Although I suspect my invitation to the annual Backcountry Magazine ski test extravaganza was a clerical error, I took them up on it anyway as it was a good excuse to drink Adam “Howie” Howard’s beer and ski at Powder Mountain. I’ve been involved with many ski tests over the years, but lately have been developing an inferiority complex about them as I tend to like skis that everyone else hates. It’s kind of like being picked last for High School basketball, which I also eventually got over.
Craig Dostie in his element as he heeds his Life Calling of doinking with telebindings. This pair just needed a little extra loving from the #10 Channel Lock pliers.
Pow Mow is a totally rocking little area. If it was 10-degrees steeper overall it would be unbeatable.
This year was no different. We missed the first two days, which were epic powder snorkle fests and, predictably, the phatties ruled the roost. As we were unloading a portion of the 200+ pairs of skis that were available, I was first amazed at how big, phat and heavy they all were, then dismayed to hear that these were actually the skinny schwagg that needed to be tested and the true fatties were under lock & key as they were all anyone wanted to ski on, but had been already thoroughly tested. (After taskmaster Drew Pogge left on the third day, the fatties leaked back out.)
The 2009-10 version of skinny little wimpy skis. The big bouys were under lock & key.
Of all the ski tests I’ve been to, this one was by far and away the most fun as they allowed plenty of time for it (4-5 days), invited a cross-section of 40 plus people and held it at a resort which was very testing friendly with easy access and good terrain. The knee-deep dump of Utah pow didn’t hurt either.
Jon Howard (left) and Adam Howard (right), who are unrelated, but partners (in a business sense) in Backcountry Magazine, which is based in Vermont.
Craig Dostie holding up a bit of history - an early copy of "Le Chronicle du Couloir" which was the forerunner to Couloir Magazine. Craig has all except the first three issues, and when I pondered whether anyone, anywhere might have them, he said "I doubt it. I was the publisher and even I didn't bother to keep them!" Craig put out an excellent magazine which inspired many people (including myself) and left an amazing legacy.
I made a point of skiing the phattest fatties I could get my boots into as well as reverse camber, elongated noses, pin tails, no sidecut, ultra long (195cm), boutique skis and mainstay manufacturers. I stayed away from skis and brands I was familiar with as I ski those all the time. I thought I was doing pretty well to get 4-6 pairs in per day until I met Jamie, who was on her seventh pair by lunch-time and had racked up over 31 pairs in the last few days. I don’t know what she ultimately liked best, but was impressed with her and many other people’s diligence. Between this sort of enthusiasm and the volume of people, the published results should be very comprehensive.
Jamie pausing for 23 seconds to eat lunch before hopping on another pair of skis. Between the two of us, we tested over 50 pairs of skis. I did seven, and, uhmmm, she did the rest.
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