The Base Grind: September 23

Skis, spaceships, and other news

RS.1 Ski

The RS.1 Ski

While we North Americans have been concerned only with ski design that allows us to find and ski more powder, the Euros just can’t give up the search for the perfect groomer carve. The RS1 is a prototype ski with a pivot point behind the heel that allows the tail of the ski to swing out like a fish’s tail, allowing for easier turn initiation with the inside ski especially, something that is always a struggle for beginners. It remains to be seen whether a second more park-oriented model will be developed so that dads can force their jib-hungry kids to actually learn how to make a proper turn against their will.

September Snows

Peaks across the West have been getting their inaugural 2013 dusting this week, and it appears the Northeast is next with two cold shots coming into the region between now and next Thursday that could bring some precipitation above 3,000 feet. I wonder if we’ll see a rush on stores for another oddball ski invention, the Marquette Backcountry Ski, which is a 140 cm plastic ski that as the above video shows, is pretty much designed for skiing on grass.

Chris Davenport joins SCARPA

Chris Davenport. PHOTO: SCARPA

Just as Dynafit added Eric Hjorleifson to their team/R&D ranks to change their rep from that of a techy backcountry outfit making tiny soft shoes for racing Euros to one producing the ultimate backcountry freeride gear, this month Scarpa brought big mountain and ski mountaineering legend Chris Davenport onto their team. These hires are ostensibly to bring some freeride expertise to companies with excellent hiking and climbing boots, with the hopes of producing the ultimate badass, super-light yet charging touring boot that is the holy grail of most current boot manufacturers. Dynafit’s first result of this effort, the Vulcan, has received high marks so far. It remains to be seen whether Davenport and Scarpa’s future efforts will top this by yielding a boot with articulating hydraulic legs, giving average consumers the opportunity to feel what it’s like to sprint up a Colorado 14er like Dav.

Folsom for the Masses

Making slightly less custom skis. PHOTO ERIC MAGNESSEN

Colorado custom ski maker Folsom Skis has recently decided to devote half of their annual fleet of 500 skis to stock versions of their custom skis. Models such as the Gambit, Johnny C, Completo, Rapture, and Giver will be available in three lengths exclusively on Backcountry.com. The brand has decided to stay away from brick-and-mortar stores due to the volume incentives larger brands can offer, and has instead inked a three-year contract with the online retailer, giving Backcountry a few seasons to see how the ski sells and Folsom a guaranteed sales venue for three years.

Burnt Mountain Burned
After Aspen/Snowmass received final approval to cut down 800 trees on Snowmass’ Burnt Mountain in order to add 230 acres of previously backcountry area to the resort’s inbounds terrain, The Ark Initiative, a conservation organization run by environmental consultant Donald “D.J.” Duerr of Pinedalye, Wyoming, has sued the Forest Service to get an injunction to permanently block the thinning work. Duerr claims that Burnt Mountain is roadless wilderness area, and thus entitled to protection from development. He’s been in a legal battle with Aspen Ski Co. since 2006 over the resort’s right to develop the land. He and his Ark Initiative have so far been unsuccessful in rallying other Colorado-based conservation groups to his cause.

Space Shuttle Graces Western Skies

Spaceshuttle Endeavour

According to America’s primary tool for casual amateur journalism Instagram, the Space Shuttle apparently flew over much of California this Friday. As a former space nerd, I feel obligated to include this in the news roundup. All hail, Space Shuttle!

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