Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gear Review: First Ascent BC-200 Jacket (Updated)

Who knew the invisible man had a career in modeling?

When I used to think of Eddie Bauer, I thought of a crank powered radio that I bought at their outlet store.  It was somewhere between the flashlight key chain and the battery powered tire pressure gauge in their novelty item section.  I also thought of the Ford Explorer that had their name plastered on it.  In short: they were a store of gimmicks.

Fortunately for outdoor enthusiasts, it appears that one of their gimmicks has unwittingly led them into offering a solid line of clothing and one awesome jacket.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Trip Report: Belmont (Yeah, THAT Belmont...)

Sometimes alpine touring is less alpine and more touring.  Such was the case on a recent "trip" (five minutes from my door) to Belmont, MA.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rudy Traded

Even great players sometimes need to move on.

Nor'Easter Alert!

In case you've been living in a snow cave for the past few days and haven't heard, there's a powerful storm already running up the coast and dumping on the eastern seaboard.

As of this evening, eastern MA, southern NH and VT, and eastern ME are in the sweet-spot of this Nor'Easter.  They're calling for close to two feet here in Boston.  A brief survey outside my back door reveals dense, wet Sierra and not Utah Blower.  This should set that great base we've all been waiting for here in New England.

So if you're looking for a backcountry adventure tomorrow: think Monadnock, Wachusett, Cardigan or Agamenticus.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NOAA meets Google Earth and the Results are Nerdtastic!

I can see my freezer buildup from here.

NOAA and Google Earth have an icy love child, and that child's name is The National Snow Analyses 3D Interface

With daily updates, it provides 3D information on snowpack across the country for obsessive nerds like myself.

This is similar to the color coded maps I've linked to the main page, however information is provided for all of the Continental US and Canada.  Thus you can discover depressing tidbits like northern Georgia currently has more snow cover than Massachusetts.  Don't believe me?  Well go ahead and download today's .kmz file and open it up in Google Earth.

Note that it takes a few seconds for the data to fully download and even longer if you're using your Commodore 64. 

Thanks to jibmaster on the Telemark Talk forum for introducing me to this sexy new snow analysis tool.

Now go find some snow cover and get out there for some turns this weekend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Momma's Safety Talk

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

November is finally behind us and the snows are starting to fall (naturally and otherwise) in the mountains of the East.  It's time for Momma's safety talk.  You know the one you get just before you head out the door.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Video Snackpack

If you're like me, you've been slaving away this week with an eye on the snow accumulating up North.  Your glowing rectangles have been sucking the life out of you all week, and you need something to keep the stoke alive.  Don't worry.  You're almost there.  Here's a little snack for your soul.

Check it out HERE

This short, titled "Desert River" is among the backcountry themed movies featured at the Backcountry Film Festival.  (Check out their promo HERE)

While the closest showing is at Oneonta, NY, it may be worth the trip, with titles like Australis and Deeper.

Bonus:  Coolest. Snowcave. Ever. at around minute number three.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Media Review: Going Deeper

Hey snowboarders.  Let's be friends.  I'm sorry that I've blamed you for pushing all the snow off of my favorite slopes and for causing every piste collision I've ever been in.  My disapproving glares and animosity are a thing of the past.  You can thank Jeremy Jones.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gear Review: Backcountry Boot Comparison Chart

Ismelda Marcos had a closet that looked like this.
You're ready to jump into the backcountry, but not sure where your investment in gear should begin.  Chances are that you already have downhill alpine gear including the boots, poles, skis and bindings.

You can always throw those skis and bindings on your back and hike to the top of the mountain on your daddy's old snow shoes.  Alpine boots, however, aren't designed for walking from the car to the ticket counter, much less to the top of Mt. Cardigan.  More importantly, your feet are usually the first part of your body to get cold if not properly cared for.  They are also your most important body part, and asset, when you're more than ten miles from your car.  Frozen or blistery feet = slow or no movement = searchers find your body in June.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Gear List: What to bring for a night on the mountain.

Home is where the -20 bag is.
What should you pack on an overnight backcountry ski trip?  Over the years I've learned some hard lessons and developed a list to survive (and even enjoy) a long winter's night on the mountain.  Some items are necessities, while others (down booties) are comfort items that I'm willing to sacrifice some space and weight to bring along.

See for yourself why I have back problem by springtime.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gear Review: Karhu XCD GT/ Silvretta 500 (a.k.a. "The GT's")

Every ski quiver needs a long distance horse:  a go-to ski for a long tour on rolling terrain.

The Maine Huts, the Pemi-Traverse, the Long Trail and a trip to the Arlington Heights water tower need the right tool.  When I've got miles of rolling terrain to cover, I break out the GT's.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

-Trip Report- Mt. Cardigan: A Backcountry Mountain with Training Wheels (March 2008)

I dare you to paint a picture with those shades of blue.  You'll be laughed at.
At some point in my life I'm going to be diagnosed with skin cancer.  I've resigned myself to this fate due to my Casper-esque complexion combined with an uncanny ability to forget sunscreen on the worst possible occasions. Someday they'll be burning a lesion off of my face, and I'll be dreaming of one such occasion: my first backcountry ski trip to Mt. Cardigan in New Hampshire.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

AMC's Favorite Ski Tours

AMC (the mountain club, not the theater chain) just sent out their November/ December issue of Outdoors and included a feature article on their four favorite spots for backcountry skiing in New England.  There's even a video for you kids who don't read too good.

The video, narrated by David Goodman, explains some of his favorite spots.

I'm not sure if I agree with AMC's list, but it provides a nice variety of steeps as well as rolling tours.

This begs the question: Which locales would I list as my favorites? 

After many minutes of contemplation and a vision quest involving NyQuil and a stationary bike, I've summoned the following list:

4. Mt. Cardigan, NH
3. Mt. Hunger, VT
2. South Baldface, NH
1. Gulf of Slides, Mt. Washington, NH

Which would you list?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Storm Alert! (UPDATED 11/3/10)

Don't let the clear skies fool you over the next couple of days.  Those of you who have been following the "Precipitation threats" link to the left have probably noticed that NOAA says we're in for a storm at the end of the week.

From what I can tell, it looks like it will be a mixed bag of mostly rain at the lower elevations, but with snow currently forecast for the higher elevations from Thursday through Saturday night from the 'Dacks all the way to the Whites. 

Keep your ears open and get your yardwork done this week!

Update:  Earlier in the week NOAA had north central New England in the bullseye for a significant precipitation event, but they've since changed their minds.  They're now showing the storm passing closer to the coast, with most of the precipitation falling as rain in eastern portions of MA, NH and ME. 

There's a good detailed description of the forecast (as usual) from the Famous Internet Skiers, who are holding out hope (like most of us) that the storm may still get pulled further West.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Bike Trainer Companion

Where are my biking shorts? 
So you're spinning away on the bike trainer for the entire month of November trying to maintain some of your mountain biking muscle for the upcoming ski season and you need something to keep you from completely losing your shit like Jack Torrance.

Enter the Ski Channel.

Tsacmoc! Tsacmoc!
The boy that lives in my mouth (who also issues profanity laden posts on the Time for Tuckerman Ski Forums) brought to my attention the fact that Comcast offers this channel through its on-demand menu.  There are plenty of ski movies and ski related content to get you through the month of November and pumped for the winter ahead.

While you're there, check out "Intrepid Descent" featuring Tuckerman's Bowl, or the aptly named "Flakes" for some backcountry telemark knee bending.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

-Trip Report- Camel's Hump: The Hard Way (February 2008)

Does somebody smell burning gloves?

The stop sign sailed by us as the staccato thumping of the anti-lock brakes broke the silence.  The words "hang on guys" came out of my mouth so matter-of-factly that Gered and Brett wondered if I knew we were sliding out of control.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Could End Badly

The Edge of Never is a ski movie out this Fall.  It follows the child of extreme skier Trevor Petersen who goes to ski a Chamonix run where his father died.

Child abuse or a tribe's epic journey to help a boy become a man?

You make the call.

Preview Here

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gear Review: G3 Onyx Binding

Despite a few minor flaws, the G3 Onyx has become my go-to backcountry binding.  My review is after the jump.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

-Trip Report- Killington: Skipping Purgatory (October 2010)

I feel like I've done something wrong.  For me,  Halloween is the official end of Fall and then there's a full month of misery (also known as November) before winter.

Put simply: I skied on October 16th.  Before Halloween. Before Thanksgiving.  Before Daylight Savings.  Something's wrong.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nor'Easter Alert!

The L's are Lining Up

The first winter storm of the 2010-2011 season appears to be on its way to the higher summits of New England, and its a Nor'Easter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

-Trip Report- South Baldface: Secret Stashes and Country Clubs (March 2008)

The snowfields on South Baldface
Should you keep a great backcountry spot secret, or should you tell the world about it? 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

When Your Opinion Is Not Yours to Give Anymore

Warren Miller recently lost in arbitration versus Warren Miller Entertainment.
According to the article :

"The arbitration award, issued October 6, reaffirms WME's exclusive rights to the name, personal endorsement, voice and likeness of Warren Miller -- rights that WME purchased from Mr. Miller in agreements dating back to the sale of his film company to WME in 1988."

So kids, it is very possible to sell (and thereby lose) the right to give your public endorsement of a product.

Friday, October 8, 2010

-Trip Report- Welch-Dickey: Combat Skiing (Jan. 2009)

Welch without the Dickey

Combat Skiing: (noun) survival skiing in tight glades, often involving near death collisions with rocks, trees and Sasquatch.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rocket Tent: When You Think It's Going to be a Long Long Hike....

A 2-person tent that weighs less than your ski bindings?
Somehow, I think that when you wake up you'll feel like one of those roast beef grinders that has been sitting in the store cooler all day. Mmmmoiiist.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skiing Antarctica

I came across the trailer for a new movie that will be making the rounds with the other ski flicks this fall. 

Australis: An Antarctic Ski Odyssey follows a ski expedition to the world's highest continent. So far no East Coast dates have been set, however, the distributors promise to bring it East sometime this Fall.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A New Old Resource for East Coast Skiers

Right there between bird watching and lighthouses.

I received a photo from my friend Keith yesterday.  Keith, who has sworn off winter camping and backcountry skiing, had noticed a book on backcountry skiing at the local Borders. He hadn't seen me reading it yet, so naturally had to pass it along.  

My first thought:  Aha! Keith is now noticing books on backcountry skiing.  Maybe our campfire chat did him some good, and there is hope for him after all.

My second thought: What?  A book about East Coast backcountry skiing that I've never heard of?!

Well, a quick Amazon search revealed that this is a new version of two older books.  It appears David Goodman has combined his two previous volumes on backcountry skiing into one book covering both New England and New York.  I'm curious to see if he's added any new destinations to his reviews.

This would be a good resource for those looking for an introduction to backcountry skiing in the East.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Backcountry Ski Ideas: Fall 2010

My Basement

I've been busy researching (obsessing over) skis for the upcoming ski season.  Based on my research, I've put together a chart comparing the best options out there for an East Coast skier.

These are organized based on the width of the ski underfoot.   Generally speaking, a ski with a thinner sidecut will perform better on hard pack and ice, while a ski with a wider waist will float better on powder.

The radius of the ski is a function of the sidecut ratio.  If you can imagine the curve between the widest and thinnest part of the ski as part of the diameter of a circle, the number listed is the radius of that imaginary circle.  The lower the sidecut radius, generally speaking, the easier it is to turn the ski.  However, this is not always the case.  Sometimes the shovel design can lead to better turn initiation.

Most of these skis are considered "medium-fat" skis.  I've left off the widest skis, and also elminated the heavier skis from consideration. 

The prices are as of 9/24/10 from the listed retailer.  If you find a better deal, feel free to leave a comment.  Enjoy.

Model                 Sidecut     Radius Weight/lb    Length/cm         Price Retailer

Volkl Snow Wolf 113 76 100 18.1 6 170 $199.00
Dynafit 7 Summits 113 78 100 20 5.5 170 $531.21
BD Machine 123 79 108 16.5 7.1 166 $99.00
BD Stigma 123 79 108 17 6.4 174 $490.00
Atomic RT80 121 80 107 17 6.3 171 $230.00
K2 Backup 125 82 110 19 7 174 $300.00
Mt. Baker Superlight 122 86 107 21 6.6 167 $280.00
Karhu Spire BC 122 86 108 22 7 177 $299.00
Dynafit Mustagh Ata 116 86 109 24 6.6 169 $468.00
BD Voodoo 123 88 112 21 7.3 175 $250.00
K2 Wayback 124 88 108 22 6.8 174 $372.00
Atomic Kalais 125 88 111 20.5 8.1 174 $280.00
BD Havoc 121 88 113 21 7.6 175 $325.00
BD Aspect 130 90 117 19 6.5 176 $570.00     

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tour Dates for Ski Movie Premieres

Popcorn, music, movies and free stuff... What's not to like?

The tour dates for this year's quality ski porn  have already started.  All across New England, ski movie premiere season is upon us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

-Trip Report- Hillman's Highway: A River Runs Through It (May 2010)

Did somebody bring an auger?
There's nothing like skiing with the sound of rushing water beneath your feet.

The words skiing and water usually end in disaster unless there's a boat involved.  That includes the late spring contests where skiers dress up in ridiculous costumes and go skimming across open water to reaffirm principles of speed, air displacement, and blood alcohol content.

But I wasn't picturing the margarita fueled crowds of some resort.  I was more focused on driving out thoughts of a dark, cold, wet hole that was waiting for me on the other side of an unknown thickness of snow and ice beneath my feet.

Such is the mental battle on Hillman's Highway on a warm spring day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Year's Ski Movie Teasers

The International Freeski Festival is in Montreal September 16-19th, and they've conveniently provided a list of all the available teasers for this year's ski movies.

Relive last year's incredible Mid-Atlantic Snow Waste.. and dream of the powder days to come.

Ski Movie Trailers/ Teasers

Thursday, September 2, 2010

-Trip Report- Mt. Washington: A Tale of Two Seasons (March 20-21, 2010)

You fickle old bitch!
Mt. Washington is a fickle old bitch.  The jet stream that flows around her crown can one day bring a gorgeous Bermuda high, and the next bring the cold punishing winds of an Alberta Clipper.  Given her geography she puts you right in the front seat for the ride.  Timed right, she can bring you unbelievable spring corn skiing.  Timed wrong she can punish you with a frozen nightmare of icy chutes and wicked winds.

Such was the case on a weekend trip this past March.   Two days and two completely different seasons.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Evening Loop

Luckily they're all pinecones
So it's early evening on a weekday, and I can still hear the phone ringing in my ears.  I've got about two hours of daylight left and a mountain biking itch to scratch.  Where can I go to find a little piece of heaven?

The Middlesex Fells are close, but there's a lot of "forest service road".  The trails have a few technical spots, and the hills will get you in shape pretty quickly.  However, there is only one loop for mountain bikers.  I treat it like my time trial course: where I go to gauge the progress in my conditioning.  That is to say I like to avoid it because it reminds me what a fat wheezy creampuff I really am.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

That time of year again....

The trails are all dried out.  The skis are in the basement.  It's now time for that other season.  The one that takes you to the hidden nooks and crannies of New England(even Rhode Island), and keeps you in shape for next winter.  (Or was I staying in shape for the summer?)

Yes.  It is.... Mountain Biking time!

Break out the Camelback, and the night lights; the funny spandex shorts and the biking shoes.  Fill up your saddlebags with spare tires and gu. Tighten those brakes and adjust your seat posts.

We've got five more months of mountain biking ahead!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is What Sadness Looks Like

There's just not a lot to say about this. Stay tuned though. We're pulling together a list of good, empathetic skiier/therapists in your area. Get help early because it's going to be a long hot summer

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

-Trip Report- Whitewall: Abundance of Caution (January 2010)

                                                      Going Ninja on Whitewall

The thermometer registered 9 degrees above zero as we pulled into the parking lot.

It was already 7 pm and dark.  The plan was to get up to Zealand Notch, camp overnight, ski Whitewall in the morning and then possibly ski Mt. Hale on the way back in the afternoon.  We calculated a total distance (round trip) of around 12 miles-- even without a trip up to the top of Mt. Hale it was ambitious.  Gered and I had already spent the better part of the afternoon braving high winds and zamboni grade ice at Cannon Mountain.  Our legs were tired and our spirits were low.  And we still had a long two days ahead of us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Review of REI Taku Pants - Men's - 30" Inseam

Originally submitted at REI

The REI Taku pants, in a 30 in. inseam, are a versatile option for your backcountry pursuits. Waterproof, breathable stretch fabric provides the ultimate in comfort and the ultimate in protection.

Comfortable and dry but flimsy

By NEBackcountryXplorer from Boston, MA on 3/22/2010


2out of 5

Gift: No

Waist: Feels true to size

Length: Feels true to length

Pros: Breathable, Comfortable

Cons: Poor Material or Construction

Best Uses: Hiking, Backpacking

Describe Yourself: Avid Adventurer

I appreciate the exact sizing of these pants. Most comparable items don't come in leg/waist sizing, instead coming in generic S/M/L sizes. I have Hobbit legs (30") so most standard sized pants are too long (32"). These were comfortable, and kept me dry during resort and backcountry skiing. My complaint is that the fabric in the ankle area is easily cut by ski edges or crampons. This should be a simple fix for REI. It merely requires a stronger material in that one fairly small area on the pants. These are great if you plan on wearing them for hiking, or using gaiters. I would not, however, buy these again for skiing.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rudy Reborn: Better, Stronger, Faster

"We can make him better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."

From Sean Astin to Steve Austin, Rudy is reborn.  It didn't exactly cost six million dollars, or even six dollars for that matter, but Rudy's back and better than before.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Boot Flex Rating System

So you've bought a new pair of eight pound skis and your  backcountry boots don't have enough backbone to push them around.  How do you figure out what boots would be more appropriate?

Interestingly, there is no universal standard for boot flex.  Some manufacturers assign their own rating system, but the ratings aren't useful for cross-brand comparisons.

Luckily, the folks over at Teton Gravity Research have already put together an unofficial rating system for the most popular boots.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whitesnake: A Ski Review' I've made up my mind, ...I'm ain't wasting no more time.... Here I go again with another ski review.

It's not everyday that you come across some guy from Tennessee selling several thousand pairs of identical skis on Ebay.  After failing to sell his bulk load of army surplus skis, I encouraged the owner to sell me a few pairs (Gered and Justin jumped on the deal too) for $25 a piece.  Not bad.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Duck Duck Get Hit in the Head with a Stick

While discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the recent helmet fad around dinner a few weeks ago, I decided that if I was to continue bashing ski helmets I should at least try one out to see how poorly I perform without the keen sense of hearing and broad field of vision my hat head allows for.

It's not that I don't have the excuse of not having a helmet to try. I have one, and I've worn it, and I think it serves a real purpose. For one, it is great to wear bike commuting in the winter. The lack of chilling air vents aside, there are numerous disadvantages. To start, I found it in a dumpster, it's 10 years old, and weighs 200 pounds. And makes you deaf as a door knob. So, I've never worn it skiing.

That all changed the other day when I saw this beauty. One of the lightest helmets on the market, great vent control (super warm) and DOLBY Surround (tm) quality sound built in. And, it's blue. Love at first sight.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drop a Knee and Ski for Free

Although Andy will try to tell you that AT is a perfectly acceptable way to earn your turns, we all know a high tech AT setup is really just a hackjob attempt to blend the beauty and simplicity of telemark with the weight and RAD advertising dollars of alpine. I mean, when was the last time you heard of anyone being sponsored to TELE?? Get with the program people. Tele is the real deal. It is cheap(ish) to get into, cheap to maintain, free to ski, and the fastest way up and down. If you know how to flex nutts and like to stare knowingly down at your ski buddies as they dick around with their locking mechanisms and climbing bars, then tele is for you. This is what Andy looks like after said dicking.

Gear Review: Some Backcountry Ski Ideas

Given the conspicuous lack of snow the last few weeks, the local skiing holes have all but dried up.  I tried to go to the backcountry trails around Blue Hills on Saturday, but found more rocks and grass than snow.  What is a backcountry ski addict to do when there's no snow?  Shop for gear, that's what!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's the Difference Between an Alpine Touring Ski and a Telemark Ski?

Aren't you just sick and tired of hearing this question from your friends and family members and not having a decent answer?  Well today is your lucky day.

Now be forewarned.  This is one of those situations where more knowledge equals more complication.  Before I reveal this mystery, let me be clear that manufacturers don't always clearly label when a ski has been manufactured for telemark or alpine touring performance. Furthermore you begin to notice the downright contradictions in most ski reviews.  You may end up doing a lot of digging to determine whether a ski is "ideal" for a particular type of endeavor. You may be better off just not knowing.  Read on at your peril.

Friday, February 5, 2010

-Trip Report- Burnt Meadow Mountain- (1/18/10)

About twenty minutes east of North Conway, just off Rte 113 is the little town of Brownfield, Maine.  Above this crossroads looms Burnt Meadow Mountain. Rumor has it that the bald summit is due to a fire that burned not only the top off the mountain but also the town below.

Keith blazing a trail up the ridge

When I think if southwestern Maine, I picture fields, low hills, and the lakes that dominate the landscape all the way to the Atlantic.   So when my friend Keith, from Portland, announced a snowshoeing trip to Burnt Meadow, I was only lukewarm to the idea.  With so much unexplored terrain in the more rugged White and Green Mountains, I didn't feel like this part of Maine had much to offer a backcountry skier.  Boy was I wrong.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

-Trip Report- Hunger Mountain: I Lovermont (January 2010)

It had been a while since I skied the backcountry of the motherland.  A rainstorm from a couple weeks ago decimated most of the snowpack in New England, including my backcountry targets in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  While there was plenty of cold to go around, snow was at a premium.  Earlier in the week, Bolton, Jay and Stowe had been hit by a storm that dumped upwards of six inches of fresh snow on each.

This gave me a perfect excuse to drive a little further, and get back in touch with the mountains of northern Vermont.  I was quickly reminded why Vermont is the "Ski Mecca" of the East.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Update: Rudy Sidelined

It figures.  After espousing the virtues of Rudy, Murphy and his freakin law would catch up with me in the mountains of Vermont.  Alas, this last Sunday Rudy found his match in the glades of Andre's Paradise on Jay Peak..  I finished my first turn at the top of the glades, and lept into a second jump-turn when my left foot came flying out of the binding.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter is Proof that God Loves Us

Winter is my favorite time of year. I don't care what you say about Summer. Summer is for Jersey Shore Guidos and all you seasonally depressed vitamin D addicts. Me, I'm different. The way most people feel about Summer is the way I feel about my one true love and seasonal mistress, Winter. And there are others like me. Well, at least one other. Andrew Howard. He might even love winter more than I do. 

While Brett and I beat our selfs silly all summer long riding and running in circles, Andy WAITS. He sits inside, alone, in a dark room eating ho hos and surfing the internet. The ho hos pad his belly for those long winter nights. The dark room helps him hone his bat like senses, preparing him for low light backcountry navigation in the darkest depths of winter. And he surfs the internet (no not for porn) but to carefully pinpoint, log, and track amazing backcountry destinations to earn our precious (and free) turns each year. Kuddos to you Andy. The world needs more intentionally fat people who don't just use the internet for porn. And the world needs more people who love winter.

If you feel like Andy and I do, share this blog with all your friends. In all likelihood they don't feel the same way. It's never too late to be reborn into our new religion. Only you can help save a soul today.

Happy turn-earning all you acolytes. 

An AT Setup for less than $100!!

I recently came across a couple of deals on Ebay, that combined, can get you on your way into the backcountry for less than the price of two days of skiing at Stowe.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So you're an accomplished resort skier that is thinking of taking your first backcountry ski trip.  What kind of gear do you need to get started?

Meet Rudy.  Like in the movie, Rudy is shorter and lighter than average, but consistently performs beyond expectations.  He can also take repeated beatings and keep on going.  Rudy is my first backcountry setup.

                                      Yeah.. I'm only 172cm tall.  You have a problem with that?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

-Trip Report- Carter Notch: Being a Fat, Out of Shape Sweaty Mess Sucks (January 2008)

Carter Notch I- January 2008

My first backcountry ski trip was a debacle.  Gered and I attempted to ski up to Carter Notch, where our AMC hut reservations were waiting.

The post-trip box score would have read something like this:

Working against us:
1. Late start.
2. Overambitious plan.
3. Overdressed.
4. Kitchen sink in the backpack
5. Poor map reading skills
6. Wax....what's that for?
7. Ridiculously uneven trail

Working for us:
1. Enthusiasm

Did I also mention that I was completely out of shape.  I still hadn't found something to do in the "shoulder season" between mountain biking and skiing... well except for X-Box  and eating that is.

Enthusiasm and an extra pair of boots for the snowshoes.  Really?

It was no match.. Winter had it's way with us, and spit us out exhausted and defeated.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Welcome to Noreaster Backcountry

One day you're sitting on the chair lift. Freezing your ass off as some gas powered turbine engine powers you to the top of the mountain where you can study the trail map and navigate your way down the green, blue and black dots to the bottom. You notice that patch of trees to the left. A little voice chimes in "c'mon... just jump in there. Do a few turns and pop out."

Now that wasn't so bad. It was kinda fun actually. Congratulations! You've just tried glade skiing: the gateway drug to a whole new addiction that awaits.

Or maybe you're cruising the wide open gravel roads of the Middlesex Fells or Blue Hills and suddenly you see a shoulder-width trail diverging to the right. You dive in, testing the front suspension on that bike you bought at REI.

Oh! This is singletrack. The trees are whipping by like you're flying through the forests of Endor.

Your glades get bigger, the roads get further away, and the next thing you know, you're huffing up some hiking trail at six in the morning with a winter sleeping bag in your pack to try and ski a 30 degree slide that you noticed from the highway. Or maybe it's midnight and the flood light on your bike reveals roots, boulders and an occasional porcupine as you rocket your way down a glorified streambed to find the trail back to your car.

Where the hell are you?

Welcome.  You've found your way to the Noreaster Backcountry.