July 30, 2013
It's not often that you get to meet someone you can honestly say has improved your life, but it happened today.
Silas texted with the news that Federico Sbrissa was in town for the day and was hungry for burgers, so we arranged to meet him at the Ballard Red Mill location (formerly Totem Fish & Chips) for lunch. For those who aren't familiar with the name, Federico (Fede) Sbrissa is sort of the Jonas Salk of alpine touring boots, having co-developed the TLT5P and Vulcan during a long and productive stint at Dynafit. These are the boots that most everyone I know uses for touring, and which broke performance barriers for AT boots that had long been taken for granted. This vaccine against the bondage of heavy touring gear has met with religious acceptance among thousands of ski tourists, so to meet their maker is no small deal. Fede, who now works for Salomon and Arc'teryx developing climbing boots, rolled in with his buddy Jerôme who's the Salomon alpine boot product manager. Silas had already seen them earlier in the day, having taken them to Starbucks Store #1 at the Pike Place Market (Federico is a big fan of Starbucks) for morning coffee.
We talked skiing over bacon cheese burgers and Cokes, with the Euro guys really interested in the state of ski touring in the US. They seemed amused by stories of guys putting Dynafits on Pontoons and such, but agreed with us that things would evolve with more time and more vertical. When I asked about Salomon's new tech binding and boots they both sort of shrugged it off but didn't deny it, so I didn't garner any real news on that one. As for the food and the "Native Americana decor," they liked pretty much everything with the exception of the secret sauce (Fede abhors sauces). Afterwards I took them for a tour of the evo store, which was a breath of fresh air after visits to other mainstream retailers in the US, and they checked out the indie ski section carefully, taking special interest in DPS, Moment, ON3P, and Icelantic. They had tons of questions about what sold well in Seattle and how we handled online sales of footwear, so we had plenty to talk about.
They finished up by extending an invitation to visit Annecy and do a Salomon factory tour before hitting the freeway and heading back to Vancouver. Oh, and I forgot to tell Fede how much his work had impacted my life, so I guess I'll have to take them up on the offer and bring along a bag of Starbucks Ultra Roast to espress my gratitude.
July 7, 2013
After a mellow 4th of July, during which we BBQ'd a turkey breast and took time to remember that there's no country we'd rather be a citizen of than the good ol' USA, and then an equally mellow day at the store where I actually sold a pair of skis, it seemed time to get in some July turns. Elissa and I headed up to the Paradise Glacier, where we promptly ran into Silas Wild in the 4th Crossing parking lot. Silas is the consumate dirtbag's dirtbag, and was taking the day off after nine days of sleeping in his car and touring every day. He made staying in his Subaru sound like the Hyat Regency, with all the amenities that the park offers. "Hey, they even have free coffee at Climber Registration. FREE COFFEE!" Skinning still starts just a few feet from the car, though it won't for long. We met up with Art Freeman at around the 8,200 ft. level and finished up a great tour with him.
July 3, 2013
There's first time for everything, and yesterday with the temperature in the high eighties it seemed like a good idea to take up Scott the Hyperlite rep's offer to do some wake surfing on Lake Sammamish. Chris Shalbot's friend Ben graciously allowed us to use his basement bathroom and BBQ, and a bunch of evo employees took turns getting wet. After watching a few experienced riders work the wake, I jumped in and took a few long rides - turns out getting up and getting towed with the rope isn't too difficult, but finding the sweet spot on the wake and actually riding it is a bit of a trick . . .
Previous Incoming Pages:
China: Wandering in the Middle Kingdom
"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I might consider acquiring, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the randosaigai.com link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .
© 2014 Gregory C. Louie