A Couple of Magazines Worth Checking Out…

24 11 2010

Ski season is here! To celebrate opening day here in Whistler, I’ve got some more big mountain ski content for you.

If you were interested by my recent post about the confluence of freeriding, extreme skiing, and ski-mountaineering, then there is plenty of stuff to check out in the latest round of ski and snowboard magazines.

First, the cover story for the latest issue of Powder, “Return of the Extreme Skier,” profiles some American and Swedish veterans of the Chamonix steep skiing scene. Showcasing the sort of progression I touched upon last month, these guys have been charging down classic ski-mountaineering routes on fat skis and in mid-winter conditions.

Also in the mag there is a short piece about Jeremy Jones which attempts to finally break down the barrier between skiers and snowboarders that really became irrelevant a decade ago. You may have noticed that I didn’t distinguish between the two sports in my own article, and it was deliberate. I almost always ride in mixed groups. Split-boards have leveled the playing field enough that, in most situations, the capabilities of the two types of gear are “different but equal.”

Finally, there is a short write-up about Whistler-based ski-mountaineer J.D. Hare’s recent first descents in the Tantalus Range. The latest issue of  Mountain Life Magazine has a first-hand account of the same trip. Here’s a video of the “mellower” of the two lines he performed in a single, epic day last winter.

Elsewhere, Snowboard Canada‘s current “Tech Issue” has a pretty rad feature about a crew of snowboard-mountaineers who are using Google Earth to identify and locate new snowmobile-accessed riding zones in the mountains to the north of their Pemberton, BC homes. Aside from some burly riding (and a couple of my brother’s photos), the article provides some compelling insight into territorial exploration in today’s world. While purists and armchair explorers might claim that the use of  technology (including snowmobiles) lessens their discoveries, I doubt these guys care. They’re getting after it and reaping the rewards.

Also in the same issue is a counterpart article about urban snowboarders using Google Streetview to locate new jibs (skateboard-style urban features), and a detailed article which traces the progression of freestyle snowboarding over the last twenty years, “from tindys to triple-corks.”

None of these articles are available online, so I’ll throw this in for some more web-based content: an article about Yuichiro Miura’s attempt to ski from the South Col of Mount Everest in 1970.  Here’s a short clip to accompany the article, but to fully appreciate this expedition in all it’s bizarre glory, track down a copy of The Man Who Skied Down Everest.

Many of the ski descents Miura attempted in the 60s and 70s would have been groundbreaking on their own, but, marching to his own beat, he decided to schuss (ski without turning) and use a parachute to slow him down for good measure. In a sport renowned for its eccentrics and free-thinkers, Miura has to go down as one of skiing’s squarest pegs.

Hopefully this round of articles gives some insights into the current state of the ski/snowboard world, and gets all the riders out there stoked for the snow. If you’re going out into the mountains, please play safe.

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