier Personalities – The Luddite

Backcountry Skier Personalities No backcountry skier profile would be complete without a look at the Luddite. Sometimes grumpy and always enthusiastic, the Luddite is like a snapshot in time from ski gear history. Stay tuned for the still to come Bro Brah, Rando Racer and Newby profiles and be sure to read the Gearhead, Luddite and Jaded Local profiles. The… Read More

Read More
Backcountry skier personality jaded local

Backcountry Skier Personalities – The Jaded Local

Backcountry Skier Personalities – The Jaded Local Continuing our sarcastic look at backcountry skier personalities, we profile the typically grumpy and often misanthropic Jaded Local. Also check out Gearhead, Luddite, Bro Brah, Rando Racer and Newby profiles. The Jaded Local The Jaded Local is generally an anti-social creature. Unless you happen to be part of his inner circle or, perhaps,… Read More

Read More
skier personality gearhead

Backcountry Skier Personalities – The Gearhead

Backcountry Skier Personalities Backcountry skiers can be a curious bunch. We come in a variety of flavors and there are several easy stereotypes to poke fun at. Of course, we all hold traits from a mix of stereotypes, but in the spirit of making fun of ourselves, we broke backcountry skier personalities into six classic stereotypes — Gearhead, Jaded Local,… Read More

Read More
avalanche hazard rating

What’s The Problem? Understanding Avalanche Hazard

The classic backcountry ski checklist – shovel, probe, beacon, brain – has also come to include the avalanche forecast, and most of us make the effort to check the forecast before we head into the mountains. But an important question that’s often overlooked is; “Are really absorbing the most important information contained in the forecast?” Sure, the avalanche hazard rating… Read More

Read More
backcountry ski packs

Avalanche Safety – The Morning Meeting

Avalanche Safety – Have a Clear Plan and Conditions Dialogue The number one response I hear from students when asked why they are taking an avalanche class is, “to be safer in the backcountry.” Avalanche instructors work hard to send folks away with many of the tools they need to be safer skiers. Some of these avalanche safety tools are… Read More

Read More
Dream Job Avalanche Forecaster

Dream Job – Avalanche Forecaster

Dream Job – Avalanche Forecaster An Interview with ChugachNational Forest Avalanche Center Forecaster Wendy Wagner by David Waag We all appreciate the value of our regional avalanche forecast centers and, let’s be honest, who hasn’t dreamed of working as an avalanche professional. It’s all face shots, field observations and free gear right? Well, it turns out there’s a lot more… Read More

Read More
Uptrack Outdoor Research Ascendent Hoodie

Darkside Calling – Telemark vs AT

Darkside Calling – Telemark vs. Alpine Touring by Paul Butler Right before the end of the year, I went out skiing. After a week of torrential and monumentally depressing rain turned Christmas into Slushmas, cold from the east brought December back to the way it should be in these parts. Two friends and I began making our way up “the… Read More

Read More
avalanche accident

Avalanche Accident – A Perfect Storm

A Perfect Storm – Reflecting on an Avalanche Accident by Larry Goldie and David Waag Never have I fought so 
hard to suppress the 
overwhelming urge to panic. Before I realized what I was doing, I 
heard my own muffled screaming. I told 
myself to calm down. Again, I realized I was
 screaming. A few deep breaths later, I gained… Read More

Read More
backcountry skiing

In The Pocket – the cycle of the seasons

In the national forest around the volcano near my home, there is a pocket formed by the near-perpendicular intersection of two ridges. There’s a steep, old logging road that winds its way up to the ridgetop above this cleft in the earth, past a small spring that seeps downhill and is gathered by a creek and continues onward. I am… Read More

Read More
mountain soles gear repair

Outdoor Gear Repair – Repair, Renew, Reuse

REPAIR, RENEW, REUSE All in a day’s work at Mountain Soles In an era of disposable products where cheaper equals better to many consumers, there stands a testament to quality and longevity in a small shop in Portland, Oregon. Mountain Soles, a fixture in Northwest outdoor gear repair since 1979, has been quietly repairing, altering and renewing quality outdoor footwear,… Read More

Read More