Although I am sitting in the office and would rather not know how good the skiing is everywhere, we have been receiving a variety of vids highlighting the November skiing around the western states and Canada. Aaron Cooperman, Sol Mountain Lodge co-owner and ACMG Ski Guide, just sent us this short clip of skiing up in British Columbia's Monashee Range on Monday. It takes the prize for best skiing in November that I have seen this year.
Skiing Blind Faith with the kind of blind faith normally reserved for mid winter turns is pretty impressive . . .
As backcountry skiers from Alaska to New England and beyond get in the rhythm of winter, the December 2011 issue of Off-Piste Mag, Issue 51, is at the printer and scheduled to ship next week. Issue 51 includes features that range from a profile of Brian Cross - aka the Bald Bomber to confessions of a couloir junkie and the continuation of our four-part regional skier interviews. The December gear feature takes a look at five new three-antenna avalanche beacons, and the Avalanche 101 article discusses when to dig.
In other news, thanks to all the new and existing subscribers who entered into our November subscription promo sponsored by Genuine Guide Gear (G3). We will notify the winner of the G3 avalanche safety gear on December 1 and announce the new December subscription promo too! Entry for the November promo is now closed, but you can still enter the December contest by subscribing or, if you are already a subscriber, by sending us an e-mail asking to be entered. Anyone who entered the November contest will automatically be entered into the December round.
We are stoked to announce our November subscription promo with Genuine Guide Gear.Off-Piste Magazine subscribers have a chance to win G3 avalance safety gear this winter! There will be drawings each month and a final drawing in March for a pair of G3 skis!
This month's lucky winner will receive a killer G3 avalanche tool kit that includes a G3 Bonesaw, AviTech Shovel and Speed Tech Probe.
We'll be giving away great G3 avalanche safety tools all winter, so subscribe now for a chance to sweeten your avalanche tool collection. In March, we'll conduct a final grand prize drawing for a pair of G3 skis! One lucky subscriber will win their choice of skis from the G3 Mountain Series. The winner will be able to choose from the Tonic, Zen Oxide and the Saint.
I recently got a pair of the Gecko glueless climbing skins in for testing. I first heard about the Gecko skins about a year ago, but this is my first experience with them. Although we do not really have enough snow to warrant testing in the mountains yet, I thought they were interesting enough to warrant a blog post.
Touted as glueless, the Gecko skin system is still an adhesive skin. It just happens that the adhesion is delivered through some high-tech rubber compound, not the traditional glue that we all love to hate. Still, the Gecko skins function very much like a traditional skin with glue. The big difference is that the adhesive side is not sticky like glue. The included spec's refer to the adhesive side as the "vacuum area." It's sort of akin to an easy peel window sticker. The skin has very little adhesion when put "glue-to-glue", so to speak. But when you put the Gecko on your ski, it sticks just great (at least in the garage). The upside being that the skins are super easy to handle, the adhesion never wears out and you do not have to worry about them falling in the snow or getting dirty.
The skin surface appears to be mohair, which I happen to prefer over synthetics. The Gecko skins are lightweight, supple and easy to handle.
According to the regional distributor, the skins can get wet, are easily cleaned with luke warm water if they become dirty, and are easily cleaned if they fall in the snow. The spec's describe the adhesion as "molecular fusion (suction)" and say that repeated application and removal of the skin does not affect the performance. The spec's go on to say that the skins perform reliably in a wide range of snow conditions and withstand temperatures from + 250° C to - 70°C.
Of course, we have yet to test them in cold temps on snow, but from our dry run use, I am very intrigued. Here is a short video clip of the Gecko glueless climbing skins.
We just got a note from John Lehrman at Downing Mountain Lodge in Montana. Here is what John has to say about the lodge and the approaching winter season.
The sub alpine larch are passed prime color and the western larch are glowing on the mountains. And while I have been eagerly rock climbing and mountain biking, soon it will be time to relax and switch to skis.
Up at Downing Mountain Lodge, we are almost all set for the upcoming season. With ten cords of wood, we have plenty of fuel for the grand fireplace and skiers relaxing around the lodge. It has been exciting this last week in the snow showers. It has been a great reminder of the good times to come skiing on the mountain. And while I stumble around in hiking boots on uneven, frozen ground, I think of the smooth days of breaking quiet trail and easily shussing back to the lodge. With another La Nina winter in the forecast, we are in for a great season of backcountry skiing at Downing Mountain Lodge.
We are planning to have an open house at the lodge again this season, likely on Saturday, December 17th. We hope to have the band Free Range to play, while we host a potluck of sorts for a good time and for folks to experience the new lodge layout. It is usually too early for good skiing, but I will come armed for a run if conditions allow!
Seattle area backcountry skiers, it's Snowbash 2011 this Thursday. Support the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center and enjoy great music by the Tripwires. This annual event is a great time to connect with your ski pals and have a chance to win some great swag in the raffle, all while helping to raise some funds to keep NWAC's awesome forecasts rolling.