Yep, getting kinda scattered here as the Christmas season hits. Review gear is piling up like a Garts on Sniagrab day. Blog advertisers are beating down the doors. Web clients want it NOW. Ski slopes clamor for attention.
Blog got some good publicity yesterday with kind words in the Denver Post. I’m now a “snowy sage.” Been called many things, but that’s a new one. Should I grow a beard — preferably a white one?
Post writer Jason Blevins reports that here at Wildsnow.com we’re “free from the distortion of sponsorship money.” It’s true we don’t let money distort our take, but it should be known that this website is sponsored by our advertisers, and we do frequently score the gear we like. Does the money and gear bias us? Let me just say that if I thought my reviews were biased I’d quit writing them, and I’m still far from burning my keyboard.
I attempt to use a critical but understanding voice no matter who’s gear I’m writing about. More, general policy here at Wildsnow.com is to only review gear we like — while being honest about faults we find. Writing about the good stuff makes it easier to do reviews, but we do occasionally get taken to task by gear companies who don’t like what we write. Our response is usually just a matter of pointing out how positive our take is (gear sellers appear to only see the critical stuff you write about them). Other times we make factual mistakes. When that happens we apologize and edit, and point out the mistake if necessary.
So what’s new today in gear at WildSnow.com? Pair of 173 Black Diamond Havoc skis floated in through the door last evening. With a glint of envy in his eye Louie wondered out loud why the old man wanted twin tips. I just said, “hey, why not?” (as I thought to myself, “good question, son”). Freeride bindings are going on these guppies in a few days, perhaps they’ll be my on-and-off resort rig. We’ll write about them in a few weeks, along with the Atomic Kongur and MX09.
On the threads front, I was short a soft-shell for my last trip. After deep thought (about 30 seconds) it was obvious I needed another Cloudveil Serendipity. Honestly, I can’t get away from how beautiful the Cloudveil Serendipity is: simple, trim fitting, made with the latest high-tech fabrics. I reviewed the Serendipity ages ago, and everything I said still stands. And this for Jason Blevins: I couldn’t find anything to modify on the Serendipity — shucks!
And the latest in our eternal quest for lighter packs:
Here at WildSnow.com we are not big on down jackets (they’re at their worst when you really need them, such as during an emergency bivouac in a snow cave.) But down does have its place. For moderate day trips when you’re close to civilization or certain about the weather, you can trim pounds in one step by using minimal upper clothing layers, but carrying a down “puff” jacket for cold mornings and crisp summits. The best of such jackets need to be simple. No hood, no fancy cuffs, thin fabric, few pockets. Cloudveil, Mountain Hardware, North Face and Marmot all make jackets that somewhat fit the bill. My choice was a Cloudveil Inversion, but anything simple and basic will work.
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.