Monday, March 30, 2009

Massive crown in Gulmarg, India

Holy balls. I stumbled across this image which was taken at Gulmarg, India. From what I can tell they recently had a pretty big storm.

This puppy let'er rip. I couldn't find many details, only that it was a 18 foot crown! Not sure on whether it was natural or done under control work. But all I can say is, WTF?

Gulmarg came onto my petty little radar about a year ago. I think the Euros probably have been going there for quite a while longer.

If you haven't heard of Gulmarg before, here's a few links etc to get started. Myself? I'm doing some research and am thinking that this trip is in order, sometime in the near future. There is something really cool to me about traveling to a 3rd world setting and shredding some pow.

Who's in?


The Line of Control <<<< href="">

Ski Himalaya

Gulmarg facts

Lets go.........Matt, Steve and Nate I'm talking to you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Full Tilt boots

Huh, maybe I've been asleep at the wheel, I 'm really not sure. This boot company slipped by me, probably somewhere along the line while I was worried more about where my daughter's snuggie was.

Anyway, my buddy Sammy just sent over a link to me to the Full Tilt website (see where these guys are putting out some sweet looking boots. As many remember Raichle was pretty damn popular, cult status to many. I however, have never experienced the supposed luxury of these boots personally. Perhaps after the Technica's give out, I'll give'm a whirl.

Full Tilt boots managed to get the coveted rights to the old Raichle Flexon, even though Dalbello's been making the Krypton boot for a few years. The new Full Tilt boots are exactly like the old Flexons with only a couple changes (mainly the liners been upgraded with more modern material). Full Tilt actually acquired the original Flexon mold.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yurtski yurt trip

This year myself and 3 other buddies reserved the Yurtski yurt up in the Swans for the third year in a row. It seems to becoming an annual tradition, one we all look forward to. The yurt sits at about 6900 feet and very close to great skiing. The peaks and ridges around yurt top out at 8100 feet with most runs being in the 800' vert range.

We have been pretty fortunate each year we've been on the snow conditions. In 2007, the snow was great too, check out this video from that year. The 2008-09 winter in W. Montana has been a bit hit or miss this year, but we timed this trip pretty good. After a long dry spell, we arrived at the yurt with sunny skies. They morphed into a pretty constant snowfall for the next 4 days, nothing huge but enough to soften things up.

Two of us got into the yurt at about noon the first day and wasted no time getting out to sample the goods. A friend of ours had the yurt for the previous 5 days, so he lined us out on where the good skiing was. He also had a keg of beer which we did our best to help lighten the load for the ride down.

The next 3 days were pretty fricking nice. Each morning we'd wake and cook damn good breakfasts (sorry Nate for having to cook on your birthday) and get right after it. Most of the ski time was spent off the backside in the dark north trees. The sun hardly touches this snow, so its always consistent. Avalanche danger was moderate, but the south slopes were very sun affected with a nasty crust on it.

I put together a little video from the trip. Bear with it, there is not a lot of variety just good mellow tree pow. Like I said we spent a lot of time in the trees where the snow was good and the visiblity managable. Enjoy

Dark Force from O.P.I. on Vimeo.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March powdah

This last week has been filled with some highs and lows. But mostly highs, especially today's 16" of fresh March powder. Mid last week I got a call from some friends that were headed to Alaska Rendezvous Lodge outside of Valdez, Alaska. Turns out a couple that was going with them cancelled, thus losing their very $ deposit. It looked like I might be able to "use" their lost deposit. I scrambled at the chance, looking at last minute flights etc. I had even contemplated renting a car in Anchorage and driving the 5 hours to Valdez and then possibly sleeping in the car, existing on bar food-- all just to keep it $omewhat reasonable. Well, in the end I realized that I was not a doctor or dentist, only a lowly fireman that should probably just stick with the local Montana backcountry, at least until I win the lottery. Enter today...

Storm warnings had been issued and we finalized the logistics for the day. I met up with a buddy in the Bitterroot and we headed south. White curtains pushed hard against the peaks surrounding the valley. Huge flakes dropped out of the sky and we made slow time going up the pass. Did I say huge? We contemplated parking out on the highway, the lot was looking a little too deep. But alas, a quick bit of courage showed us the way and we unloaded the sleds. Finally, winter was back. It seemed like it had been too long.

Off the backside, we delightfully devoured deep deliciousness. Upon parking the sleds there was about 8" new. The skies continued to dump all day long, with the wind helping to fill in our skintrack on each run. By the time we got back to the truck, 8 more big ones had stacked up. Sixteen inches of March powder followed by Bitterroot Brewing IPA, come on. Does winter need to end?

**Slideshow, if you don't have Flash you may only see a white box below

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Proposed Avalanche Danger Scale Survey‏

If you have a few minutes and care about avalanche forecasting, take a look at this email from the West Central MT Avalanche Center:
This morning I posted a link to a survey that asks specific questions
regarding the current and proposed language in the Avalanche Danger Scale
used in the US and Canada. A group of avalanche forecasters met last fall
and basically agreed to the change (with some tweaking) which you'll see
within the survey. This survey is a focus test of the proposed scale. It
takes about 15 minutes, is kind of fun and is your chance to weigh in on
the avalanche danger scale. You'll also have a chance to win a prize!

Here's the link:

Thanks! Give me or Dudley a call if you have any questions regarding this.

Steve Karkanen
West Central Montana Avalanche Center

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I need to go here some day

The Don Sheldon Mountain house in Denali National Park looks unreal. I stumbled on a great trip report from last year on the TGR site. This place looks endless, but a spot that you need need to have some serious skills. I'm dreaming about one day in the future..........

Here's some basic info that I scraped up. There's not a whole out there on it, but I'll be putting this one in the back pocket.

Don Sheldon Amphitheater—a 25-square-mile icefield fed by a half dozen glaciers. The reservable Don Sheldon Mountain House that’s perched on a narrow ridge between glaciers. Most of all, when the frequent fog and clouds clear for a time, the southern flank of Denali presides over all and you’re closer than most people ever get.The tiny, one-room Mountain House is reservable by calling Roberta Sheldon at Alaska Retreat but is often booked solid a year in advance.

Check out a lot more great pictures in this thread: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

Some great pictures >>