Gear Preview: 2016 Outdoor Retailer Highlights (Part 1)

Each year, for a few days in January, outdoor retailers, brands and media take over Salt Lake City, Utah, for a maelstrom of new technology, flashy gear, buzzwords and big news. Wade through it all and there’s a lot to talk about for backcountry skiing and riding, from new boots and beacons, to noteworthy innovations in skis, shovels, screwdrivers (yes, screwdrivers) and more. Here are some highlights of next year’s gear from the trade-show floor in Salt Lake City.

Food Fight: Can What You Eat Earn You Another Lap Up The Skintrack?

As a committed cyclist who logs a few thousand miles annually, I can get way too focused on nutrition. Throughout the summer, my pantry is overflowing with energy gels, powders and protein bars to fuel and hydrate for—and recover from—big endurance efforts. Come winter, however, all that meticulous planning and those gel snacks get pushed aside—trail food is whatever is in the cabinet and recovery drinks are either hopped or malty. But which approach is better? And can I really earn another lap up the skintrack with energy gels and hydration mixes?

Mountain Skills: Nine Things I Learned At The Northwest Snow & Avalanche Workshop

Last Sunday, 600 people packed into a conference room at Seattle’s University of Washington for a full day of education and insight at the revamped Northwest Snow & Avalanche Workshop (NSAW). Organized and hosted this year by the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC), NSAW gathered 10 presenters, from guides and avalanche educators to paramedics and a behavioral psychologist, to discuss the latest in safety, science and decision making.

Safe Passions remembers Andreas Fransson, teaches skiers

A year after ski mountaineer Andreas Fransson died in a South American avalanche, Fransson’s sister, Sandra, is starting an organization in his memory. An artist, Sandra has designed and is selling a poster inspired by her brother, and the artwork is printed on a pair of Salomon MTN Lab skis, available for auction. It’s all to raise funds for a youth-focused educational initiative that will kick off with a safety course in Chamonix this January, taught by Andreas’s friend, Morgan Salén, and in partnership with Salomon and Recco.

BC Banter: Colorado Avalanche Information Center seeks forecasters, snow falls in Montana and New Zealand avalanche kills two

Colorado Avalanche Information Center Seeks Forecaster BOULDER, COLO. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is hiring. Posted this week on, CAIC is seeking a permanent, part-time forecaster to work alongside their statewide team of weather and avalanche forecasters. Eligible applicants must have two years professional forecasting experience, web experience and a college degree in […]

BC Banter: Verb Cabin Releases “Places To Go” Trailer, American Alpine Institute Announces Guide Like Liz Scholarship Recipients, Flylow Drops Lifestyle Line and DPS Partners with POW

Last November, Backcountry contributor Jim Harris fractured several vertebrae while practicing with a kite to cross the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap, an accident that left him with a loss of movement in his lower body. Now, VerbCabin, a Tahoe-based multimedia group, is telling Jim’s story of strength, courage and perseverance. The short documentary is due out this fall, and the trailer dropped this week.

Vermont’s Rochester Area Sports Trail Alliance Seeks Funds to Develop Glades

Vermont’s Rochester Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA), a pilot chapter of the Catamount Trail Association, has launched a summer fundraising campaign to support their backcountry initiatives throughout the Braintree Mountain Forest. With fundraising help, the organization plans to construct a parking lot, renovate the existing Bell Gates backcountry cabin, build a trailhead kiosk and further develop glades throughout the forest.

Jumbo’s Roadblock: Proposed B.C. Resort’s Environmental Certificate Expires

Late last week, British Columbia’s Environmental Minister Mary Polak made an announcement that will put on hold the development of Jumbo Glacier Resort. The multi-billion-dollar project, located 53 km west of Invereme, B.C. in the East Kootenay Mountains, has been a decades-long source of conflict among developers, First Nations tribes and backcountry skiers.

Winter Wildland Alliance to host Grassroots Advocacy Conference

Next week, Winter Wildlands Alliance will host their sixth Grassroots Advocacy Conference at Golden, Colo.’s American Alpine Club Mountaineering Center. The conference will include discussions regarding the Forest Service’s new Over-Snow Vehicle Rule, the use of maps as advocacy tools and defining a set of ethics for backcountry travelers. The conference begins on Thursday, June 18, and runs through the weekend.

BC BANTER: Black Diamond President Resigns, Avatech Expands, Winter Wildlands’ Conference, Patagonia’s Migrant Worker Standards, Colorado’s Wet Slides and a Scottish Ski Film

BLACK DIAMOND INC. PRESIDENT RESIGNS SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH Zeena Freeman resigned Thursday from her post as president of Black Diamond Inc. Freeman, a former executive at Sony and Gap, was named president in August 2014, we reported, and was expected to replace Peter Metcalf as CEO of Black Diamond at the end of June. […]