Outdoor Research, along with a bunch of other awesome sponsors brought us the 2013 Vertfest this past weekend. The Alpental Vertfest continues to grow and get better & better each and every year (ever since the orignal days when Alpental was one of the stops on the Life-Link/Dynafit Randonnee Rally circuit). Last year, Alpental’s Vertfest was extended one day, allowing enough time to bring in backcountry minded manufacturers for on snow demos and ski industry experts for clinics. Originally, the rando rally was on Sunday but, last year, it was moved to Saturday to let all of the athletes get the butterflies and race out of the way so they too could relax and enjoy the epic weekend. Below is last year’s event, which I never edited until this past week –check it out while I get this year’s up in the next couple of days (it almost looked the same with the snow kicking into high gear right after the race started). Also, click this LINK for a look at the final results.
After the SIA Snow Show, we headed to Aspen. When we were booking back in January, it was the only area with nearly all of its double black diamond terrain open (none of the other Colorado resorts had much, if any, steeps open given the low snow). While we were there, it snowed 2″. After we left, it really started to come down. The snow depth at their four mountains now measures: 47″ at the top of Snowmass (13″ new in the last 7 days), 29″ at the top of Aspen (11″ new in the last 7), 47″ at the top of Aspen Highlands (9″ new in the last 7) and 36″ at the top of Buttermilk (8″ new in the last 7). It was a good week to be in Aspen: The week after X Games is always much less crowded. We stayed in the West End of town. A large post-modern 2 bedroom apartment rental with >1000 sq ft for $150/nt. Surely, this is the best rental deal in Aspen so book this on Flipkey while you can. We highly recommend it.
You’ll be glad you saved money on lodging when you see some of the Aspen area’s other prices: adult 1 day lift ticket = $114 (buy online for a small discount); Snowmass’ Up4Pizza cookie $4.50, fancy pizza slice $17.25 or pizza pie $40 – see the video below) … skiing Aspen with Chris Davenport and Dean Cummings = priceless but more on that later. So you get the picture. Consider it the price of admission to some of the best times you’ll ever have in a ski town. Be sure to have lunch at Aspen Highlands’ Cloud Nine (located at the top of the Cloud Nine chair) – the food is great (best steak tartare I’m told) but the music, dancing and energy are even better. Sample the fun in the video below. If you need to demo and service your skis, head to The Ski Shop (video below) located next to Starbucks below the Aspen Gondola. Then, go apres ski at Sky Bar in the Sky Hotel. Aspen has countless good restaurants and many offer a less expensive bar menu. Our friend, KK, took us to FinBarr, an Irish pub restaurant that’s a local fav. We also stopped in at Campo di Fiori and Jimmy’s for drinks afterwards. The hot clubs are now Escobar and the Regal. The location for live music hasn’t changed for decades but it’s undergone a couple of name changes and is now called Belly Up. I remain convinced that if you’re looking for a hip, fun and upscale ski town, there’s nothing in N. America like Aspen. Yup, we’ll be back for sure.
If you’re driving, here are some tips for parking in the area. Generally, parking is free at Buttermilk and free for HOV (4 or more) at Aspen Highlands and Snowmass. See aspensnowmass.com for ski area parking info. If driving to Aspen Mon.-Sat. 10am-6pm, the best parking deal is a free carpool (2 or more) parking pass or an $8/day residential parking permit. Both permits are available weekdays from the drive thru Airport Parking Kiosk located at the airport’s Airport frontage road from 6-11am or, after those hours, at the Aspen Parking Dept., 540 E. Main St. which is open weekdays until 5pm. The residential parking permit can also be purchased at Aspen’s City Market and Wheeler Opera House. More parking info for Aspen is available here. Otherwise, you can short term park in Aspen at any meter ($2, 5, 8 or 12 for 1-4hrs respectively).
U.S.’ Ted “Shred” Ligety made ski racing history today by winning his third gold medal at the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Schladming, Austria. Ligety posted a two run aggregate time of 2 minutes 28.92 seconds to capture the gold in today’s giant slalom. Home favorite Marcel Hirscher finished 0.81 seconds back in second while Manfred Moelgg followed in third with a time of 2 minutes 30.67 seconds. Earlier in the Championships, Ligety won the Super-G and Super combined making him World Champion in those disciplines as well. He is now the first skier of ever to win a super-G, giant slalom and super-combined in one world championship. Ligety, who is also a co-founder of Shred and Slytech, has been rocking Shred and Slytech products throughout the World Championships. For protection, he sports Slytech’s revolutionary impact absorbing 2nd Skin XT Technology inside along with exclusive ICEdot technology. ”So far, during this World Championship I’ve worn the Shred Stupefy Goggle for every race,” says Ligety. “For me they’ve been the key to my success. Being able to put my head down and charge with a 360° clear field of view has enabled me to take extra risks. It’s been by far the best week of ski racing in my life.” The Stupefy features proprietary NODISTORTION™ technology ensuring that Ligety benefits from the widest uninhibited field of view on the market, distortion free. Together with the Schred Mega Brain Bucket “Tri” helmet, Shred has become the most winning Helmet and Goggle combo in the 2012-2013 ski race World Cup. Congratulations Ted!
Dynafit has a new women’s Mercury AT boot for 2013/2014 – this 3 buckle boot has a stiffer design to deliver high calibre freeride performance with improved comfort and fit -yeah! Unfortunately, the boot wasn’t available to demo in my size 23.5. A real bummer especially as Dynafit’s national athlete, Donny Roth, did such a great job showing the boot and getting me all excited to try it out. Check out the features in this video (buckle release that doubles as and replaces the ski/walk lever and more). The Mercury boot will be available this fall 2013.
I was just speaking to my very pumped up son, Trevor, two days ago as he was on his way to chase the knee deep powder in Central Arizona at the Sunrise ski area. That conversation later led my thoughts to Josh Langdon and company up in the Flagstaff zone, who must have be beyond stoked with this latest storm that blasted their 9,200 foot base area all the way to the 12,000′+ peaks, with loads of fresh! Well what do you know, I was right, and one day later and here are the Northern Arizona BIG mountain goods served up for your super sweet Southwest dessert tonight!
The SIA Snow Show’s on the snow demos in Winter Park, CO is our favorite part of the show. A chance to try out the newest ski gear alongside some of the best skiers in the world. Below is TNT in the lift line – getting ready to slay (or be slayed?) with none other than World Freeskiing Champions and ski film stars, Chris Davenport and Hugo Harrison. See how TNT and gear fare in videos to come…In the meantime, check out Chris Davenport’s new website – it’s world class.
We met up with Geoff Curtis of Marker USA to get a close up look at the new Lord and Tour F12 EPF bindings for next 2013/2014 season. Geoff tells us that the Lord bindings are the only freeride (i.e. non-touring) bindings that are designed to be adjustable for downhill and alpine touring boots. The din ranges from 5 to 14. The Tour F12 EPF gets the Extended Power Frame that was introduced with the Duke bindings last season. It comes with 110mm brakes and weighs in at less than 2000g (4.4lbs). Check out the video for more info.
The SIA Snow Show moved to Winter Park, CO for on the snow demos of skis, boards and other gear today. The industry demo is a real circus this year with seemingly larger numbers in attendance. While working our way through the crowded booths, we spotted none other than big mountain pro skier, Hugo Harrison so we made a beeline for him. Rad Brad Vancour, of course, knows him too. Hugo was on his way to the White Doctor booth. No, he’s not ill but yes, he’s still one of the sickest skiers out there. White Doctor refers to his new line of freeride, big mountain skis. Brad Vancour and TNT spent some time chatting and skiing with Hugo. As you may know, Hugo hails from Quebec but now calls Whistler/Pemberton his home so we hope to start sharing more adventures with him. We’ll have video showing his skis and performance on the mountain soon so please check back.
Scot Schmidt needs no introduction for most skiers. He is considered by TNT and many others as the world’s best and most recognized skier and is often times credited with being the first pro extreme skier. He has appeared in over 40 ski films including 7 Warren Miller films, Greg Stump’s classic, “The Blizzard of Ahh’s” and 7 other Stump films plus “True Lies” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s been an athlete for Stöckli Skis for the last seven years and was key in developing Stöckli’s first true big mountain Pro level line of skis, The Stormrider Series – and specifically, the Scot Schmidt Pro Stormrider Model. Rad Brad Vancour and Scot knew each other back in their early ski film days. Rad Brad’s intro at the SIA Snow Show in Denver over the weekend led us to a quick overview by Scot of Stöckli’s 2013/2014 Stormrider series in the video below. Should you be fortunate enough to ever ski the private Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, MT, look for Scot where he leads ski tours for members and guests as the club’s ambassador.
While TNT and I were busy with our gear review meetings at the Snow Sports Industry Snow Show in Denver, Rad Brad Vancour was having a grand time running into old friends from his Warren Miller ski days. Walking the show floor with Rad Brad is an experience not to be missed because he knows just about everybody we’ve been wanting to meet. Take Scot Schmidt for example: TNT was endlessly stoked for Brad to make this intro. TNT has talked my ear off about Scot, how he’s the best skier ever and how he learned to ski better by watching his ski films. Apparently, he also talked Scot’s ear off about the same thing. Sorry Scot but TNT was beyond excited to meet you. Check back later for video of Scot talking to us about Stockli skis.