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October 25, 2009:

Trick or Treat?

Not quite the velvety cushion of snow I had been hoping for - Anvil Rock at upper right, Nisqually Chutes at center

With the heavy rain in Seattle on Friday and snow showing on the Visitor Center cam at Paradise Saturday morning, I was thinking in terms of a foot of fresh at Muir yesterday, but somehow I and the four other people who hiked up were tricked (although the treats are evidently right around the corner). High overcast, with light snow coming in and out, I lapped Pebble Creek twice with Jimmy and Nick from Turns-All-Year. Mild temps and lack of foot traffic had flattened the snowfield to the point where it resembled a groomer at Sun Valley in terms of both smoothness and hardness; a quarter inch of fresh didn't do much to increase edgehold and skiing called for subtle "Ice Coast" slalom moves.

All in all, a very mellow day on the mountain with virtually no company. The most interesting thing about the hike was the abundance of vertically-oriented ice crystals in and around the trail, which were holding pebbles and dirt aloft. The crystals looked as if they had risen in place and pushed the debris upward as they grew.

Spectacular ice crystal formation next to the trail, some of the crystals were several inches tall.

October 24, 2009:

Rando Race Bindings Galore

Jonathan Shefftz bombards me every other day or so on the "Dynafit Users Alias" to update me on new rando race offerings, and this week is no exception. He recently guest-blogged on Lou Dawson's about the ISMF banning aftermarket modifications of boots and heel/toe binding combinations by more than one manufacturer.

While these regulations probably don't or won't affect casual randonnée racers like me, people who do race in sanctioned races at the elite level should be paying attention. Jonathan (and most of the other US-based readers) were surprised by the number of French and Italian companies now marketing Tech (ie. Dynafit-compatible) heel and toe sets - seems like anyone who likes ski touring and has access to a CNC rig is getting into the act!

Below are a few photos of race binding sets now on the market - by Jonathan's count there are at least nine companies offering such bindings, including the "old" standbys Dynafit, Schia Meccanica and ATK. Top row, from left: Crazy Idea, Merelli R8, and Plum. Bottom row: Colibri toepiece, Colibri heelpiece. The Merelli R8 set reportedly weighs in at an incredible 105 grams! (I assume this is for one toe and one heel). This compares favorably with 160 grams for a Dynafit Lo-Tech Race binding. Most of these bindings also feature an auto-locking toepiece which puts the skier in a "locked" position as soon as they step in - you don't have to pull up on the lever before you start skinning. Montura and Ski Trab also have working versions in the pipeline.

crazyidea.jpgmerelliR8.jpg plumrace.jpg


Previous Incoming Pages:

September, 2009

August, 2009

July, 2009

June, 2009

May, 2009

April, 2009

March, 2009

February, 2009

January, 2009

December, 2008

November, 2008

October, 2008

September, 2008

August, 2008

June, 2008

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April, 2008

March, 2008

February, 2008

January, 2008

December, 2007

November, 2007

October, 2007

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January, 2007

December, 2006

November, 2006

October, 2006

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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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