There’s no doubt COVID-19 is complicating this winter ski season. Ski resorts are implementing new protocols and processes to keep everyone safe, but with those come a need to plan ahead and strategize, which is kind of a new game for some of us powder hounds. The prospect of reservations systems and crowd management makes some visitors uneasy, but there is another way. Consider visiting the smaller mom-and-pop ski areas. Here’s our top tips for why mom-and-pop resorts are looking tempting this winter.
With roughly three quarters of backcountry skiers being male, it’s easy for female skiers to feel a bit like the odd woman out. Female ski mentors can be harder to come by, and women often feel uncomfortable asking too many questions or voting against a group decision when they’re the lone female.
Not only is this awful on multiple levels, but it also means women aren’t feeling empowered to bring one of their best strengths to the table: they tend to have a keen nose for safe decision-making. In fact, according to Bruce Tremper’s snow safety bible, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, only 7% of avalanche fatalities are female. Ladies: we can trust our instincts. And if we feel confident speaking up and making ourselves heard in decision-making discussions, we can make our entire groups safer.
Mountain athlete Matt Meredith knows a thing or two about doing things his own way. He’s adapted his own style of skiing, mountain biking, and endurance trail running, having been born with one arm—and plenty of imagination. Based in Salt Lake City, he embraces not only the creativity needed for adaptive athleticism, but he loves cooking up new ideas and mountain goals to challenge himself.
The Winter of 2020 will surely be an active one for backcountry travelers. There is still a fair amount of uncertainty on how ski resorts will operate this season and if they will even open. Combine that with general apprehension for sharing lifts with strangers, better touring gear, and overall enthusiasm for fresh tracks, and we have a recipe for backcountry traffic.
2020 will be one for the books – a year of incredible loss, fear and tension. Powder magazine is no longer in print. It seems trivial to mourn the passing of a magazine when our problems are so much bigger, but to me, it marks the end of an era. Long before there was social media, young and old skiers alike awaited for the first issue of Powder to hit the stands.
How our German friends at ORTOVOX made a traditional fiber the cool new thing in outerwear. If there’s anything we love around here at Geartrade, it’s gear made to last. We also happen to have a high appreciation for gear that’s smartly engineered. And with ORTOVOX, those two things go together. At the end of the day, our verdict is out: we’ll take sheep’s wool over feathers for our wintry layering. Especially if that wool comes from happy sheep and fairly compensated farmers. That makes it a win-win-win we can live with—and take to the trails. Explore the ORTOVOX gear collection at Geartrade which includes backpacks and outerwear.
To the avid outdoors enthusiast, Geartrade during the holidays is like a direct peek into a merry elves’ workshop full of skis, boots, goggles, coats, snowshoes, and joy. It’s a perfect time to sell gear you haven’t been using, and stock up on things you’d love to use.
The one word of caution this year is to keep shipping times in mind—whether you’re buying or selling. The postal service is always more overloaded during the holidays, and in 2020 the bottleneck may be worse. So if you’re buying, especially as a gift (or a gift to self), buffer your timeline and try purchasing a couple weeks ahead of time, at least. And if you’re selling, you technically have five days to ship according to Geartrade rules, but it’s all the better if you can hustle a little faster and drop your items in the mail sooner.
If you’re interested in ski touring, you’re not alone. Backcountry skiing is booming, as a form of exercise and a way to get powder turns away from the crowds. The gear list for backcountry skiing may feel intimidating, but we’ll run through it here to help it make sense (and feel doable). You probably already have a lot that you’ll need, such as head-to-toe ski clothing, so all you need now is the specialty stuff.
First off, a splitboard is a type of snowboard. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s go deeper. Splitboards exist for the same reason ski touring gear exists: to ascend snowy slopes and to ride back down. A splitboard is simply a snowboard that splits in half lengthwise. When it’s assembled as a snowboard, you might not even know it’s a splitboard, except for the additional binding and structural hardware on the top, and the horizontal metal line down the middle where the two “ski” edges meet to form the snowboard. You can ride a splitboard just like any other snowboard, except it’s heavier due to the additional hardware and edges. And for that reason, it’s not ideal as an everyday snowboard for resort riding.
So, you walk into a used gear shop, or peruse the selection of Geartrade’s goods, and you wonder: If this jacket is being sold for 50% of its retail value, does that mean it’s only 50% as good as it was brand-new?
In short, no. The price of second-hand gear does not directly correlate with the value of second-hand gear. If anything, Aisha Weinhold, owner of the consignment gear shop Ragged Mountain Sports in Carbondale, Colorado, says, “For what you’re paying, you’re usually getting more”—more bang for your buck. “Good gear has a much longer lifespan than people either realize or their patience can withstand.”
To understand what a circular economy is, you have to take a step back—way back. You’ve got to look at the big picture of how things generally get made. Most of us are pretty far away from this process—in fact, if you don’t have a job in manufacturing, you’re probably never gotten a good look at it. But here’s the lowdown: materials are acquired either by extraction or cultivation. Then the product is created, bought, used, and finally, disposed of in a landfill. This is what’s known as a linear model of resource consumption—“take-make-dispose”—a model that was established in the early days of industrialization.
Obviously, that model was developed by people who sure didn’t take sustainability into account. But now we know that model is totally unsustainable in the long term. And it’s painful for us outdoor-loving folks to realize that, typically, the vast majority of the gear we love was sourced in this linear fashion—from the metal buckles on our ski boots to the Velcro closures on our jacket cuffs.
While we think recycled wool holds its own against its original counterparts, don’t take our word for it—test it out yourself. To start, and to help make your research life easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best recycled wool products that are available right now to eco-friendly outdoorists.
Forget pumpkin spice, recycled wool is inspiring our autumnal celebrations this year. The versatile and eco-friendly material being incorporated into ever-more apparel, and for good reason: recycled wool performs oh-so-similarly to virgin wool, only with extra environmental boons.
Every year, Scarpa produces 1.2 million pairs of new shoes, says company CEO Diego Bolzonello. The most popular among those pairs is Scarpa’s classic Mojito—a sturdy shoe built for all-around comfort on the trails, casual rock approaches, and urban paths. This upcoming spring, Scarpa will release a new twist on its old classic: The Mojito Bio, a fully biodegradable version. It’ll be the first biodegradable performance shoe to hit the market.