Backcountry Skiing Canada Awards "Gear of The Year" status to select products
June 20, 2011 (Nelson, B.C.) Now that the ski season looks like it is almost over, the Backcountry Skiing Canada team has been able to take stock of all the gear reviewed and select a few remarkable items for the “Gear of the Year” designation. The team has had the pleasure of testing the bejesus out of a wide range of gear over the 2010/2011 season and these four items have, in testers’ estimation, risen to the top of the heap.
The four items selected are, in no particular order: 1) The Outdoor Research Northback Glove—great mid-weight glove, with just the right number of bells and whistles, 2) The Westcomb APOC Jacket—minimalist design made with high-performance, Polartec Neoshell fabric, 3) The First Ascent Front Point Jacket—a super-comfortable, hard/soft shell combo and 4) The Scarpa Maestrale Alpine Touring Ski Boot—hits the sweet spot on comfort, light weight and beefiness for the ultimate long-distance tourer.
“In selecting our ‘Gear of the Year’ winners for the 2010/2011 season, we were looking for things with a little special sauce. Gear that stood out and made for better days in the mountains. Though we were pretty happy with most of the stuff we tested, our winners for this year were exceptional in their design and materials,” commented Andrew Creighton, partner/editor at www.backcountryskingcanada.com.
The site has a rapidly expanding gear review section and skiers and gearheads are flocking there. “It’s definitely one of the more popular aspects of backcountryskiingcanada.com,” added Brad Steele, the partner whose recently operated-on knee is allowing time for many upgrades to the site. “Visitors spend a lot of time scoping the latest forum posts, but they also tend to spend a fair bit of time looking at all the gear we have tested and reviewed.”
For the 2010/2011 season, or sooner, site visitors will see more than 40 new backcountry skiing routes, a new photo/vid comp is in the works—with obscenely appealing prizes, the home page is getting a renovation, and the gear review section is being reorganized to make for easier, faster accessing of information on gear of interest to backcountry-skiing-fanatic site visitors.
Backcountryskiingcanada.com will be rolling into its third season when the snow flies next fall. The site continues to enjoy top Google rankings which bring more and more ski tourers to the site, which now features more than 125 ski touring routes, tons of beta (including photos and videos), current avi info, safety info and more. Everything a backcountry skier could ask for.
For more information on the backcountryskiingcanada.com Gear of the Year winners, visit the Review page.
Download the complete press release here.
Backcountry Skiing Canada Awards Prizes to Happy Photo Comp WInners
The Expose Yourself comp was a first for backcountryskiingcanada.com but it likely won’t be the last. “We were very happy with all the submissions we got to the comp. People really made the effort to share their backcountry skiing experiences through exceptional photos, videos and stories,” commented Brad Steele, backcountryskiingcanada.com kingpin. “Now that this season is wrapping up, we have already started working on next season’s comp. Without me sharing too much, let’s just say we have another batch of mind-blowing prizes and some ideas to keep it fresh. Stay tuned to www.backcountryskiingcanada.com for the breaking story.”
Download the complete press release here.
G3 Ski Line Up lowdown for 2011/2012
The backcountryskiingcanada.com team is happy to have its HQ in the sleepy little mountain town of Nelson, BC. Also living in this town is Cameron Shute, all-around good guy, great skier and Product Development Engineer at G3. This later attribute means we get to pump him for information and beg him for gear. In the piece which follows, we’ve asked Cam for his thoughts on G3’s line of skis for next year. It’s an email interview that has been lightly edited. Cam also managed to send us some high-ish res. images of the skis so we can all see the sexy graphics for next season. These are, in our humble opinion, some of the nicest looking skis G3 has ever produced.
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BSC ~ What are you really excited about in the G3 ski program for next year?
Cam ~ I’m really excited about both the descent collection (Highball and the Infidel especially) for more down oriented skis, and I think the Zenoxide and the new Saint are incredible touring skis….really good weight for the width and ski performance.
(We've included big images so you can gawk at the new graphics. It'll be grerat excercise for your scrolling finger too!)
From the Descent Series: Highball (140/116/127 – 4 kg), Infidel (128/97/119 – 3.7 kg)
From the Mountain Series: Zenoxide (131/105/123 – 3.3 kg) and Saint (122/93/112 – 3.1 kg)
BSC ~ Which skis have rocker and why?
Cam ~ This is all summarized on page 8 of the the catalogue (ed. which we have for you here) The entire descent, mountain and women’s collection have early rise tips. The simplest answer to why is that it makes turn initiation so easy. Going further with it as we have with our Sweetrise skis (Highball and Infidel) gives them a looser feel. The practical application of that is that it allows you to ski a longer ski than normal which gives you way more stability at speed, yet remains easy to manoeuvre.
BSC ~ Seems like there is a movement toward lighter, fatter skis for touring. What skis in your line-up are lighter/fatter?
Cam ~ The Zenoxide, the Tonic, and the Saint are all extremely competitive weight wise, and our entire descent series is relatively lightweight compared to other brands.
From the Mountain Series: Tonic (132 / 100 / 123 - 3.6 kg)
BSC ~ Your super tour segment looks a little like a European approach. What was the thinking behind these skis? Who are they for?
Cam ~ These do have a euro flair to them, and are doing well in the European market…that said, for long ski traverses, ski mountaineering and perhaps firmer/less deep conditions these skis will fit the bill.
From the Super Tour Series: Spitfire LT (123/89/111 ~ 3.2 kg), Soulfly (114/83/104 ~ 2.7 kg), 78 Stinger (112/78/100 ~ 2.4 kg)
BSC ~ Is fatter better?
Cam ~ In this neck of the woods it is!
It’s a bit too simplistic of a question though. "Better" is relative to what you need out of a ski. I view skis as tools…you gotta select the right tool for the job you’re working on. Depends what combination of region, snow depth, length of tour, fitness level, ski ability, etc. you’re talking about.
BSC ~ Do you expect anybody will mount your skis with alpine bindings?
Cam ~ Definitely (me being one of them) for the new Descent series.
BSC ~ Are any of these skis tele specific or are they all suitable for either AT or Tele?
Cam ~ All suitable to go either way. "Tele specific" is a marketing relic from the days when tele was a huge fad, and people used it to sell more skis. The only real tele specific skis I know of are scotty bobs…
Thanks to Cam for his insight into next year’s line of G3 skis. The backcountryskiingcanada.com team is keen to try the Highballs and the Zenoxides. We tried to demo either pair at the Coldsmoke Festival here in Nelson but they were so popular, they were always being used and never available. You can look forward to a review of the G3 Manhattans from us in the coming weeks. Like all skis, it takes a while (for us anyway) to figure them out and get dialled in. First impressions are good.
IF YOU WANT TO CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE G3 CATALOGUE FOR NEXT YEAR, WE TORE IT OUT OF CAM'S MITTS AND HAVE IT FOR YOU. CLICK HERE AND DROOL.
Backcountry Skiing Canada - Expose yourself Photo Comp Launched
November 09, 2010 (Nelson, B.C.) With the snowline creeping down the mountains and pre-season stoke hitting a feverish pitch, Andrew Creighton and Brad Steele of Nelson, BC (the team behind www.backcountryskiingcanada.com) are set to launch a friendly competition with some mind-blowing prizes. The comp. is all about getting people to share their stories of backcountry adventure on the site’s Forums (which are here, for online readers). The more people share, the more the site can help promote fun and safety in the backcountry.
Judges will be looking at a few things in selecting the contest winners: storytelling ability, photo/videography, stoke, and quality of info. Contestants have to sign up for the forums, create a post including a photo/video and 100 words (these are minimums), name the post, and submit it. That’s it! People may enter as many times as they want, with each “story” or trip report counting as one entry into the competition. “The best part of it is that people entering are contributing to the site for the enjoyment of everyone. These contributions will add to the knowledge base for the future. It’s not just a one-off photo that people will hang on their wall,” said Creighton.
Andrew and Brad have worked with their partners to offer up some amazing loot for the winners: First prize is a day of cat skiing and lodging for two at Retallack Lodge; second prize is a new set of Black Diamond Justice skis and Fritschi Plus touring bindings from ROAM in Nelson; next prize is a 3-day AST avalanche course, meal vouchers and Whitewater day passes for two; next prize is a Dakine Tactic backcountry touring pack from Valhalla Pure. “We’ve poked around a bit to compare our contest with some of the others from ski magazines and other outfits. We are ecstatic about the prizes our partners are offering. The only drawback is that we aren’t allowed to enter ourselves!” Creighton added.
Backcountryskiingcanada.com is rolling into its second season now and features descriptions of various backcountry ski routes (a total of almost 84!) throughout BC and Alberta. This number has more than tripled the total from last season. Site visitors can check out links to avalanche information on different regions, route descriptions of varying detail, gear reviews and current trip reports. The site represents one of many tools to which people can refer when they head into the backcountry powder. “We always encourage people to check the detailed avalanche reports on the Canadian Avalanche Centre website, and even consider hiring a professional ski guide if they aren’t familiar with the terrain,” commented Steele. “We’re happy to provide a lot of the necessary information for ski tourers, but it’s really the responsibility of the individual to do all the information gathering needed to be smart and safe out there.”
Red Resort - Playgrounds Beyond Boundaries
Red Resort today Announced that RED Mountain will Expand With Over 300 New Acres of Backcountry Terrain And Introduces the Alpine Glory Hut.
There are playgrounds with boundaries and playgrounds that go beyond boundaries. RED Mountain has long been celebrated as the latter. Recognizing how important off-piste skiing and snowboarding is to our guests, this winter RED is opening over 300 acres of new off-piste terrain on Grey Mountain. In addition, RED is offering day and over-night guided backcountry tours to a newly erected yurt on Kirkup Mountain called the Alpine Glory Hut.
Grey and Kirkup are two of five peaks within RED Mountain Resort’s 4,200 acre controlled recreational ski area and land use tenure. read the full press release here.
Red resort in Rossland BC has alot of great news for this coming 2010/2011 season - some of which include a new backcountry hut, new backcountry skiing terrain and additions to the base lodge - get all the details by viewing their 2010/2011 news repost here.
Calgary Outdoor Festival
Calgary Outdoor Expo and Festival, Oct. 30 - 31
The first-ever Calgary Outdoor Expo and Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, October 30th - 31st. A consumer trade show offering something for everyone who enjoys the outdoors, the Calgary Outdoor Expo and Festival is focused on self-propelled sports - climbing, hiking, trekking, cycling, adventure travel, snowshoeing, and all forms of skiing (downhill, cross country, backcountry and alpine touring).
Approximately 110 retailers, outfitters, and product brand exhibitors will take part in this outdoor extravaganza, including Gore-Tex®, Golden Alpine Holidays, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Lou’s Skiing Performance Centre and many more. The two-day show will also feature a wide range of workshops and demonstrations; skills presentations; a gigantic outdoor gear swap; three climbing walls supported by local climbing clubs and celebrity international climbers; a slack line area; cross country ski track complete with demo skis and boots; and an action-packed film festival featuring some of the best new rock climbing and snow sport films from around the world.
Whitewater puts in a new lift this summer
Whitewater lovers, hold on to your seats.
And get ready for a wild ride—especially over the next five months.
Trucked all the way from the storied slopes of Vail, Colorado, a new lift was hauled up to the local hill Thursday afternoon in a major move that will likely take a lot of skiers and ‘boarders by surprise.
After weeks of tight-lipped strategizing, the resort and its Calgary-based owners have announced plans to install a triple-chair on its coveted and advanced Backside out-of-bounds area—in time for the start of this winter.
“Whitewater will become the lift-serviced powder capital of Canada,” says General Manager Brian Cusack.
“I’ve talked to a few people who’ve been heli-skiing, cat skiing… and they’ll tell you that when the snow’s good on The Backside, it’s the best skiing around.”
From a loading station located a kilometer-and-a-half below the Hummingbird Pass roadside parking area, the new-but-not-exactly-new lift—already crowed the Glory Ridge Chair—will carry riders up to a vertical drop of 2,042 feet in 11 minutes. With the exception of a few groomed runs, all of the terrain will be gladed, advanced-to-expert tree skiing.
And with the days officially already getting shorter, the two companies hired to get the lift installed and the forest thinned out to ideally shred-able proportions say they can have the work done by the time the hill opens for winter.
“It’s a bit of a daunting project,” Whitewater marketing boss Anne Pigeon admits. “And we’re going to be really busy over the summer and fall trying to get the word out to the world.”
Fernie-based lift installer Summit Lift Company will put the chair in. Juggernaut Development Inc., the same company that undertook Red Mountain’s well-received glading project a few winters ago, will tackle the logging and brushing, with an aim to have eight tree-skiing runs ready for the new season.
The harvesting of the Backside area will be spread over two years and once complete, the Glory Ridge Chair will service a total of 303 hectares consisting of 18 gladed, treed and groomed runs of intermediate and advanced/expert terrain—an expansion that will effectively double Whitewater’s current size.
Pigeon, on staff at the hill for the past 21 years, says the new chair marks a milestone on a number of fronts.
“This is going to put us in a league that we belong in,” says Pigeon, referring to the magic marketing figure of 2,000-plus vertical. The marketing manager says despite its lore as a deep and cheap must-ski, on paper, the hill doesn’t look large enough to attract the sort of annual skier visits Whitewater and owners Knee Deep Developments are banking on to fund ambitious expansion plans.
The incoming lift “will entice a different skier, a different crowd,” says Pigeon, “they’ll be more serious and higher end.”
And for a community with considerable economic reliance on winter tourism, Pigeon says, the Glory Ridge is going to be a real benefit for the region.
Given its history, the lift — a Dopplemayr triple chair — comes with a little mountain mojo too.
Previously called the High Noon, the chair was installed in one of Vail’s back bowls in 1980. It underwent a complete mechanical overhaul in 1999. Whitewater isn’t saying what it paid for the chair, which was taken down in May.
“It’s got an awesome track record, and has been maintained meticulously,” says Whitewater Outdoor Operations manager Kirk Jensen.
With hotter weather in the forecast, Jensen says crews will begin harvesting the lift line to make room for the chair’s 19 towers within the next few weeks, then get to work on terrain to the skiers’ left of the chair.
Jensen points out that the new lift won’t mark the end of the Backside’s famously off-piste offerings. A third of the zone, from the in-bounds Diamond Glades run to the 9.5-kilometre marker on the Whitewater road, will remain unpatrolled and alluringly out-of-bounds.
“I think it’s going to be fabulous,” says Jensen, noting that like it or not, The Backside isn’t what it once was.
“It’s come to the point where it’s not a secret at all. It’s very popular.”
The huge increase in snowboard and skier traffic has resulted in more tough-to-reach injuries and a heap of meandering hitchhikers on the road.
“The lift is going to enable people who haven’t wanted to take the risk of going out-of-bounds to head back to an area that’s patrolled and safer.”
And the skiing terrain, Jensen says, will be just as locals know it, but brushed out and better, adding there’ll be a small parking lot at the loading station, but no other buildings.
For his part, Cusask, who managed Pincher Creek, Alberta’s Castle Mountain for over 20 years while keeping a home in Nelson for most of the last three decades, suggests the Glory Ridge lift addition — Whitewater’s first new chair since the installation of the Silver King double in 1993 — will in fact bring back the sort of skiing folks were used to only a few years ago, before the local mountain surged in international notoriety.
“The new chair is going to spread people all over the mountain,” says Cusack, “instead of little secret stashes lasting for a day or maybe two, they’ll last for four.”
And with the goal of more untracked snow equaling more dough, Whitewater can confidently set its sights on even bigger plans over the next three to five years, Pigeon says. The resort’s upcoming priorities, after the Glory Ridge ride is completed, include a new skier services building, replacement of the Summit Chair, the first phase of its single-family real estate and accommodation development and even more terrain expansion—thanks to a new lift slated for another nearby and so-called slack-country destination, White Queen.
DARREN DAVIDSON, NELSON DAILY NEWS REPORTER
An article in the March edition of Off Piste Magazine about this web site and the new guide...more
A recent article in the March edition of Skier Magazine about this web site and the new guide...more