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  • An Avalanche Cycle That Hit Cl An Avalanche Cycle That Hit Close To Home

    • From: ryandunfee121157
    • Description:

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      Greg Epstein, center, with Griffin Post (left) and girlfriend Mira Lee (right). Photo via Mira Lee.

      After a record storm cycle brought up to two hundred inches to the Tetons in little more than a month, local backcountry skiers and riders were hankering to get on top of lines around Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. For much of February, these lines had been getting hammered with new snow or were plagued by poor visibility. As the beginning of March brought with it some of the first bluebird days in weeks, local backcountry skiers and riders quickly fanned out into quickly-accessible terrain surrounding the legendary Jackson Hole tram. But the desire to scratch that itch produced multiple avalanche victims, including TGR’s own Supervising Producer, Greg Epstein.

      The first incident came on Tuesday, March 4th, when a skier triggered an avalanche after ski cutting the top of 7 Dwarfs in the steep North-facing terrain of Granite Canyon off the back of the resort. The slide swept the skier into trees and down a second pitch. Upon attempting a rescue, his partner set off a second avalanche that carried her down to her partner, almost burying him further. Both managed to self-rescue and exit Granite safely. The following day, two skiers set off an avalanche at the top of Four Pines off the south side of the resort that caught both but did not bury them. 

      On Saturday, March 8th, with a deep blue sky hinting at rising temps throughout the day, a highly experienced, local backcountry snowboarder attempted to negotiate the steep cliffband known as Breakneck, which is located beneath Cody and No Name peaks. Dropping in on his first run of the day, he hit an unstable pocket among the cliffs that released, raking him over successive cliffs and burying him completely at the bottom, his head three feet under the snow. Dave Miller, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Lead Backcountry Guide, was in a different party nearby with four other ski patrollers, along with one more at the top of Green River, and readily responded.  Miller located the victim under the snow with the five others and, luckily, he regained consciousness. This close call could have ended very differently if an experienced guide hadn’t been there right at that moment.

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      The result of the Breakneck avalanche. The crown where the avalanche broke can be seen high up on the face. Photo via the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center.

      “We basically had a snow cycle since late January in which we got thirty-six days of snow, and two hundred inches, before we finally got into a period of high pressure,” said Mike Ream, an avalanche forecaster at the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center. He explains that on the day of the Breakneck incident, “The snowpack was stabilizing, but immediately following that big storm cycle, people were making aggressive terrain choices. Saturday [March 8th] we had considerable hazards at the mid-high elevations with wind slabs, and persistent slabs at high elevations.” Rheam added before discussing the Breakneck incident, where he was one of the first responders. “We don’t forecast for steep, aggressive terrain like Breakneck. It’s outside of our forecasting consideration, and there’s pockets on those cliff bands that can go at any time. That guy was very lucky that he wasn’t hurt worse by trauma while falling over the cliffs and [that he] was unconscious when found and exposed. It was a big red flag—that was really aggressive terrain.”

      The following morning, Sunday, March 9th, TGR’s Supervising Producer Greg Epstein aimed to ski Granite Canyon with a small group that included professional skier Max Hammer and Patagonia’s Josh Nielsen and Glenn Morden.

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      Greg Epstein skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Photo by Chris Figenshau.

      Epstein is a highly experienced backcountry traveler who has safely produced numerous backcountry film segments while also organizing the annual International Pro Riders’ Workshop. TGR facilitates this workshop at the start of each season to train its film athletes and cinematographers in avalanche safety and backcountry rescue and first aid protocols.

      The largely northeast-facing terrain is home to some of the area’s most challenging and longest backcountry runs, including classics like Milelong Couloir, the Spock Chutes, and Northwest Passage. Nonetheless, the area presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing avalanche hazards. “It’s pretty aggressive terrain—the narrow chutes especially,” said Bridger-Teton’s Mike Rheam. “The chutes in the early season are basically cliff bands, and they take awhile to fill in. When they do, the snowpack varies in depth quite a bit, being super shallow or deep depending on where along the buried cliff bands you area. But the wind loading is really the tricky thing there—it’s very difficult to predict those wind slabs. And that particular terrain is notorious for shifting wind slabs that vary from chute to chute or from the top to the bottom.” 

      Over the course of that Sunday, the avalanche hazard rose from moderate to considerable as temps in the high elevations rose from twenty-nine degrees at five a.m. to a high of 42. During a “considerable” avalanche hazard, natural avalanches are deemed possible while human-triggered avalanches are likely. But again, these kinds of hazards don’t fully account for the dangers found on steep, technical terrain like that in Granite Canyon. While the snow had settled over the course of the past few days of high pressure, persistent deep slabs and wind slabs still posed a threat at the high elevations. Greg and his party skied one run safely in Granite earlier in the day, and came back after lunch to attempt the well-known Double Dogleg Couloir, a steep chuted run that goes on a similar Northeast aspect that splits in two midway down the line, runs for 1,500 vertical feet, and has an average pitch in the high thirty degrees.

      Epstein set out to test the intricate hazards persistent in Granite with an experienced eye. “The general avalanche hazard forecast is a good way to get a general sense of what’s going on outside, but it doesn’t represent all aspects at all elevations. Granite has its own micro-aspects like a lot of places in the Tetons, and each one has completely different snow, wind—everything,” Greg said with regards to the decision-making process. “We were a day after the Breakneck incident but on a completely different aspect. We had an extra day for the snow to settle and not much solar gain on the slope—that’s why we decided to ski it. It was a group decision and we were prepared to be out there.”

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      In this excerpt from the Jackson Hole Ski Atlas, the Double Dogleg Couloir can be seen towards the left of the picture. The Football Field is the unobstructed open section before the beginning of the chute.  

      Epstein made the call to ski cut the top of the first pitch, known as Football Field. This would allow the group to monitor whether or not any of the snow would release on the large open pitch before Double Dogleg began to narrow. He cut across it at a forty-five degree angle, maintaining his speed to get across any slab that might release, but nothing did. “So then we poked in a little further, “ he added. “We got to the top of Double Dogleg, and I decided to ski cut the top of that as well. Nothing moved, not even a block of snow. We started talking about the next move, and decided that I was going to work my way about fifty to sixty yards down the fall line before stopping at this island of safety—a rocky ridge that took you out of the path of the chute. I made two turns and saw cracks forming in the snow ahead of me, and immediately beelined it for the safe zone. I got up on top of it, but as the avalanche passed, it grabbed the last few inches of my tails and pulled me into the slide.

      “I pulled my airbag and took the ride for about 800 or 1,000 feet,” Epstein explained. “It was definitely fast and aggressive. I went off a pretty big cliff that made me think for a few minutes—like ‘what’s going to happen when I come back down’—and I landed and my ski hit a tree, breaking off at the binding, and that’s when I broke my leg and my pelvis.”

      “It was a fourteen to eighteen inch crown,” said Rheam, after having inspected the debris of the slide in subsequent days. The crown was thrity yards wide, and the avalanche propogated wider after the initial break. “It was a pocket of wind slab, maybe an R2, D1.5 avalanche. Relatively speaking, it wasn’t a giant slide, but in that terrain you’re going for a ride once you get caught. A lot of times, people in Granite aren’t buried; they’re injured. It was definitely an aggressive terrain choice for the heat, and a pretty bold decision due to the recent avalanche activity, the warming going on, and the terrain features in Double Dogleg.”

      Back on the snow at the apron of the couloir, Greg sat facing up hill on top of the snow—thanks no doubt to his air bag—with a broken tibia and fibia in his lower leg, which was nearly at compound fracture stage with the bone trying to poke out of the skin. While that pain was bad enough, the pain of his newly-broken pelvis was purely agonizing. As partners Josh Nielsen and Max Hammer descended with avalanche beacons, searching for Greg’s signal, Epstein yelled back up the hill to call 911. “Nielsen probably got to me within three minutes,” he said. “I told him I thought my leg and pelvis were broken and that we needed to get me turned downhill, get me comfortable, and get help quick.”

      Hammer, who had CPR training in addition to his experience training at TGR’s International Pro Riders’ Workshop, took on the responsibility of triage, checking Greg’s vitals and running his hands along Greg’s entire body to check for secondary issues. They then pulled Greg onto a line of their backcountry packs to keep him off the snow and warmer. They also called emergency services. As local patrollers and search and rescue crews organized a response and called in a helicopter, Max stayed by Epstein, repeating encouraging words while continually keeping contact and pressure on Greg’s chest to let him know he was there. After an hour, the first patrollers arrived. And after two hours, another set arrived with a sled to take Greg down to the base of the valley for a heli extract. Epstein started to get cold and shiver. This and the tension of a full bladder began to exacerbate the severe pain he was already experiencing. “It was the most pain I have ever been in in my entire life—hands down,” said Greg looking back. “But I feel luckier than shit that I didn’t die or have any back or head injuries.”

      Three hours after the avalanche swept Greg nearly 1,500 feet, a helicopter arrived and carted Epstein to an ambulance waiting at the base of the resort. After a night at St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Epstein underwent nearly six hours of surgery to insert rods into his lower leg in order to stabilize the tibia and fibia and a plate to pull his pelvis back together. Almost immediately, a flurry of support from the local community made its way to Greg’s bed, with piles of get well cards, sweets, and beers, along with enough incoming traffic to give the nurses an exhausted look at the sight of another visitor. 

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      Mark Epstein captures his brother Greg recovering well in Jackson's St. John's Hospital before being released last Friday.

      “It’s been amazing how supportive the community has been and how many people called or cared,” Greg said reflecting on his time in the hospital. “It’s one of the things that makes Jackson Hole one of the best communities on the planet. I really want to stress that; this place is really, really supportive.” 

      After being released from the hospital over the weekend, Greg would like to thank everyone who sent messages of support or visited him after his accident. He would also like to thank his backcountry partners. They not only had the skills to locate him with their transceivers after the avalanche, but also the skills to stabilize him, check for additional injuries, and efficiently coordinate a rescue and extraction with the emergency service personnel who helped Greg get to the helicopter and ultimately the hospital - a big thanks is owed to their tireless work as well.

      Want to be prepared for the backcountry? Here are some helpful resources to check out:
      -Higher Unplugged: International -Pro Rider Workshop recap video
      -TGR's roundup of avalanche classes, clinics, and workshops in North America

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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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  • 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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  • 2014 Snowbird Freeride World T 2014 Snowbird Freeride World Tour Recap

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      By MacKenzie Ryan

      In the fourth stop of the Freeride World Tour at Snowbird, skiers Lars Chickering-Ayers and Lorraine Huber topped the podium this week. In women’s snowboarding, Elodie Mouthon upset a field filled with Snowbird locals while Canadian Jamie Rizzuto captured the win. 

      Lady skiers stole the show under bluebird conditions, with one competitor after the other lining up for massive cliff drops. Huber said, “The women’s field is really strong this year on the tour. What we have is a lot of density. There’s not just one or two really strong skiers. It gives us incentive to really step it up.”

      FWT14_Snowbird_JDash_051.jpg 

      Big Mountain Comps Struggle in Drier-Than-Normal Season 

      The lone American stop on the FWT was relocated from Kirkwood to Snowbird this year due to a lack of snowfall in California. Snowbird, which has only seen regular snowfall in past few weeks, was chosen to replace Kirkwood because the Utah resort offers multiple venues for big mountain competitions.

      “For a five-star world tour venue, the venue needs to have at least 1050 vertical feet and six distinct lines,” explained FWT Americas Event Director Bryan Barlow. The face also needs to compare to the scale and size of what skiers are dealing with in other parts of the world, he added, typically measuring between 1,200 to 2,000 vertical feet with a variety of features. 

      FWT14_Snowbird_JDash_897.jpg

      Lars said the overall vibe of the tour has been good, but that competitors have been struggling in terms of the weather and the condition of the venues all year. “We’re making do with what got,” he offered. 

      Rizzuto called it a “tough year for everyone with the low snowpack” and pointed out that “variable conditions show the better rider at the end of the day.”  

      An avalanche on the first face of choice, North Baldy, caused organizers to move the event to Silver Fox; stormy weather then postponed the event until Wednesday.  

      FWT14_Snowbird_JDash_867.jpg

      A Look at Who’s Coming Back for FWT 2015 

      The Snowbird stop also brought competitors one step closer to understanding where they stand headed into next year's tour, as the upcoming Revelstoke stop will secure the lineup of who will qualify for the 2015 season. Sixteen male skiers, eight male snowboarders,seven female skiers and four female snowboarders—or about half of each field—will return in order to keep the talent pool tight.

      Two of Wednesday’s winners, Jamie Rizzuto and Lorraine Huber, had not qualified to stay on the tour two seasons ago, and then re-qualified last year. They are sitting first and third, respectively, in overall tour standings. Neither Rizzuto nor Huber expressed an ounce of resentment about their comeback journeys. Rather, both cited the long road back to the FWT as reasons for gratitude and additional motivation. 

      FWT14_Snowbird_SLloyd_0127.jpg

      The FWT sometimes issues one-event and seasonal wildcards. Seasonal wildcards go to athletes at the forefront of their discipline, Barlow explains. “It has to be an accomplished, well-known, well-recognized rider who is injecting in some proven talent and ability through past competitions and filming.” For example, Salt Lake City-based pro snowboarder Laura Hadar was asked to join the Freeride World Tour for the 2013-14 season. Hadar has a rich career that includes tours of duty sessioning rails in SLC and dropping huge lines in AK.

      Barlow says one-event bids are reserved for athletes pushing the level of the sport who fulfill the need for a hometown hero. Snowbird locals Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Ryan Hudson were given one-event wildcard spots. Both crashed in their runs. Though Cattabriga-Alosa is world-famous for his hair-raising video parts, he said he accepted the wildcard at Snowbird out of respect for the highest level of competitive freeskiing. 

      Hudson called the invite “unexpected” because he has taken the year off competing entirely. He added that he used the opportunity to honor his friend, Sammy Luebke, who is currently resting a knee injury. Nonetheless, Luebke is currently sitting second in overall tour standings. 

      Final Results

      FWT14_SNOWBIRD_DCARLIER-2435.jpg

      Women’s Snowboard:

      1. Elodie Mouthon (FRA), 75.75 points

      2. Estelle Balet (SUI), 72.75 points

      3. Kaitlin Elliot (USA), 67.00 points

      FWT14_SNOWBIRD_DCARLIER-2458.jpg

      Women’s Ski:

      1. Lorraine Huber (AUT), 85.00 points

      2. Nadine Wallner (AUT), 80.25 points

      3. Pia Nic Gundersen (SWE), 79.00 points

      FWT14_SNOWBIRD_DCARLIER-2477.jpg

      Men’s Snowboard:

      1. Jamie Rizzuto (CAN), 86.50 points

      2. Emilien Badoux (SUI), 83.50 points

      3. Aurelien Routens (FRA), 78.25 points

      FWT14_SNOWBIRD_DCARLIER-2495.jpg

      Men’s Ski:

      1. Lars Chickering-Ayers (USA), 90.25 points

      2. Jeremie Heitz (SUI), 88.75 points

      3. Sam Smoothy (NZL), 86.50 points

      Drop into the full results here

      Snowbird FWT stop winner Lorraine Huber is also the subject of Lorraine, a recent film by Austrian filmmaker Hanno Mackowitz. Be sure to check it out here.

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  • Local's Guide to Sugarloaf Local's Guide to Sugarloaf

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      By Marty Basch

      6. Loaf.jpg

      Remote, cold, and wild, Sugarloaf is Maine. Rabid Sugarloafers know they're near the Carrabassett Valley promised land when they start seeing moose and beefy logging trucks—or at least when they round Oh My Gosh corner on Route 27 and catch a glimpse of the glorious and frosty pyramid-shaped teat that is Sugarloaf.

      The Loaf's on a backcountry tear thanks to its recent Brackett Basin expansion, which contains a playground of tight trees, gnarly chutes and other sick lines into Burnt Mountain next door. The rollout began in 2011 with 270 insane sidecountry acres. This was followed by the addition of another 135 acres of terrain. By 2020, the Brackett Basin expansion will encompass 655 acres, enabling the Loaf to double in size and emerge as the East's largest resort.

      Self-satisfying Sugarloafers are an enduring lot. They enlist puffies, facemasks, and an abundance of layers to battle the bone-chilling cold. For early birds and those seeking first tracks, chairlifts on wind hold can be a common threat. For those who sleep in and roll to the mountain at eleven, however, the wind is less of an issue.

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      Even jean skiers love the Loaf

      The Loaf's loaded with diverse pockets of terrain—each suited for specific weather or whims. King Pine Bowl, with its mostly expert terrain, tends to hold more snow than other parts of the mountain due to the prevailing westerly winds. Since it's on the eastern side of the mountain, the sun hits it first thing in the morning, making it a primo choice for first tracks. Head for the forested fantasyland of Cant Dog Glade, broad Haul Back and the slender and playful Misery Whip.

      But on those bluebird days with no new snow, the Superquad chair is perfect for lapping King's Landing, Hayburner, and the benign Tote Road. Narrow Gauge and Skidder are also solid picks.

      4. Trees.jpg

      Get lost in the woods

      Or, continue higher on the Skyline chair to rip Sluice and Gondola Line. The gondola endeared many an old-timers heart, once transporting them from base to summit. The lift was a child of the 1960s (same as the Loaf's iconic triangle logo) and was taken down in 1997. The cars—which were auctioned off—can now be seen around the valley.

      When a good old-fashioned nor'easter rolls round, the ropes start dropping for the inbound Snowfields area and sidecountry terrain in Brackett Basin and Burnt Mountain. There are some sweet and tight turns to make in the outer reaches of Brackett in Birler, Edger and Sweeper glades. The Burnt Mountain summit has some jagged new lines destined to produce shit-eating grins.

      5. Snowfields.jpg

      Above it all in the Snowfields

      The salivating continues at the exposed Snowfields, the only lift-served above-treeline skiing in the East. A small taste of the West, the steeps, rock bands, and small cliffs rely on natural snow (except for White Nitro). A fluctuating snowpack can also reveal unmarked obstacles. Be prepared for that stomach-in-throat experience on Bubblecuffer and beyond.

      Then there are the backside snowfields with their brand of rowdy terrain. Your best bet on this is to score some face time with the ski patrol, found at the top of the Timberline chairlift. Patrollers will have the freshest info on routes to take…or not. Think about those options while taking a few scenic and frisky runs off the Timberline chair on Cinder Hoe, Binder and Buckskin.

      Three terrain parks at the Loaf keep freeskiers and riders smiling, including the beginner-based Skybound, Stomping Grounds for intermediate riders, and the signature Haywire Park, which offers the biggest and most challenging features. A 400-foot-long, 18-foot high Zaugg cut superpipe, mini-pipe and 'cross course round out the menu. That snowboardcross/skiercross course under the Superquad is the Seth Wescott-designed Sidewinder. Look for him on it, and also during the retro Sugarloaf Banked Slalom in March.

      Wescott and New Hampshire bad boy Bode Miller are linked to the Loaf. They're Carrabassett Valley Academy grads, as are aerialist Emily Cook, alpine skier Kristen Clark, and 2014 X Games silver medalist Alex Tuttle (mentored by Wescott). CVA's a Maine medal machine, with its skiers and riders winning a bounty of Olympic medals since the school opened in 1982 at the mountain’s base. Hell…Miller, Cook, U.S. Ski Team coach Forest Carey, halfpipe skier Annalisa Drew, and Canadian Alpine Snowboard Team coach Mark Fawcett all went to Sochi. Wescott sometimes does autograph sessions during vacation weeks and is often found at his access road restaurant a mile from the slopes, The Rack.

      1. Wescott.jpg

      Seth Wescott ripping corduroy

      For being in the middle of nowhere, Sugarloaf keeps things hopping on the weekends and holidays. Sure, you can go moose-watching with buds on the back roads, but you can also stick by the slopeside village and access road for burgers and beer at the English-styled Bag and Kettle. Brag over the basic Bag Burger and quenching potato ale or just party upstairs at the Widowmaker Lounge in the Sugarloaf Base Lodge which sports live music and pub grub. You can also hoist a pint at the casual Shipyard Brew Haus in the Sugarloaf Inn. The entertainment and barbecue at the Rack are both smoking. When April rolls around, Sugarloaf becomes the king of spring with its reggae festival at the beach, which is located outside the base lodge. Yet no matter when you head to Sugarloaf, you’re in for a treat.

      3. Reggae.jpg

      Sugarloaf's reggae festivalbring your own dreadlocks

      All Photos Courtesy of Sugarloaf
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  • The #Crowdtrip Finds the Pow i The #Crowdtrip Finds the Pow in Tahoe

    • From: ryandunfee121157
    • Description:

      Screen-Shot-2014-02-04-at-12.16.35-PM.jpg

      The Mountain Collective/TGR #Crowdtrip is a crowd-sourced road trip with four average guys checking off all 6 Mountain Collective Pass destinations - Jackson Hole, Aspen/Snowmass, Alta/Snowbird, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Whistler/Blackcomb - in one non-stop crowd-sourced swoop. Check out all the stop recaps attetongravity.com/crowdtrip.

      Words by Theo Birkner; photos by Caleb Del Begio & others

      Coming down to Lake Tahoe westbound on Highway 50 is inspiring, even for a carload of coastal boys who’ve spent their lives beside the great Pacific Ocean. It’s a beautiful place, especially the day after a massive snowstorm, and definitely one we were excited to drive through and ski around for a couple of days.

      Squaw-Valley-tgr-crowdtrip.jpg

      The Tahoe region, and specifically Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, was a fitting last stop for #crowdtrip south of the border, because it’s also the last stop for many skiers traveling abroad to hoist the stars and stripes in competition, not least for Olympic glory in a couple of weeks.

      Squaw produces so many championship level skiers and snowboarders across every discipline (slopestyle, halfpipe, alpine, etc), there’s got to be something in the water here.

      Skinny-dip-Lake-Tahoe-tgr-crowdtrip.jpg

      I guess that’s why we had to take a dip in the lake. Unfortunately for the other three, the only one who’s generally into cold-water swimming and public nudity (yours truly) was sidelined with a freshly operated-on shoulder and couldn’t partake. So Caleb, Marty and Alex stood tall and went for it. It was 24 degrees in the air at sunset, and probably not that much warmer in the water.

      Marty-Lazarski-Squaw-powder-tgr-crowdtrip.jpg

      Alex-Nylén-powder-alpine-meadows-tgr-crowdtrip.jpg

      Anyway, there was also powder to be had, and even though the base was scratchy, both Squaw and Alpine dealt a nice hand with what they could. 

      Big-Mtn-Bunny-alpine-meadows-tgr-crowdtrip.jpg

      We ripped around with the Squaw Kids, skied and enjoyed a little bluebird depth on both hills, and even found #bigmountainbunny 2.0. Then we took a moment to appreciated Shane McConkey’s influence on the world we enjoy so much, because in one way or another, he’s affected all of us as skiers.

      Mountain-Collective-anniversary-beers.jpg

      We stayed in the Village at Squaw, which although smaller than the one we’re headed to next in Canada, offered great pizza, sushi, beer (including the various Mountain Collective anniversary ales shown above), relaxation stations in the way of outdoor firepits, and wicked retail scores, clearly displayed by our Swedish sensation, who managed to parlay a sixer of Blue Ribbons into a 40% discount on some new Oakleys.

      le-chamois-squaw-valley-crowdtrip-tgr.jpg

      We hit the Chamois (aka "the Chammy"), because you have to when you’re in Squaw, and we stopped in to the Sotheby’s office to look into some local real estate offerings. Safe to say, the average ski bum need not apply…

      So since we enjoyed Tahoe, and will likely return in search of a deeper snow pack, but won’t be settling down there in the long term, we headed north.

      That’s the Great White North, specifically, and a little town called Whistler. There’s not a ton of snow in the forecast, but Whistler has a way of spreading the goods around, and even dumping the unforeseen. We’re pretty stoked to shred our home hill for a bit, and it’ll be a great way to wrap up the so far massively enjoyable Crowdtrip.

      Sling us a challenge or three for Whistler.

      The Mountain Collective/TGR #Crowdtrip is a crowd-sourced road trip with four average guys checking off all 6 Mountain Collective Pass destinations - Jackson Hole, Aspen/Snowmass, Alta/Snowbird, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Whistler/Blackcomb - in one non-stop crowd-sourced swoop. Check out all the stop recaps attetongravity.com/crowdtrip.

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  • Jackson Hole Stop 1 #Crowdtrip Jackson Hole Stop 1 #Crowdtrip Recap

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      Driving-the-BMW-to-Jackson-Hole.jpg

       Got requests, suggestions, and challenges for the Alta/Snowbird (Jan 23-26) & Mammoth Mountain (Jan. 26-28) stops of the #Crowdtrip? Leave 'em in the comments below or hit us up on our Twitter account!

      The lore of Jackson Hole surpasses almost all of its competition in the world of skiing. The ratio of big skis to people who actually know how to use them is a good one. Young and old, male and female, racer or freeskier, most people here rip.

      Group-lined-up-at-Jackson-Holes-Corbets-Couloir.jpg

      After an initial afternoon getting our bearings during a tour around the backcountry surrounding Teton Pass, we got on the legendary tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort - a lift many of us had been waiting to take for a decade. We skied right down to the legendary Corbet's Couloir. We peered over the edge and looked at a wall of refrozen sun-crusted snow that made up the first turn. Sorry guys, but we turned away...

      Entrance-to-Corbets-Couloir.jpg

      Given a week-long snow drought, the mountain still skied spectactularly well, and we got a first hand look at that inbred Jackson ski skills while playing some S-K-I with Daniel Tisi, TGR’s Grom Contest champion and standout in this year's ski film, Way Of Life. It’s not every day you get thoroughly shown up by a 14-year-old.

      Daniel-Tisi-Tensleep-kicker.jpg

      Daniel set the pace early, boosting a huge 360 off the Tensleep Bowl kicker.

      Daniel-Tisi-wins-SKI-crowdtrip.jpg

      Unsurprisingly, Daniel had us beat before lunch after skiing around Tensleep Bowl, , but it was inspiring to see a grom on park skis charging a pretty firm set of conditions. In another life, he'd make a great East Coast skier...

      And yes, @colurmefreckels, we DID deliver a waffle all the way from Corbet's Cabin to the tram operator at the bottom, although we're pretty sure they had no idea what we were doing...

      Skier-races-paraglider-JHMR-crowdtrip.jpg

      We bounced back though, and took it to the Jackson Hole Paragliders in a Top Gear-style, Bridger Gondola top-to-bottom skier vs paraglider race for a pint of Teton Ale. We pitted Alexander, whose father was a world record-setting speed skier in the '80s, against JHP's two fastest gliders while throwing Marty in a tandem with the owner to film from above.

      jackson-hole-paragliders-crowdtrip.jpg

      Unfortunately, Alexander lost time when he had to run across the parking lot to the landing zone, and one of the gliders just edged him out for the beer. The POV footage will make for a sweet video...

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      And when the lifts shut, we took advantage of our BMW X5 to get up and down some slopes via tow-rope.

      JHMR-ski-patrol-tram-crowdtrip.jpg

      We also visited with the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol, some of the most respectable men and women the ski industry has to offer, and riding the sunrise tram with them for early-morning corduroy was a pleasure and a privilege.

      Alexander-Nylen-early-groomers-JHMR-crowdtrip.jpg

      Alexander shreds some early-morning groomers off the tram, which were firm and fast under a beautiful bluebird sky. 

      Mangy-Moose-crowdtrip.jpg

      Jackson’s not just all about the hill, though. The Mangy Moose did its reputation proud, and Moo’s Ice Cream in Jackson stood strong on its award for best ice cream in Wyoming.

      The-Hostel-Teton-Village.jpg

      We got to rest our heads at the timeless Hostel, also known as the HostelX, and certainly a fixture in many a Teton Village tale, not to mention a main player in the creation of some of this world’s illegitimate children. If you're a ski bum willing to settle for a bunk in a shared room, you can be slopeside at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for as little as $34/night.

      fireside-resort-JHMR-crowdtrip.jpg

      Our last night was spent at the Fireside Resort, a brilliant execution of ingenuous modular cabins that is definitely worth a look at if you ever need overnight accommodation in the area less than ten minutes from the resort. I'm already planning on bringing my wife back in the summer to stay here!

      inside-fireside-resort.jpg

      We did make a brief detour to sample the delicious beers at Thai Me Up based off a Facebook recommendation from TGR fan Josh Southwick. Thanks for the pick, Josh!

      big-mountain-bunny-crowdtrip.jpg

      The Big Mountain Bunny made an appearance as well. Took us by surprise, for sure, because Easter’s still a ways off, but word on the street has it that if you’re one of the first to find him on a Mountain Collective hill, you’ll be the gleeful recipient of some winter-season chocolate.

      Crowdtrip-team-at-TGR-headquarters.jpg

      We also stopped by TGR's new headquarters in Wilson next to the infamous Stagecouch bar, and were graciously kitted out with TGR schwag to rep on the rest of the trip. Now we’re in Aspen/Snowmass, where, sure, the Bunny might be spotted, but will definitely be outnumbered by that ever plentiful species in this region: the fur-clad cougar.

      Crowdrip-Aspen-cougars.jpg

      Happy hunting, indeed.

      The #Crowdtrip is a crowd-sourced roadtrip to all 6 Mountain Collective Pass destinations that allows YOU - the audience - to decide where Theo, Alex, Marty, and Caleb ski, eat, and drink and what challenges you want them to tackle along the way. Want your challenge met? Drop it wherever you want - here in the comments, on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even in our forums. Control the #Crowdtrip!

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    • 3 months ago
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  • Get Kitted Up With TGRs In-Hou Get Kitted Up With TGRs In-House Editors Picks

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      Welcome to Editor's Picks. Here TGR's desk jockey kooks lay out the products they put to use before work on Teton Pass or on their days off at the resort.

      Managing Editor Mike Sudmeier

      mike-picks-2-numbered.jpg

      Mike is TGR's Managing Editor, and when he isn't sucking down gallons of iced tea or writing notes on person-sized post-it notes, he's usually in a meeting. Recently married and sporting a handsome Iowa-bred beard, Mike has a propensity for small snowboard brands, backside hacks, all-star manners, and brewing large quantities of iced tea.

      1. Candygrind OG CO Beanie For years, Candygind’s OG CO Beanie has been a winter staple.  It keeps ears warm and rocks a pom pom—what more could you ask for?

      2. Homeschool Universe 3.5 Layer Shell  With a nod to its Northwest roots, Homeschool makes outerwear built to endure the elements—however brutal they may be.  Its 3.5 layer outerwear can readily withstand one hundred day seasons.  And while many brands are quick to emphasize how waterproof their apparel is, Homeschool also focuses on breathability.  By using Cocona fabric and developing base layers, mid layers, and outerwear that function as a system, the brand aims to keep riders warm, dry, and smiling.  After rocking Homeschool for three seasons, I know I can depend on the brand’s gear.

      3. Homeschool Karpis 3.5 Layer Pants  Jackson is tough on pants.  Luckily, Homeschool’s Karpis 3.5 Layer Pants are super burly.  Whether skinning or lapping the mountain, the Karpis is perfect for embracing time on the snow.  And thanks to their Cocona fabric and strategic vents, these pants can handle both subzero tram laps and spring time tours.  To top it off, the Karpis features Homeschool’s clean aesthetic.

      4.  Deeluxe Empire Boots  Deeluxe’s Empire is as versatile as it is reliable.  Its Thermoflex liner keeps things comfy while its lacing system and powerstrap afford a responsive ride.  As a mid-stiff boot, the Empire can crank out turns, barrel up a bootpack, or handle a long day of skinning.  And as icing on the cake, the boot’s craftsmanship is top notch.

      5. Black Diamond Compactor Poles  Thanks to its folding design, this three-piece pole can readily fit inside a pack.  If you’re into trekking through urban environments, you may even be able to conceal the poles inside a purse.  That being said, the Compactor Poles are most at home on the snow. 

      6. Oakley General Woven Flannel Business?  Casual?  Backcountry adventures?  The General can handle it all.  While grandmothers are quick to compliment the shirt for its good looks, you can readily appreciate its breathability and warmth.

      7. Nalgene 32 Ounce Lexan Water Bottle  Simple and reliable, Nalgene has perfected its wide mouth bottles through the years.  While there’s a time and place for sophisticated hydration systems, sometimes it’s just nice to chug from a bottle.  As an added bonus, mine features a nice patina from iced tea as well as a “Clean Plate Club” sticker from the King’s Chef in Colorado Springs.

      8.  Teton Gravity Mizu Water Bottle  I’ve become a huge fan of our stainless steel bottles, which are made by Mizu.  Durable, easy-to-fill, and easy-to-clean, this bottle is the perfect daily driver.  And thanks to its slim profile, it readily fits into the pockets of an overstuffed pack. 

      9. Voile Telepro T6 Shovel The Telepro puts most shovels to shame.  Big, burly, and guide approved, this thing can move some snow—and handle plenty of abuse.  Buy one for yourself—and then buy a few for your buddies.  After all, the life you save may be your own.

      10. Smokin KT-22 162  Smokin’s KT-22 is a favorite among riders who call places like Jackson and Squaw their home.  Nonetheless, the board can readily transition from terrorizing big lines to holding its own in the park.  Consequently, it’s a deck that lives up to its claim as being a true all mountain board.  Thanks to a directional flex, setback stance, and Smokin’s Clash Rocker—which places rocker between the bindings and camber outside of it—the board can crank out turns and provide plenty of float in the pow.  And as icing on the cake, the KT-22 sports Magne-Traction for enhanced edge hold.

      11. The North Face Patrol 24 Pack  The North Face’s Patrol 24 Pack offers everything you need and nothing you don’t.  In addition to sporting a built-in Avalanche Airbag System, the pack can readily haul your board (or skis), avy equipment, and everything you need for a day’s tour.  Rugged yet refined, the Patrol Pack can handle anything you throw at it.

      12. Arc’teryx Cerium Jacket  I practically live in this jacket throughout the fall and winter.  Arc’teryx has staked its reputation on crafting premium apparel—and the Cerium proves that this reputation is well earned.  Extremely packable and warm, this jacket is much appreciated on cold days.  The Cerium is also a perfect layering piece for backcountry tours—you can keep it on call and in your pack all winter.  As testament to Arc’teryx’s commitment to innovation, the jacket sports synthetic insulation in areas most likely to encounter moisture and down insulation in its core.

      13. Naklin Winter Weight Crew   Naklin—cofounded by Abe Gilreath and legendary pro shred Kevin Jones—keeps things simple.  The brand offers clean base layers that are built in the U.S. and made of merino wool.  Whether lapping kickers, skinning in the backcountry, or just relaxing, Naklin’s Winter Weight Crew will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.

      14. Bern Watts Snow EPS Helmet  For years, Bern has been quietly driving innovation.  Thanks, in part, to its iconic brim, the Baker and the Watts have emerged as the brand’s signature helmets.  A series of vents helps the Watts regulate temperature, while a plush lining keeps things comfy.  I’ve rocked the Watts for three years—and am stoked to rock it again this season.

      15.  Sog Fielder KnifeAlthough I always carry a Leatherman in my pack, I tend to also carry a Sog Fielder in my pocket.  Clean, simple, and sporting a straight blade, the Fielder is perfect for handling the tasks that pop up throughout a day—be it performing an emergency tracheotomy, cutting webbing, or simply cooking dinner.
      16. Zeal Eclipse Goggles Photochromic lenses are the future—let other fools fidget with swapping out lenses.  Super stealth, the Zeal sports a polarized, photochromic lens.  This lens reduces glare while also adjusting its tint in response to the prevailing light conditions.  And although over-sized, the Eclipse is practical—providing a clean appearance and ample peripheral vision. Flat light, bluebird days, intermittent sunshine, the Zeal Eclipse can handle it all.

      17. BCA Tracker 2 Beacon  When it comes to ease of use, Backcountry Access has its products dialed.  Thanks to its simplicity and reliability, the Tracker 2 is one of the most prevalent beacons on the market.  I trust my life to it.

      18. OA High Adventure Gas Station Shades  These were a gift from some friends.  I’m assuming they picked them up for free by the dozens.  Although nothing takes the place of some quality optics, it’s always great to have a cheap pair of shades on the dashboard or hidden in a pack to serve as a spare.

      19. Spark Sabertooth Crampons  The Sabertooth Crampon is the perfect companion for Spark’s Afterburners.  When you need extra traction, tap the Sabertooth.

      20.  BCA Stealth 300 Probe  Thanks to its super efficient Stealth Quick Lock, you can readily assemble this probe—potentially saving seconds.  With a 300 cm length and burly design, the BCA Stealth 300 Probe is designed for professionals—and anyone else who relies heavily on their gear.

      21. Spark AfterBurner Bindings  From its headquarters in Bozeman, Spark keeps busy transforming how we ride.  Through the years, it continually refines its products—and thus how riders experience the backcountry.  Its new Tesla System—which serves as the foundation of the AfterBurner—eliminates traditional pins by using a toe ramp that snaps into place for both touring and riding.  This new system cuts down on transition time while also shedding weight.  As Spark’s stiffest and most responsive binding, the AfterBurner is designed for charging hard.

      22. Venture Odin 166 Splitboard  Nothing rides like a Venture.  Designed by legendary big mountain rider Johan Olofsson and Venture engineer and cofounder Klem Branner, the Odin craves big lines and wide, arching turns.  The craftsmanship of the deck is evident in how its halves fit together—and, needless to say, in how it rides.  The board offers a stable, fluid ride and also skins with confidence.  Last winter, my Odin was the perfect sidekick for dozens of tours throughout the Tetons.  And, like most Ventures, this board has years of life ahead of it.  Few decks are as durable as a Venture.

      Social Media Editor Joni McGregor

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      Joni is part of a long-standing TGR human resources tradition of hiring employees from the Deep South. Despite her roots in the couloir-less expanse of greater Atlanta, Joni comes from a family of passionate skiers and is our Social Media Editor. Like everyone in Teton County, she's currently training her dog to ski with her.

      1. Volkl Kiku ski  Aside from its hot new graphic, the Volkl Kiku has a lot more umph than previous editions. With its 107 mm waist and full rocker, it is mostly recognized for its performance crushing powder, and I have yet to have a ski that floats as well on the deep stuff. But this ski isn’t just designed for its performance in powder, so don’t leave it in the garage on days it’s not dumping outside. The Kiku makes for a super easy transition from pow to crud to groomers. The predictability of this ski makes me feel more confident, and I find myself trying to get more rowdy on the snow on the reg. 

      2. Stance LeBlanc 13 socks  I'm a big fan of Stance. Made out of merino wool, this model is named after the pioneer of hipster snowboard fashion and toboggan jibbing - the legendary Mike LeBlanc - and they are perfect for touring in the backcountry and resort riding in almost every condition except pond skim yardsales. They keep getting wet everytime.

      3. Swany Tempest GTX  With GORE-TEX lining, a debossed knuckle, barrel lock cuff, pre-curved finger construction and quick release strap, the Tempest GTX has pretty much everything you need out of a glove. Just don’t take them out with you on the unbearably cold days - they're geared more for the wetter days when it is dumping outside. 

      4. Teton Gravity Research Team Women’s Beanie My all day everyday beanie. A classic slouchy beanie with no frills, just fine-threaded quality. 

      5. Original Buff Aside from its awesome funky graphic, this Buff is super lightweight and I don’t have any major fogging issues when I tuck it under my goggles. Something I never leave at home. 

      6. The North Face Freethinker Jacket  The North Face has been providing serious gear for skiers ever since they developed the epic Steep Tech yellow one-piece for Scott Schmidt, and the Freethinker captures that history of performance in a lightweight package. Sometimes you even forget you're rocking a three-layer GORE-TEX shell, as the light weight and crazy mobility makes it practically unnoticeable whether it's on your body or in your pack for the hike up. Two water-resistant media pockets keep the iPhone dry during the blizzards when I'm blasting Pastor Troy on the lift!

      7. Dalbello Women's Kyra 95 I.D. ski boots  An awesome boot for the aggressive all-mountain skier. Great for getting after it in and out of bounds. A comfortable and reliable boot for climbing, hiking and boot packing but also ripping up the resort. I have tested many boots, and keep coming back to Dalbello.

      8. Flylow Daisy Pant Flylow’s Freeride Daisy Pant is an insulated pant with a tuft of micropuff insulation suitable for the ladies with atypically frozen legs like myself. You can rely on these pants to keep you warm throughout the painfully cold days, but also keep you from sweating your ass of when earning your turns with the cross flow ventilation from the inner and outer thigh zip vents. They're the only pants I wear when I ski now, and can honestly say they are the perfect fit for every condition barring those super warm spring days when a true shell is called for.

      9. Smith Virtue Goggles If you’re not into goggles that take up your entire face like I am, try out the Smith Virtue. If you’re not into having to stop and change out your lens everytime the sky changes like I am, try out the photochromatic red sensor mirror lens. These goggles help you stay stylish, but you know Smith always brings the heat when it comes to functionality.

      10. K2 Ally Audio Helmet  Looking like a dayglo Astronaut while shredding is not for me. With the K2 Ally Audio helmet, I am able to have a helmet that actually fits my head while banishing all gaper-gap worries. Its in-mold construction keeps the overall weight down while providing effective protection from sudden crashes on the slopes. Another plus is the music hook-up straight to the ears. Jam on. 

      11. Dakine Heli Pro 20L  This pack is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and still more durable than any pack I have had before. It looks small but it can fit more than you would ever need to bring with you on a day mission. I’m also really into the plaid graphic. For me, this one was a no brainer. 

      12. Backcountry Access Tracker DTS avalanche beacon I have always used the Tracker DTS, and am not planning on changing. I like having a beacon that is fast and easy to use, and the Tracker DTS is known for its simplicity. With a reputation for its durability and reliability, this is the world’s most widely used transceiver for a reason.

      13. Backcountry Access B1 Extendable Shovel  Stronger and more lightweight than most other avalanche shovels, but packs down nice and easy. A great tool to bring along when exploring the backcountry.

      14. Arc’teryx Rho AR Zip Neck Women’s  This might be the most comfortable piece of clothing I have ever put on, and without a doubt the most comfortable base layer. Breathable, moisture-wicking and insulated, they are great for skiing, but I also actually wear these around the house as pajamas when our heater isn’t doing the trick. 

      15. Arc’teryx Rho AR Bottom Women’s  Same goes for this Arc'teryx base layer bottom. Fear not for the days when the gas furnace isn't producing!

      16. Marker Jester Pro bindings  The Jester Pro is for all the hard charging skiers that want a binding that will stay put when you need it the most. The Jester Pro is light but extremely strong at the same time. Not my preferred choice of colors, but the functionality of the Jester Pro is what reels me in. 

      17. Soul Poles Vibrant ski poles  Soul Poles! These are my new thing. I love them. Bamboo, green, light, stable, tested to be 25% stronger than aluminum poles… Yes, please!

      18. Stealth 260 Carbon probe  The easiest and fastest assembly out there. That’s what matters, right? 

      Associate Editor Ryan Dunfee

      ryan-picks-2-numbered.jpg

      Ryan comes from the bad lands of New Hampshire and the living room freelance writing world, having convinced ouftits like Powder to pay him for his nonsensical rants for years, and is still marveling in the fact that there is consistently soft snow to ski in Jackson Hole. When he's not listening to an incoherent Spotify playlist or seeking out equipment to assist him in his quest to get out of the backseat, he's our acting Associate Editor.

      1. First Ascent Downlight Vest  Simple & light, I stash the Downlight Vest into my pack in case I need an extra layer or am waiting for a hungover ski partner at the top of a skin track.

      2. Marker Jester bindings  While the mega core bros might demand the stiffer Jester Pro or a burly steel FKS binding, I find that the normal Jesters work fine for unremarkably gnarly bros like myself, and you save the weight without all that metal.

      3. BCA A-2 Extension Shovel with saw  A solid shovel with an extension for more leverage, loops for building a ski sled to transport an injured rider (I'm missing my parachute cord in this collage), and an included snow saw for snow pit tests or chopping down kindling make the A-2 a sweet option.

      4. Moment Deathwish ski  The bizarre Moustache Rocker of the all-mountain Deathwish, which creates three separate cambers underfoot and four separate contact points along the edge, makes for razor-sharp edge hold on groomers on a decently stiff platform. Get it in pow and the thing is down for slashing and slarving and sports a 112 waist and a rocker profile that keeps you afloat while playing to a bobbier, poppier style in the fresh. If I'm bound to hit a variety of conditions at home or on the road, this is the one ski that inevitably makes it onto the roof rack or into the ski bag - very few skis match the range of the Deathwish.

      5. Bern Macon EPS helmet  Hate the idea of being some bulbous helmet-wearing safety nerd? Bern's got some seriously low-profile brain protectors like the Macon that save your brain cells for your Monday through Friday without making you look like you're joining the space program.

      6. Smith Optics I/OX goggles  The I/O has been the best goggle I've ever owned, and one of the only that prevents my propensity for sweating from fogging up the lenses for the rest of the day. The I/OX simply gives you a bigger field of vision for your eyeballs to relish in.

      7. BroBOMB The Facemask There's nothing like using a bigger media site to plug your sideblog, so I wear my BroBOMB The Facemask whenever someone with access to a bigger Facebook fan base is pointing the camera at me. Made by Phunkshun Wear in Colorado, its thin polyester construction keeps me from sweatin' up as I run for the hills away from all the pro skiers whose careers I've insulted on the 'BOMB.

      8. Flylow Gear BA Puffy Jacket  When's it's dipping way below freezing on the dawn patrol ski tour, an uninsulated shell is just not going to cut it. Flylow's BA Puffy jacket has been keeping me in a good mood despite the cold with its medium-density synthetic down fill. It's a little on the short side, but a big sell are the two sizable mesh pockets on both sides of the interior of the jacket - perfect for keeping a pair of climbing skins warm and dry on the ski down without having them awkwardly bulked up on one side of the jacket.

      9. First Ascent Guide Gloves  A pretty straightforward set of leather gloves that are doubly reinforced on much of the palm and thumb with a burly wrist strap and a wool lining. They're not the warmest or the most waterproof, but they have been my go-to glove for a few seasons now.

      10. Saga Monarch 3L Pants Saga makes a solid 3L pant with the all-important crotch vent, along with two more along the outside of the knees. I'm still a little confused about what I'm supposed to put in the knee pockets - maybe a map? - but hey! They're warm and keep me dry, and the fleece lining along the butt and knees keeps critical joints warm.

      11. Dalbello Panterra 120 I.D. boots  Based on the Krypton 2 platform, the Panterra 120 continues that model's tradition of serving fat-footed hard chargers with a smooth-flexing three-piece shell that doesn't choke when it comes to controlling big skis at high speed. The included Intuition wrap liner is god's gift to skiers' feet, and new in the Panterra model are a walk mode, an adjustable heel height, and a fourth buckle over the toe that can change the last from a looser 102 mm to a tighter 100.

      12. Backcountry Access Stealth Carbon 260 probe The probe. One third of the trifecta of the absolutely essential backcountry gear, along with an avalanche beacon and shovel. Whip it out. Stab it in the snow once you've narrowed down your beacon signal. Find a victim. Save a life.

      13. Black Diamond Traverse Ski Poles  Adjustable-length poles are critical for the backcountry, where the hike up asks for longer poles than the way down, and the Traverse has been the go-to model for years. While my older pair are staying strong, the newer version has a full-size basket and a rubber grip around the upper shaft for quickly adjusting to the shorter uphill side of a steep skin track.

      14. Adventure Medical Adventure First Aid 1.0 kit  A compact first aid kit for basic injuries. I neglected to include a few crucial items that will come in handy if things get serious, like a backcountry repair kit, parachute cord, knife/multi-tool, space blanket, and compass.

      15. Coors Heavy In all honesty, I almost exclusively pack water for my ski days, but I forgot my water bottle for the shoot, and PBR is way played these days.

      16. Stanley Classic Flask filled with High West Rendevous Rye whiskey  Stanley makes the kind of timeless camping products you imagine your grandpa used when he was trudging through the snow in the 50's in an all-wool outfit hunting elk. To remember him, I picked up the Stanley Classic Flask, which I fill with my favorite whiskey, High West's Rendevous Rye, for post-ski parking lot cocktails or a quick shot of warmth on a cold day. For wine aficionados, a bota bag is an excellent alternate option.

      17. Reed's Ginger Beer  For the best whiskey gingers known to man or buffalo.

      18. Black Diamond Spot headlamp  The Spot headlamp is a pretty straightforward model from BD that comes with its own AAA batteries, which is a big sell for shopping slackers. The best features are the different light modes, one of which shines a focused beam deep into space while another casts a dimmer, wider beam that is better for fumbling around in your tent or reading a book. A lightweight tool to throw in a ski pack for pre-dawn starts or in case of emergencies.

      19. TGR Team Tech hoodie  Slick polyester exterior with a warm, soft fuzzy interior. Be a team player.

      20. LL Bean Maine Hunting Shoe Making New England proud, even if it's just while changing in the Teton Pass parking lot, guy.

      21. Norrona Narvik Gore-Tex 2L jacket  Beyond making really sweet mountain bike edits, I've also learned that relative newcomer (to 'Merica) Norrona also makes some bomber ski clothes. The Narvik is one slick shell, with a long freeride fit, long mesh-lined zippers both under the armpits and on the chest itself, and a well-conceived cuff whose upper section reaches out over the top of the glove and whose wrist gator is unobtrusive but still tight enough to keep the snow out. Norrona claims the Narvik is designed to be flexible for high-movement freestylers, and so far, I've felt no resistance fishing my chapstick out of my pocket.

      22. Black Diamond Avalung II  It might seem a little redundant to have an airbag and an Avalung, but hey, last week someone in Utah was still buried a few feet under even with their airbag inflated, so being able to breath under the snow for awhile and clear away your carbon dioxide still seems like a good idea.

      23. TGR Coffee Mug  Filled daily with dark espresso Cafe Bustello for a stomach-curdling blast of caffeine to get your morning going. Currently sold out online with a few last units available at our Wilson, Wyoming headquarters. Mind the elk herd!

      24. SONY Action Cam  Noted for its high audio quality, the Action Cam is also pretty low-profile, great for those who want to capture their day of the shred without sporting an antennae of self-indulgent electronics.

      25. BCA Tracker DTS beacon  There are better beacons, but for many in North America, this is their first and still a go-to after all these years. Make sure you know how to manually search for multiple burials with the DTS, as it's yellow multi-burial function can be a little less than dependable.

      26. Voile ski straps  An absolute essential for the backcountry. Brutally strong and adjustable, Voile's ski straps keep iced-over climbing skins affixed to skis, splint up broken ski poles, and can even be used as a tourniquet in emergencies. I never head out with less than four. 

      27. Backccountry Access Float 22 airbag  BCA's packs are always straightforward and their philosophy of minimal exposed straps ensures against tree branch or chairlift snags. The 22 liter size provides space for all the safety essentials plus an extra layer, gloves, goggles, and snacks - all I need for the majority of my ski touring missions that take place in the limited amount of daylight before work. Of course, airbags are all the rage for safety these days, and BCA's single-piece airbag inflates behind the head and protects from some trauma.

       

    • Blog post
    • 4 months ago
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  • On Location: St. Anton, Austri On Location: St. Anton, Austria

    • From: heatherhendricks
    • Description:

      Champagne pow, face-shots galore, quaint Austrian ski chalets, picturesque peaks, and all the schnitzel and schnapps you can handle-- Willkommen to the shred mecca of St. Anton, Austria.

      Peak perfection of St. Anton

      This charming ski village is located in the Arlberg region of Tirol in Austria, and is surrounded by precipitous peaks. These legendary mountains are rumored to be the birthplace of skiing. In an effort to unearth the root of skiing and the culture that surrounds it, TGR ventured to St. Anton last spring while filming Way Of Life. The crew consisted of Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Colter Hinchliffe, Tim Durtschi, and Dylan Hood.

      "Less girls, more dudes, same amount of beer." This was Colter's first impression of the Euro shred scene. Despite the lack of chicks, (there's plenty if you look in the right places) Colter was awed by the ever-present soul of skiing.

      "It's all centered around skiing, which is like a universal language of sorts. Gondolas, trams, lifts are everywhere from town to town. This place is so big, we almost don't know where to start!" Colter offered. 

      St. Anton Peaks

      While on-site, Colter gave us a glimpse into TGR's time in Austria last spring. "St. Anton is our base at a sprawling network of ski lifts, gondolas, and trams known as Ski-Arlberg,” he explained.

      “Included in this network are the villages of Lech, Zurz, Stuben, St. Christoph, and St. Anton, to name a few. We have spent the majority of our days at Stuben, which is a couple lift rides and a few valleys away from our Austrian pad. This offers a bit more backcountry than the other areas. This is pure adventure skiing, with a great crew! All of us have really been soaking in Austria and its unique culture to the fullest. Beers have been drank, meat has been eaten, lines have been skied and Deutsch has been attempted to be spoken. It's sunny and now we're headed to the hill--this place is awesome!"

      St. Anton, Colter

      Just as Colter and the rest of the TGR crew experienced St. Anton, you too can embark on your own Austrian adventure. TGR Travel provides the opportunity to explore this European shred-haven with a hand-picked vacation package from our partners at Ski.com.   

      Package Details:*

      
Lodging: Sporthotel 
Includes:

      •7 night stay in a standard room (double occupancy)                           

      •Daily buffet breakfast and 4-course dinner                                         

      •2, 6-day Arlberg ski area lift tickets  

      *Customizable     

      Questions? Call 800-449-5209  or visit TGR Travel for all the info you need to make this euro-shred trip a reality for you this season. Prost!

      Make sure you're ready to travel internationally-- Download your copy of Way Of Life from iTunes to see Colter and the rest of the crew getting after it in Austria.

      Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 10.20.05 AM.png

      More about St. Anton, Austria 

      Renowned for its wild nightlife and rowdy terrain, St. Anton is an ideal European destination for those who aim to work hard and play even harder. St. Anton’s staggering 5,000 vertical feet provide plenty of high alpine steeps and chutes—especially in the zone below the Valluga summit. Accessed via the Galzig-Valluga cable cars, the Valluga Bowl is the St. Anton proving ground and gateway to the resort’s famed off-piste terrain. The majority of the resort terrain is expansive and above treeline, which make it a powderhound’s dream—especially on a bluebird day.

      Skiers and snowboarders looking to get as much skiing in as possible should take the five-mile-long Vallugagrat to the village of St. Christoph, a sister ski area that is included on the Arlberg Ski Pass, along with Zürs, Lech and Stuben. To access Lech and Zurs ski resorts, you’ll travel along a breathtaking route of narrow roads and tunnels that puncture high alpine peaks. A visit to Lech and Zurs is also a must because this region is considered to be inseparable from the birth and growth of skiing. When the bullwheel stops running and it’s time to celebrate another day of skiing, the charming St. Anton village—which is dotted with a combination of contemporary buildings and traditional chalets—becomes one of the wildest après spots in Europe. You can expect dancing in ski boots, sunshine and lots of good Austrian beer. The après-ski scene is diverse and the excitement ranges from outdoor cafes to traditional Tyrolean fondue and drinks and late night discos. 

      Want in? Call 800-449-5209 or head to TGR Travel to book directly.

      TGR Travel Call Now

      Skier: Colter Hinchliffe

      Photos Courtesy of Adam Clark 

    • Blog post
    • 5 months ago
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  • Road Trippin BC - Ep. 1 // Kic Road Trippin BC - Ep. 1 // Kicking Horse

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      Every March I know one thing for certain is true in Kicking Horse Country “April Rains” brings fresh snow and a high chance of sunny days following a storm. In past years I have seen 57cms = 23 in. of champagne powder fall in less than 24 hours followed by bluebird at KHMR ( Kicking Horse Mountain Resort) This was also when Pocket Rockets were the ski, a full face meant you got hurt a lot, and Golden was a mill town waiting for skiers to take root in a trailer and wake up in skiers heaven. No crowds, loads of snow and steep techy terrain that will either cut you into a better skier or just straight cut you up!

      Fast forward to March 13, 2013 myself and photographer Rylan Schoen head out from Bellingham, WA to my old stomping grounds to get some Purcell POW. Unfortunately for KHMR Jan/Feb were tough snow months along with Whistler and a whole lot of other interior snowpacks in BC and further South. This isn't usually the case as Jan/Feb is chute storm skiing heaven as you have the run of mini couloirs, tight chutes and all the rock gnar you can muster.

      We went right to work and my old lines came to mind and we skied bell to bell with no regard for our legs. 40,000 foot vertical days rolled by and the 4 days felt like home as KHMR always has that “rad” feeling we skiers search for. It was a little bumpy at first, but another coat of the WHITE set us up for turns upon turns with almost no competition.

      Picking fresh line after fresh line, I remembered how to play the waiting game for the rolling openings at KHMR that allow you to slay every zone step by step. “It's ok to follow patrollers as long as you talk snow, be respectful and offer to boot pack the tough spots.” It paid off and first lines on Glory..........well it's called Glory for a reason.

      Check out kickinghorseresort.com for info, deals, and a new desktop image to get you through the next month of awaiting your first pow turn!

      All footage was filmed and shot 100% in-bounds.

       

    • Blog post
    • 6 months ago
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  • Bluebird Powder Day - Another Bluebird Powder Day - Another Day in Paradise Episode 2

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      If there's one thing that beats a heavy dump of snow, it's a bluebird powder day after.

      On day 2 in Paradise, the guys find out that with the sun, things are even more beautiful in this skiing paradise. Enjoy the sun, the powder and the sweet skiing lines in this video.

      Get ready for winter, and look forward to those ideal ski days in the sun and powder snow - it's coming!

      Director: Matthias Mayr

      Producer: M-Line

      Athletes: Matthias Mayr, Matthias Haunholder, Pia Widmesser, Sandra Lahnsteiner, Flo Orley, Gri Reichenberger, Phil Meier, Sebastian FIscher, Tom Leitner

      http://www.epictv.com

       

    • Blog post
    • 6 months ago
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  • Hokkaido Drift - Japan Pow! Hokkaido Drift - Japan Pow!

    • From: robintlee
    • Description:

      Vimeo Link: https://vimeo.com/58027692

      After last year, coming back to Japan was a no brainer and this year was even better. After last year we did a bit more exploring and found some new zones and areas that we had never been before. We were in Niseko for just under 3 weeks and apart from one day when it rained, we got 15-25 cm of new snow everyday... it just didn't stop. I think we must of seen the sun no more than a handfull of times with only one bluebird day.

      As well as scoping new zones, we hopped on Black Diamond Tours' famous Mushroom tour twice where we drove around in a van finding avi barriers, pillows, steep lines (which are hard to find in Japan) and snow almost as deep as we are tall. Thanks to Gordy, Colin, Mitch, Hayden and Jordy from Back Diamond Tours for taking us out. 
      blackdiamondtours.com/

      As usual it was hard to find a balance between skiing and filming but we managed it and had an awesome time during our short trip.

      Hope you enjoy!

    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 31
  • Stevens Pass: More Snow Than H Stevens Pass: More Snow Than Hype

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      Words and Images by Joey Mara

      The Cascades are loaded with underrated gems—and Stevens Pass is definitely one of them. Not only is the resort peppered with steep terrain, it also enjoys massive storms that make the mountain a freerider’s dream. Only eighty miles from downtown Seattle, Stevens Pass has been slinging lift tickets for seventy-five years. In that time, it’s been responsible for more than a few people calling in sick to sample the latest storm. With ten lifts serving 1,125 acres spread between the mountain’s front and backside, the resort accommodates skiers and riders of all ability levels. Nonetheless, the mountain is best known for its expert terrain.

      Cowboy Ridge

      No one disputes that the snow in the Pacific Northwest is deep, yet its quality is often up for debate. A few locals will come clean, however, and reveal that labels like “cascade concrete” are misnomers designed to keep tourists away. The snow at Stevens is premium—and thanks to receiving over 450 inches of snow annually, there’s plenty of pow to go around. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the mountain to see upwards of 650 inches in a season.  

      Stevens Pass Night Skiing

      After a storm, however, the snow at Stevens is typically measured in feet thanks to a unique weather phenomenon known as the Puget Sound Convergence Zone. West of Seattle, the Olympic Mountains split incoming storm tracks, forcing their wind and moisture to divide to the north and south and collide again when they converge at the Cascades. This concentrates precipitation in the vicinity of Stevens Pass. Consequently, storms may hammer the mountain while other resorts in the state receive only a fraction of this snowfall. Needless to say, the storms at Stevens make dreams come true—just come prepared with a snorkel. In December of 2012, for example, a storm dropped 39 inches at the base of Stevens and sixty inches at its summit in just a twenty-four hour period.

      Matt Wainhouse

      Stevens Pass lacks the glamour (and excessive amenities) of a mega resort—and that’s fine with those who call the mountain home. For the courageous, Stevens has plenty of steep lines—perfect for those who like to push limits and occasionally piss their pants. Pillows, chutes, steeps, cliffs, and spines all litter the mountain, while the tree skiing is also world class. It might be worth befriending a local when you come to Stevens, as much of this terrain can be elusive to the uninitiated. To further maximize your time at Stevens, be ready for some serious storm riding. Locals revel in the free refills provided by Steven’s heavy snowfall. The mountain’s night skiing can also add a new dimension to chasing powder. And if you’re fortunate enough to catch a bluebird day, Cowboy and Rooster Ridges provide an ample canvas for laying down creative lines. It should come as no surprise that skiers and riders can explore Stevens season after season and continue to find new zones.

      Stevens Past to Present Celebrating 75 Years! from Joey mara on Vimeo.

      For those prepared to venture outside the access gates, the backcountry at Stevens Pass is the real deal. Due to the high amount of snow and steep terrain, avalanches occur frequently. Adding to the danger, visibility can change rapidly. That being said, a wealth of ridges, back bowls, and peaks can be accessed via the lifts or by touring from the highway or nordic trails. Much of Steven’s backcountry dumps skiers at the highway, enabling them to easily hitch a ride back to the resort.

      The Rooster Comb

      In addition to its natural terrain, Stevens Pass boasts a solid park. The Top Phlight park crew spends its days prepping dozens of rails and kickers of all sizes. Stevens also has one of the few halfpipes in the state of Washington. Thanks to the diversity of its terrain, the mountain is a breeding ground for well-rounded rippers.

      Stevens Pass Park

      Stevens has remained under the radar thanks, in part, to a lack of accommodations at its base. For those wishing to stay close to the slopes, a variety of rental cabins are available on both sides of the pass. Most visitors, however, stay in or around the town of Leavenworth on the east side of the pass. Located forty-five minutes from Stevens, Leavenworth sports a Bavarian theme and offers plenty of entertainment for those looking to kick back and slip off their boots. During the winter months, the town is lit up with Christmas lights and the streets are packed with Seattleites hoping to escape the city, shop, and enjoy some food and drinks at German pubs. For those looking for no-frills lodging, the small towns of Skykomish and Gold Bar on the Seattle side of the pass offer affordable options.

      Stevens Pass Through the Clouds

      Stevens will never be a Whistler or an Aspen—and it does not want to be such a resort. And while the scene is mellow, the mountain is not. Needless to say, Stevens has no shortage of challenging terrain—and good company with whom to explore it. The people are friendly and the snow is deep. If you measure your seasons in faceshots and high fives, Stevens might be your soulmate.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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  • Announcing The Further and Dre Announcing The Further and Dream Factory Tour Winners

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      The dust has finally settled from the 2012 film tour, and the grand prize winners have been drawn. Both films this year provided a whole slew of amazing giveaways, and hopefully you walked away with something fresh from our sponsors. 

      And the winners are…

      Jeremy Jones’ Further, presented by O’Neill 

      Grand Prize: John from Bellingham, WA won the trip for two to ride at Squaw Valley. We connected with John just after his trip, and it sounds like it was a pretty epic adventure.  “The bluebird conditions, variety of terrain and size of Squaw Valley were incredible!  The mountain is so large that we were having trouble keeping track of which chair went where for the first two days!  We're already planning a return trip for next year and will be bringing our friends from our home mountain, Mt. Baker.  A big thanks from Belinda and I to Squaw Valley and TGR for making this amazing trip possible!”

      Runner up: Karta from Boulder, CO is headed to Japan to shred powder courtesy of Cloudline Tours.  After seeing the Japan segments from Further, she couldn’t have been happier, and we can’t wait to see the pictures.

      Second Place: Last but far from least, the head-to-toe O’Neill outerwear and a new board from Jones Snowboards goes to Jennifer in Boston, MA. 

      The Dream Factory

      Grand Prize: A heli-skiing trip for two courtesy of Alaska Heliskiing goes to Garrett from Colorado.  Pretty sure we heard his screams of excitement all the way up in Jackson Hole.  Garrett has yet to take the trip but we look forward to his report and some pictures.

      Runner Up: Caroline from Kentucky scored the trip for two to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.  Unfortunately she is fresh off an ACL tear but Jackson Hole has been awesome in working with her to shift the prize to a summer filled with mountain biking and hiking rehab…Her dream of skiing Jackson’s legendary terrain is going to have to wait another year.

      Second Place: Ben in Colorado is getting hooked up with head-to-toe outerwear from The North Face and a pair of skis from Atomic.

      From all of us at Teton Gravity Research, THANK YOU for making the 2012 tour a memorable one.  The tours reached close to 300 cities combined across the globe, and without your amazing support every year, it simply would not be possible. Enjoy the rest of your season, and see you next fall!

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    • 1 year ago
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  • Go Now: Selkirk Wilderness Ski Go Now: Selkirk Wilderness Skiing

    • From: SamPetri
    • Description:

       

      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing

      “I don’t fuck around.” Dr. Powder says. “This is my 30th week up here. I only get two weeks each year to really ski, and I’m not going to blow it. I come here. I am not fucking around."

      It’s hard to look directly into Dr. Powder’s intense, near-purple eyes as we chug uphill in one of Selkirk Wilderness Skiing’s bright-yellow snow cats on a bluebird Monday morning. Instead, I look outside in awe of Canada’s pillow-packed mountains. Dr. Powder is actually a heart doctor from California, and he’s serious about skiing. A quivering passion shows on his face when he talks about the sport, and he spends his precious little skiing time here. But he’s not alone.
       
      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing Dr Powder

      Fanaticism runs deep in the clientele at Selkirk Wilderness Skiing, the first cat skiing operation in the world located in Meadow Creek, British Columbia, just two hours north of Nelson. It’s not a mystery why. The cats access more skiable terrain than Whistler/Blackcomb and Vail combined, and only see about 24 skiers per day. They’ve been quietly delivering stellar powder since 1975, when founders Allan and Brenda Drury literally changed the ski world by inventing a new way to ski.

      It snowed 25 centimeters up high last night. In Freedom Units, that’s 10 inches. SWS lead guide and 20-year veteran Jason Remple, has seen fatter days, but he wasn’t complaining as we ended our first cat-assisted assent. 

      Ecstatic chatter cracks over the radios: “25 centimeters of new! Whoo Ha!”

      Our crew of 12 applauds.

      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing Sam Petri

      The cat stops and we file out into knee-deep snow. I just grin while looking the snow-caked, spine-filled mountains with pillow clusters and steep glades. There’s every type of skiing feature imaginable here. I search for my skis. Ian, our cat driver, has already laid them out on the snow for me, as he has with everyone else’s skis. How nice. I click in.

      Remple, who also owns a business called Stellar Heli-Skiing, rallies the crew.

      “Follow me.”

      We’re off. We ski 12-deep in a mob, like some sort of Canadian cat skiing advertisement. “We really are skiing Canadian,” I chuckle to myself. We keep it up until we reach a convex rollover, the top of our main line. We stop.

      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing Tristan Olson

      Remple explains the layout of the run, and where people of different abilities need to go. Throughout the trip, Remple, Jeff Gostlin, and Carla Aldinger consistently guide us to the gnar. Every run has features to jump off of, leaving us repeating phrases like: “So sick!”

      “You’ve got to understand this is a diverse group,” says Remple. “On any given run though, there are a lot of options and we can get into almost anything. There’s something for everyone.”

      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing Blair Banker

      That might be the best thing about SWS—you can go there with your old man and have a blast. In fact, two guys in our cat were a father-son duo from San Francisco. While dad would ski the open powder field, his son, who we nicknamed “Big Air Blair,” would shred pillow lines. Both were fired up at the bottom of every run, ready for more. That’s quality family time.

      It goes on all day. We ride up, blast down, each time linking back up with the cat. Rarely do you see the other cat out there. Each run from start to finish takes about 40 minutes or so, including time spent in the cat. Depending on the group, it’s possible to ski anywhere from eight to twelve runs in a day. Depending on the group, it's possible to get six to twelve runs per day. Most runs are about 2,000 to 3,000 vertical feet.

      Helicopter flights jack you up for the next run, while traveling in a snow cat is like a relaxing bus ride through a powder forest. If heli skiing is a stimulant, then cat skiing is an opiate.

      SWS serves lunch in the snow cat, and it’s one of the best things about the experience. It even comes with tea and cookies. This daily ritual happens every day at SWS. It’s amazing. Skiing needs more tea and cookies.

      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing Lodge

      The lodge, located at an elevation of 4,000 feet, has a cool, community-style vibe where guests hangout together and eat together. There’s a pool table, ping-pong table, hot tub, sauna, and a serve-yourself bar stocked full of chronic Canadian microbrews that don’t show up in America. Oh yeah, there’s WiFi, but you’re here to unplug. Just ski. Don’t forget to eat though. The food is healthy, hearty, and delicious. Dinners are served family style, adding to the overall camaraderie one feels while at SWS.

      The snow in interior BC, while feather-light, has a bit more moisture content than in the Rocky Mountains. This lets mini-AK-style spines, flutes, and pillow features form almost everywhere, allowing for playful bonks off terrain features without fear of dry-docking. I go all day without hitting a rock or crossing a track.

      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing

      Back at the lodge we melt into the cushy chairs, kick our feet up by the fire, pop beers, thumb through Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine, play ping-pong, and soak in the tub. This is the place. Tomorrow, we’ll get on a snow cat at 8:15 a.m., and ski the best powder of our lives all over again. It’s no wonder Dr. Powder comes twice a year—he’s in on the Selkirk’s secret.

      Book Now

      Selkirk Wilderness Skiing TGR Special

      March 24 to March 30. Both 3 and 5 day package are available at 20% off right now.
       
      3 day – normal price/discounted price = $2580/$2150.
      5 day – normal price/discounted price = $4300/$3440.

      Photos by Steve Shannon

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  • Hucking In Hochfuegen Austria Hucking In Hochfuegen Austria – Almost Live Season 5 Episode 5

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      In season 5 episode 5 of Teton Gravity Research's web series Almost Live Tim Durtschi, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Dylan Hood and Colter Hinchliffe continue the Austria road trip and head to the Bluebird Mountain Hostel to check out the skiing at Hochfuegen. During their stay, they get a sense of what its like to live in the Austrian countryside. On the first day at Hochfuegen, Durtschi finds a high consequence pillow line with a tricky entrance.

      Teton Gravity Research’s Almost Live series takes you around the globe with the TGR production team and athletes. Get an inside look at what goes into first descents, building and hitting massive backcountry jumps, traveling throughout the most exotic locales on the planet, and the lives of the world's top riders. Almost Live plants you on location with the TGR crew. You will be able to track the crew’s progress throughout the season, and watch the drama unfold.

      Music Courtesy of Jeff Cormack & Play Plus Record
      www.playplusrecord.com

      Music Courtesy of Engin Pedeveci
      www.radioengine.de

      Watch More Almost Live Episodes

      Watch More TGR Videos

    • 1 year ago
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  • Bluebird Pow Day At Jackson Ho Bluebird Pow Day At Jackson Hole

    • From: jacksonhole
    • Description:

      February 24th was another special powder day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. With over a foot of new snow the sun decided to pop. There is nothing better than a bluebird powder day. It's DEEP out there, whether you call it 300“ or 25 feet of snow. This video showcases one run in the Crags with Kim Havell and Jess McMillan. With the #1 snow in the Rockies and deals as deep as the snow, now is the time to get to Jackson Hole.

      Watch More Jackson Hole Videos

       

    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 13
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  • Hucking In Hochfugen With Dyla Hucking In Hochfugen With Dylan Hood

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      Dylan Hood in Austria looking at mountainsScoping natural features in Austria.

      Words by Dylan Hood
      Photos by Dutch Simpson

      We have arrived here at Hochfugen, our second location of our Austrian ski trip.  

      Yet again, another beautiful valley with large mountains rising in all directions, making for amazing views.  We are staying in the Bluebird Mountain Hostel, which is a dank little hostel located across the valley.  The winding, single-lane road up to the hostel has hair-raising turns. And there is no Internet there, forcing us off the matrix.  Most of the crew is fine with it, except for Durtschi, who is trying to pass Sage with the most followers on instagram. 

      The Hostel is cozy, quaint and now smelly because our crew of nine has taken it over.  Luckily, we have been able to wash our clothes, but have to dry them outside in the mountain air, due to no dryer, which I think is awesome.   The crew running the hostel is amazing, and have given us the best food and coffee we‘ve seen all trip.  To give you an idea of the vibe here, the crew is using the money they make from this hostel, to start a surf hostel. 

      We arrived to some clear skies, and steadily warming temperatures.  We have been able to get some cold snow on and off the resort.  The mountain has all types of terrain from lines, to mini golf to rollers, allowing us to get into all types of skiing, which we have.  We attacked the mountain as soon as possible knowing that warm weather was on the way.  We have shot some jumps and lines, but have come to a holding pattern due to warming and clouds. 

      The weather is calling for a good amount of snow, so now we wait for the flakes.

      Dylan Hood in Austria crushing itSlashing a fin in the backcountry.

      Dylan Hood in Austria building a jumpStomping out a natural quarter pipe with Sage.

      Dylan Hood in Austria hikingBooting lines.

      Dylan Hood in Austria on top of lineAbout to drop an Austrian spine line.

      Dylan Hood in Austria headshotPrepping to drop.

      Dylan Hood in Austria Cork 5 off a backcountry booter.

      Visit the Bluebird Mountain Hostel Facebook Page

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    • 1 year ago
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  • Guide To Late Night SIA Partie Guide To Late Night SIA Parties

    • From: mikehardaker
    • Description:

      SIA Late Night Guide

      For some, SIA is about going to meetings, talking to buyers, sales reps, and looking at next seasons' ski and snowboard gear.  The other half of the convention rolls into Denver with one thing on the mind: partying! As important as figuring out next year's editorial calendar and what items will sell in your shop, the real SIA veterans come to town for one reason: free beer, concerts and exclusive industry parties.

      The following is a list of parties open to the public.

      Wednesday Night:

      SIA/SOS Hockey Shootout
      Never Summer, 686, Snowboard Colorado, Zeal Optics, PBR and Monster Energy are hosting the fourth annual SIA/SOS Hockey Shootout. Come watch as industry heads battle former NHL players on the ice.  The event will kick off the SIA tradeshow with a competitive full contact hockey game benefiting SOS Outreach.  This is a beer league event, PBR is sponsoring the refreshments and rowdiness is encouraged!

      Tickets: Free Admission
      8:45 P.M. – 9:00 P.M.
      http://bit.ly/127CzY6

      Thursday Night:

      InkMonster “Free 4 All” Party
      Thursday night kicks off the 2013 SIA late night weekend with the 3rd annual InkMonster “Free 4 All” Party featuring Naughty By Nature and Rome (from Sublime) taking place at the EXDO Events Center. Who’s down with OPP? Entry to the event is Free and includes all the pizza you can eat, and booze you can drink.  Remember Denver is a mile high in the air, SIA is a marathon not a sprint, pace yourself. 

      Tickets: Free Admission
      9:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M.
      http://bit.ly/14sT2pk

      Ana Sia Dance Party
      Ana Sia one of the hottest DJ’s on the west coast is bringing her dance party to the Bluebird Theatre in Denver.  Known for dancing as hard if not harder then her fans this will be a high energy show not to miss!  Make sure to pack your dancing shoes, and good luck making your 9:00am appointments on Friday.

      Tickets: $25.00
      9:00 P.M. – 2:00 A.M.
      http://bit.ly/XeV9rr

      Friday Night:

      Winter on the Rocks
      Winter on the Rocks returns to the best concert venue in North America, Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  The 2nd annual Winter on the Rocks is once again being presented by Icelantic Skis featuring live performances by Maclemore  & Ryan Lewis along with openers Major Lazer, The Grouch & Eli, Neelais.  Wear your layers as you will be sitting outside, under the stars with 10,000 of your closest friends.

      Tickets: $50.00 + Fees
      7:30 P.M. – 12:00 A.M.
      http://bit.ly/VlXYWj


      Transworld Riders Poll
      The 14th Annual Transworld Riders Poll presented by New Era is once taking place at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium.  Pro riders, industry bro’s and a few lucky random joes will all get together for what is hands down “the biggest night in snowboarding”. Unlike other industry award shows the Transworld Riders Poll was voted on by the top 100 snowboarders in the world, this is not a pay to play awards ceremony..

      Tickets: $50.00
      8:00 P.M. – 12:00 A.M.
      http://bit.ly/14sTAeZ

      Saturday Night:

      Snowdown
      Snowdown presented by Neff will feature performances by hip hop artist Machine Gun Kelly, Bauer and Just Blaze is once again take over City Hall Amphitheatre.  This is a true club like party.  For the ballers in town bottle service for up to 8 people will be available for $1,000.00

      Tickets: $22.50
      8:00 P.M. – 2:00 A.M.
      http://bit.ly/VShoEb

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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  • News: Markus Eder And Aurélien News: Markus Eder And Aurélien Routens Win At Freeride World Tour Courmayeur Mont Blanc

    • From: TetonGravityResearch
    • Description:

      Courmayeur Mont Blanc, ItalyAt the second stop of the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR 2013 BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT), the international field of elite athletes threw down a spectacular show combining big mountain charging with impressive tricks on the “Tête d’Arp”, never ridden in competition before.

      With the south side of Mont Blanc as the perfect backdrop, a bluebird day with fresh powder greeted the strong line up of 33 skiers and 15 snowboarders at the men’s only competition. The athletes enjoyed the great conditions and showed their top skills on the north face of Tête d’Arp. Excitement filled the air as no one had ridden the face in competition before. Riders described the top section as steep, 45 degrees big mountain style, and the lower part giving various options for more playful riding and multiple airs. Any style of riding could take victory at this interesting venue.

      Italy’s Markus Eder clinched the skiers’ win with a score of 89.67 points, executing the most playful run of the day. As a late start number Eder chose a unique line entry, skiing down the ridge before hitting the steep face in controlled high-speed big mountain style. He then impressed the judges with an arsenal of tricks on the second half of the venue, pulling off a backflip, a huge left side 360 and even riding switch. On his first year on the tour, young Eder was definitely the biggest crowd pleaser of the day on home turf. “I’m stoked with my line,” said Markus Eder. “I didn’t expect to win as I did a little mistake on my backflip. I hoped to be on the podium but to win is really fantastic.”

      Swiss Jérémie Heitz managed to repeat his performance in Revelstoke, Canada and claim the second podium spot with a hard charging big mountain line, giving him the score of 86.0 points. Heitz probably had the fastest run of the day. Third place finisher and reigning world champion Reine Barkered of Sweden, also skied full throttle, typical Reine style, mixing big air and fast riding, scoring 81.0 points.

      Aurélien Routens of France was rewarded his first ever FWT win in the snowboard competition. Routens scored 83.67 points on a high speed run, with clean riding and solid airs at the exposed top steep section and finishing off with an impressive straight line.
      John Rodosky, USA, took a well deserved second, scoring 78.67 points, riding creatively and bringing numerous solid freestyle tricks into the backcountry. Swiss Emilien Badoux chose a good line all the way through and hitting a nice backside 360 in the midsection, earning the third podium spot with a score of 76.0 points.

      “For a third consecutive year we have had perfect conditions and an amazing playground here in Courmayeur on the south side of Mont Blanc,” said Nicolas Hale-Woods, FWT General Manager Europe. “The upcoming weekend the athletes will cross the tunnel and take on the north side of Mont Blanc in Chamonix.”

      After two out of six events, Jérémie Heitz is leading Men’s Ski overall with two second podium spots. Today’s winner Aurélien Routens is leading Men’s Snowboard with the win and a third place in Revelstoke, Canada.

      The women will join the men for the third event in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc on January 26th.

      Click Here For Men's Ski And Snowboard Official Results

      Courmayeur Mont Blanc
      Xavier De Le Rue scoping out a line at Courmayeur Mont Blanc. Photo by J Bernard.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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