It is August. People are getting after it in the southern hemisphere, ski movie trailers are dropping left and right, and there is new products to drool over. All of that is happening; meanwhile, I am losing my mind during the summer construction season. With days off only coming on rain days, I haven’t had the ideal summer for adventures. That being said, I have had plenty of time to think about gear and what worked really well last year. So despite no one asking for it, here are some things I like.
Touring for big lines can be tricky. Lightweight skis make for easy ascents, but compromising descents. Heavier skis rip, but limit the run total or distance possible in a day. Enter the Amplid Facelift, an incredibly lightweight ski with a very freestyle inspired shape. With a 108mm waist, the Facelift is wide enough to float through deeper snow, while generous taper make it nimble enough for spring corn and tight chutes. Coming in at 1575g per ski, it is one of the lightest skis available in its waist category. I spent the second half of the year touring the Facelift in the 184cm length and was blown away by its performance. Booting up couloirs I would forget the Facelift was even on my backpack. On the way down, the Facelift handled soft snow and mandatory airs exceptionally. Being a shorter length than I am used to skiing (188-193cm), I did find myself wishing I had a little more length when straight lining . Thankfully Amplid has responded to rider feedback and is offering the Facelift in a 190cm length for winter 2017/2018.
Marker Kingpin Binding
The Kingpin binding from Marker is another product that tackles the problem of big mountain touring. Not as light as some other minimal pin bindings, and not as robust as framed bindings. The Kingpin is the perfect binding for aggressive freeride skiers who are looking to spend more time in the backcountry than at the resort. With a tech or pin toe piece and a more traditional alpine heel, the Kingpin offers the power transmission and security of an alpine binding in a weight conscious package.
Petzl Crevasse Rescue Kit
Continuing the trend of weight conscious products, the Petzl Crevasse Rescue kit was a nice way of pairing down the amount of gear I bring on glaciated tours. Being able to set up a crevasse rescue for yourself or your partners is essential for more remote backcountry tours. Having used numerous carabiners, cordelletes, prusiks, and pulleys for years, I always dreaded the extra weight associated with glacier travel. However, by switching to the Petzl Crevasse Rescue Kit and supplementing it with a cordellete and some runners, I was able to significantly reduce the weight of my glacier travel kit. The Petzl Kit consists of 2 locking carabiners, pulley, micro traxion, tibloc, and a 120cm sling/runner.
The ultimate Alaska climbing tool! Verts are a lightweight snowshoe like device used to climb slopes too steep to skin and too deep to boot pack. The days of wallowing in waist deep snow up a steep face are over! Verts weigh less than most snowshoes and are designed specifically for skiers and snowboarders. While not a replacement for crampons, Verts open up midwinter options that wouldn’t be as accessible without them. Verts are offered in various configurations to accommodate both ski or snowboard boots.
So there it is! No one asked for it, but you have now been force fed gear ideas that have worked for me. If you have any questions about gear or suggestions, please share!