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31
Jan

Brad dropping in

Those of you who live to ski in Washington state know that we’re home to the deepest snow and some of the longest seasons in the lower 48. So it should come as no surprise that many of the nation’s best skiers call WA their home. Among them is a real extreme skiing icon: “Rad” Brad Vancour. Originally from Quebec, he grew up skiing with World Cup freestyle stars Lloyd Langlois and Jean-Marc Rozon. (Langlois, a 2x Olympic bronze medalist, has won more World Cup ski titles [22] and more World Cup metals [47] than any other aerials skier. Rozon won the first gold at the Olympics for aerials.) Brad went on to become the Eastern U.S. moguls champ before appearing in 10 Warren Miller films and 17 sequences, sharing the screen with such legends as Scot Schmidt and Washington’s Mike Hattrup. But of all his contemporaries, Glen Plake included, none were doing the flips off cliffs that Brad became known for. Brad was the one of the first (if not the first) to incorporate aerial flips off cliffs on camera back then. Nowadays, Rad Brad is back skiing every free moment he gets and, you may not know it, but he’s an Alpental regular. This season he got rid of the 205cm old school, straight skis he sped down Alpental with last season – he’s now on mid-FAT Salomons (finally caved when Glen Plake suggested bigger boards during our day at Alpental in the video below). However, he’s not sold on them – he says he might “have to go skinny again :) No joke… Or maybe I just need to find real light powder…” Or another pair of skis? Well, later this week, Rad Brad’s going with the Snow Troopers to check out new gear at the Snow Sports Industry (SIA) Snow Show in Denver and Winter Park. Check back as we bring you his thoughts on next season’s gear. We’ll be sure to drop in on his past sponsors too: Salomon (sponsored Brad throughout his ski career) and North Face and Scott USA -Brad was their first sponsored Canadian skier. Below are some of the covers and media we dug up on Brad. Rad!

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30
Jan

Andrew Eckels just sent this one over last night… After a pow filled December the PNW got its typical stretch of midwinter high pressure coupled great snow conditions and bomber stability. For two weeks we toured out of the Heather Meadows parking lot and checked off a plethora of lines that had been on our list since last season. As the days wore on conditions got more variable and the low hanging fruit got tracked out, but we managed to stay one step ahead of the curve the whole time finding fun conditions on protected north faces far away from the crowded Bagley basin. On Wednesday the 16th we toured out to the Coleman Pinnacle and put in 3 laps on the point to the south of it dubbed “Outer Space”. On Saturday the 19th myself Woods, Jackson Blackburn, and Brendan Wells got out to a line we had scoped for some time that dropped into Avalanche Gorge. It had slid close to the top but the bed surface still made for enjoyable skiing down 1500 vertical feet of steep fall line. Before the high pressure window closed a big crew of my friends went out on the 21st and harvested corn on the rolling south slopes of Ptarmigan peak. It was a weather window I won’t soon forget, but for now I say bring on the powder!

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29
Jan

The Smash Life Banked Slalom is a super cool snowboarder only event that has now not only become an annual event but now part of a series. At least a two part series, having just made a stop in Big Sky, MT just before the Alpental event held this past January 13th. This event is a race but mostly a gathering of a tight knit group of freeriders that have come together to remember their lost and very loved brother, Aaron Robinson better know as A-Rob. I never had the pleasure of meeting Aaron, but after going to this gathering, and shooting the breeze with a bunch of riders, I realized how many people he had touch in such a positive way.



The Summit at Snoqualmie has assembled the best park and events team I have seen in my 11 years living on Snoquamlie Pass, and it’s all the brain child of Joe Pope. Joe is the ring leader of this, I guess you might call it a traveling circus, having hit the road traveling all the way from Summit Central to create this awesome event at Alpental. Joe and the park crew come up with extremely creative mountain art time and time again, weather it’s the Red Bull interactive small city they created last year at Central Park or the steeper than average Alpental “Smash Life Banked Slalom”.


Below is a vid not only with some banked action, but a few words from Joe about their bro, A-Rob.

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29
Jan

Here’s a short conditions report w/ Trooper Dog taken last night on our walk up the Summit East ski area. We have received over 12 inches in the past 24 hours at Hyak and up at Alpental we received about 3 feet in the last 72 hours. Yep Alpental re-opens today for POWDER Tuesday in a few hours.. Should be a good one!


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28
Jan

 

DPS' Spoon prototype @ SIA 2011

Attention all powder hounds! DPS, the most innovative ski design & manufacturing company of late, announced today that it has launched the Spoon skis -made right here in their newly opened factory in UT. We were first to bring you the video below of the Spoon prototype from the Snowsports Industry Show (SIA) back in January 2011. Its unique design -featuring a convex 3-D shovel, single radius underfoot rocker and radical edge bevel- stopped us in our tracks on the show floor. if you haven’t seen these skis yet, be sure to watch DPS’ new promo video and below it, our video with DPS’ own President and Founder Stephan Drake from SIA ‘11. Since then, this “100% dedicatd powder surfing tool” has become the most highly anticipated new ski. The Spoon skis are available in 190cm with dimensions of 158/148/151. Its design draws upon years of experience gained from refining DPS’ iconic Lotus 128 and Lotus 120 skis, resulting in a ski that requires very little up and down movement in deep powder. Drake explains that “through the development process, we discovered that the ski should feel very loose in the shovel, semi-loose in the mid body and have a hard rail in the tail.” The Spoon accomplishes all that by deepening the convexity in the shovel, eliminating the tail convexity to promote a stronger turn finish and eliminating the convex cleats altogether in favor of a single radius rocker profile borrowed from eight years of dev on the Lotus 138. This launch follows a string of other innovations from DPS: they were the first to introduce the rockered ski with sidecut, the 120mm powder pintail and also the first to transfer the word “rocker” from surfing to skiing. They are still the first and only Pure prepreg carbon fiber sandwich ski maker. Congratulations to Stephen Drake and his Director of Engineering Peter Turner on this launch. We can’t wait to demo the Spoons at this year’s SIA show. The Sppon skis are being sold for $1349 at Evo & Pro Ski Service in Seattle and Leavenworth Mountain Sports. Visit dpsskis.com for the full list of stores and to order online.

 

 

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27
Jan

Here we go again: a winter storm warning is in effect for Washington’s Cascade mountains. Up to 4 feet of snow could fall on the West slopes of the Cascades by Wednesday morning this week. Get those skis and boards ready. Be aware that avalanche danger in the backcountry will strongly increase becoming high below 7000 feet starting Monday afternoon and will further strongly increase Monday night. Be safe and live to ski another day!


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27
Jan

Mammoth Mountain’s conditions are off the hook from top to bottom. There is something for skiers of every level on this mammoth mountain. But we took advantage of the clear skies and low winds and spent our last day lapping the steeper runs off the top at 11,053ft – that’s where you’ll find the deepest snow pack in the nation at 192″. There’s one blue run from the top along the summit ridge with more down the backside. But if you plan to ski/ride down the face coming off the top of the gondola or chair 23, you’ll find mostly double black diamonds. The runs down the face aren’t very long relatively speaking (after all, Mammoth has a big 3,100 vertical rise from its base elevation of 7,953ft) but they have some nice steep pitches. There are signs at the top warning of hard and fast conditions but that’s mostly along the ridge and groomed lanes on Cornice Bowl and Scotty’s; off piste conditions were soft. Check out the video for a tour and closer look at the best steep runs off the summit. We also wanted to note that the park now has a landing pad along with a half pipe and enough features to keep you there all day. You’d be in good company: several X Games, Olympic and World cup athletes (Luke Mitrani, Jack Mitrani, Greg Bretz, Mason Aguirre, Chris Logan and Maude Raymond) call Mammoth their home mountain including 2013 X Games medalists Kelly Clark -gold women’s superpipe, Johnny Teller -gold in men’s Skier X, Tyler Flanagan -bronze in men’s slopestyle, and Kaya Turski -silver in women’s slopestyle. Congrats to all the X Games medalists! With the park located right in front of the base lodge and under the gondola, there’s a good chance you’ll see some world class action.

 

 

whitneyIf you’ve never been to Mammoth, be sure to check it out next time you’re in Southern California. Mammoth is now selling a $199 Adult three day lift ticket until Feb.10 – that’s $66/day. Tickets can be used anytime Jan. 27-April 21, excluding Feb. 16-24, 2013. Must purchase online or at Call Center, up to noon first day of use. Go to mammothmountain.com to purchase. Mammoth is usually open past July 4th and it’s an easy enough drive (approx. 310 mile, 5hr) (after you get out of L.A.’s traffic). The drive follows the scenic Sierra Nevada mountain range through the desert and rarely is there snow on the roads before the turn off and last few miles to Mammoth. Along the way, don’t forget to stop at the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center for the best views of Mt. Whitney. At 14,497 ft, it’s the tallest mountain in the lower 48. The visitor center is located at the junction of US Highway 395 and State Route 136, one mile south of Lone Pine.

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25
Jan

slcsmog

The Environmental Protection Agency called out Salt Lake City for having the worst air quality in the country this month. The EPA ceiling for clean air is 35 micrograms of particulate matter (PM) per cubic meter. Also known as particle pollution, the EPA considers any combination of extremely small dust and soot particle pollution exceeding that level to be harmful to public health and the environment. In Salt Lake City, the PM level hit 130 micrograms per cubic meter Wednesday last week. Today, it was 91.1. Gag! Apparently, this is a recurring problem in SLC during the winters when temperature inversions set in. Utah even has a video about air quality and your health which we’ve included below. The video advises folks to take their activities indoors when the PM level exceeds 90. This is especially important for pregnant women and babies because a recent study by researchers at USC and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles found that exposure to traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy and the first year of life is associated with more than twice the risk of autism. The Centers for Disease Control say Utah has the highest rate of autism in the nation with one in 47 children diagnosed with autism, compared to one in 88 nationwide. Check out the below video explaining the USC Autism Study and either stay indoors or head for the highest mountains. Live to ski another day.

 

 

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25
Jan

This is Part 2 of Andy Traslin’s day in the Whistler Blackcomb backcountry on Jan. 20, 2013. After climbing and skiing Mt. Fitzsimmon, Andy and friends Alex Gibbs, Cameron Coatta and Liam Bensen continued onto Mt. Iago’s summit located at 7,500 ft. The video below is them on the West face of Iago. Andy reports that conditions were: variable at best. The video says it all.

 


iago

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25
Jan
fitziagodescent

Descent route on Mt. Fitzsimmons


Mt. Fitzsimmons in relation to Whistler Blackcomb


Andy Traslin continues to log big vertical: this past Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, he spent the day deep in the Whistler Blackcomb backcountry with fellow skiers Alex Gibbs, Cameron Coatta and Liam Bensen. His video below captures them on the East to NE face of Mt. Fitzsimmons which tops out at 7,800 ft (2,600m) – check it out because that face rarely gets skied. Here’s what Andy had to say about the conditions -

That traverse from Overlord gets me everytime. Always bullet proof. Side hill skinning is not a good idea. Good thing Alex waved the ice axe and Cam was quick on his feet. Otherwise I may have been watching everyone ski from the bottom of the valley. Not ideal conditions but a lot better than I expected.

 

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