Saturday, 27 October 2012

Rocker: it's not just for powder skis!

It's cool to see all the innovation and new gear that is being developed for Skimo racing. One of the coolest things that I have noticed this year is rockered race skis.

Rocker was first appeared on the Volant Spatula in 2002, and now features in almost every type of ski from powder to carving. Rocker goes by meany names but the one that I think explains it best is "early rise tip." One of the advantages of rocker is that it helps keep your tips up and on top of the snow while skiing off piste

With short and narrow skimo skis this can be a challenge, and you end up having to get way in the back seat to get your tips up. This puts you in a bad position to react to the terrain and increases the burn in your legs. With rockered skis you should be able to stay more centred over your skis, save energy, and keeping a strong ski position.

Dynastar Pierra Menta RC
Dynastar's new race ski, the Pierra Menta Rocker Carbon, is one of the new rockered race skis. At 690gr, they are super light as well. Here's what Dynastar has to say about the rocker: 

"A fairly long, progressive tip-only rocker for improved terrain absorption and impeccable flotation in powder. Ski rotation is facilitated making fore/aft balance easier and reducing muscle fatigue off-piste. The flat tail means you don't lose the tail pressure required for high speed Freeride or off-piste jump landings."

Atomic's rockered race ski is the Ultimate and it weighs in at 700gr. Atomic's literature is very similar:
From Atomic
Unfortunately I have not had an opportunity to ski either of these skis so I cannot give feedback on how they ski. If you have been on either of these, or just have a favourite Skimo ski, leave a comment and let us know about them!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Dogtooth Dash 2013

The 2013 Continental Championships are set for March 16-17 at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort's Dogtooth Dash, presented by Goretex

Hope to see you out at my favourite Canadian race and course. More information to follow! 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Touring for all!

It is great to see the ever expanding popularity of touring and slack country skiing. Ski touring was once a fringe sport, but it is now going mainstream. Big industry names like Salomon and Look are developing new touring specific bindings, surely a sign of things to come.

From Salomon's website
Salomon signed Greg Hill to help develop products and just released their new touring binding: the Guardian 16. They are moving fast to get onboard with the new direction of recreationalists! With that being said, I don't see these bindings really catching on with the hardcore touring crowd as they weigh 800 gm more per individual binding than the Dynafit FT Radical. While some people would prefer the DIN 16 setting of the Guardian 16, I don't think that's really required for the backcountry. Take Eric Hjorleifson for example: he has been stomping lines in tech bindings that have a max DIN setting of 12. The Guardian 16 is not practical for the serious backcountry skier because of its weight, but it might be attractive to some slackcountry skiers.

Notice the Lock binding mounted on the lower ski....
From Dynastar's website
While Salomon has been working on building their own touring binding, Look has taken a totally different approach. Last week I was looking at the Dynastar website, and I noticed a picture of Look branded tech bindings mounted on the Dynastar Alti Powder. I was curious, as Look is not known as a touring oriented company.

I dug a little deeper and found this ski review from Fri Flyt, a Norwegian Ski Magazine:

From Fri Flyt website
Photo: Tore Meirik
Dynastar 2012/13 from Fri Flyt TV on Vimeo.

It appears that Look is having their tech bindings produced by Plum, and that the binding is simply a Plum Guide binding with Look branding. A close look at the photo to the right shows Plum's name printed under Look's. While Look likely isn't planning on developing a tech binding of its own, their support inevitably increases funds available to Plum for research and design.

Dynastar, Look, and Salomon are jumping on the touring bandwagon and are investing in the touring aspects of their businesses. This only means one thing in the end - better, lighter, and cheaper gear for ski tourers.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Trail Racing

As some of you may know, I have taken some time off from my job and am now training for Ski Mountaineering Competitions. Part of my training has involved doing some trail racing. I have ran three races this summer.

The first race I ran, at the end of June, was the 25Km Comfortably Numb Trail race in Whistler. This was my first ever trail race and the first time I had done a running race longer than 10Km. It was an amazing trail to run on, all single track in the forest above Whistler. I would definitely recommend this as a great trail run or race. Results

The next race I did was in July and was the 5 Peaks Cypress trail race. It was 14Km long and very fun. It was very cold and rainy on the day of the race, which made it super slippery and muddy. Even with the wet and cold conditions, there was a good turn out. Results

I was planning on racing the 21km distance at the Squamish 50 but decided to pull out because I was still recovering from an injury(Thank you to Marnie Tocheniuk at Angela Simpson Physiotherapy for getting me healthy again). Instead I volunteered at the race by sweeping part of the 50 mile course. My wife took my spot in the race and finished in 3h, without having run all summer.

The latest race was the 25Km Rubble Creek Classic, held last weekend. This is a low key race held on some of the best trails in the Sea to Sky corridor. I have been told by some of Canada's best ultra runners that this is one of their favourite races. This race should be a lot more popular than it is! Results

Having these races to work towards has been a great way to keep me focused. My next focal point, which will hopefully keep me focused through the fall rains, will be the thought of all the snow accumulating in the mountains. I'm hoping to start training on skis in early November!

Monday, 8 October 2012

First race of the season

SAVE THE DATEDecember 1 . 2012 . 6-9pm
 The 3rd Annual Vert180 is back this year at COP!  Grab some friends and form a team or kick start your touring season by going solo!  This year the course will feature 100ft of additonal Vertical!
Quick Facts:
Categories: Solo, 2 person and 4 person Teams
Race Description:  180 minute race ascending and descending COP, the most laps completed wins each respective category.
Registration:  Coming soon to 
Hope to see you out!!
Kylee and Niall
Vert180 Race Organizers