Backcountry skiers tend to not be overweight. That’s good, but we are an exception. According to this article, by the year 2030 half of the world’s adults will be overweight, and obesity is costing the global economy more than all war and terrorism combined. That’s simply amazing. To think certain individuals in the 1960s predicted most of us would be starving by now due to overpopulation, shows you how wrong you can be when predicting the future.
From the standpoint of skiing, even though Austria has some of the most prolific pastries in the world, I’ve not gotten the impression Austrians are particularly overweight (metrics bear that out, Mexico and the U.S. are near the worst. Austria as on the good side of most charts I looked at). Nor am I blown up after eating about 10,000 various Viennese confections. The country (and the man) that skis stays lean? Or, is it the country that drinks the most beer and the least soft drinks? According to some of my research, a direct correlation and probable cause exists between soft drink consumption and fat. I’m no fan of alcohol over-consumption, but a nice crisp weissbier instead of a Coke might be healthier?
Some days ago Dynafit sent out a memo to their dealers detailing the delay in distributing the Radical 2.0 backcountry skiing binding. While a disappointment to many early adopters (and fanatical bloggers), we see this as an overall positive development in the tech binding world. All too often, tech bindings have been released to retail only to fail and receive “in line” tweaks. That’s ok for Microsoft but bad for a safety device.
No doubt delay of the Radical is a business challenge due to G3, Marker, Fritschi and others panting after Dynafit market share. Nonetheless, I’d caution against early adoption of tech ski bindings. While here at WildSnow.com we’ve tested all the new bindings and give an overall thumbs up, until full consumer use has occurred we encourage sticking with the tried-and-true. For example, Dynafit Speed Radical with this year’s anti-rotation device is a winner, and the Radical ST/FT offerings are now seasoned as well. If you’re of the early adopter persuasion, at the least try to work with a good retailer so you have an easy option for part swaps and repairs. Ordering first-season bindings online, then attempting to repair or swap parts yourself can be like grabbing a puppy out of a cardboard box in front of the grocery store, then finding out later what you ended up with, good and bad. Dynafit’s letter regarding Radical 2.0 is condensed below.
Forbes has a nice article about the entrepreneurial Silverton Ski Area here in Colorado. Silverton breaks the mold in that they access advanced alpine terrain with all natural snow, eschewing foo-foo modern ski resort stuff like grooming and snow making. The experiment seems to be working, but couldn’t be easy considering Colorado is not exactly known for a great snowpack — though the gasp-inducing altitude and snow-catching topography of Silverton are big helps. According to the article, “they’ve been weighing the construction of a base lodge made of more permanent materials than plastic sheeting…” We hope it stays that way. Read it here.
Now this is truly interesting. Backcountry skiers are obsessed with avalanche safety airbags. More, any thinking skier knows that current “ski” helmets are not much better than a few layers of cardboard taped to your head. (Examples abound, such as Lindsey Vonn’s possibly career ending concussion in 2011.) Motorcyclists can get really nice torso protectors integrated with head-neck airbags. The same kind of technology is entering the World Cup ski racing arena. As the backcountry skiing avalanche airbag wars heat up, I’ll bet it’s only a matter of time before we see much more sophisticated systems that include tested and specific neck-head protection — rather than claims that a wobbly balloon behind your head or by your ears is some kind of reliable impact protection. Such could finally give us the skull protection modern glisse deserves. Article about World Cup airbags here.
RADICAL 2.0 COMMUNICATION TO RETAILERS WINTER 2014/15 — FROM DYNAFIT SALEWA (lightly edited and condensed)
EARLY LAUNCH OF DYNAFIT RADICAL 2.0 BINDING PUSHED BACK FROM SPRING TO FALL 2015.
The Radical 2.0 binding… was scheduled for release in limited numbers in Spring 2015. However due to a quality concern around one of its components, the launch is being pushed back to Fall 2015. The decision was made to maintain our high quality standards and ensure the trust of our customers and consumers.
Following intense inspection and testing, DYNAFIT…was not satisfied with performance results for one aluminum component in the brake mechanism. DYNAFIT immediately informed the component supplier that its performance did not fall within agreed tolerance ranges. Reproduction of the component will take several months, and consequently, scheduled market entry for the Radical 2.0 binding has been delayed until Fall 2015.
To satisfy orders already placed, we have put an alternate plan into place. Radical bindings are currently available in sufficient quantity to substitute Radical 2.0 binding orders on a 1:1 basis, and we are planning for additional inventory to cover re-orders throughout the season. All retailers who placed orders for the Radical 2.0 model can take immediate delivery of the Radical binding…
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.