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April 30, 2007:

Crystalfest - The Turns-All-Year Annual Picnic

Looks like just another busy day at Crystal, but all those people actually SKINNED up!

It was a sure sign of the growing popularity of backcountry skiing, when perhaps 80 or more people appeared out of the mists to converge upon the Crystal Mountain parking lot yesterday for Turns-All-Year's annual rite of spring. Lawn chairs, large metal cannisters of malt beverages, snow-worthy dogs and children and a varied assortment of backcountry-lovin' humanity formed a long line moving steadily up the hill toward Campbell Basin.

The event was a great chance to meet new friends and catch up with old ones, check out other people's gear, and generally enjoy the company of like-minded ski people in a low-key environment. TAY founder Charles Eldridge actually put in an appearance, along with stalwarts Ron J. and Jeannette M. Big league ski mountaineers like Lowell Skoog, Amar Andalkar and Phil Fortier mingled with youngsters like 12 year-old Brett, up for his second Crystalfest with his dad, amber ale flowed freely, and Telemack kept the drowsy on their toes with his campstove espresso bar.

Skiing was a little marginal, and the hoped-for thawing of the frozen corn and avy debris top layer never came to pass, but the crowd took turns climbing to the ridge of the Throne and descending to the delight of onlookers. A great day with cool people, and one can imagine what sort of turnout this might have engendered had it been SUNNY!

Here's Jerry White's video of the event!

April 24, 2007:

And you thought it was safer to ski with your toes unlocked . . .

Life-saving device by Dynafit, available at a mountaineering store near you

This is good. Andrew McLean was on a trip with friends Grant Guise and Ben Ditto up in the Wrangle/St. Elias range of Alaska. Ben skied out on a ridge to get some shots of Grant and Andrew skiing down, then proceeded down the ridge in the process of joining them when . . . WHAM . . . he falls through into a huge crevasse, his heels release, and he's left hanging upside down from one Dynafit toepiece.

By this time Andrew and Grant are some 750 vertical feet down the mountain, so when Ben calls on his Talkabout and calmly tells them that he's hanging upside down by one leg in a crevasse and he's gonna die it takes them about 15 minutes to put their skins back on and beat it back up to the ridge.

Andrew explained that he would have paused to take a picture, but once he realized the "gravity" of the situation, he put all his effort into hauling Ben out of the hole and only afterward shot some celebratory video - here's a link to the footage. As luck would have it, Ben's one of those guys who doesn't use brakes or a leash on his skis and so is in the habit of always locking the toe when the skis are on his feet . . .

Previous Incoming Pages:

March, 2007

February, 2007

January, 2007

December, 2006

November, 2006

October, 2006

September, 2006

August, 2006

July, 2006

June, 2006

May, 2006

April, 2006

March, 2006

February, 2006

January, 2006

December, 2005

November, 2005

October, 2005

"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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