The Mt Baker Splitfest is indeed happening this weekend! If you are planning on going and would like to demo a pair of Karakoram bindings, we will be bringing our entire demo fleet with us. Last year we sent out every pair of bindings we had so it may be a good idea to sign up to demo a pair in advance! If you would like to sign up for a pair ahead of time, please send an email with your name and boot size to firstname.lastname@example.org by this Thursday! See you there!
We’re giving away two sets of Prime bindings, various soft goods and board clips at the raffle Saturday night to benefit the Northwest Avalanche Center.
We’ll be bringing our entire demo fleet with us. Last year we sent out every pair of bindings we had so it may be a good idea to sign up to demo a pair in advance!
“Over the month of Febuary I had the good fortune to make a pilgrimage to Japan and see for myself what everyone was talking about with the waist deep snow to be found, epic sushi on the cheap and a culture filled with kindness and respect.”
“Simply put the rumors are true.
I quickly got into a routine of waking up at 5a.m. to the alarm of avalanches falling off our roof, eating a bacon and egg breakfast and putting my board in the chair line at 7:00. We would ride bell to bell off waist deep blower powder all to ourselves before heading off to an onsen and letting the water calm our sore muscles.”
“After that we would go to the local Sushi Train restaurant and gouge on cheap sushi before making it to the locals market around 7p.m. to get the end of day discounted meals. Over a full month this was the routine and if the resort didn’t have good snow we would bring out the splits but this only happened 3 times over almost 30 days in which I was using the Prime system the whole time.”
“I’ve heard that Japan is expensive but in total I spent about 1200 dollars not including the plane ticket.
Japan is easy for ski bums if you know what you are doing and where to go and on that note I am looking forward to next Jan and Feb doing this same routine.
There is no question the entire Western half of the U.S. is having a rough Winter. Here in Washington State, splitboarding and ski touring at lower elevations has been a struggle and our ski areas are barely open if they aren’t already closed. The Summit at Snoqualmie and now Mt. Baker, two major ski areas in our region are both closed until there is more snow, IF there is more snow. Weather forecasts don’t look too promising unfortunately. Our mountains haven’t seen any serious snowfall at lower elevations (below 6-7000 feet) since the end of December. Not only that, but heavy rains have plagued whatever snowpack we had built up during the beginning of winter.
Our local ski areas at Snoqualmie Pass have been closed since the beginning of February. You can see why.
Below is a map showing the percentage of normal snow water equivalent in Western U.S. mountains. About the only region seeing anywhere near normal snowfall this winter is the Rocky Mountains. Not good! We are certainly getting a glimpse at what winter could look like for future generations. There is no question the Earth’s atmosphere is warming and we all need to be aware of the issue and take action to change the way we live.
One organization that we support and has kept us aware of climate change over the years is Protect Our Winters (POW). Started by Jeremy Jones in 2007, POW has brought professional athletes in our industry together to press the issue upon our government officials, our country and the entire world. As hard as it would be for us to lose the current state of winter sports as a whole, it wouldn’t pose as even the smallest threat to our livelihood. However, we can certainly use our observations as skiers and snowboarders to increase our awareness as human beings.
“If we get to the point where the ski resorts all close because there’s no longer any snow, the least of our worries will be that skiers and snowboarders don’t get to go play in the mountains.” – Jeremy Jones
While our lower elevations are either bone dry or barely hanging on by a string, the volcanoes and higher slopes are seeing a fair amount of snow and the touring up high has been quite nice. Lately, we’ve been flocking to Mt. Rainier to get some good turns whenever the conditions are favorable between about 5,000-11,000 feet. We scored some great days with abundant sunshine and great snow! There is pow out there, you just have to work a little harder and go a little higher this winter to find it when conditions line up right. Below are several photos from the past month taken by Paul Stanley.
Hard to complain about the winter on days like these!
Beautiful sights to take in all over the mountain while skinning.
Our buddy Jay laying into a nice turn down toward the Nisqually Glacier.
Our other buddy David catching some waves!
Jay smacking the lip!
While touring, we came across this human triggered slide from earlier in the day. Relatively small, but still concerning to see out in the backcountry.
Jay keeping things smoothhhhhh…..
Jay blasting some air of a sweet windlip we found.
David, we’re hoping you have a speedy recovery from your head injury so you’re able to make turns like this again soon!
Jumping for joy after laying down some soul turns.
Mt. Rainier. Wow! what a beaut.
Regardless of the lack of snow this winter, we’re still making an effort to get out and go shred. We hope you’re doing the same and having fun with what you’ve been given!
We recently took a trip down to Colorado, not only for the SIA Tradeshow, but to get some snowboarding in as well. Since our winter has been so rough here in Washington State, it sure was nice to extend our stay and see how conditions were in the Rockies. Sure enough, the Rockies did not disappoint! First, we had to take care of some business in Denver for a few days.
Here’s Kyle “Handsome” looking like his usual handsome self in our booth at the 2015 SIA tradeshow.
Before heading back home we linked up with our friends at Weston Snowboards for a sweet day of cat boarding out at Vail Pass! Our buddy and talented photographer Brandon Huttenlocher met up with us as well to ride pow and take photos in the snow all day long. All photos below we’re shot by Brandon himself.
Here is the cat parked outside their shop in Minturn, Colorado.
Rob and Mike helping get everybody set up for a day of quivering on all sorts of Weston snowboards!
We had a little hiccup and we’re forced to make a little detour in the morning but that didn’t keep us from having some fun in the snow.
Everybody was stoked and ready to rip! Snow was falling all day long and avalanche conditions were on the rise. We made the decision to play it safe and kept things relatively low angle the entire day. The swallow tail board they call the “Japow” was a favorite for the conditions we had. Another board shape we really liked was the “Backwoods” which is more of a fish shape. Both board shapes we’re a blast to ride in the deep stuff!
Barry of Weston Snowboards hauling downhill in the cat.
Apparently the snow was “heavy” in Colorado this day. Most of us from Washington just laughed. Here’s Paul throwing up a cloud of white.
Russell living up to his name, The Sultan of Stoke.
This photo of our buddy Mason from Weston pretty much sums up the day. That avalung looks a little clogged!
Rob embracing one last party lap before the day’s end.
Huge thank you to Barry, Mason, Leo, Mark, and Joe from Weston Snowboards showing us a good time out in Colorado! A big thank you as well to Brandon for providing us with these awesome photos!
I quickly realized that my time in NZ was running out with less that two weeks so I was fortunate to meet up with my friend Manu and start a predawn mission up the Reese Valley heading for Mt. Clark..
About 6kms up valley and a few crossings of the river we got to the base of our climb and started heading up an area referred to as Clarkes Slip, this is when the views started coming out.
After a tad bit of a sketchy climb and a tad bit of Tussock bashing we were in the high alpine and trying to climb Clark before the bad weather arrived.
We were heading for a peak behind the prominent rocky one.
From the summit of Clark I got my first view of the Reese and Dart valleys and the endless potential of the area. It’s rugged and it’s wild and I like what I see.
After the views from the summit we raced down as fast as possible knowing it was going to rain hard soon. While I did film the descent I didn’t get any pictures until we made it to the spicy descent down Clarke’s slip.
and then we were crossing the river and back out of the Reese Valley and back into Glenarchy.
While hanging out at the DOC station I found out that I am from a pretty rad area and that I had a bunch of epic riding to get back to. But I had one final week in NZ and some of the best snow.