Friday, September 11, 2015

Where do I get my Dynafit installed?

So you got your skis, you got your Dynafit (or any other tech bindings) and now you need to get them on. I do most of my binding installs myself because there is no part of skiing that I don’t enjoy. Having said that I do make an exception to the DIY thing and that’s Dynafit. Why? Because these are very sophisticated bindings that although they look all puny are more laterally stiff than most resort bindings at a fraction of the weight. This is a precision instrument and I want to make sure that the installation is up to task in order for me to realize all the benefits of being on a pair of Dynafit. To get to that you want a certified Dynafit installer to do the job. Below is a list of expert retailers in our area. There probably are more but I am only listing the ones I have had great experiences with. These retailers of course can offer a lot more than just binding installations.

Locals first - that is if you are from Park City:

White Pine Touring
Cost: $25.00
1790 Bonanza Dr,
Park City, UT 84060  
(435) 649-8710

White Pine will not be ready for this work until the second week of October so you can either wait till then or go down to Salt Lake. Also, the price will need confirmation, George was not exactly sure and told me "between $20 & $25 somewhere".

In Salt Lake City:

Cost: $45.00
Canyon Rim Center
3285 3300 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84109
801 486 2100

Wasatch Touring
Cost: $45.00
702 E 100 S,
Salt Lake City, UT 84102

Wasatch Powder House
Cost: $50.00
3138 East 6200
South Holladay, UT 84121

The 9 items you must, at a minimum, have in your BC ski back pack

Other than nutrition and hydration, what are the minimum requirements you should establish for the content of your BC back pack? Below list is not a recommendation for the optimal back pack. These are just the very minimum requirements that no one should ever go out to BC ski without. Because they are all required there is no order of priority, item number nine is just as critical as item number one on the list.

  1. Shovel you also must have a beacon but that one goes on you, not in your pack…
  2. Probe
  3. Rain gear to be used as insulation and/or wind protection as needed
  4. Map and compass, would visibility suddenly vanish, you may need them
  5. Waterproof matches and/or lighter
  6. Flashlight or better yet a headlamp
  7. First aid kit
  8. Emergency shelter, lightweight emergency bivouac sac or space blanket
  9. Cell phone

1. Shovel with telscopic handle, 2. Probe, this one is carbon
so wheighs more or less nothing! 3. Minimalist Marmot
rain jacket, 
4. Map of your area and for compass I use my
altimeter watch, 
5. Matches, 6. Minimalist (and light)
headlamp, 7. Emergency medical kit, 8. Mini bivvy
sac, and 9. Cell phone.
The idea with above list is that you should, with that content and some common/backcountry sense, be able to make it through a night in the BC. But “I am not doing an overnighter” you say. I am just doing day tours. Well, the thing is you never really know that for sure when you leave in the morning. That may be plan A, this is your plan B. Accidents are more likely to happen later in the day when everyone is tired. This being winter and the days being extra short, it significantly increases the chances that, if you are injured, rescue will only get to you the day after.

Now, above and beyond just surviving in the back country, here are a few items that when added will help make the outing actually enjoyable:

  1. Extra pair of gloves
  2. Extra layer of clothing for warmth
  3. Extra trail mix or similarly convenient food
  4. Rub on wax for your skins
  5. Ski crampons
  6. Extra ball cap*
  7. Swiss army knife or multi tool

Both 4 & 5 are mostly for comfort. The rub on wax is not only for spring skiing because 1) any day can get locally hot, and 2) whenever you have to ford a creek your skins can get wet and you will want to wax the snot out of them. For you to really enjoy your ski crampons all it takes are a couple of sunny days followed by a really cold night and your easy traverse will be an ice trap waiting toi see you tumbling down the hill. What I am trying to say is that you may need these things when you least expect them.

*) This one of course depends on if you even use a ball cap in the first place. If you are like me and you use it for the up-track as a combined sun shelter and sweat band, then having a second one for real long days is great as in a dry one for the afternoon. Also, if your first ball cap blows off your head as the ridge winds hit you unexpectedly, then that extra one will be great to have. After losing a few favorite ball caps to these winds I finally got it and get the darn thing off my head before it vanishes down some unattainable cliff band, but it sure took a few losses to get me there.

As important as equipment is in the back country none of it will fulfill its potential unless we are properly and thoroughly trained on how and when to use them.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cardiff Fork in March of the worst Wasatch winter on record

These are pictures taken during an outing last March. In a season 2014/2015 that was the worst on record these pictures show that provided you stay high enough, you can get good powder days in the Wasatch in any season. We started our skin up Cardiff from Big Cottonwood Canyon and skinned up towards George’s bowl.

Directions to TH: Follow Big Cottonwood Canyon (SR 190) about 8.8 miles up the canyon to Cardiff Fork aka Mill D South Fork on the USGS map. In winter use the parking lot by the 190. In summer you can drive a bit further (1 1/4 miles) up Cardiff Fork to the parking areas by the campgrounds.

Here are the pictures (click to enlarge).

Powder below Geroge's bowl.

...and some more powder...

Mike summited!

Did I mention there was a fair amount of snow?

View of Hallway couloir leading in to the Tube.

Holy Toledo!