Winners along with first and second runner-ups to be notified by e-mail no later than
Lottery Rules/Logistical Details:
Stay length is 7 nights - Saturday to Saturday.
Lottery applications can be for any weeks starting December 29th, 2013 with the final week available for application April 26th, 2014.
Applicants can enter the lottery for groups of a minimum of 4 people
Application fee is $15.00 for every week requested. Multiple entries can be made on the same application for the same or different weeks. Note: Some weeks in the lottery may have limited capacity (not the full 20) available.
The only way to apply for the lottery is to use the online system
A winner for each week will be selected along with a first and second runner-up.
Rates for ski weeks are $925.00 CDN Per person and includes 7 nights accommodation and return flights.
All gear, food and any other items being flown on the helicopter may be weighed at staging area. The weight limit for items (other than people) is 100lbs per person.
We encourage all groups that are successful in the lottery to limit bulk when packing. Please pack gear and food accordingly considering that gear, food and 20 people need to fit on 5 helicopter flights. Any need for additional flights will be at the cost of the group.
The winning applicant in the lottery will be considered the week's group leader and will be the liaison between the group and the Alpine Club of Canada. The winning applicant will also be responsible for making all deposits and final payments.
If your group is employing a guide and/or cook, they need to be included in your group size at the time of your application.
Traveling in the Fairy Meadow backcountry area is for advanced intermediate to expert skiers with relevant backcountry travel experience.
If you are in search of one boot to serve your resort and backcountry ski needs, you'll be stoked to see the new boots coming from K2, BD and Scarpa. The past couple of seasons have offered a great selection of lightweight three- and four-buckle boots for dedicated touring and this upcoming season looks to be the season of alpine style AT boots that actually tour well. The industry calls the category freeride boots - alpine minded boots intended to serve in the backcountry, too. In the past, most of the boots we've tried in this category have been great ski boots with poor walkability - glorified alpine boots with only basic walk modes. Times are a changing.
The boot we've got the most time on so far is the Scarpa SL. Developed in collaboartion with Chris Davenport, the Freedom SL features overlap construction like a trad alpine boot and a walk mode that rivals the walkability of some lighter AT boots.
The Freedom's out of the box fit was excellent for my modestly wide food and it's light compared to its competitors at 3 lb 13 oz (size 26). Scarpa publishes a 101mm wide last and it felt great on my foot from first fit. Up until this point, I have been using a Scarpa Mobe as my general purpose resort/sidecountry boot and it weighs in the same as the new Freedom SL, but that's where the similarities end. The Freedom SL offers more boot in ski mode and a much improved walk mode over the Mobe. Scarpa's specs say 27 degrees of cuff range - 7 back and 20 forward - and it feels great while skinning for a boot of its scale. The specs include details on the carbon fiber core design, which keeps the boot light. Foward lean is 14-degrees plus or minus 4-degrees of adjustability.
The boot also offers interchangable DIN/AT soles and a very nice heat formable Intuition liner. I'm not familiar with Sacrpa's older interchangable soles, but the new design is said to be - and appears to me - quite secure with a bolt-through connection. The AT sole is also tech binding compatible.
The whole package is enough for a jaded backcountry skier like myself to recognize the benefits of a stouter boot. I've had nothing but fun in these boots and believe Scarpa is right on the mark for uphill and downhill performance for skiers who prefer an alpine fit and feel in their boots. View Scarpa's specs for the new Freedom freeride boots. Next up: BD Factor MX and K2 Pinnacle 130.
We've just about wrapped up our annual ski testing for the season. This year we've been checking out backcountry ski offerings from Black Diamond, G3, Voile, DPS, Volkl, Kastle, K2, Dynastar, La Sportiva, Dynafit and Fat-ypus.
Dedicated backcountry skiers should be stoked to hear that everbody's offerings are lighter and more versatile than ever. Multiple companies (DPS, BD) are now using prepreg construction (versus wet lay up) where fiberglass or carbon fiber layers are pre-impregnated with epoxy resins. The approach is helping to make skis lighter by controlling resin amounts and the results are noticable.
There are also more companies offering variations on the five-point shape that DPS and others have helped to popularize where the widest points on the skis are further from the tip and tail than on a more traditionally sidecut ski.
105-115 (give or take a few mm) appears to be the biggest growth sector with several very fun boards fitting the category including the Voile V8, Black Diamond Convert, Dynastar Cham107, Dynafit Grand Teton and G3 Empress 115.
Our final testing wraps up this weekend and I'll post some specifics on several skis once we are done. In the meantine, here is a line-up of a few top picks. From left to right: Dynafit Grand Teton, DPS Wailer 112, Volkl V-Werks Katana, BD Convert, G3 Empress 115, Voile V8
Coffee and backcountry travel go hand in hand. Whether waking up inside a tent or simply between quality coffee outlets while road tripping, a good cup of coffee has a way of making everything better. Yes, I'm surely addicted and, like anygood addict, I'm always on the lookout for ways to get a quality fix on the road or in the hills. My latest find and the best quality portable espresso maker I have ever used is the Handpresso Wild.
This portable espresso maker uses pump action - much like a small bike pump - to build up pressure (16 bar) and delivers an impressively smooth shot of espresso. It is easy to use, quick to deliver and simple to clean. Adding to its backcountry and travel-friendly character is the fact that it only requires hot water and ground coffee to work, no power, no batteries. Hot water can be supplied by freshly boiled water from your camp stove or even hot water stored in a thermos. The Handpresso Wild works with your ground coffee of choice and with special espresso pods.
The specialty espresso pods produce a great shot of espresso and offer super easy clean up, but my preference is for ground coffee, so I am not always dependent on having specialty pods around. Either way, the process is simple:
Pump the Handpresso unit to 16 Bar
Fill the reservoir with hot water
Add coffee to filter basket or insert E.S.E Pod
Push pressure switch
Espresso is ready.
I've been making double and single americanos with great success. The shots are smooth and full of flavor with a healthy coating of crema for an authentic espresso experience. No electricity or batteries required, just hot water, coffee and your energy to pump the pressure.
The only real downside to the Handpresso Wild is its stout metal construction keeps it a bit on the heavy side at 18 ounces (510g), but it's a small price to pay for a civilized shot of espresso in the hills or on the road. The construction also speaks to the tool's durability and quality. It feels as up for adventure as it is ready to deliver quality espresso in the mountains.
If you can't find the Handpresso locally, you can support the mag with a purchase through amazon.
I spend a lot of time waxing skis, mounting bindings and doing basic ski tunes. Between keeping my skis ready to roll, setting up test gear and working on friends' gear, my bench sees use multiple times a week.
The width of skis exceeded the width of my ski vices years ago and I've tried a variety of ski tuning stands and racks for basic ski maintenance over the years.
My favorite off-the-shelf ski tuning stand is the Voile Ski /Board Tuning Tree. I saw these at Voile's booth during a tradeshow a few years ago. They were using them to display some splitboards. Turns out, they own the mold and sell them. They have become my daily use ski stand. The top platform is a full 12 inches across, so they feel rock solid and accomodate a pair of fat skis or a snowboard with ease. They are easy to set up - just clamp them to your workbench. The tops have grippy rubber pads to keep your skis from sliding and they offer a solid platform for waxing and mounting. There's even a slot for putting your boards on edge to do tuning work. The stands are easily removed for storage between uses. You can get them directly from Voile for $50. They are hard to beat for all-around ski maintenance versatility and easy storage.
My favorite do-it-yourself ski tuning bench uses a couple pieces of 2x6 lumber and old bike inner tubes. I built it on a portable bench that rolls around the garage as needed and, the way I built mine, it can handle a handful of skis at the same time. But it could easily be set up for a single pair of skis, too. It's great for when we're ski testing and have a fleet of skis to wax and bindings to adjust. It's also a convenient way to store skis.
Basically, I just mounted a couple of six foot 2x6's on edge along either side of a work bench. (The bench pictured is mobile bench that rolls around my garage as needed). I found the 2x6's better than 2x4's as they put the ski high enough above the bench top to allow clearance for any bindings when the skis are lying base up. I used 2x4's as braces to add stability to the 2x6 (see poto below). I screwed everything together and then screwed it to the bench top. The top edge of the 2x6 is covered with an old mountain bike inner tube to protect the skis and offer grip when scraping or otherwise pushing on the skis. The whole set-up is great for ski work, but it does impact the usablity of the bench for non-ski related work. You could easily set up your 2x6's to be removable for the off-season. To make a smaller, one ski version, just use shorter 2x's that don't run all the way accross your bench.
Climbing and skiing pioneer Hans Gmoser is one of the names that helped to push North American mountaineering and adventure skiing to new heights in the 1950's and 60's. Raised in Austria during World War II, Gmoser moved to the Canadian Rockies at age 19 and pursued a life in the mountains as a guide and adventurer. His accomplishments includes countless first ascents including epic adventures on the East Ridge of Mount Logan and Denali’s Wickersham Wall.
Between 1957 and 1968, Gmoser produced ten films of mountain adventure that he toured with around North America promoting such adventure. The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in partnership with Chic Scott and Marg Saul and with the assistance of professional film-maker Will Schmidt are digitizing and reassembling Gmosers films and are looking for support to complete the project.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more skier than mountaineer and generally take powder dreams over summit fever. That said, as the cold snows of winter settle and spring ski mountaineering kicks into gear, a few essential tools find their way into my pack.
For years, I wondered why anyone would need ski crampons. Surely, if it is so hard that it requires crampons to ascend, why would I want to ski it was my thought. I was uninformed. The convenience and ease of ski crampons is hard to overstate when conditions are firm. Afterall, maybe it's the other side of the ridge that warrants the descent or the sun has yet to warm your line.
You'll find ski crampons for just about every AT binding on the market including Fritschis, Dynafits and the G3 Onyx. And for anything else, including telemark bindings, you can use a ski crampon from B and D Ski Gear.
Think of ski crampons as firm snow skinning accessories. They are designed to work in conjuction with skins and in terrain where booting is not warranted. My preference is for the type that pivot with your foot as you skin up the hill. Simple and lightweight, ski crampons save energy and give you added confidence in firm conditions.
There are certain conditions and terrain that require getting a little technical and strapping your skis to your pack, and nothing makes short work of steep, firm snow like a nice boot crampon. Because I am a skier first and mountaineer second, I see boot crampons as a short term solution to reach skiing. As a result, I believe crampons should be lightweight, easy to use and easy to pack. I've been using the Black Diamond Neve Pro boot crampons for a couple of seasons and they work great. You'll also find similar lightweight, aluminum boot crampons from Camp, Petzl and Grivel.
There is definitely a trade-off in durability when you move to an aluminum crampon, but personally, given the amount of use my crampons see, I’m happy to trade a little durability for the drop in weight from a steel model. Staying away from rocks with your aluminum crampons is a great way to help improve their lifespan. They can’t rival the durability of a steel crampon, but the Neve has proven durable enough for varied ski mountaineering use.
Lightweight Ice Axe
Finally, if you are travelling in steep and firm snow, an ice axe is lightweight insurance to help arrest a big slide and for maintaining balanced footing in precarious perches. An axe also doubles as an anchor for your gear, roped lowering and general delicate manuevering in firm snow. My axe stays on my pack more often than not, but when it comes time to transition between skis and crampons or to descend firm slopes, I will often break it out.
I've been using a Black Diamond Raven Ultra ice axe for multiple seasons. It features an aluminum shaft and a steel head - ideal for light-duty ski mountaineering use and it weighs an impressive 11 ounces.