From the dusty town of Haines, Alaska we fly westward into the peaks of Glacier Bay National Park. Our goal, to shoot for the upcoming Sweetgrass Productions film, Valhalla, lay before us in an endless expanse of glacial valleys and shark-tooth peaks that extend clear to the Gulf of Alaska. The tiny Cessna 180 drops our crew—Carston, Zack, Drew, Donny, Ben, Jay, Zac and I—near the head of the Morse glacier. And there we hack out a camp of eight brightly colored specks, our home for 16 days.
Five days, 40 testers, 7,000 skiable acres, 400-plus new skis, boots and bindings, a few feet of snow, 60 cases of beer. Those are the ingredients for the Backcountry Magazine Gear Test Week. And when you mix it all together, you get one wild week and the industry’s best Gear Guide. Here’s a quick look at how it all unfolded.
Not three days off the red-eye flight, my alarm squawked to life at 4:30 a.m. My throat was scratchy like sandpaper; my back was tied like a rubber-band ball; and my right foot throbbed for one reason or another. But Cyril’s e-mail the night before was simple: “Dodge’s is in.” Dodge’s Drop, a variation off […]
The organized chaos that spills across my desk at the time of this writing tells the story of the first-annual Backcountry Beer Test. Empty bottles, bombers and cans in all shapes and sizes look like a New York City skyline, and the stale-beer stench permeates the air. There’s a mosaic of sticky notes across my […]
Invernada. It means wintered, as in The Wintered Valley—La Valle Invernada. And in this remote region of the Chilean Cordillera, Fred Marmsater, Donny Roth and I sought winter last September among 12,000-foot volcanoes that dominate the skyline. Here’s a gallery from the trip, and read about the full expedition in the February/March issue feature, “Invernada.” […]