The tester train pulling skis out. [Photo] David Crothers
They were calling for a trace of snow last night at Powder Mountain, Utah. But that trace was a quick eight last night, and it’s the snow all the testers are talking about. You can feel the anxiety building on the bus ride to Powder Mountain; no one is sitting still in their seats. Outside, the trees are full of white fluff, a good sign that wind hasn’t moved it around much. “We’re grabbing the fat skis today,” Backcountry’s Gear Test Week Director Sportif Tyler Cohen says, adding to the anticipation. “Only ski 105cm or wider.”
Eli Moore working hard at filling out his tester forms. [Photo] David Crothers
All 50 testers unload from the bus and quickly start pulling skis from Powder Mountain’s ski patrol shack/our basecamp for Test operations. The first pair skis to make it to the ski adjustment center (a snowbank chipped away to form a little table) are mine: the DPS Wailer 112 RP.2—a fully rockered ski that rides like butter in these conditions. The wrenching gang, Kris Thomas from The Back Country in Truckee, California, and Geoff Clark, a backcountry ski guide out of Kirkwood Resort, get right to work adjusting bindings for testers.
Justin Reyher dropping the knee in freshies. [Photo] David Crothers
A small snow cloud continues to dust snow on the slopes for a good portion of the morning before breaking up, allowing the sun to shine through. All day we find deep pockets of fresh snow, pop off cliffs, hit short, steep terrain off our tester trade route; up the Poma, out to Sanctuary; down to the bottom of Paradise Lift, load up, lap the north side, load again, down the south side to Hidden Lake and back to our summit base.
JT Ryan riding high off Powder Mountain’s Paradise Lift. [Photo] David Crothers
Justin Reyher getting intimate with the trees. [Photo] David Crothers
Nick Rustigian getting a face full of pow. [Photo] David Crothers
Mark Rosenberg catching some air into fresh snow. [Photo] David Crothers
The beer quiver never ended up making the trip up to the mountain, which didn’t make anyone happy. But that was quickly remedied when we arrived back at the condos to a truck full of 22 ounce bottles of Epic Brewing bombers.