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TJ Parsons

The right pair of boots often makes the difference between an awesome day on the mountain and an afternoon spent whimpering in the lodge. With the huge amount of available options, knowing what features you want and how your boots should fit can be a big help in narrowing down your choices. Flex and Support When you’re choosing a new snowboard boot, the first place to start is to look at a boot’s flex. The flex of a snowboard boot refers to the amount of support it provides, and how quickly it transfers energy to your board. Manufacturers generally rate [...]

Andrew McLean

In the past there has only been one Golden Rule for backcountry skiing: There are no friends on powder days. This is always said tongue-in-cheek and implies that powder days should be feeding frenzies where it’s every man for himself, but with the stratospheric rise in backcountry popularity, just the opposite is now true: There’s nothing BUT friends on powder days. Or at least there should be. What used to take a week is now tracked out in a day. In popular areas with easy access like the Central Wasatch Mountains, Teton Pass or Tahoe the rise in backcountry skier [...]

Rachael Burks

In the past few years, Iceland has been put on the map as a ski destination. There are a few helicopter operations based out of northwestern corner of the country, but overall, touring is the easiest way to ski Iceland. In the winter, snow covers almost everything, making the ski possibilities endless; awe-inspiring views and adventure can be found everywhere. Two of our crew had previously been to Iceland and therefore could not wait to further explore this relatively off-the-radar ski destination. Hence, it became our target for a trip spring of 2015. Our crew of skiers and riders—Julian Carr, [...]

Joshua Barnes

Nothing beats coming in from skiing to meet a blazing fire and a warm shelter. Basing your skiing out of backcountry huts and yurts mean you can log day after day of pristine backcountry touring and cap them off with cozy nights with an actual roof over your head. You can hole up in a five-star resort in pretty much any mountain town; you can also skin into the backcountry with nothing but your sleeping bag and a candle to keep you warm in an ice cave you dug yourself. Both are legitimate ways to spend the night in the [...]

Catherine Greenwald

Your kid may be one of those who take to the snow like a baby polar bear, but even the hardiest youngster can have a rough day. You know how it goes—pitching a fit on the bunny hill, sniveling about the cold, and whining to be taken home. Whether you’re headed to after-school lessons, a weekend getaway, or a family vacation, here are some tips for maximizing the fun and minimizing the pain of a day on the slopes with very young skiers or snowboarders. Tip #1: Keep them warm … but don’t immobilize them If your kid stays warm, [...]

Jared Downs

When shopping for a new pair of crampons you’ll notice several different designs and configurations. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses, as well as an intended use. Whether you’re planning on climbing the DC route on Mt. Rainier or venturing into the wet and cold world of ice climbing, choosing the right crampon will keep your mind off the gear and on the objective ahead. Attachment Type There are three types of attachment systems for modern crampons: step-in, hybrid, and strap-on. Step-In Crampons Step-in crampons provide the most secure attachment between the crampon and the boot. This is achieved [...]

Beth Lopez

My touring buddies call me “the cautious one.” (Also, “burrito hoarder.”) And they don’t mean either as a compliment. But how many times have I died in an avalanche? Zero. That statistic says a lot. Each morning, I carefully study the Utah Avalanche Center’s detailed daily report. These guys know their stuff, and when they say danger is considerable or worse, I figure they mean it. But a high danger rating needn’t mean it’s a couch day. The gods of the Wasatch have blessed us locals with a bountiful array of well-anchored, low-angle glades, and all we need to do [...]

Skratch Labs

By now you may know that the Skratch Labs Cookie Mix makes a mean chocolate chip cookie, berry blondie, and vegan cookie bar, and that all of them fit sweetly in your pocket or pack for rides, runs, and adventures. But you can also put the Cookie Mix to use when you’re looking to make an impression at a dinner party, office function, or Sunday brunch. Here are two can’t-miss recipes that even the most baking-challenged can manage, with impressive results. Apple & Pumpkin Buckle This buckle recipe comes together in just a few minutes. You can swap out the [...]

Pace Measom

Rock climbing is a sport that requires some specialized strength development in your hands and forearms, and training on a board is one of the best ways to build that strength. There are many climbing-specific fingerboards available, but one of the classics is the simple campus board. A campus board is generally just a 20-degree overhanging piece of plywood with different size rungs and grips on it. It was developed by a German climber named Wolfgang Gullich in the late ’80s, to develop the explosive power and finger strength that he needed to make the first descent of a route [...]

Kyle Livingston

We all have our favorite outdoor pursuit, and arguably the most important piece of our gear kit for that pursuit is the jacket. Hikers, climbers, skiers, snowboarders, bikers, or mountaineers have to protect themselves from the elements, but gone are the days of one jacket that works for everything. For example, I use a Gore-Tex 3-layer shell layered with a down jacket for skiing but a lightweight softshell for backpacking and hiking and another jacket for around town. To get you started on the path to understanding your jacket options, we’ve outlined the five most basic styles. The Shell Jacket [...]

Colter Hinchliffe

“Did we bite off more than we can chew?” I’m asking myself as we stand atop the 14,131-foot Capitol Peak in the notorious Elk mountains of Colorado. Photo: Jordan White The answer is a matter-of-fact “No, we have to finish.” This day began at midnight, and this mission began a week ago, and this dream began a few years ago with a taste of this big, lonesome, beautiful north face. Capitol Peak is the holy grail of all Colorado’s fifty-four 14,000 ft peaks. The easiest way up is via the infamous knife edge with a thousand-foot cliff on either side. [...]

Backcountry Video

Burton Presents is a web series showcasing Burton’s top riders doing amazing things on slopes and streets all over the world. The latest episode (above), focuses on Danny Davis as he prepares for X Games by exploring the snow-choked forests of Hokkaido, Japan, with Mark McMorris and Terje Haakonsen. Whether it’s in the pipe or some misty forest, few humans truly embody the concept of balance quite like Danny, and when it comes to “training,” Danny does it right. Previous Episodes This installment features Mikkel Bang and Mikey Rencz, two names that run deep in Burton’s history and evoke thoughts [...]

Jeff Catalano

Alpine Touring (AT) bindings have been around for several decades, but the recent explosion of the touring scene has really brought them into the spotlight. AT bindings differ from their alpine counterparts in that they aren’t meant only for skiing downhill. Instead they allow the skier to free the heel of the boot, while staying clipped in at the toe, which creates the ability to “walk” naturally uphill on skis. When it’s time for that ski descent you’ve been working toward all day, simply step back into the heel of the binding and make some turns! Considerations for Choosing AT [...]

Pace Measom

Clothing Supplied by Roark Revival Why Trout? Backpacking fare is often limited to energy bars and freeze-dried meals, but it doesn’t have to be. In cold-water lakes and streams, stretching from the Adirondacks in New York to the High Sierra in California, you’ll find trout. And for more than a few reasons, these fish are an ideal food source when you’re out in the wild. Nutrition Whether you’re backpacking or camping, you burn a lot of calories, requiring a meal that’s high in fat and protein. A 3-ounce serving of wild trout supplies 130 calories, nearly 20 grams of protein, [...]

Lexi D.

The irresistible lure of a backcountry yurt or hut is one of the reasons I was motivated to begin dabbling in backcountry skiing six years ago. As a good friend often proclaims, “Yurt life is the good life,” and I agree wholeheartedly. There’s nothing more special than time spent unplugged in nature, where the necessities of melting water, chopping firewood, and preparing a yurt feast are your chief concerns (besides powder snow, of course). With luck and planning, your home away from home for the weekend. Having taken excursions to various huts and lodges around Utah, Idaho, and British Columbia, [...]

Patrick Law

By now you’ve undoubtedly ogled, researched, and wisely chosen a pair of shiny new sticks or a new board for the season. But have you given any real thought to what you’ll be wearing? After all, your jacket is going to be just as much a part of your quest for pow as what’s underneath your feet. Choosing the right jacket for the right conditions is crucial to maximizing your comfort, protection from the elements, and overall stoke factor. Types of Jackets As you begin the search for your new jacket, it’s important to know the key features and basic [...]

Patrick Law

While you’re carrying on with your mission of chasing untracked lines and lapping the mountain, your ski or snowboard pants are working hard to keep your lower body dry and comfortable. So when choosing a new pair of pants, it’s worth taking some time researching the various fabrics, features, and styles that will be most applicable to your type of skiing or riding. We’ve broken down a few of the most important categories you’ll want to consider before making your selection. Waterproofing The majority of ski and snowboard pants will have a waterproof rating between 5,000 and 20,000mm (5-20K)—the higher [...]

Jeff Catalano

If you want to ski uphill, you’re going to need climbing skins. One of the essential pieces of an alpine touring kit, climbing skins provide directional grip on the snow, allowing you to slide your skis forward without losing progress on uphill terrain. If you’re new to alpine touring, climbing skins can hold their fair share of mystery when it comes to choosing the right material, size and connection type. They also require a little bit of initial setup and maintenance. Although this article is focused on climbing skins for skis, splitboard skins feature the same technology as those made [...]

Connor Johnson

With the seemingly inexhaustible supply of proprietary ski profiles that debut every year, choosing the right profile can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The profile shape of a ski is a primary determinant for how a ski will interact with the snow, making profile an important feature to consider when selecting a pair of skis. While there exist a lot of variations of each, and every manufacturer has a different name for them, there are essentially four basic types of profiles: traditional camber, directional rocker, hybrid rocker, and full rocker. All graphics by Armada. [...]

Backcountry Video

As the scope and range of outdoor pursuits grows and mountain athletes continue to specialize, the need for activity-specific outerwear tech is more apparent than ever. To satisfy the wide range of performance needs, Gore-Tex offers three unique technologies—Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex Pro, and Gore-Tex Active. But before we break it down, a few definitions are in order. At the heart of the Gore-Tex fabric is an extremely thin membrane with over nine billion pores per square inch (as shown to the right between the two fabrics). These microscopic pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, so they don’t allow [...]

Pace Measom

Climbing the Iconic Peak on the 150th Anniversary of the First Ascent, Powered by Mammut. “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” Edward Whymper So People Really Do Win These Things The Matterhorn is perhaps the most famous, most recognized mountain on the planet. It’s the crown jewel of the Swiss Alps and its likeness can be found on everything from deodorant [...]

Pace Measom

Climbing the Matterhorn is without question one of the world’s great classic adventures; a bucket-list must-do for anyone with a passion for mountains. In July of 1865, an English climber named Edward Whymper became the first human to stand on the summit of the Matterhorn—Switzerland’s most famous mountain. On the descent, the triumph of the summit quickly turned to tragedy, and in the 150 years following, the controversy, fame, and mystique surrounding the mountain have only grown. In 2015, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ascent, Mammut launched a sweepstakes on Backcountry to win a trip to climb [...]

Pace Measom

Highway 89 is a slow road. It winds north from Mexico to Canada for nearly 1600 miles, connecting seven iconic National Parks including Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. As long as there have been cars, 89 has beckoned to travellers yearning to see the American West, especially so during the ‘50s and ‘60s—the golden age of the American road trip. Faded remnants of the era are still visible in the one-stoplight towns that have since been bypassed by modern freeways―boarded-up motor inns, faded diners, and neon signs that have long gone dark. With the promise of Teton powder [...]

Matthew Pizza

In addition to length and weight, another way fly rods differ from one another is in their action. Loosely defined, it’s related to the flex pattern of the rod; the action and flex of the fly rod significantly affect its feel and performance. Rod actions are rated as soft, medium, and fast. Following is a rundown of each. Fast Action Most fast-action rods will be tip flex, meaning only the tip of the rod is going to bend while the butt is very stiff. These rods can be hard for the beginning angler to cast, but if you are on [...]

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