Jan 16 2012

The Great White North

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I recently had the tremendous good fortune to spend five days heliboarding at Great Canadian Heliskiing located near Rogers Pass in my favorite Canadian province, British Columbia. While I have visited GCH numerous times before, this was my first trip there in three years and an excellent reminder of why I keep coming back.

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As any skier/rider who lives in the US knows, it’s been a bad year for snow in the lower 48. As a result, I wasn’t exactly in mid season shape when I started this trip. However there’s nothing like a helicopter to really get your legs cooking. Fortunately the exhaustion I felt by the fourth day was easily overcome by the adrenaline that the terrain and snow quality sent coursing through my veins.

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You’ve probably also noticed that there seems to be an awful lot of teletubbies on the hills these days thanks to the ubiquitous GoPro cameras that you see perched on everyone’s helmet. I personally prefer the Contour HD which is the round tube you see attached to my googles in the picture above. I did however have access to an extra GoPro which I convinced those riding with me to strap on their heads backward so I could work on my form. Check out the video below for the results

As you might be able to tell from the video, it was an incredibly good time. I can not count the number of times I thanked the gods, the guides and my own good fortune to have been there. I will post more about the trip in coming days, as I accumulated enough footage and photos for a small miniseries. Fortunately the weather seems to be turning down here in Colorado so my local friend reading these posts won’t hate me…


Apr 27 2011

Springtime in the Rockies

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When I was up in Alaska, everyone kept telling me that I would now be ruined for skiing anywhere else. But for me the exact opposite seems to be true because as with any true addiction, a good dose just makes me want more. Fortunately for me, this April in Colorado has been stellar and provided me with numerous opportunities to get fresh fixes. Yesterday it was Loveland’s turn to deliver the goods – when the morning report said 8″ overnight and snowing hard (16″ by lunchtime) I called everyone on my list but no takers so was forced to shoot the following video of myself just to prove how good it actually was.


Apr 17 2011

Haines – the video

Surfing USA

One thing there was no shortage of on my Haines heli trip was helmet cams. Every one seemed to be sporting one in every shape, size and manufacturer. Because of safety issues, there was no setting up for shots so unless you had a super long telephoto or optical zoom a helmet cam was your best bet. The problem with helmet cams of course, is that without anyone else in the picture they quickly get boring no matter how good the skiing was. So I have a good 30 minutes of endless face shots and untracked terrain which will mean very little to anyone except me in my old age. I did pull still frames out of any good footage I had of others or scenics from my still camera which can be found here. As for the rest of my footage I’ve decided to just post this one little excerpt from a run called T-Top. It wasn’t the steepest or the deepest and it went on for a good 5 minutes longer than this clip, but it’ll give you a good idea of what the riding was like including my favorite new snow terminology – “sluff management”.


Mar 25 2011

Helmet Cam Fun – Berthoud Pass 3/23/11

Who needs a photographer?

Got to admit I’ve been slacking lately on updating this blog. It’s been a combination of less than epic conditions and spending time breaking in new gear. I finally broke down and bought a split board (Voile Mojo RX 66) after one too many post holing sessions in the backcountry. It’s a lot of fun and lot easier to use than I thought and is opening up a whole new range of possibilities. So between testing out the new board and my lack of luck at the resorts I’ve been spending a lot of time at my favorite local haunt – Berthoud Pass.

Laying tracks on "Outlaw" - Current Creek, Berthoud Pass

The other piece of gear I’ve been experimenting with lately is my helmet cam (Contour HD). What I quickly discovered is that without a person in the shot the helmet cam footage gets old quickly – you really need to be following someone else or get yourself in the picture somehow to give some perspective and visual contrast. In looking around the web, I saw all sorts of clever ways to do this including Joel Bettner’s reflective googles trick. But clearly the most frequently seen approach to better utilizing a helmet camera is mounting it on the end of a ski pole like I do in the video below.

Berthoud was fun as always even though it was probably the least snow I’ve ridden there all season (that’s the other problem with the helmet mount – the face shots on a good powder day obliterate most of the footage). But now that I’ve got my equipment dialed in all I need is a good storm which could happen as soon as this weekend. Worse case, I’m headed up to Alaska in a week so with any luck I should get some good footage there – I’ll keep you posted…