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.