Friday, September 28, 2007

Low Snow Antics - Dickie Hall

A quick post on a Friday afternoon... it's impossible to watch this video without cracking a big smile. Dickie Hall has long been a pioneer of the telemark turn and has taught thousands of people its secrets over the years through his NATO organization and their amazing workshops. As you'll see, he still has the quickest feet out there.

The rest might look like goofing off, a desperate attempt to "make the best of it." But anyone who has ever had the pleasure of skiing with Dickie Hall knows that the best thing he teaches is how to have fun. Chip Chase in Whitegrass, West Virginia shared this clip of skiing with Dickie and friends in some low snow. A smile really is the most important part of any ski day.

If you ever come across a set of ski tracks around both sides of a tree, you'll know who to keep an eye out for. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CAIC Avy Jam Report

The tally is in from Steve Christie at Backcountry Access, and the September 7th Avalanche Jam in Boulder, CO raised over $14,000 for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center! Avalanche awareness is a never-ending cause, and this year's proceeds will provide the CAIC with much-needed funds to offer avalanche education and forecasting for Colorado backcountry users.

“This is the Avalanche Jam’s largest fundraising year yet for the CAIC,” said Christie, “and it’s due to generous silent auction donations from core companies that enabled it to happen.”

This year’s Avy Jam moved north to Boulder and the parking lot of Neptune Mountaineering, and the increase in attendance led to a 40% increase in the fundraising total - coming from ticket sales and auction bids - over any of the previous five years’ events. While the percentage beer increase over years past is not yet known, word from Ski Press is that 15 kegs of New Belgium were consumed to accompany the bluegrass concert and nearby Indian food.

"The Avalanche Jam is the single most important fund raising event for the CAIC." said CAIC director Ethan Greene. "We could not continue to serve the citizens of Colorado without the support of BCA, the companies that donate equipment, the volunteers and those who attend the event."

Ethan happened to have the high bid on the Karhu Jaks that we donated to the auction, while a Durango resident took home the Kodiaks. It was a busy night at the Karhu tent, as reported by Rockies rep Rob Brown:

“The evening was perfect, warm enough for t-shirts and shorts on, even as the sun slipped behind the mountains after a beautiful cloudless Colorado day. The beer and bluegrass music flowed at the famous Neptune Mountaineering, with a crowded parking lot full of manufacturers and partiers as the event kicked off around 5 pm. Backcountry Access (the long-time sponsor of the event) founder and owner Bruce “Edge” Edgerly called the festivities to order and introduced the band, and thanked the manufacturers for their donations to the raffle (funds from the raffle go the CAIC)."

"The Karhu booth was hopping the whole time with skiers checking out the new Jak BC, the new Women’s Series and the full XCD line. The curry and the music went on ‘til after 10PM, and raffle winners and silent auction participants eventually went back to their cars with their prizes. The evening had to end, but everyone left with great memories, the good feeling of supporting a great event and the promise of a phenomenal season. Those who didn’t win anything were happy… after all, they enjoyed great music and a wonderful evening with the close friends of the ski community - friends who enjoy the same backcountry that we all do.”

Check out the slideshow below, courtesy of BCA, and congrats again to BCA for pulling off a great evening in support of the CAIC!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Andy Jacobsen - PW07 Trailer

Mother Nature brought Utah its first snow on 9/24, just as the boys from Powderwhores get ready to crank up the fall tour of their new film, PW07. The trailer showcases some amazing footage – watch out for the yellow Team 130s and orange jacket of Karhu skier Andy Jacobsen, getting inverted and surfing pow. They clearly got the best of every single snowflake that fell in a reportedly low 06-07 season in the Wasatch:

(Video courtesy of the PowderWhores)

From the quick glimpses, early reports of quality Alaska footage appear to be confirmed. Check out the Powderwhore Tour dates to find a showing and see for yourself. "HOORAY FOR SNOW" is right!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Berner Oberland #1

An Introduction: In the spring of 2007, Alison Gannett, Lorenzo Worster and Zoe Hart traveled to Europe on the Global Cooling Tour. It was an appropriate season, one that saw a lack of snow cancel the famed Hahnenkamm downhill for the first time in its history, and it signalled the danger of a changing climate on Europe's $66 billion dollar ski industry. After seeing years of climate change in France - where ladders now link skiers with ground covered by glacial snow only 10 years ago - the group set out to document glacial recession while ski touring and ski mountaineering through Switzerland's Berner Oberland.

Over the next few weeks, we'll bring you dispatches from Alison, Lorenzo and Zoe with their impressions from Europe and the subsequent Chasing Glaciers trip to Pakistan in the summer of 2007. Without further ado though, Zoe's first dispatch:


We all piled our ski bags onto trains, planes and automobiles, everyone coming from different destinations – Susie Sutphin, Lorenzo Worster and Duane Kubischta from California, Alison Gannett and Jonathan Copp from Colorado, and me from Chamonix. The plan was to meet at a little hostel in Interlaken called the Happy Inn – how fitting – to start our trip.

I hopped off the train from France, happy to have a Patagonia wheeled bag finally, instead of wearing holes through my old dragging duffle. After a few minutes walking I spotted another person with a ski bag, a wheeled bag and a hood. Alison met eyes and laughed – we had been on the same train. Pulling headphones from our ears, we chatted excitedly the last two blocks to the hostel. Alison turned out to be the only one to lose bags in transit, but they had arrived on the next plane after a few hours of reading in the airport. All was set; we could leave the next day.

The crew was already at the hostel jet-lagged and trying to get some sleep. No luck doing that when I showed up full of coffee from the train ride and psyched to see friends from across the pond after a long winter. Full of energy, ready to go!!!

(Alison Gannett, Zoe Hart and Jonathan Copp feeling Happy in Interlaken. Photo courtesy of Zoe Hart.)

Rousting the boys out of their bunks in their boxers, Alison and I dumped out all of our crap to repack. The great thing about hut touring is that you don’t need a sleeping bag, stove, food or tent, so your bags are pretty light, even though you’re covering lots of ground. The lighter the pack, the better the skiing! However, the tour we were planning including the largest remaining glacier in the Alps, so we still needed rope, harness, emergency ski sled, crevasse rescue kit and crampons. It all adds up, so we did our best to leave extras behind. Alison went a little extreme and cut the handle off her toothbrush, so when she was in the bathroom, we couldn’t resist and hid the scrapped handle in the bottom of her pack for her to find later!!

Finally packed as light as possible into a 35L Osprey bag, we dozed off to sleep with a few lingering giggles like kids at summer camp. Early in the morning we strolled through the dark streets of Interlaken to the train. This was hopeless romance at it’s best… the skies were clear, the stars were out, the town was sleeping, and we were on our way to a week of ski touring – hopefully full of powder – and adventures along the way.

Train to train, we made our way with the rising sun and unfolding landscapes to the town of Grindlewald. From there another train took us through – yes, through – the North Face of the Eiger. Battling a horde of unruly tourists, we finally poked our noses out onto the enormous glacier!

(Glimpses of white from the train. Photo courtesy of Zoe Hart.)

What would the week bring? Whiteouts on enormous glaciers? Navigating avalanche hazard? I had heard rumors of people getting pinned in the Bernese Oberland, not able to move here or there because of avalanche hazard. How much glacial recession would we find? The rumors of the stranded huts on moraines? Much excitement while we wait to find out!

Zoe Hart

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Weather We Change Trailer

Adding video content this morning, I stumbled across the trailer for Tahoe-based Adventure Film Works' Weather We Change on YouTube, and it looks great. This past spring, AFW's Duane Kubischta accompanied Karhu skiers Lorenzo Worster, Alison Gannett and Zoe Hart over to Europe to film their tour through the Berner Oberland for his upcoming film, and the trailer has a lot of the ski footage and some thought-provoking interviews. With both the Sierra Nevada and the Alps suffering abysmal droughts last year, Adventure Film Works worked hard to capture both the effect on our mountain world and the bright spots of good snow in an otherwise tough season.

(Video courtesy of Adventure Film Works)

From the AFW website: "Weather We Change is the third major release from Adventure Film Works, whose 2006 movie Hustle & Snow received acclaim at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Weather We Change is a skiing adventure documentary that follows athletes who have taken a pledge to follow in the footsteps of pro skier Alison Gannett in search of a greener ski bum lifestyle. Mother Nature serves up a healthy dose of reality with a bleak early season, but these snow soldiers eventually find the deep powder that recharges their fight to save the snow. Stunning footage of the Swiss Alps, the best of the West Coast, and an educational journey come together in an unforgettable film that shows how global warming is an issue that skiers cannot afford to ignore."

Weather We Change is touring up and down the West Coast, from Taos through much of California and up to Portland and Seattle. Visit Adventure Film Works for details on the Weather We Change Tour and more info on the film.

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Snow in Colorado!

The turn is happening! The daylight hours are dwindling quickly in the Northwest, and the sky's been dark and ominous for much of the week. Earlier in the week, the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire reported cold temperatures and the start of rime ice building on the mountain summit. Then came the photos from Colorado, where residents of Breckenridge and Vail woke up to large flakes falling on Monday:

Photos courtesy of Breckenridge Resort.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Photo Tales 1

Jason West, Crest Drop at Brighton, UT. Photo by Steve Lloyd. Karhu Team skier Jason West takes flight over the Wasatch on the new Team 130. Karhu full-page ad, September 2007 Powder Magazine Buyer’s Guide.

This was one of those sure-thing photos from the moment it landed on our desk. We see a lot of great freeride shots from Steve with Jason going big, but the perspective on this shot was perfect. Here’s the tale behind the photograph, from Jason and Steve:

It was fairly early in the season at Brighton, Utah; the Millicent lift hadn’t even opened yet. It had snowed over a foot of fresh the day before, one of the first big storms that snowed enough to actually huck something. As the storm wrapped up, we didn't have access to our usual terrain and drops on the Millicent side, so we sessioned this air trying to get the skier/photographer timing just right. It’s a 35-40-foot air inbounds at Brighton, directly under one of the main lifts. It’s always been an obvious hit, but it doesn’t get skied often. The perspective was achieved by Steve shooting from the lift as he's moving over the drop. We had to time it out perfectly to be in the air and shooting directly over the cliff. There’s a lot of heckling from people on the lift to hit it while you’re waiting.

The air is on a small, but steep, terrain feature where the snow builds up to form several natural takeoffs. The takeoff is blind, so you can’t see the landing until you are on the lip. You have to scout it well and pick out a tree in the distance that’s in line with your landing. It takes some good speed, because you have to clear some big boulders near the bottom of it and line up your landing in specific spots. The landing – well below, out of frame – is what makes it so exciting to me. It’s a perfect landing, but small, basically a narrow opening between old-growth trees. The steepest part of the landing means landing right up next to the nearest trees. On this day, it was like landing in a Styrofoam pit. I think that this was the first day we actually shot a cliff last year. It was definitely big grins for the whole day!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Eastern WA - Tour with Nils Larsen

Spokane folks... Mark your calendars for Conservation Northwest's Hope for a Wild Future dinner and auction. The program is headlined by a photographic presentation from the Columbia Highlands Initiative, and the live auction during dinner will be packed full of outdoor gear and getaways, including a Karhu package (XCD 10th Mountain skis & tour) from our Minister of Ski Culture, Nils Larsen.

When: Thursday, Septemeber 27th, 6-9:30pm
Where: The Davenport Hotel, downtown Spokane
Registration: $60 early registration here

Freeheeling on Sherman Pass

What's better than a new pair of Karhu XCD backcountry skis? How about to chance to hone your skills with a one day backcountry ski lesson & tour on Sherman Pass. Backcountry telemark guru Nils Larsen has been teaching and inspiring free heel skiers for over 20 years across the US and Canada. Nils has also produced instruction films and is currently working on a documentary project on the roots of skiing in Central Asia. After the lesson, review what you learned with a Freeheels Backcountry DVD Box set. Value: $685,

Conservation Northwest connects and protects old-growth forests and other wild areas from the Washington Coast to the BC Rockies, vital to a healthy future for us, our children, and wildlife. More at

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Chasing Glaciers on CNN

Alison Gannett and Zoe Hart recently returned from touring in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan, where they documented the effects of climate change and glacial recession. We’ll be posting their video updates on Where Will You Ski over the next several weeks, but in the meantime, CNN ran a story on their trip.

I can’t get an embedded player for this one, so click on the link or the image below of Zoe and her Jils to take a look at the interview and the action.

CNN News to Me - Chasing Glaciers

Way to go Alison and Zoe!! More on

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