Cool Your Jets: Dealing With Bob Costas

And the side effects of being on the biggest stage

A quick note to all the skiers and snowboarders up in arms about Bob Costas’ comments comparing ski and snowboard slopestyle to the Jackass TV series: Relax.

21 Comments

Week In Review January 10: Old People Ski More Than You

Team America wins, friends don't let friends ski in jeans, another webisode for your viewing pleasure

The guy who usually writes these, Kade Krichko, took a break this week. Apparently he was too “busy” taking a road trip with 4BI9 and got “stuck” in the airport and couldn’t “handle” writing this week. If you miss Kade, don’t worry. He’ll be back next week with all the news that’s fit for skiing’s WIR.

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Backcountry Skiing in the Golden State: The Waiting Game

What do you do when you’re writing a backcountry skiing guidebook and there’s no snow? Go to Canada

What do you do when you’re on assignment to write a guidebook about skiing in the golden state and there’s no snow? Go to Canada.

15 Comments

FWT Courmayeur Teaser Video

The Freeride World Tour heads to Italy next week for its first stop of the season

The Freeride World Tour kicks off on Saturday, January 18 at Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy. Situated in the Aosta Valley at the foot of the south face of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur presents skiers with a dramatic arena in the Alps. In past years, the tour has kicked off in the United States, France, Russia, and Canada, but this year, the honors goes to Italy. This is the third consecutive year that the tour has stopped at Courmayeur. Tune in to Powder.com for consistent coverage on the FWT all season long.

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Junk In The Trunk: Flylow Compound Pants

The pants you want to be wearing (and take off) when you find yourself lying next to a fire on a fur rug

Flylow Compound Pant
MSRP: $475
FlylowGear.com

I’ve been skiing in the same Flylow pants for about five or six seasons. I keep trying to replace them, but each season I’ve ended up back in the same pair of pants. There are a few features that have kept me. For one, they’re durable. They’re constructed of a heavy Cordura and have held up remarkably considering I have more than 300 days in these pants. I also like the back pocket for my wallet. This has its drawbacks—namely that you’re sitting on your wallet on the chairlift. But for me, the back pocket is the natural place for a wallet. Too much stuff in my front pockets restricts movement, and putting the wallet in a jacket pocket increases chances it will get left behind if I have to run into the store on my way to the hill, or if I ditch my coat before heading to dinner or après. I also like that the zippers close down, making it less likely that they’ll work themselves open. And I like that the waist fastens with a button instead of a snap, so they don’t come undone if I unzip my fly.

This year, I found a replacement. It’s the Flylow Compound Pant. The Compound has all the features I liked about my old pants, plus a few upgrades. Instead of closing with a down-zip, the zippers are horizontal, which has all the same benefits, but without needing two hands to open them. They also added a cargo pocket. Anything heavy here will clunk against your knee, but it’s a good spot for cash, credit cards or a room key, allowing me to put my phone in my front pocket (again, where it usually goes) without having to worry about dropping my cash or card if I pull it out on the lift, or erasing my hotel key. It also works for an RFID lift pass.

The biggest upgrade, however, is in the materials. The compound uses a Polartec NeoShell, making them much lighter, more waterproof, and more breathable than my old pants. The NeoShell is waterproof to 10,000+ mm (meaning it will hold a 10,000 mm water column without leaking, the textile industry threshold for waterproof). This is useless, of course, without fully taped seams and waterproof zippers, which the compound also has. NeoShell also features proprietary membrane construction that Polartec claims to be the most breathable—allowing two cubic feet of air per minute to pass through. Because it’s so air-permeable, NeoShell breathes through convection—meaning you don’t have to get hot and steamy before it starts working. And it does this in a soft shell. The remainder of the construction, meanwhile, remains the same as my trusty old pants, with reinforced articulated knees, and Cordura-reinforced ankle cuffs.

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MSP’s Days of My Youth: Black Panther

Michelle Parker's new nickname

A highlight reel of Michelle Parker from MSP’s upcoming film, Days of My Youth. Where the nickname Black Panther comes from, we have no idea. Cat-like reflexes? Cat-calls? Stealth objectives?

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Salomon Freeski TV: Super Pillows

What if skiing powder and pillows were a video game?

In summer, pillow zones look like unclimbable fields of 10-50 foot boulders and cliffs. Covered with feet of powder, suddenly a giant boulder field turns into a bouncy playland descendable by fat skis and a committed skier.

Some describe pillow fields as a “series of flat landings.” Which isn’t too far from the truth. Each pillow has stacked up powder that requires a very well positioned landing to immediately jump off the next pillow. Filled with trap doors one can fall into and the occasional uphill landing, a carefully pre-selected line is optimal for a safe and manageable descent. Pillows are challenging and present a high degree of difficulty, but when descended properly can be one of the most fun ways to get down the mountain. Suddenly you’re in the air nearly as much as on the ground. You’re bouncing down the mountain, flying off of blind airs, landing on small pads of snow and rebounding into the air once again. The whole thing feels like jumping down a mountain full of trampolines.

With new ski technology, pillows are skiable like never before. From high-tech touring equipment that allows you to get up and around steep slopes to the top of pillow lines and hold you in safely on the way down, to fat skis that bounce as opposed to sink into the snow so you keep momentum through the line. Twenty years ago, pillows would have been nearly impossible to ski. Skinny skis would sink and touring equipment would have blown up on every landing.

With the progression in technology, pillow skiing is quickly becoming one of the most sought over forms of skiing. Its challenge and incomprehensible feeling of bouncing down the mountain will lure many more for years to come.

—Cody Townsend

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The Next Stop for the Olympic Qualifiers

Halfpipe and Slopestyle qualifiers continue at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Breckenridge, January 8 to 11

The Olympic qualifiers continue this week at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Breckenridge, Colorado, held January 8 to 12.

1 Comment

The Amazing, Great, Worldwide Epic Race

Vail Resorts hosted a contest to see who could ski all of its resorts across the globe first

Since opening day at Eldora Mountain in Colorado, several hundred skiers had battled to see who could ski every resort offered on Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass—26 ski areas total spanning four countries and five states. Whoever did so first, and documented their travels for proof, would win a lifetime Epic Pass.

3 Comments

Rising Tide Episode 9 – How the Internet Changed Skiing with Wallisch and Logan

Previewing The Rise presented by The North Face, Episode 9 produced by Teton Gravity Research

POWDER Editor John Stifter sits down with Tom Wallisch & Devin Logan, previewing The Rise, Episode 09 presented by The North Face. This episode is produced by Teton Gravity Research and details how the Internet changed skiing.

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