Wednesday, December 28, 2005

How do you cut skins? Black Diamond delivers.

So you just got some skins for Christmas and you're ready to head out into the backcountry in search of untracked pow. But the question remains, how do you cut these skins? You, or a loved one, just dropped serious coin so you can earn your turns and you're not about to screw it up by hacking your skins. You've got two choices:
  1. Drop more coin and take them to your local shop
  2. Save that coin and watch on of Black Diamond's new Skin Trimming Videos (you did buy Black Diamond skins, right?)
Grab your wireless laptop, head out to the garage with your skis and skins in tow, don't forget your speakers (there are some good tunes on these vids) and watch and learn. You'll be a pro in no time and your buddies will soon be paying you with the finest malt beverages when you cut their skins for them...You can thank me later.

Here are two videos depending on which type of skins you have:

Black Diamond GlideLite Nylon STS Skins - 10.9mb (I prefer the tunes on this one)

Black Diamond Ascension Nylon Clipfix Skins - 11.7mb


TGR Ski Resort Snow Report

If you're in the hunt for a robust snow report that seems to have all the bells and whistles, I think I may have found it. Teton Gravity Research (TGR) has just launched a new snow report page on their site that gives you all the info you'll need to find out who has received the most snow in the entire country. Or use the filters and slim down your search to who has received the most snow in Utah.

If you are wondering what Pomerelle is and how is it that they just got 12" and your resort got nil, a nifty link to will give you all the details about this sleepy little mom and pops hill in Southwest Idaho.

Check it out!


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Billabong Buys Nixon

I told VF, yes the company that owns TNF, Reef, Vans, Jansport etc, to buy them. But did they listen no but Billabong saw the money and for 54 million up front and 26 million if they quadruple sales in 4 years they saw the future of accessories. Rumor has it no changes will be made but I know one of the owners is stoked. Congrats Hoef you deserver it.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Testing ski helmets - take 2

With the bomber snowpack we've had in the Wasatch and the jones for skiing untracked powder, a few of us from headed out into the backcountry behind The Canyons Ski Resort to find some soft north facing slopes. What I didn't realize was that I'd be conducting a follow up test to our recent ski helmet review by personally testing the integrity of my Giro 9 ski helmet , not to mention the strength of my head.

The Test:

I started into a steep line that looked like sweet untracked powder and as I made my first turn I hit a rock which pulled my right ski back, causing me to pitch forward in a super man pose. Unbeknown to me there was a log under the snow directly in my path that I made full contact on with my helmet and face.

The Result:

I was pretty shook up. I bit my tongue, chipped a tooth, had a "stinger" (if you've ever played football you'll know what I'm talking about), and sustained a cut chin. Bottom line is that I was ultra lucky to emerge relatively unscathed when without a helmet I would have undoubtedly been on my way to a hospital ICU unit or to the morgue.

Bottom line:

I'm never forgetting my helmet, not even in the backcountry. Oh yea, and I'm more leery of the thin snowpack - I'll be sticking to grassy slopes until the snowpack gets deeper.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Exciting News from the Cutting Edge of winter sports!

It’s time at last to announce this year’s most exciting new trend in winter sports. So, without further ado, let us introduce you to: Looking Good!

Yes folks, as we can read in the latest issue of Ski Press, the official journal of disturbing trends, celebrities and a host of people who may or may not ski are leading the trend by Looking Good at a ski mountain near you! At last, recognition for that marginalized majority of resort-goers who were out for a grueling day of primping, picking matching colors, and taking as many as four runs down a slope full of ugly people all in a single day. The arbiters of cool have spoken, and buying coats with a color pattern that matches the unique personal style of your favorite nationally distributed celebrity magazine is the new black.

Gone are the oppressive, played out themes of yesteryear like “Getting Outside,” “Just Having Fun,” and “Actually skiing.” Now those elitist “Excuse me, but you seem to be blocking the lift” jerks have nothing to say to you. “Back off, man,” you answer confidently, “we’re just trying to Look Good.” That will shut them up for sure, and make them take their outdated notions somewhere more appropriate than a ski resort. Losers.

So come on, jump on the bandwagon. All the cool kids are doing it and you wanna fit in, don’t you? Reliable, well-maintained equipment and correct technique aren’t going to do you any good if you don’t even have up-to-date bling-bling shiny farkle goggles and the season’s hottest color/style/brandname to Look Good in. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t forget that Type-R sticker to make your bases faster.

Your Ambassador to Cool,
-Techweenie Todd


Fallen brothers

For many, skiing encompasses all aspects of life. Saying, "I am a skier" means more than just another pass time you participate in. It goes much deeper to the core, as tangible as your breath - essential to your being but near impossible to display to others. It carries with it a feeling that you belong to a brotherhood. When one of your brothers pass on, especially doing what they loved most, the entire brotherhood pauses to remember.

Although I never knew Jimmy personally, I know him after reading about him. It's a skier thing.

If you are a skier, you should read this.

This winter when you find yourself out on that ridge with one of your bros, ready to drop into that favorite stash as the crisp wind touches your face, pause for a moment for Jimmy and the other fallen skiers...and be thankful.

RIP Jimmy.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Say it aint so!

Change is in the Air at Alta Ski Resort

Alta, Utah - Skiers coming to Alta may be caught off guard this week, as several snowboarders may pass them by on the slopes of the resort famous for its ban on snowboarding. Several guests of the resort were stunned Sunday, as snowboarders rode by them on the groomed runs and in the lift lines.

This week, resort officials are allowing test groups of snowboarders to ride the Alta lifts early, for privately guided tours of Alta's legendary terrain.

"Whether it leads to permanently lifting the ban or not is yet to be determined," said an Alta representative, "but these test programs are indeed prompting a re-evaluation of our position on the issue and helping us determine if the terrain is conducive to snowboarding at the resort."

Any comment from Deer Valley?


Monday, December 12, 2005

Changing of the gear - one last climbing trip

Adventure Report: This comes from customer and Horde Team member Sarah Geneser.

Suspecting that winter was setting in for the long haul, Rob and I fled south to catch a few warm climbing days before the ski season hit and the eventual trading of rope, draws and cams for skis and poles occurred. We stopped off at Red Rocks, located just outside of Las Vegas, to spend two days on the surprisingly solid sandstone cliffs there. While Red Rocks offers a multitude of superb multi-pitch gear routes, we focused on the pumpy sport climbs. The second pullout area alone contains an immense number of excellent routes, ranging from the crimpy, balancy tens that climb through the gorgeous patina of the Black Corridor, to the brutally steep thirteen’s of the Tsunami Wall. The large crowds of climbers attest to the popularity of the area, but I actually appreciated the camaraderie and boisterous encouragement of strangers cheering everyone on through many a pumpy finish.

We had planned to drive to Joshua Tree to meet some friends, and after two days of working climbs at our limit, we welcomed the promise of some quality trad routes at less exhausting grades. After the gym-like climbing of Red Rocks, the Joshua Tree cracks required that I recall the jamming techniques I had recently "discovered" in Indian Creek. As with Red Rocks, J-Tree was amazingly crowded. Climbers could be seen scrambling up gorgeous granite domes everywhere in the background.

Still, having never been to J-Tree, I was struck by the unusual beauty of the place. The strange Dr. Seuss-esque look of the Joshua tree forests are quite alien, and I was fascinated by the vast bizarre and erratic shapes looming in the distance. J-Tree granite is like nothing I've ever experienced. Far more textured and grippy than anything I've ever encountered in Little Cottonwood Canyon or City of Rocks, the coarse crystals bite into your skin, making even the most improbable jamb or smear just plain sticky. My shredded fingers ooze at the mere thought of the awesome friction of J-Tree.

Leaving such a magical place was by far the most difficult part of the trip.


I think I'm gonna be sick *cough* tomorrow

It happens a few times each year to skiers in the Wasatch. The 8am call to the boss to take a *cough* sick day. Leading up to a *cough* sick day are a number of things from planning out (rehearsing) the actual call, rounding up a posse, and the constant click/refresh of the snow cam as you watch the snow stack up on the Snowbird Tramdock faster than you can say "sick day". Here's a visual of what it looks like.

11 am - oh yea, I feel a *cough* cold setting in. My throat is killing *cough* me.

3:30 pm - boy, I'm not *cough* feeling so good. (be sure your boss sees the agony in your eyes)

6:30 pm - Once at home: Oh yea, tomorrow will be sick! *cough*


I need a new ski pack

It's true, even a gear junkie who works at must go on the hunt for gear, pouring over catalogs and seaching out online info. Outside of looking at the products on our site, I often check out what the manufacturers sites have to offer. I'd say 60% of the time I'm disapointed in my search for all of the right specs and info, particularly sizing.

As I was poking around Black Diamond's website today I found the pack I'm going to buy, the Black Diamond Frenzy backpack. Not because of something they said about the pack or the specs that I find so important to pour over, but because of the cool video they have that shows all the uses and pockets the pack employs. Kudos to BD for a great product video on an item that is hard to pull the trigger on without taking it into the hills. Turn up the speakers - there are some good tunes on it as well.

Check it out. Click on the Tech Video link.

Buy the Frenzy


Friday, December 09, 2005

Brand Extensions, only slighly better than hair extensions.

C'mon we have all read/listened to the 22 Immutable Laws of branding from good old Laura and Al Reis... (or pick it up at Amazon ) and we know that brand extensions = death in their eyes, but we see it everywhere and even in our own backyard of the outdoor industry.

Brand Extensions that are affecting us currently include anything that moves from their core products to something vastly different... for instance, every Soft Goods Brand that decides they need a glove line.

The other side of the coin is co-branding, which again, pits one more more powerful names to a particular product...

dragon + 686 = $$$$

Hello Kitty + 686 for girls

It can be done well, or it can crush you. What will happen to some of these? Do we buy in to the power of their name? What do you think?

Stay tuned.

The Whole Article and Here's The Study

(this is also why we are backcountry, tramdock, dogfunk and Explore64, NOT backcountry, backcountryevenmoreskiing, backcountrysnowboarding, and


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Smith is going to make helmets and Giro is going to make goggles and sunglasses. Currently there are a number of reps that rep both brands. Each brand has stated that this is a conflict. My guess would have been that each rep would stay with Smith it seemed to make more sense. Well, in an early morning phone call today our Smith rep left me a msg stating that he had resigned from Smith. I couldn't believe it. I can only imagine what type of package Giro offered for him to stay with Giro and go with Smith.

Giro owns helmets in ski, snowboard, mountainbike etc. They are the big player. Giro sunglasses goggles integrated with their helmets could be very interesting.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Goat in Boston

The Goat is making the rounds - this time spotted in Boston at the Teton Gravity Super Show of thier latest film, Tangerine Dream. Thanks for the love Chad!

Check out the write up about the TGR Boston Super Show at


Friday, December 02, 2005

Roger Ebert is a snowboarder?

Admittedly, a snowboarder he is not. In fact he simply stated, "I know nothing about snowboarding." So what is the most recognizable name in movie reviews doing talking about snowboarding? He's reviewing the new snowboard film "First Descent" which is a documentary about the "revolution of snowboarding" featuring Shawn White along with veterans Shawn Farmer, Terje Haakonsen and others.

Roger sited journalistic problems with the film citing how powerful and moving Stacy Peralta's documentary "Riding Giants" was. He summed up his review with this little teaser:
The kicker on the trailer says: "Unless you're fully prepared to be in a situation of life and death, you shouldn't be up here." So, OK, how can you possibly be fully prepared in a situation no one has been in before, and which by definition can contain fatal surprises? Since the five stars of the movie are all still alive as I write this review, they must have answers for those questions. Maybe interesting ones. Maybe more interesting than what a thrill it is.
Want to see the film despite Roger's 1.5 stars? Check it out in a theatre near you.

The Full Review


Can the man reign supreme once again?

Shaun Palmer is at it again. If you've never spent a few minutes to find out what makes this guy tick then you need to read the Full Story. The guy is an adrenaline junkie who has dominated the world of boardercross,(now called snowboardcross by the Olympics), skiercross, mountain biking and business (the founder of Palmer Snowboards) for over a decade. What's the next challenge for him? Olympic Gold

The Full Story - USA Today