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Archive for January, 2010

Snowkiting Skyline, Utah

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

I just got back from a quick trip to Utah that took Mike and I snowkiting for 2 and a half days at Skyline, Utah and then off to Outdoor Retailer to see all the new outdoor gear for next winter. We met up with Brian and Heather from Ozone Kites USA down in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, borrowed some Ozone Manta and Ozone Frenzy kites and headed up the hill for some fantastic conditions. For those that have never been to Skyline before, just imagine a road at 9,500 ft that is 30 or so miles long and is plowed all winter long and is above tree line! All the days we were there, it was pretty stormy and cloudy, but it seemed to clear up long enough for us to get 3 amazingly killer sessions in. The video below, taken with the Vholdr ContourHD 1080p was filmed at about 5:00 pm with the Vholdr goggle mount and just look at the clarity and light in the footage. I was really impressed as to how the Vholdr picked up the snow and the kite in the super flat light. Check out the Vholdr video:

None of my blog posts would be complete without some sort of outdoor gear review included, so here is that part. I certainly had a hard time deciding which skis to bring on this trip, as I knew there would be powder awaiting us in Utah. So, instead of going with the trusty powder boards that I am used to (Black Diamond Megawatts), I took the Black Diamond Zealots in order to be a bit more versatile in case I needed that option. I really like this years Zealots as they are fat enough to rock the powder and crud and with the slight rocker in the tip, they just rule it in such a huge variety of conditions. For snowkites, I was flying the new Ozone Manta III 12m, which is by far my favorite kite due to its awesome combination of power, turning ability, and pop…….and wow does that kite just want to pop! Mike was using the Ozone Frenzy 11m and it was the perfect kite for him as it did not overpower him and his more intermediate/advanced skills. As for our snowkiting harnesses, there really is none other than the Ozone Harness with the D-ring. It is so low profile, light weight, not bulky and super comfortable. I had about 50 pics to post as well, but I moronically deleted them with a simple click of the mouse, so oh well, that’s what we get for working with too much technology these days!

Get out there snowkiting and send us your stories!

Squaw Valley Powder Day

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

This week mother nature gave us a fairly warm storm that left very little snow at lake level but a foot or so of cream cheese above 8000 feet. Although this storm looks like little more than a warm up considering the series of storms NOAA is predicting for next week, but it was an extremely fun day to be on snow. The weather was pretty variable, with the sun in and out of the clouds and snow showers periodically throughout the day. The VholdR ContourHD did a great job of adjusting to changing light conditions and got some good footage in so so light conditions. Check It Out!

Backcountry Magazine Hails Mammut Pulse Barryvox Avalanche Transceiver

Friday, January 8th, 2010

In a field-test in this month’s Backcountry Magazine, Mammut’s Pulse Barryvox avalanche transceiver is deemed Editors’ Choice among six beacons tested. Five testers, ranging in beacon experience from a veteran avalanche professional and seasoned backcountry skiers to an eight-year old first-time user, employed the beacons in both single and multiple burial scenarios. The three-antenna Pulse Barryvox emerged as the clear choice among Backcountry Magazine’s test team and editors.
All beacons were assessed on the same criteria: range, secondary search, pinpointing, multiple burial scenarios, and ergonomics. “There was ultimately one unanimous winner,” states Backcountry. “When asked, after completing their testing, which beacon they would choose, all testers selected the Pulse Barryvox, Backcountry Magazine’s 2010 Editors’ Choice.”

Mammut has received the same feedback again and again from over 20 professional organizations, from guide services and helicopter ski tour operators to ski resorts and backcountry patrol crews. Long recognized among professionals for its user-friendly operation, a new firmware update to the Pulse now renders it the easiest to use beacon for first-time users as well, like Backcountry’s young tester. The Pulse is now easier than ever to use right out of the box, with the Basic mode as simple as follow the arrow to the avalanche victim.

The Advanced mode allows for more experienced users to set their preferences, or for professionals to maintain fleets of beacons – a key reason that esteemed guiding services and high-profile resorts are switching to the Pulse en masse. Pulse fleets are currently in use at Canadian Mountain Holidays, Chugach Powder Guides, Telluride Heli Trax, Sun Valley Heli Ski and a host of other well-known guiding operations as well as patrols at Aspen Ski Company, Snowbird, Crested Butte, Alyeska, The Canyons and many other destinations.

“The V.3.0 firmware upgrade retains all of the function of the previous Pulse Barryvox, with the addition of a separate simplified interface for the novice user, what we call the “basic user-profile”,” said David Furman, Hardgoods Category Manager for Mammut Sports Group USA. “It makes the Pulse not only the best choice for highly qualified users and pros, but the best choice for anyone heading out in avalanche terrain.”

With the new firmware, the Pulse retains its feature-rich function in the advanced user-profile, and adds a simple, easy to use interface for the basic or novice user. Enhancements include the Basic and Advanced
user profile settings, increased receiving range, and more effective search functions. The new firmware is standard on all new Pulse Barryvox beacons, and existing units can be upgraded at select dealers nationwide. Firmware upgrade sites can be found online at: http://www.mammut.ch/newfirmware or by reaching Mammut USA customer service at 1.800.451.5127.

About the Mammut Pulse Barryvox

Designed with a team of Swiss engineers over the course of several years, Mammut’s Pulse Barryvox was developed with a third antenna for increased accuracy and with the goal of providing rescuers with a transceiver that is fast, easy, and effective to use in both simple and complicated search scenarios. The third antenna allows for smooth, precise pinpointing at short range as well as in deep burial situations. It was the first 3-antenna transceiver with both digital and analog modes, and the first transceiver to communicate pulse and respiration information to rescuers.

The Pulse Barryvox is also the first transceiver to point to the location of the buried subject correctly even as the rescuer is moving away, eliminating the common “180-degree” flip-flop error because the display arrow points to the location of the buried subject in 360 degrees at all times.

Additional features of the Pulse Barryvox intended to increase rescue efficiency include the simple directional display for pinpointing utilizing the third antenna, automatic signal separation allowing the user to select and search for one signal at a time turning difficult multiple burials into a series of simple single-burials.

Powder Tree Skiing with the VholdR ContourHD 1080P – 12.30.09

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

While we haven’t had a big storm in a few weeks here in Tahoe, we have been getting a series of smaller storms that have kept the snow great. With holiday season pass blackouts and the avalanche danger at considerable, we decided it was time to lap some pow in the trees in the sidecountry outside of Alpine Meadows. The skiing was fairly low angle mellow terrain but there were some fun rocks and pillows to drop off of and the snow was pretty much perfect. The area we were skiing can be accessed by a traverse out of the boundary of the ski area, but we were earning our turns and skinned up for three laps of perfect pow.

I’m still trying to find the perfect spot to put the Vented Helmet Mount for the VholdR on my helmet. I moved the mount slightly forward from where it was in the last video and I think I moved it a little too much. I think about half way between the two spots I’ve used so far should be the money spot. While the Vented Helmet Mount is more solid and steady than the Goggle Mount, the Goggle Mount does have the advantage of getting an angle that is very close to the point of view of the skier pretty much every time without any trial and error. It was a cloudy day with some intermittent snow and the VholdR ContourHD 1080p did a great job of capturing good footage in less than ideal light.

We were the Deuter Backpack crew out there on this day, Phil was rocking his Guide 45 while I was using the Freerider Pro 30. The more I use the Freerider Pro the more I find little details that make it a really great ski pack. For example, the hip belt pocket is larger than on most other ski packs and it fits my small Canon point and shoot camera easily without cramming it in. The helmet attachment system is also very well thought out and easy to use.

Overall it was another great day with perfect snow and a very mellow vibe. Hopefully the snow keeps coming and we have the kind of season people will be talking about for years. Enjoy!

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