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  • Sony Mind's Eye: Angel Goes Ca Sony Mind's Eye: Angel Goes Camping

    • From: ryandunfee121157
    • Description:

      In this episode of Mind’s Eye, Angel Collinson showcases the POV footage from the ski mountaineering trip she, Mark Carter, Griffin Post, and Max Hammer recently completed while filming for Almost Ablaze in the Tetons. Their trip to Mount Moran relied on 25 people—including 10 porters—to haul 1,500 pounds of gear seven miles across a frozen Jackson Lake and to the base of the peak’s most famous line, the Skillet. Angel’s edit puts us behind the scenes of what will certainly be the most sweat-and-tears intensive runs of this year’s film. Filmed entirely with Sony’s Action Cam, this edit transports us from setting up base camp in the dead of winter to scaling 5,400 vertical foot lines on foot—and then it gives us a sneak peak of what those lines will look like in the film.

      Sony's Mind's Eye is a 10-episode series of self-edits that give an insider's look at the team of TGR athletes as they documents their adventures with Sony's Action Cam. Check out the new Sony Action Cam, with its next-level image stabilization feature, snow-proof body, and A-grade audio recording at: http://bit.ly/1lygvzX

      Want more Mind's Eye Episodes? Check out: http://www.tetongravity.com/videos/channels/sony-minds-eye-series-111/

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  • Local's Guide: Mt. Bachelor an Local's Guide: Mt. Bachelor and Bend, Oregon

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

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      By Tess Weaver

      There’s no off-season in Bend. Storms pound Mt. Bachelor, 22 miles from town, while mountain bikers peddle dry singletrack in shorts. That’s the beauty of life in the high desert. Bend sits comfortably on the banks of the Deschutes River surrounded by ponderosa pines and sagebrush, while the Cascade Mountains line the western horizon with year-round snow. Here, the snow doesn’t stack up in the driveway, it accumulates where it’s more useful—at the ski resort. With one of the longest seasons in the country, Mt. Bachelor offers skiing from November through late May, while Bend’s lower elevation and mild climate keep multisport aficionados content year round. 

      Kirt Voreis and Tyler McCaul's explore Bend's singletrack. The town is a national destination for mountain bikers.

      Bend’s population is up to more than 80,000, but stranded along in the middle of the state, a mountain range away from Oregon’s main populous, Bend feels much smaller. With a historic downtown, more breweries than you have nights to drink and some of the best restaurants of any ski town in the country, Bend has the amenities of Portland without the crowds. The town is surrounded by 2.5 million acres of Forest Service land and offers 484 miles of singletrack within an hour's drive. 48 miles of those trails are in town and 11 of them run along the Deschutes. Smith Rock State Park draws rock climbers from around the world with more than 14,000 climbing routes, the Deschutes offers world-renowned fly fishing, and many of the town’s 25 golf courses are open year round.

      As for Mt. Bachelor, an isolated 9,065-foot dormant stratovolcano on the eastern flanks of the Cascades,it’s a storm magnet. While Bend sees less than a foot of rain annually, Mt. Bachelor receives an average of 400 inches of snow at the highest elevation you can ski in Oregon or Washington. When the winds are calm and the mountain is open to the summit, all 360 degrees of the peak are skiable. The winds that plague the area are also what add to its interesting terrain. As legendary surfer and Bend resident Gerry Lopez says, you “surf” Mt. Bachelor. Ancient lava flows created the mountain’s numerous natural halfpipes and unique wind lips while natural trannys and terrain features litter the resort. High–speed quads access 3,000 of the 3,683 acres and efficiently space out crowds—which aside from Christmas break and the occasional holiday weekend, are slim to none. Surrounded by wilderness, Mt. Bachelor’s base is devoid of condos, shops or even a scene. People are here to ski. 

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      Unlike Mt. Hood, at Mt. Bachelor you can shred lift-accessed terrain straight from the top of the volcano. Just ask this dude - it gets good, and it's available all the way through May! Mt. Bachelor photo.

      If Summit Express is open, head right to the top of the mountain. On a clear day, you might be able to see as far south as Mt. Shasta and as far north as Mt. Baker. The hike-to lines in between the rock pinnacles at the top of the bowl offer the mountain’s steepest skiing. Take your pick of the bowls’ corniced entrances and work the wide open volcanic feature all the way down. Next lap, drop off the backside. Traverse north for long enough and you’ll be atop some of the most fun and feature-laden alpine bowls in the Northwest. These lines offer the most vertical on the mountain, as they take you all the way down to Northwest Express.  

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      Bachelor has a reputation as one of the more naturally jibby mountains in North America, producing locals like Lucas Wachs, above, who can jump and spin as well as they can shred lines. Pete Alport photo.

      On a powder day, take Pine Martin Express and ski towards Outback chair. Choose any of the fun tree lines between the groomers, ski right past the base of Outback and ride Northwest Express. Exit looker’s right and traverse west for a seemingly endless line up of alpine bowls and old growth tree lines. Traverse farther and farther west for fresher and fresher lines. You’ll feel lost, but it doesn’t matter where you go. All the bowls funnel into perfectly spaced lichen covered Douglas firs and all the lines empty onto a cat track that marks the resort boundary and takes you back to Northwest Express. If there’s a lineup at Pine Martin, do as the locals do and ride nearby Red Chair, one of the resort’s last two remaining triple chairs. Ski the lift line for one of the best fall-line, steeper runs on the mountain. The other triple, Rainbow Chair, marks the eastern border of the resort and offers tons of snowboarder friendly surfy terrain. In between, Skyliner Chair accesses Bachelor’s main terrain park. Don’t miss the hike-to cinder cone in between Pine Martin and Outback where a 10-minute bootpack accesses a wind scoured sub summit from which fresh tracks are always possible. 

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      Mt. Bachelor also has a mean park, and has hosted Snowboarder's Superpark at the end of the season the past few years. Here David Scaffidi models the local airtime. Pete Alport photo.

      Your hardest decision will be where to après—Bend has the most craft breweries per capita in the country. The town’s first, Deschutes Brewery, is now the fifth largest craft brewer in the country. You’ll want to check it out, but save room for the dozen others that have helped create Bend’s beer town reputation. The food scene isn’t that of your typical ski-town (and thankfully neither are the prices). Bendites have sophisticated palates and the area’s eateries don’t slack off. On the snow, on a plate, or on tap, Bend offers no shortage of adventure.

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      Downtown Bend is loaded with breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants to match its hipster-cosmo cousin, Portland. City of Bend photo.

      When it comes to food, here are some of Bend’s best bets:

      Lodging: McMenamins

      Ski shop: Skjersaa's

      Coffee: Backporch Coffee Roasters

      Smoothie/Juice: Mother’s

      Breakfast: Chow, The Victorian Café, Sparrow Bakery

      Lunch: New York City Sub Shop, Parrilla Grill, Longboard Louie's

      Dinner: Jackson's Corner, Kebaba: Brother Jon's Public House, 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar, Pizza Mondo

      Food Cart: Real Food Street Bistro

      Brewery: 10 Barrel Brewing, Crux Fermentation Project, Deschutes Brewery

      Bar: Velvet

      Dive Bar: D&D Bar & Grill

      Want to know more about your next shred destination? Check out:
      -The Ultimate Dirtbag's Guide to Vail
      -The Local's Guide To Aspen
      -The Mountain Bike Guide to Revelstoke, British Columbia
      -The Local's Guide to Leavenworth, Washington

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  • Blue Collar Pro: Susan Mol Blue Collar Pro: Susan Mol

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      By MacKenzie Ryan

      Every scene in snowboarding has people who stand outside the fold. People who don’t care about what other people think. People who ride the rowdiest shit. People who cheer for you even if you aren’t able to ride the same gnarly lines that they can. People who travel where they want to, pay for their trips themselves, and don’t care if anyone is filming. They do it because they want the challenge and want to push themselves as far as they can go. Podiums, money, and photographers are an afterthought. 

      In freeriding, these athletes are the OG splitboarders, snowboard mountaineers, and billy goats. They started hiking, rapelling, and making powder turns in the backcountry before Jeremy Jones turned away from helicopters. 

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      Susan Mol pretty much won every major big mountain snowboarding title, including the North Face Masters and Freeride World Tour, while she was a ski patroller at Crested Butte. Known for fearlessly riding exposed, technical lines, Mol is a legend in the freeride community. 

      She isn’t someone whose Alaska shots make TransWorld Snowboarding. Yet most people would tell you she rides bigger, scarier lines than any woman alive—whether it’s on skis or a board. 

      We caught up with Susan in the midst of a busy winter of riding and traveling. She shared her insights on why she competed, living with an athlete’s mentality, and how she paid for her powder search with a seasonal window-washing business. 

      How It All Began

      I grew up as a snow bunny, for sure. My mom taught skiing in order for us to basically have free babysitting. While she and dad were dancing at the bar till late my siblings and I were sledding on cafeteria trays with all the other unattended children!

      I started snowboarding when I was 16. My little brother, Mark, was snowboarding and for some reason that looked like more fun and I became jealous. It was a bit rebellious to slide sideways at that time. I was ski racing at the time and was getting bored. I took a lesson and my initial experience at Big Boulder Ski area in Pennsylvania changed everything. Snowboarding was my freedom and social outlet throughout high school. Then I tried to do the college thing but all I yearned for was to be in the mountains. I traveled the USA looking for “mountain colleges” landing in Seattle for a stint and then Crested Butte, Colorado. 

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      Dropping into the Competitive Scene

      I moved to Crested Butte in the late 90s and was driven by extreme snowboarding. I really enjoy exposure and no fall zones. My first competition I got dead last, then third, then first. Then I think I got dead last again. I was so committed. I either crashed and burned or was on the podium. 

      Then 9/11 happened and it seemed as if the entire freeride industry flopped. I figured that chapter of my life was over. I actually started skiing again. I bought skis with some Boarderfest prize money and made the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol.

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      When The North Face and MSI brought back freeride snowboard comps my friends dared me to enter. I won the first event in Snowbird and ended the season as the North Face Masters Tour Champion. In 2009 I won the Crested Butte, qualifying me for the Freeride World Tour event in Squaw. I won that and was invited to compete in Fieberbrunn, Austria and then finally Verbier, Switzerland, where I was crowned World Tour Champion. It was quite the whirlwind! I managed 2nd overall on the FWT in 2010 and then broke my femur training early season in December 2011. I haven’t competed since.

      One Plank or Two

      I skied for income patrolling at CBMR and guiding at Irwin. The only time I went snowboarding was competing. I love skiing as much as snowboarding. I can choose whatever tool I want for that ascent or descent, getting the best of both worlds. If snowboarding is the right tool for that peak and those conditions, I will snowboard. If skiing is better for that particular tour, I’ll ski.

      Guiding and patrolling on a snowboard is difficult. I give the guides at Silverton mad credit. Snowboard guiding requires a lot of pre-planning. You can’t do a kick turn in the middle of some exposed zone or climb back up to access a different zone. Snowboarding is more committing.

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      The Reality of Seeking Sponsors

      I’ve always really struggled with the sponsorship thing. I try really hard not to get sucked into the who’s who, or where I see friends in a magazine, or getting free stuff. I’ve never been a partier and therefore rarely met the “right” people. I took competition very seriously. I probably took myself too seriously. I think with sponsorship you have to be in the right place at right time, and super cute doesn’t hurt either. I’ve never been comfortable selling myself. 

      It’s one thing to get to product. It’s another thing to get money. Airlines don’t give a rat’s ass who you are. They want you to pay your airline ticket. Even when I was Freeride World Tour champion, I couldn’t get money. I stayed with small, local companies. Venture and Loki helped me out a lot then. I have approached quite a few sponsors. They were interested, but the human connection was missing. 

      I know I earned every iota of everything that’s come about. 

      A lot of times I wasn’t showing up at SIA and other big networking events because I was working. I wonder now if I hadn’t been so focused about making money on the outside what would have happened. There is a hard balance if you don’t have some kind of straight-up financial sponsorship.

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      The Competitive Edge—and its Dangers

      When it comes to being an athlete and being competitive, there are a lot of highs and lows. Depression has probably driven me to be a successful snowboarder but it also can take everything away in the blink of an eye. It wouldn’t have been that way if I were a mellow person with a laid back approach to life. 

      I took my “Fuck it, you only live once” attitude to Alaska. I ski patrolled part-time at Alyeska. Darkness was a huge struggle. Alaska will eat you up and spit you out. I didn’t come back with everything. I totaled my truck 18 miles into the drive through AK, but somehow managed to get myself back to the lower 48 by April. It beat me down raw, I’m a little different now. When I decided to go to Alaska, I had lost six friends in a short period of time and the last person was someone I truly loved. I realized how short life could be, and while that’s a true statement, I now realize you have to live life to the fullest with grace and mindfulness.

      I’m on the high side now. That’s how depression works. You can use it to your advantage. You have these holes from the dark times now filled with passion and excitement. Most people would’ve stopped at average. I think honestly that’s a part of an athlete’s personality—all or nothing.

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      Washing Windows to Stay on the Snow

      I have a window cleaning business. It was actually a joke with a photographer friend of mine, Ralph Kristopher. We were brainstorming, “How are we ever going to just work in the summer and ski in the winter?” 

      The second year in business we contracted a few mega-mansions. We were using his Jeep and my Honda Civic, which looked really funny with a 32-foot ladder on it. The third year, I bought a truck and made the business legit. I took over the business the fourth year when my partner wanted to pursue his passion for photography. 

      Window washing is a very feast or famine business in Crested Butte. Sometimes I will have a five-person crew; sometimes it’s just me. I operate for six months from May-October, enabling me to find freelance work in Japan or go to AK for the winter. It keeps me in great physical shape and keeps my mind sharp because monkeying around on ladders is dangerous. I do the risk-reward game even at work. It helps me judge things. If I am looking at window, I think, if that were a cliff, how high would it be? It conveniently ends at the end of October and I can’t really start up again until the snow melts.

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      Looking to the Future

      I’ve never really been comfortable in the air. I always liked exposure and picking my way through the rocks. I’m trying not to be such a billy goat and more of a powder slut. I’ve gone to the far reaches of the planet for more snow, better stability, and new experiences. 

      In Japan, I’m not looking for exposure. I’m going for the deep pow—the deeper the better. 

      I think that Alaska will always be the childhood dream, that unattained moment in time. I still fantasize about the fluted spines. That is still the goal. Even though I am going to Japan, that goal is still there. I feel like I barely scratched the surface, twice in the spring and once all winter.

      I don’t really have a bucket list but maybe it’s time for that. Japan wasn’t even on my agenda. It was an opportunity and I am really good at taking an opportunity when it presents itself. All that working has bought me some freedom after all.

      SusanMol2Web.jpg

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  • Searching for the Spirit of Sn Searching for the Spirit of Snowboarding at the Jackson Hole PowWow

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      By Michael Sudmeier

      Last week, both snowboarding’s past and its future were on prominent display at the Jackson Hole PowWow. Now in its second year, the event brought together a tight-knit crew that included snowboarding pioneers, board designers, brand representatives, shop owners, professional riders new and old, media outlets, and Jackson Hole locals.

      Unlike many industry events—where the focus is on a keg or manning a desolate demo tent—the PowWow revolved around riding. Throughout the morning and afternoon, attendees quickly ducked in the event tent near Jackson Hole’s tram. Here they mounted decks and found a posse with which to ride. The tent’s potent wet dog odor, ample snow, and bluebird skies served as an additional catalyst for maximizing time on the snow.

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      A group of PowWow participants took a break from lapping the sidecountry to pose for this photo atop Rendezvous Bowl at Jackson Hole. The resort was a key sponsor for the event, making the magic happen.

      If, however, one was inclined to loiter in the tent, it contained no shortage of eye candy, as a test of 2015 decks served as one of the PowWow’s marquee events. In addition to formally enlisting local diehard shreds, this test was open to everyone in attendance—which totaled around seventy-five riders. Participating brands ranged from boutique builders to established giants, and included Burton, Venture, Never Summer, Gentemstick, Cold Smoke, Unity, Notice, K2, Ride, Lib Tech, Gnu, Arbor, Franco Snowshapes, Rossignol, Slash, Yes, Jones, Dupraz, Amplid, Illuminati, Nitro, and Grell.

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      Mikey Franco of Franco Snowshapes poses with some of his boards. In case you're wondering, his shirt reads, "Jesus loves snowboarders. Alta doesn't."

      The diversity of board shapes—combined with the prevalence of board designers on hand—alluded to snowboarding’s roots while also providing a glimpse into its future. While many of these shapes seemed appropriated from the eighties, they also served as testament to the increasing focus riders and brands are placing on them—a movement that many view as analogous to how surfing treats shapers and board shapes.

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      This early morning photo captures a rare moment in which Gentemstick's boards are all present in the demo tent. Each year, riders at the PowWow salivate over the Japanese company's boards and jockey for a chance to take them for a spin.

      Yet as much as the PowWow showcased board designs and provided a venue for testing them, it was also about celebrating snowboarding’s roots and the culture that sustains it. According to Rob Kingwill, the event’s founder and a snowboarding legend in his own right, the PowWow is about embracing a core vision for snowboarding—a vision, he notes, that has often been overshadowed by energy drinks, the X-Games, and outside influences that have worked to shape snowboarding for their own gain. 

      Kingwill emphasizes that despite the mainstream attention this interpretation of snowboarding receives, “For most people in the world, that’s not what snowboarding is about. Snowboarding is about riding with friends, finding new places, and hopefully riding powder.” Consequently, he aimed to create an experience where the focus was on the riding. Inspired by the Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom and Travis Rice’s Natural Selection from 2008, Kingwill set out to create an event that brought his friends and fellow riders to his home mountain. “I just wanted to show my friends [Jackson] and get people to come shred . . . I think that’s why it’s been pretty successful. Everyone just falls in love with being here—just like me.” Perhaps as a result of Kingwill’s enthusiasm and the purity and sense of purpose behind the event, the PowWow even served as a gathering place for a number of legendary riders including Dale Rehberg, Andy Hetzel, and Roan Rogers.

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      At the end of the day, riders on snowskates and Grell Boards terrorized the little kid sled hill—and other assorted objects. This photo could easily illustrate a diagram on how bones get broken.

      In addition to days filled with riding, the PowWow was anchored by evening events that blended history, storytelling, and simply kicking back with friends. On the second night of the PowWow—which loosely spanned from March 10th to March 16th—riders gathered at the Q Roadhouse to explore diverse chapters in snowboarding’s evolution.

      Alex Hillinger, the director of Asymbol, kicked off the evening by introducing the second year of Travis Rice’s Pass It On Project. At last year’s PowWow, Hillinger and Rice kicked off the first installment of this endeavor, which sent one of Rice’s signature decks off into the world. Fellow snowboarders were encouraged to simply ride the board and—per instructions attached to its topsheet—post a photo of themselves riding it to Instagram using the #PassItOnProject hashtag. The resulting photos—which stemmed legendary pros and weekend warriors alike—documented the board’s journey across continents and seasons. The common denominator in all of these photos was an intense sense of stoke. To further its reach, the Pass It On Project is sending three boards off into the world this spring, one of which was put to use the next day at the PowWow.

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      Rob Kingwill christened one of the boards from Travis Rice's Pass It On Project with a nice little warm-up run through Central Couloir. (Photo by @robkingwill)

      Photographer Chris Figenshau discussed traveling to Nepal with Jeremy Jones and TGR. His slideshow provided an overview of the crew’s journey and Jones’ objective—riding a line on a face the team named the Shangri-La Spines. This line will be featured prominently in Higher, the final installment of Jones’ Deeper, Further, and Higher trilogy of films.

      After Figenshau, Stephen Koch took to the stage. While guiding the audience through slides that documented dozens of first descents, Koch also spoke about the lessons he learned through snowboarding. And despite his abundance of first descents throughout the globe, many of these lessons came from the challenges and uncertainties that have accompanied his exploration—including an avalanche on Mount Owen that swept him over 2,000 feet and his efforts to ride the tallest peak on each of the seven continents. Koch revealed that sometimes we are quick to label as failures the very experiences that stand to shape us the most. Ultimately, success may look very different from our initial objectives and assumptions.

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      Jeff Grell provided a glimpse into snowboarding's past while also embodying the passion that has sustained it through the years.

      The night served as a makeshift time machine, delivering riders further and further into snowboarding’s past. And ultimately, Jeff Grell took to the stage to talk about a crucial era in snowboarding’s history—one in which everything was so new and so different. Grell discussed his time working with Tom Sims, as well as how he came to develop the highback binding. “Back then it was all about sharing ideas,” he explained. “You never thought about what tomorrow meant. It was just like ‘this is a great idea. I’m so stoked on what I’m doing . . . I’m so passionate about it that I just got to turn people on to it.’” Grell added, “I don’t have any of my old boards because I gave them all to other people. I think the Pass It on Project actually started a lot earlier.” That night—and in the days ahead—Grell was often introduced as “the reason you’re able to make heelside turns.” Yet his contributions to shredding don’t stop there. Grell provided an overview of his efforts to organize contests and events while also attempting to entice Aspen and other resorts to open their lifts to snowboarders.

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      Prior to the evening event, Grell provided a tour of the contents of his briefcase, which was adorned with vintage snowboard stickers.

      2014 Jackson Hole PowWow

      Grell's briefcase contained everything from his patent for the highback binding to old newspaper clippings to letters. One letter from the Aspen Highlands Skiing Corporation stated, "We regret denying your request for the implementation of a snowboarding program at Aspen Highlands for the 1984/85 season." The letter did, however, state that the mountain would reconsider its position if he could obtain a one million dollar insurance policy.

      Proof of his deep love for snowboarding, Grell continues to pioneer new developments in how riders slide on snow. Most recently, he has been developing Grell Boards, which blend the simplicity of Snurfers with sophisticated molds and fiberglass technology. Seemingly, Grell’s commitment to snowboarding is as strong as ever. While waiting to present, he stepped outside the building and shared one of his boards with kids climbing on a snow pile. Regardless of whether he’s in spotlight, Grell will forever be both a pioneer and a prophet of standing sideways on the snow.

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      Jeff Grell displays some of his latest inventions—Grell Boards. Inspired by the Snurfer, these boards bring snowboarding back to its roots. (Photo by @robkingwill and @jhpowwow)

      The days that followed were filled with a blend of riding, chairlift conversations, and sidecountry hikes. Board builders and reps were quick to solicit feedback on their latest designs, which tended to blend board shapes, camber profiles, and sidecut radii with a greater degree of attention than ever before. “More companies are trying cool shapes—there are more freeride and powder-specific boards,” offered Jerome Boulay, Venture’s sales manager. A common refrain from brands was that they had never been to an event where the caliber of riders and testers was so high and where the testers provided such meaningful and nuanced feedback.

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      Venture's Snowy Owl was one of the many unique board designs on display at the PowWow. For riders like Venture Sales Manager Jerome Boulay, the deck functions as a splitboard for ascents and a bindingless pow surfer for getting after the goods on the way down.

      According to Unity Owner and Founder Pete Wurster, Jackson Hole also provided the perfect venue for the test. “It’s probably the best place to test boards. Because of the nature of Jackson Hole you go from a beautiful powder day to gnarly slush to icy moguls through the trees back to a groomer all in one run.” Wurster added that the PowWow also created an environment in which boards were evaluated on their merits rather than the hype that surrounds them. “You throw all of the money, marketing, pro riders, and hype out the window and here we’re all in the same plane,” he explained. “Small manufacturers that are doing some really unique stuff can be looked at on a level playing field and get as much attention as the bigger brands that everyone knows.”

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      Whether riders were hiking or rocking the lift, conversations unfolded with ease at the PowWow. Here, the crew from Snowboard Magazine captures one of these moments. The magazine served as a key sponsor for the event and had a full posse in effect. (Photo @snowboardmag and @susiefloros).

      Although the event officially drew to a close on Thursday evening, the good times flowed through the weekend. On Friday, a number of riders gathered for splitboard tours elsewhere in the Tetons. Many of the brands also remained for a consumer demo on Friday and Saturday. And those brave enough to embrace kickers, banked turns, and a running clock stuck around for the Dick’s Ditch Banked Slalom.

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      Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the adjacent sidecountry provided the perfect canvas for testing boards. Powder, ice, slush, groomers—over the span of 4,000 feet you'll find it all.

      The closing celebration on Thursday night further revealed how tight the bonds can be that unite riders. Jeff Grell reflected on the PowWow while also sharing additional insights from spending the past thirty-five years of his life snowboarding. He was also joined by friends and fellow pioneers who paved the way for snowboarding. Steve Link and Mike Troppman spoke about their early experiences riding and refining board designs. Link also shared memories of his friendship with Tom Sims, including the time they spent filming James Bond’s snowboard scenes from A View to Kill. Mike Troppman began producing his Ultimate Control Boards in 1981 and Link founded Summit Snowboards in 1982. Although the companies they founded have long since ceased to exist, their legacies remain. Whether riders realize it or not, they are forever indebt to Grell, Link, and Troppman. This became further evident when a microphone was passed around the room and riders shared memories of the first time they went riding—experiences all made possible by the pioneers who preceded them.

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      Mike Troppman, Jeff Grell, and Steve Link (from L to R) have been riding together for thirty-five years. Their contributions to snowboarding run deep—and continue to this day.

      At the end of the evening, Kingwill revealed that Grell was selected as the chief of the PowWow. Bestowed upon Grell by a vote from his fellow riders, this award recognized him for embodying the spirit of the event. “Thank you for the honor. I can’t wait until next year,” he said. “I’ve been to hundreds of events in my life and this is the funnest one yet.” As Grell gave thanks, it was clear that his passion for snowboarding was as strong as when he strapped in for the very first time decades ago.

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    • 4 weeks ago
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  • Photo Gallery: Reliving Winter Photo Gallery: Reliving Winter Storm Vulcan

    • From: ryandunfee121157
    • Description:

      Winter storms in the East have been getting named like hurricanes for a few years now, but few times has it made more sense than last week. While it wasn't Winter Storm Ullr, Winter Storm Vulcan had an appropriately badass enough name for the kind of fury it delivered, dropping upwards of two feet off an extremely generous swath of the Northeast, from Whiteface in New York to Vermont's Green Mountains all the way to Maine. We look back on some of the best days of the East's 2014 season...

      WHITEFACE, NEW YORK

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      Even the Empire State got in on this one. Last Thursday after 21 inches blessed New York's highest ski area, local Justin Perry got the Jay-Z bumpin' in time to hammer this textbook slash for the lens of Louie Armstong (no relation to the deceased trumpeter).

      KILLINGTON, VERMONT

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      A Beast local finds enough space for a graceful pop turn in the woods of Killington after upwards of two feet hammered the mountain last week.

      SUGARLOAF, MAINE

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      While skis with a 120+ waist might seem a bit out of place most of the year, last week the fatties were right at home among the goods of Vulcan. Here Sugarloaf local "Milky" plants one deep and sees if he can find the bottom.

      STOWE, VERMONT

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      By the 14th, Stowe had received nearly two feet. But secondary tremors all the way through the weekend brought three inches here, six inches there, and eight here, providing the makings for some serious free refills.

      JAY PEAK, VERMONT

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      For those more inclined to sideways sliding, Vulcan provided the perfect canvas to surf the Earth (of New England). Here Jay local Chuck doesn't even need a slash to make you salivate over the two feet that hit the Northeast Kingdom last week.

      SADDLEBACK, MAINE

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      East Coast photographer Ryan Denning took a chance and ventured into unknown territory, making the four-hour drive north to Saddleback, one of Maine's least talked about hills. The bet paid off; the Casablanca glades were choked with two feet of Maine cold smoke and guys like Rob Brown, above, only had to contend with two dozen others when they weren't coming up for air in the trees.

      WILDCAT, NEW HAMPSHIRE

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      You know it's a good week in the East when those coming up on the lighter end of the dawn conditions report are still calling 18 inches. Here Pat Walsh charges through one of Wildcat's signature tight tree shots, seeing no cause to hunt for pow anywhere "deeper."

      VERMONT BACKCOUNTRY

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      TGR's forum users (the "maggots") sure as hell made sure their sick days were stacked up in time for March's signature storms. Here Sequoiashan raises hell in the woods near Mad River Glen for the lens of Thin Cover. 

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  • Waste Revival: Three Ski Resor Waste Revival: Three Ski Resorts’ Creative Uses for Waste

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      By Tess Weaver

      From chairlifts powered by alternative energy to green building efforts to on-mountain restoration projects, ski area environmental programs have come a long way. Three resorts in particular are putting waste to work—whether from cows, people, or a coal mine. 

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      In addition to powering the K-1 Express Gondola, Bertha also checks tickets.

      Vermont’s Killington Resort is powering its K-1 Express Gondola with electricity generated from local dairy cows, Aspen Snowmass is capturing methane gas produced by a nearby coal mine and converting it to electricity, and Arizona Snowbowl is using sewage effluent to make all of its artificial snow. 

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      The only thing cuter than this calf is the fact that his shit enables you to ski.

      Killington Resort partnered with Green Mountain Power (GMP) and local Vermont dairy farms to convert cow manure into electricity to power its K-1 Express Gondola year-round. According to the EPA the decomposition of cow manure produces seven percent of the country’s methane, a gas that traps more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The Cow Power Program collects cow manure from participating Vermont dairy farms, mixes the waste with wash water from the milking equipment, and pumps it into an anaerobic digester. The waste sits in the digester for about three weeks at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing bacteria to convert the manure into biogas composed of about 60% methane gas and 40% carbon dioxide. The methane gas is then delivered to a modified natural gas engine, which consequently spins an electric generator to create electricity. Finally, the energy generated is fed into the GMP electrical system and distributed to the K-1 Express Gondola and, as of this winter, Killington’s Peak Lodge. 

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      When you flush a toilet in Flagstaff, you can make a skier smile.

      Last season, Arizona Snowbowl in Northern Arizona became the first ski resort to make artificial snow exclusively from sewage effluent. In a volcanic mountain range without freeflowing water, Snowbowl was never able to make snow until the resort constructed a water supply line from nearby Flagstaff. While all of Flagstaff’s reclaimed water is allocated in summer, there’s an abundance in winter, which means Snowbowl can use up to 1.5 million gallons of the repurposed waste water to make snow. The water is tested daily by the city. The resort now blows snow on snow on sixty percent of its terrain. It’s revolutionized the resort’s business, creating predictable openings and a longer season, says the resort’s general manager, J.R. Murray. Yet it has also stirred controversy, as some question the long-term ecological impacts of using reclaimed waste water.  The project has also been criticized for using effluent on peaks considered sacred by many tribes in the Four Corners area.

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      When life hands you shit, make some snow.

      And in Colorado, Aspen Snowmass is using electricity generated from the first waste-methane-to-energy power plant west of the Mississippi River. The three-Megawatt power plant at Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine in Somerset, about eighty miles from Aspen, will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of Aspen Skiing Company’s annual operations including four ski areas, three hotels and seventeen restaurants.

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      Rather than passing gas, Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine helps power Aspen.

      The power plant captures and combusts waste methane gas emitted from the mine that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere and converts it to electricity. And by destroying waste methane, a potent greenhouse gas, this project eliminates three times the carbon pollution created by the resort each year while also garnering carbon offset benefits. 

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      This is the most beautiful methane capturing system we've ever seen.

      For most ski resorts, their very existence and daily operations have a significant impact on the environment. Nonetheless, programs such as these stand to reduce this impact while reimaging the future.

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      By harnessing waste methane, this mine helps keeps the lights on and the lifts turning at Aspen. And, in the event that the Aspen Skiing Company needs to expand, the mine's coal piles offer some nice bowl skiing.

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  • Last Call: Tuckerman Ravine, A Last Call: Tuckerman Ravine, Art of the Carve, Japanimation, More!

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      Last Call is a regular column, delivered every Friday, where we delve into the week's most entertaining, pucker-inducing, and rediculous pieces of moving pixels on the screen.

      Big Day at Tuckerman Ravine

      With a high pressure system locking in clear blue skies, two shop employees from New Hampshire's legendary Fire On The Mountain ski shop took to Mt. Washington to ski some of Tuckerman Ravine's legendary lines in full mid-winter conditions, no doubt after studiously following conditions updates on Mt. Washington Avalanche Center's website. Nontheless, MWAC described their first run, at high speed down Chute Variation, as "bold and risky" on their Instagram.

      Terje Haakonsen and Ben Ferguson: The Art of the Carve

      This two-minute edit could also be called the “Lost Art of Carving.”  In the age of manicured kickers and triple corks, many riders have lost sight of the fun—and importance—of being able to carve.  This, however, is slowly changing.  Through projects like Gray Thompson and Eric Messier’s Warp Wave and designers placing an increased focus on boutique board shapes, carving is making a serious comeback.  That being said, it’s never gone away.  Riders like Terje have always kept the fire alive.  And this edit—shot at Mt. Baker and likely during the Legendary Banked Slalom—serves as testament to this.

      Japanimation

      With March upon us, we can now look back on the heart of the season in Japan, when the ratio of storm days to bluebird days is scratching at 100:1. Euro shred Basti Farber was one of the lucky few (many?) who got to experience just what Japan's notoriously deep brand of storm skiing is like.

      Mountain Bike Shred Session 

      The firewood entry could be an edit in unto itself if Amir Kabbani weren't so damn talented at mountain biking. I mean, a handplant 180 on a full-suspension trail bike?? He didn't even lose his water bottle. I also want to meet the trail builder who built that berm-to-jump-over-the-creek-and-back-in setup. And that backflip into the thread-the-needle line in the vineyard? Someone's frequent flyer miles are reading "BAWSS STATUS!!!"

       Vulcanizing the East

      Winter Storm Vulcan (I love that they're naming these now!) wrought up to two feet of snow on New England, making every employee north of NYC check their allotment of sick days to take advantage. The East Coast thread in the TGR forums has been going of, and as this video from Jay Peak shows, the hype matched the reality. Look forward to a photo roundup from Vulcan next week, and wonder in the meantime whether Dynafit's marketing department will react quickly enough to use the storm to sell some boots...

      Want more Last Call? Check out:
      -Last Call: Travis Rice returns, Inside Edition attacks pot on the slopes, and more
      -Last Call: Boobilicious, Freestyle Walking, and Everest
      -Last Call: Angel Collinson, an Insane Avalanche, and McConkey Reborn

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  • Local's Guide to: Sunday River Local's Guide to: Sunday River & Mt. Abram, Maine

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

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      By Marty Bosch

      Often mentioned by those from away in the same exhausted breath as fellow Eastern bohemoth Killington, western Maine's Sunday River is a finely groomed giant with 8 interconnected peaks, 135 trails, and 15 lifts including the alternating chair/gondola "Chondola," and represents one of the East's biggest and most sprawling resort options. 

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      During the heyday of the Bust N' Burn mogul contest, Sunday River was an epicenter of the New England bump skiing scene.

      The Rivah is also a slice of freeskiing bliss with terrain parks touched by the influence of hometown hero Simon Dumont, along with copious glades, plenty of space to spread out, and one of the East Coast's two most legendary mogul trails - White Heat. In the heat of the 90's, when mogul skiing was still the shit, White Heat's Bust N' Burn mogul contest was an epicenter of the New England bump scene. To date, it's still the only time Associate Editor Ryan Dunfee has seen someone do seven twisters in a single jump.

      Mother Nature is fickle here, delivering 155 inches of the real white stuff a year. But mountain ops blasts its the white gold starting in the colorful fall, ensuring a long season that often extends late into April after starting in early November.

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      Sunday River's unassuming laidback neighbor, Mt. Abram, from the air.

      The River's a few miles from the quaint village of Bethel, where Gould Academy's red brick buildings house future Olympians and X Games champions like Dumont himself. New Hampshire's frosty Presidential Range caps the horizon. Down the road in Greenwood is Mt. Abram, an of-the-people mountain with a laidback vibe that has recently been designated as a prototype "Mountain Playground" of the progressive Mountain Riders Alliance organization, which seeks to develop Mt. Abram into a model for community-oriented ski areas worldwide, in contrast to the rather corporate model Sunday River presents. 

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      Alaska native Dave Scanlan of the Mountain Riders' Alliance, not too dulled by the goods of Mt. Abram despite being far from a more powdery home. Davin Currie photo.

      Options there are accessed mostly by a soulful double-chair called "The Way Back Machine" and are dependent heavily on Mother Nature's largesse, with a tiny snowmaking infrastructure compared to their its neighbor. Nonetheless, with an open boundary-to-boundary policy, 51 trails, an unsassuming air, and fun natural steeps along the t-bar, Rocky's Run, and in the woods along Easy Rider, Mt. Abram offers an unfettered New England skiing experience similar to that found at Vermont's Magic Mountain, while affordable tickets and the ability to park within spitting distance of the lifts makes it a family-friendly joint as well. Despite the base lodge having burnt down a few years ago, a temporary tent still gives the friendly Loose Boots Lounge the feel of adult summer camp feel. If you're committed to a weekend here, you'll likely be staying in a quiant B&B in Bethel.

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      On this side of the country, a good groomer really counts for something. Sunday River photo.

      Back on the other side of Bethel, Sunday River is more than three miles wide with a handful of base lodges, slopeside hotels and acres of accommodations. The River sees its healthy share of Mainers with no desire to leave the Pine Tree State and hordes of Bostonians donning the latest in sports team fan garb. 

      I'm inclined to ski end to end over the course of the day, as each peak feels like its own area. There's some maddening traverses at times and a handful of busy trail junctions, but the steeper rewards rock. South Ridge always seems to be packed with beginners while the lodges at Barker and White Cap fill up a tad later. Staying at the seemingly distant yet slopeside Jordan Grand Resort Hotel? Score! Start and end there on long secluded cruisers at Jordan Bowl like Excaliber and Rogue Angel. 

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      Lost Princess is among a host of steep and unmaintained tracks off of Oz well worth your time when the snow is soft. Sunday River photo.

      Oz is the expert playground with its islands and glades with fanciful names like Emerald City, Flying Monkey and the new Poppy Fields.  Spruce and Barker are loaded with scintillating cruisers including Risky Business, American Express and Lazy River. Aurora is something a local-flavored gem with nice stashes on those powder days; look for the new Super Nova there. North Peak, end point of the gondola with its well-placed Peak Lodge, is largely where beginners and intermediates play but is also now home to the huge T72 terrain park and fledgling North Woods.

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      It may not be the deepest place in New England, but Sunday River gives you plenty of room to play around. Sunday River photo.

      Both Locke (the first trails were cut in the 1950s long before the River grew like it was on steroids) and White Cap contain black and blue jabs like Upper Sunday Punch, Cascades and sweet Monday Mourning, the race trail. The legendary super steep White Heat on White Cap is billed as the "longest steepest widest lift-serviced expert trail in the East."  Pioneer Wayne Wong pounded the bumps there during the now dead Bust 'n' Burn competition. So did a young Simon Dumont.

      The park scene is solid, thanks in part to Dumont's touch. Freeskiing's young godfather grew up in Bethel. He set the world record for the highest quarterpipe boost here in 2008 with a 35-foot cork 900 and a year later started the Dumont Cup held in March that draws superstars like Tom Wallisch and Nick Goepper in a very accessible pro-am event. 

      The annual Dumont Cup, held in the River's parks and hosting some of the best ski park talent alive every March, is one of the few high-profile park events on the New England calendar.

      Now there's the new T72 park on North Peak. Dumont, along with Snow Park Technologies, had a hand in its design, as it is now the home of the Cup. Covering 15 acres, T72 houses medium/large features, a jump line, an 18-foot superpipe, and a rail park. It replaces the terrain parks they used to have on Barker and Locke. The beginner Who-Ville outside South Ridge remains free of anything metal. 

      Night life in the Bethel area starts with a frosty pint, and well, next thing you know it's tomorrow. Maine's best ski town has filling eateries, aprés specials and live music. Slopeside starts eventually spill into Bethel, which also serves the Mt. Abram branch. 

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      Despite Maine's long tradition of puritanism, devil horns still populate the late night air in the Foggy Goggle. Sunday River photo.

      At the River, the trailside crawl often begins inside South Ridge upstairs at the festive Foggy Goggle with its mountainous views, nachos, and lively concerts, while locals hang upstairs near the fireplace at the mellower bar in Barker.  Across from South Ridge is The Phoenix, a comfortable bistro with a big bar (aprés Wednesdays= dollar taco night).

      From there, drift out onto the Sunday River Access Road with haunts like the rustic Matterhorn, the area's iconic ski bar, with its glacial drinks and Tuesday Deep and Cheap deals with half-price wood-fired pizza. Quaff a local blonde at the Sunday River Brew Pub (Wednesdays deliver $1.50 apres beers) before flowing out onto Route 2 to spots like Rooster's Roadhouse ($5 burgers after 4 p.m.) and the British Jolly Drayman (all you can eat fish and chips specials select nights).  In Bethel, you can find Sud's Pub in the downstairs of the Sudbury Inn, with Thursday night Hoot Night for open mic aficionados, and of course, the area wildlife always cuts loose late night at the boisterous Funky Red Barn, which is also known for its prime rib.  

      If that seems like a daunting itinerary of boozing for anyone with a decent sense of responsibility, the Sunday River trolley and Mountain Explorer bus run shuttles until 12:30 at night on the weekends to help make those connections. 

      For more information, check out Sunday River's homepage of that of Mt. Abram. Want more inside info. on East Coast ski areas? Check out:
      -Local's Guide to Sugarloaf, Maine
      -Local's Guide to Skiing NH's I-93

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  • Reviewing The TGR Base Hoodie Reviewing The TGR Base Hoodie

    • From: ryandunfee121157
    • Description:

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      The TGR Base Hoodie: great for disguising your widow's peak in the parking lot. Max Santeusanio photo.

      “Your baselayer is the most important layer nobody talks about” goes our opening marketing speak enticing you to buy our Polartec TGR Base Hoodie, which is currently on sale for $89.95, down from a holiday season high of $139.95. Now $89.95 is still a pretty asburd price to pay for a piece of clothing designed to be worn where no one can see it, but the Base Hoodie is one of those pieces of snow gear we think you’ll be pulling out of the attic season after season. Like the random grey Gap teen fleece jacket I just can’t seem to part with when it’s time to zip up for a powder day. 

      The real sell here is the flexibility of this garment. A tight-fitting hood can be zipped up to your lips if you’re keeping skin exposure to a minimum on a spring snowcamping mission, zipped down a bit more if you’re sporting it under a beanie or helmet, or taken off entirely and zipper pulled down to the middle of your stomach if you’re hoofing it up a sweaty late-season skin track. If not utilized, the hood is small and light enough to tuck under your jacket without thinking about it.

      Wrist gaiters can be employed if you’re trying to avoid that shitty cold, damp feeling you get on your wrists after snow climbs up every article of clothing following a powder day wipeout due to your poor technique. Already got gaiters on your jacket? No problem, slide ‘em back and save them for warming your hands up at the bar later, or for giving your hands that little bit of warmth you want when full gloves are overkill on a sunny hike. Similarly, the slightly longer fit of the piece means it comfortably tucks away below the belt line, offering critical tailbone protection from snow and cold.

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      Flexible Polartec fabric ensures you'll be loose and comfortable as you make an awkward reach for something totally unneccesary in your pack for the photographer. Max Santeusanio photo.

      The finishing sell for the TGR Base Hoodie is the ability of the Polartec Power Dry fabric to shed moisture and get you back to that happy dry warmth in record time. Especially towards the end of the day, wearing a cold, damp base layer, no matter how many layers sit on top of it, is like eating tater tots cooked in olive oil – it just ain’t right! However, despite my lack of ski finesse causing me to dump it into the snow multiple times during a recent storm day, by the time I’d stripped down for lunch, I was as dry as a Steven Wright joke (That’s officially the most obscure reference used to sell TGR merch, so I’m putting a gold star on the wall for myself here). Pull up the gaiters and hood, give it a few minutes, and bam! Your core temp’s back up into the party zone.

      At the end of the day, the Base Hoodie may be the most expensive baselayer you ever convince yourself to buy, but is very very likely the last one you’ll drop off at Goodwill. Get yours at: http://bit.ly/1fMoroA

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  • N. VT BC avalanche N. VT BC avalanche

    • From: jw1080
    • Description:

      After over 2 ft fell on N. VT, the persistent weak ice layer spawned multiple avies.  Got some real good footage from a seldom shot angle on a decent sized slide -- big for VT. 

    • 2 months ago
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