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June 21, 2012

Gotten Any Lately?

Matt decided to throw a party in honor of the incoming summer season, and dubbed it the "Alpental Summer Solstice" Event, which soon became known by its obvious acronym on the local ski forums. I invited my young friend Elissa to join, who invited her friend Alyssa. After building up a head of steam on the TGR site, Matt was thinking that perhaps 40 people might make it to the top of Alpental Wednesday evening to join in the fun. Locals Greg and Chris helped with the prep, hauling provisions to the top beforehand, and word spread among the Alpental faithful and others with an urge to get out and ski in June.

The outcome had perhaps 50 to 60 people and assorted pets jammed onto the top loading station of Alpental's famed Chair 2, with others constantly in the process of skiing either up or down as well. All told, it seemed likely that around 80 people were involved at one time or another, probably one of the all-time great impromptu ski parties of our era in the PNW - at least for one that required a good hour or so of hard aerobic work to get "in the door." I arrived late and left somewhat early, but saw a lot of good friends and ushered in the new season in true skier style - thanks to Matt, Greg and Chris for the instigating!

The skiing? Actually it was great - the debris on International from 10 days ago had completely flattened out, and aside from a quick portage of about 50 feet on the entrance, everything was smooth and sweet. An inch or two of softened corn gave us plenty to dig our edges into, and it felt good to make some turns.

The long and winding road up Edelweiss . . . people skinned, booted and crawled up with kegs, it seems.   Elissa Eng photo

A mixed bag of locals, TGR posters, and people who just love a party showed up   Elissa Eng photo

This was early in the evening; the crowd at the lift station probably tripled by the end of the night.   Elissa Eng photo

June 18, 2012

RIP Stéphane Brosse

Le roi est mort.

French ski mountaineer Stéphane Brosse, who ruled randonnée racing for much of the opening decade of the millennium with a host of wins in the World Championships, the Patrouille des Glaciers, and the Pierra Menta, died yesterday in a fall on the Aguille d'Argentière near Chamonix when a cornice he was crossing collapsed and he fell between 600 and 700 meters. He was skiing with a group which included Kilian Jornet (the current dominant force in randonnée racing) and videographers Seb Montaz and Bastien Fleury.

If you haven't watched this video of Stéphane ripping skins at the Powderkeg, and even if you've seen it many times, you should view it again and marvel at his economy of motion. Yes, that was 18 seconds. I'll leave you with another vid of Stéphane and friend Nico Poncet doing a little powder touring on their heavy rigs, this time with a pole cam:

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"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 link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .

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