By: randosteve|Posted on: January 20, 2012|Posted in: Gear, Gear Reviews | 5 comments

Today is my last day at the trade show and I’m headed back to Jackson. With 36” of new snow in the past couple days and 4-6’ avalanche crowns being reported, the drive should be interesting. Luckily there looks to be lull in the action this afternoon and tonight, before the snow ramps up again on Saturday, so I’m hoping to catch a window to make it home in.

Last night I attended a dinner with some amazing athletes in the outdoor, climbing and skiing industry. However, I sat next to the dude that did this and this, and I was very much impressed with his energy and “it’s my way-or the highway” attitude. Definitely a person committed to his trade and stoked on life in general. If you ever get a chance to meet Matthias, I highly recommend sitting down and talking to him for a while. He may enjoy skiing even more than myself.

There were some comments on a post I did a few days ago about how some folks don’t like sculpted or scalloped shaped backpacks because they don’t think packing them is as easy as say, a rectangular box or cylindrical tube on your back. I’m not sure I agree with this and personally I think I’d rather have a nice, sleek pack that has nice lines, instead of a suitcase on my back that looks like it could have been made by Samsonite.

With that being said, Arc’teryx has a really nice ski pack coming out next year called the Quintic, that is very sculpted and designed to have a low center of gravity, which is good for skiing since you are moving you hips around so much when going downhill. The back panel is also very contoured with an exaggerated lumbar area and reminds me of a bucket seat one might find in a sports car. I really like this design because a lot of us backcountry skiers tend to have big butts and a flat bottom and back paneled pack just isn’t that comfortable sometimes.

The Quintic will come it 28 and 38 liter sizes and has no less than five pockets to organize you ski gear. There is a short pocket on the top of the pack that hold your skins, one long pocket that holds your avalanche tools, another short packet for food and accessories. The Quintic also has a pocket on the side of the pack that is designed to hold a water bottle and is easily accessible when the pack is being worn. On the other side of the pack, there is another zippered pocket that opens into a larger storage area that is meant for gloves, jackets and other bulky items. The pack can carry diagonal/quiver style and the Quintic’s triangular shape carries ski’s nicely A-frame style, and directs the tips of your skis towards each other, instead of splaying them away from each other like other shapes might. I’m stoked to use this pack and look forward to getting one to try in the next couple weeks.

Ortovox $250 Zoom transceiver.

For Fall 2012, Ortovox continues to push avalanche transceiver technology to the limit and will offer a $250 dollar, three antenna beacon called the Zoom. The zoom will have signal separation, but with no flagging. Basically, when you switch into search-mode, it will focus on the strongest signal until you are right on top of the buried unit. As you move away from the the found beacon, the Zoom will automatically re-focus it’s attention and direct you to the the next beacon with the strongest signal. For $250, this is a very nice affordable transceiver for those that want simplicity.

Waterproof down?

While some down jacket manufacturers protect their down insulation from getting wet with Gore-Tex and other waterproof fabrics, both Sierra Designs and Brooks-Range Mountaineering have a 6-month (I think) explicitly to use a new product on the market called Dri-Down. Dri-Down is pretty much down that that has been treated with a waterproofing agent that allows the down to continue to have loft, and warmth, when wet. It will be interesting to see if other down jacket manufactures enlist this product in the future.

New La Sportiva ski mountaineering inspired clothing.

There has been some buzz about a few brands the we are quite familiar with entering the technical clothing game, and La Sportiva will enter the market next winter with a line of ski mountaineering inspired apparel. Some of the pieces have a very Euro-like appeal to them, both others have a style that I think the US market could really embrace. I like the trim fit of the pieces, because baggy jackets and pants just don’t cut it when skiing the backcountry, and I think the line will be a hit with some of the fast, light and skinny crown out there.

Four stylse of Pamonca climbing skin pelt and attachment systems.

As more and more US backcountry skiers understand the benefits of having climbing skins that have lots of glide, there is more and more of a demand for full mohair climbing skins, and Pamoca is one of the leading manufactures of these type of skins. In the past, it has been hard for Americans to get their hands on these skins, but next season, Dynafit/Salewa will begin distributing them in the US. The skins will be available in full-mohair (for maximum glide), full-nylon (for maximum grip and durability), a mohair-nylon blend (the best of both worlds?) and a straight and skinny rando-race skin. The skins will also be available with four different tip and tail connection systems all the way from race-ready tip loops to old-school versions with tail hooks and rubber stretchies at the tip. I think I like the Back Fix style the best, which is modifiable to fit nearly all shapes and sizes of skis. Pamoca will also sell tubes, as well as large and small cans of skin glue and it will be interesting to see the quality of this stuff compared to our favorite Gold Label glue from Black Diamond.

Anyway, gotta run…so ciao for now!