Blog

126 New Products You Won’t See

Bomb Snow editor Alex Buecking thanking the bear for such an uplifting weekend.

By Gavin Gibson

Failure has Ferrari red eyes, twitchy fingers, and sweaty socks that have been through at least two crust/melt cycles. It’s 5:30pm on Saturday, and I’ve reunited with the Bomb Snow team for the first time since they stepped over my pathetic shell this morning upon exiting our Denver hotel room. Inside the nearby Denver Convention Center, live music blasts, booze pours, and hundreds of high-fives mark the start of another bro-sweat soaked evening. It’s Day 3 of 4 at the Snowsports Industry of America trade show, and the Bomb Snow team is calling it quits. We wordlessly stumble into our station wagon and begin assessing the last few days, and how we totally blew it.

Our crew of four missed the early signs of defeat on the drive down. Bomb Snow Chief  Motivator Todd Heath spent a dangerous percentage of our budget on sliced turkey. We missed a turn, and nearly visited North Dakota. A case of beer disappeared between Bozeman and Denver. Our advertisement dealer Amy wound up in the back of a cop car within 30 minutes of arriving in the Mile High City. Regardless of our misadventures, we maintained optimistic.

Day 1

SIA, for the uninitiated, is the snow industry’s public relations carnival. Every major North American snow sports brand makes an appearance, from Tubbs Snow Shoes, to Burton. It’s highlights include lavish product exhibits, a mountain of shop owners/employees, athletes, and industry employees. Capturing the spectacle, are no less than 30 different magazines and websites, all hell bent on getting readers THE GEAR YOU NEED TO SEE. After arriving unacceptably late due to our inability to handle city traffic, I made a beeline for the coffee instead of the show. By 10am I manage to start sweating dark roast, perfect for my first meeting. It fails miserably after I explain that I don’t need to see their new line of skis.

“What?”
“We’re not doing formal gear reviews anymore,” I reply.
“What are you doing with your content?” the Marketing Manager asks incredulously.
“We’re focusing on actual stories, or entertainment instead.”
“Good luck with that theory.”

I stood perplexed while the marketing manager grabbed a man with a wheelchair and a camcorder and asked him if he would like to see the new line? I brushed off the rejection and headed to the beer line where Bomb Snow Chief Motivator Todd Heath stood already. And so the pattern of confusion and Coors began.

Day 2

The morning starts off with a walk 15 blocks in the wrong direction of the convention center. Thanks to an old school VOKE Tab formula, no one got a wink of sleep. In fact, our hands were still shaky when we got to the convention center, and it wasn’t like the coffee was helping slow us down. Light on meetings and high on time, Editor Alex Buecking and I decided to go shoot products for a web gallery entitled “127 Products That Will Boost Our Page views,” but got stuck shooting beards in the ON3P booth. Then leather shoes. Then the blue bear. Then each other. Fast forward to 5PM and the whole convention center is already drunk and looking for free handouts at booths whose products we know nothing about. While escaping an elderly woman tells us she doesn’t need to get high because she is already losing it. Losing it.

Best featured product winning the "Gas Station" Category

Day 3
If there is a god, I’m convinced he’s turned a blind eye on Denver ever since they dumped Tebow. My skull vibrates mercilessly. I investigate the merits super gluing my eyes open. When my first meeting fails thanks to my disinterest in gear coverage, I drop into autopilot and exit out the back of my skull.

Somewhere, between a dusty water fountain and a heap of empty Emergen-C Packets, I regain composure.  The day drags by, aided by beverages at every booth. The entire Convention Center is leaning. Well, except the dude measuring ramp angles on bindings by hand, he’s still saving the world.
I stumble into the parking garage wondering if I can making a living measuring ramp angles.

Back in the sanity of Alex’s Station Wagon, we swear off everything but e-cigarettes and coffee. No one has any words on the week. Denver can keep that disappointment. Our weary eyes point north.

Thirty minutes later a tipped semi in the highway proves to be an hour delay. After a coin toss, we find ourselves in a hotel bar in Casper, Wyoming. Jello shots, frozen pizza, and karaoke with a strange little man named Ray. Ray thinks we rock. Mission accomplished. One convert. We did it.

Watch out folks, Bomb Snow plays for keeps.

 

Casper was going off at this years Bomb Snow after-party at Dukes Lounge inside the famous Ramada Inn Plaza. Check out Ethel May blasting out some quality Karaoke with Point Break playing in the background.


Below is what you’ve all been waiting for, some of this year’s best product from the SIA Show:

Hands down the best overall product at SIA this year.

 

Runner up in the same booth, we have the Aladdin meets Dances with Wolves combo vest. Stellar.

 

Tipped Semi led us to the coin flip outside of Casper, WY

 

We found out where T-Rice got his inspiration from: Water trucks.

 

Still not sure what this is exactly, oh well, when in Rome!

 

Trevor from ON3P sporting a great beard, Made in the USA!

 

This pretty much sums up our MO.

 

The Bomb Snow after-party went off in Casper, thanks everyone.

 

 

 

Montana Grand Slam

Why the Olympics Matter

Words: Christopher D. Thompson, Gavin Gibson

A member of the Black September commando group with a hood over his face on the balcony of the building in Munich where several Israeli athletes were held hostage during the 1972 Olympics in Munich..

As mountain people, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing freestyle skiing and snowboarding’s acceptance into the Olympic Mainstream. Slopestyle and halfpipe showcase the creativity and freedom of expression embraced by our culture more than racing or other forms of freestyle skiing ever have. More than jingoistic medal counts, our way of life is being catapulted into the mainstream’s ideologies. We’re leaving our own bubble.

NBC’s canned coverage of Olympic snowboarding has already shown that snowboarding has more to it than a rebel image and a death wish. This transformation in the public eye is a welcome change, but not what the Olympics are about.

Bigger than new tricks or team uniforms, the Games in Sochi will be the center of the global Geo-political landscape while the world’s youth gather together and peacefully demonstrate humanity’s physical boundaries being pushed to their limits in friendly competition. For two weeks, a global delegation of youth will have the world’s undivided attention instead of politicians.

For the first time, the likes of Nick Goepper and Henrik Harlaut will have more global ears and eyes than President Obama. That’s pretty easy to forget when we’re worried about the “spirit of our sport,” or whatever Bob Costas said. Instead, it’s important to remember that this isn’t just about skiers, or a NASCAR family’s interpretation of our character.

History shows us that the sports we love to watch are only part of the puzzle.

On September 5, 1972, at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, terrorists kidnapped and later killed 11 members of the Israeli team. The attack, triggered by a prisoner situation in Palestine, brought global attention to the terrorists’ ideals while shattering the perception of “pure sport” at the international event for all who witnessed the atrocity unfold. During the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Eric Robert Rudolph detonated a device in the Centennial Olympic Park, claiming three lives and injuring 111 in his protest against abortion. These events are clearly being taken seriously by governments sending their athletes to Sochi.

In preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympics, Russia has amassed some 100K armed personnel in and around Sochi, (www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/US-Will-Send-Warships-to-Sochi.html) where the games will be held despite a handful of terrorist organizations asking their followers to disrupt the games at all costs. (www.cnn.com/2014/01/20/politics/sochi-security) The United States has already promised to send warships in order to protect it’s athletes. That’s right, warships. As for the President? Obama won’t be attending the games, a so-called political snub pointed at Putin. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/12/18/obama-gets-sochi-right) If terrorism isn’t enough, Russia’s repressed LGBT community will be planning a protest on the same day as the Olympic Opening Ceremony. In a nation where anti-gay violence is surging thanks to recent anti-gay laws and sentiment, unrest is already tainting the event. (www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/02/russian-sports-minister-anti-gay-olympics_n_3696611.html)

 At home, NBC broadcasts commercials of dolled-up Olympic athletes promoting a two week multimedia extravaganza complete with interviews, behind-the-scenes coaching, and pageantry that is eerily similar to the way the main characters of The Hunger Games are publicly showcased before being sent off to slaughter each other. (www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-white-preparing-for-a-shot-at-olympic-history-20140120,0,4498300.story) Shaun White’s Tweets are already making mainstream news. Millions of Americans are suddenly curious about triple-corks and rail slides. It’s a welcome distraction from reports of the next “black widow” terrorist. Our little contingent of “sport” is garnering a lot of attention.

Now, more than ever before, a sport that isn’t a sport, will be put in front of a global audience, effectively giving freestyle skiers and snowboarders the biggest audience in the world. In short, it’s a hell of a lot more responsibility than making sure your pro model jacket gets sold. It’s a moment to be all that you can be, as an athlete, countryman, and representative of our mountain culture. At the Olympics, even the smallest gestures have great impact.

For example, in 2010, Japanese snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo walked off a plane with his team uniform un-tucked, rocking dreadlocks and a nose ring. He was admonished severely by Japanese politicians and many of his public appearances were canceled. It was a small, potentially unintentional gesture, but it triggered action. In response to Kokubo’s public shunning, Japanese youth defended his freedom to express himself, and discussion of the issue spread through the  islands of Japan like wildfire. Debate is freedom. Skiing and snowboarding are freedom.

If halfpipe and slopestyle are to ever make a permanent dent in the mainstream, the athletes are going to have to do more than new tricks, they’re going to have to transcend sport. But, how does one go beyond their limits as athletes and into the public spotlight fighting modern stereotypes?

During the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin Jesse Owens shocked the world, overcoming Hitler’s superior race and winning several gold medals. In the true spirit of the Games, one of Hitler’s own athletes, a man by the name of Carl Ludwing Long gave Owens advice on long jumping. Long was later defeated by Owens in the same event, and the two took a victory lap together under the roar of Germany’s approval. 1968′s Olympic Games in Mexico city saw U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, and John Carlos raise black gloved fists during their medal ceremony, and made a statement for civil rights. Australian Peter Norman, joined them on the podium in support by wearing a civil rights badge. Then at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, the two Korean nations marched together for the first time, despite existing tensions between both nations. It was a statement that surpassed government.

Skiing and snowboarding don’t have borders. Outside of the competitions, they don’t have rules. Unlike racing, there is no way to cheat without behaving like Tonya Harding. Skiing’s biggest athletes already spend time together regardless of their nationality, thanks to a culture of couch surfing and snow chasing. You could say that skiers, snowboarders, and mountain people have always embodied the Olympic spirit. It is our freedom loving attitude that gives us a voice worth listening to, not the axis of our rotations.

This isn’t just another contest. Despite the gross over-commercialization of the event, it’s also the biggest gathering of talented and motivated youth from across the world on a very real, and very live global stage. It’s a chance for greatness on the grandest of stages.

Will our athletes play it safe, in order to become quiet poster children for gum companies and clothing lines while obediently raking in cash? Will they waste their moment in the sun giving praise to rap idols during interviews? Will skiing be the next “McKayla is Not Impressed” meme? (www.hlntv.com/article/2012/08/10/olympic-gymnast-mckayla-maroney-unimpressed-meme) Or will we put all of the bullshit aside and show the world why we’re worth our time in the spotlight?

When athletes talk about representing their country and their sports, they should remember that their own individual expressions, however subtle or subversive, represent more than themselves and their sports and sponsors. The Olympics signify more than the triple cork, whether we like it or not. - Bomb Snow

Transitions: Part One

Words: David Steele

There is one window in Nancy’s room, a rectangle. Two panes divide a westward view across a modestly busy California street. Curtains. Every time the nurse is paged to help her pee, the curtains are closed for privacy. Once back in her bed, the tension is almost audible until they are reopened.

Roadtripping to north of California’s Bay Area from Montana meant two days in the car. My girlfriend Rose and I left behind snow storms and an invite for the first real touring mission of the year for a different type of tour. Our wheels rolled across I-90 west, then through the Tri-Cities to Portland, and south on I-5 further and further from snow.

Author David Steele finding his inner peace. Location: Glacier National Park

The second day saw us passing Shasta, looking heavenly in a light coat of new snow, taunting my sedentary passenger seat. When we arrived, it was straight to Nancy’s bedside. I joined as a new party, watching all twenty-five years of grandmother/grandchild relationship course through two held hands.

I felt like an intruder watching from my plastic chair. What do I know of a ninety-year-old mind, a person who can look back at the late 1920s as a lived experience? She could barely hear me, my words traveling through Rose’s mouth before reaching her ears. She spoke of going home. Home was the backwoods cottage that Rose and I had begun to clean out.

I was unsure how I was of any meaning as a boyfriend, such a new acquisition. Compared to Rose’s entire lifetime, I questioned my ability to add any meaning to her time. The trifling conversation about weather, old movies, the random demented woman who would wheelchair uninvited into Nancy’s room was dwarfed by the other things floating above the hospital beds. Nancy had no will. She barely slept, terrified of dying mid-dream. We couldn’t discuss “anything sad.”

Wind-scoured ridges, rocky summits, couloirs filled with drifts—for me, the absence of people and sentiment defines these places. As remote emotionally as they are physically, they tempt any eye to think them more immortal than water, wind gusts, or time. This became my daydream as I watched this old woman sleep, trying to ignore how lines on an aged face are like erosion, permanent marks in time.

It is a helpless thing to witness a person long gone from their fitness, their muscles, even the ability to stand up unassisted. The qualities I measure my own vitality with had escaped her. There, confronted with the messy details of another’s end, I wished for those cold, remote mountainous places because they seem endless. They ask nothing, give only the intangible. To live amongst them is an ambiguous embrace, not the heartsick sympathy for a fellow person who I barely knew.

In the months leading up to our visit, another grandchild asked Nancy, “Grandma, what was your plan? What did you think you’d do when you got old?”

“I didn’t. I didn’t think I’d get old.”

 

 

 

 

Maybe that’s the heart of it, the heart of me; one more youth in the mountains, proud and fearless seemingly forever. The hard landings on tricky snow aren’t cumulative. The head trauma not a factor. Surgery and statistics and dead friends to be survived, all transitions to make.

In my mind, and in Nancy’s too, our tracks never stop. They don’t fade from five laps in a bowl to forty feet through a hallway under the florescent glare. Perhaps we acknowledge our error, but we can’t own our end. And so as young ski mountaineer, wrapped in an identity built from straining muscle, I share this blatant, perpetual notion with a feisty woman battling dementia.

From my plastic chair, I see how our shared illness manages to bridge over the years. How reckless it is that we can walk twenty miles one day, and then not at all. And how reckless to sit encumbered while I still can hit the bottom, transition, and begin breaking the trail back up. -DS

 

Message of the Week

The Weekly Bomb Box.

Editor’s Note:

We get a lot of questions in our FaceBook inbox, and most of the time we answer them. But to motivate ourselves to answer more, and to motivate you to ask better questions, we’re starting a message of the week, or as we’re calling it, the weekly “Bomb Box.”

Every Thursday, we’ll post the best question we receive in our FaceBook messages and the answer we get from the previous week. For being awesome and letting us answer you in public, we promise to swag you out. Get it? Now get thinking.

-BS

Below is our best question from last week:


Hey guys,

I’m just getting in to doing some backcountry skiing and was wondering what binding you guys would recommend for a 17 year old kid. I’ve spent a long time searching around a bunch on sites that have a bunch on bindings and they all seem good. I really appreciate any advice on bindings and anything else I need for avalanche safety because there are a ton of options for all of that stuff too.

Thanks for you time,

Matt


..and response:

Hey Matt,

First off, thanks for writing. We think it’s rad that your interests in skiing are growing into areas that aren’t accessed by chairlifts. From first hand experience, let us tell you that the un-tracked snow, unique lines, quiet sunrises and adventures are all much more rad than videos or magazines will ever be able to share with you.

Right up until you, or one of your friends has been pummeled through a stand of trees and ripped to shreds, or you yourself wind up buried in snow and spend your last few precious moments of life gasping for air. That part sucks.

But it doesn’t need to be that way, and the first step from keeping that happening is making Avalanche Safety gear your first priority. And before gear, you need to look into education. Not just for avalanches, but first aid as well. Why? When you give up chairlifts, you also give up the ski patrol that will haul you off the hill. Cuts, breaks, and torn ligaments all happen in the backcountry too. And unless you had some bad ass training in the Boy Scouts, or have taken a Wilderness First Responder course, falling over on a pointy enough stick can kill you.

Scared yet? Don’t be. It looks like you’re living on the East Coast, and believe it or not, backcountry education services and guiding are available. For starters, check out Petra Cliffs (www.petracliffs.com). They offer a wide variety of classes that will get you up to snuff, at competitive prices. It might be a drive, but for you it’s worth it. You’ll also get a chance to learn how to use your equipment in a more controlled environment.

But you need equipment still, don’t you. Backcountry Access makes an essentials kit that costs less than a pair of AT bindings at $320 MSRP. It includes a beacon, shovel, and probe. Some dorks might call the Tracker 1 “inferior,” but the truth is, as long as you practice a shitload with your beacon and learn proper search protocols, it is just as effective as you are.

As for bindings? Talk to your new guide friends. They spend more time on the snow than any of us at Bomb Snow ever do, and have intimate knowledge of their own gear and every customer’s they have worked with.

So thanks for writing Matt. Enjoy this awesome Bomb Snow beanie that will make you the best looking skier on the mountain, and be sure to let us know how your class goes.

-BS

 

Big Sky Oly Days: A Retrospective.


Words by JC Knaub* // Photos by Gary “Chicken Fry” Collins and the Big Sky Pioneers**

During the early years of Big Sky Resort, the road to the ski area at the base of Lone Mountain was no more than a logging road that turned into a muddy mess every spring.  Tourists were scarce, the war in Vietnam was winding down, and at times, the hardy folks that adopted the fledgling resort as their new home felt like the whole place was all their own.

It was a mild spring day in March of 1975 when I first saw the ten-foot-tall replica of an Olympia beer can hanging from the gondola cable, silently making its way uphill. It was a beacon of hope, and a sure sign that the season was waning.  The wonderful prop meant the biggest ski party of the season was officially underway – it was Oly Days!

The event started in 1974, and ran aground in 1984 when members of the national championship Bobcat football team got a little too rowdy over the long weekend.  But for that decade, Oly Days would measure up as a premier end-of-season bash where beer flowed like the glacier melt from the south face of Lone Peak.

“Oly Days wasn’t just about drinking beer in the sun, it was about the great people that shared that space in time.”

There was something for everyone during the three day extravaganza: There was live music, the dual GS town league championship, a triple slalom, kids races, snow sculpting, snow golf, single and three-man team inner tube races, all preceded by a Calcutta auction where lucky bidders won hefty cash payouts if their team placed in the top ten. A red hot air balloon with “Ski the Sky” emblazoned on the side made a few passes, but the sense of community was most prevalent when that giant Olympia beer can whisked overhead, making laps on the gondola towers.

My participation in the first couple of years eventually led to directing the event from then on.  In those days, nostalgia and tradition were the rage, so we handed out beer can trophies to the winners of the various events. The Oly Cup, a giant megatron award, was bequeathed to the best town league team.

Before ski area liability was a major concern, the three-man inner tube event was a huge crowd favorite. In the late 70’s, it even made it into a Warren Miller movie. It was amazing to see how serious athletes were about this competition; they even waxed their tubes!  Carnage ruled over the pro bump that was built for the giant slalom race, but also served as a launch zone for tubes.  Helmets weren’t required for the first couple of years, but that quickly changed due to the fact that many tubers wore ski boots, and after vaulting over the bump, would inadvertently knock each other unconscious with them.

In one instance, an inebriated tuber went off course, flew over a cat track backwards, and narrowly missed a slash pile with the back of his neck by inches. We had a flimsy cheese grater safety net with bamboo poles that lasted one heat.  Spectators were leveled in the finish area by the thundering horde of inflated truck tire riding trouble-makers.  It was great action, but as Gary “Chicken Fry” Collins** recalls, Team Ore House owned the event for years:

“In the top seed was the Ore House team who rode the “Tube Steak” to victory.  Team members Kevin Kelleher, Kevin Breen and Rob Griffin were tubing “Gods”, and were treated like rock stars.  They wore black wet suits, in part to help adhere [themselves] to the tube.  They trained hard for days, developing their start strategy.  The race seemed to be won at the start.  A good start with a good grip and a proper stack increased your odds of surviving the jump.”

As fun and action-packed tubing was, the triple slalom was the real feature event. I’m told it was invented in Aspen, and brought to Big Sky by the first ski instructors. In all of my forty years as a racer, coach, and technical delegate, I have never seen an alpine race like it. We started at the top of the Tippy’s headwall with three start wands. The single-pole bamboo gates were equally spaced, measured with patrol rope, for a twenty-two gate, 20 second run.

The cast of characters was mind boggling.  Vuarnet powder junkies, bearded three-pin hippies, bartenders, cat drivers, lift operators, goggle-tanned shred betties in white turtle necks and push-up Roffe stretch pants, resort management, a bevy of green card Austrians, ex pro racers, and anybody who could stand the pressure of hundreds of spectators hooting and hollering as three evenly-matched gate crashers came down at the same time.

Oly Days wasn’t just about drinking beer in the sun, it was about the great people that shared that space in time. The waiter, the ticket girl, the patroller, the dirt bag living in his van in the parking lot. The deck surfing in front of the mall, the “As the Bull Wheel Turns…” drama, the course reports of who got hurt, who got run off, who got married, and who split. It was about the town, the blower pow, the life style, and the dudes or dudettes you hung out with. It’s still pretty much the same, but there are way more people soaking it up. The image of that giant beer can gliding on that steel gondola cable will always be with me. It brings me back to a time when my life was as simple as an inner-tube race, a lap in the Couloir, and a hug from a pretty girl with a killer goggle tan in Roffe stretch pants. -JC


 

*J.C. Knaub is a forty year Big Sky local, and a card-carrying member of the original Big Sky Resort pioneers. A native of Laurel, MT, he started skiing at age five on barrel slats in a coulee near the Yellowstone River. Always a thrill seeker, he fell in love with Lone Peak and the Gallatin Canyon just out of high school and never left. A graduate of Montana State, he was an award winning columnist for the Lone Peak Lookout; explorer, outdoor adventurist, world traveler, and blue collar sympathizer. He is the owner of Andesite Construction, a popular excavating company, with his son Jeffrey, a bad ass big mountain sick gnar homey.


 

**Gary “Chicken Fry” Collins filmed almost all the events on a super 8 movie camera. When they invented video in 1979, he shot the event on his new RCA. His passion in those days was to powder ski, bump ski the lines on Ambush, hike the couloir in the summer, and shoot ski movies of his friends and small bands of renegade locals.  His work survives to this day and can be viewed on YouTube.

How To Lighten Your Backcountry Setup


How To Lighten Your Backcountry Setup //
Photos by Caroline McCarty.

There comes a time in every backcountry skier’s life when it becomes time to stop picking the low hanging fruit within sight of the parking lot and venture over the next ridge. If the snow is safe. Getting there requires actual work, and for most people, a lot of sweat and practice.

But you’re different. You’re on the highway to the powder zone. You don’t have time to get in shape like a normal person. Learning how to glide or kick turn efficiently is for dweebs. You spent $2K on a 35 lb in-and-out-of-bounds ultra-burly-hybrid setup two months ago, so you can’t afford something new. But you’ll be damned if you’re the last one drinking a summit beer when you go on your fifth ever tour this weekend.

Don’t worry friend, we’ve got you. Using only tools found in an average garage, and less than $10 in supplies, we’ll have you laughing triumphantly at your friends’ inadequacies from every summit in the Rockies in no time.


Skis:

It’s been scientifically proven that at least 30% of the material in a ski has no effect on it’s performance. In industry terms, we call it “Dead Weight.” A major ski manufacturer finally broke the secret this year, and their skis are flying off the shelves like gas masks on December 31, 1999. You don’t need a checkbook to take advantage of that little tidbit of technology. Give yourself a FREE upgrade.

Step 1: Grab drill.
Step 2: Grab drill bit. We found that around around 1 centimeter in diameter works best.
Step 3: Go to town. Make your own custom hole pattern on the tips and tails. You’ll literally be dropping grams at the same speed of your last beer shit.
Step 4: Plane the bases. You don’t need any shards of metal hanging down in your “Speed Zones.”

Now that you’ve reduced swing weight, and overall ski weight by a metric shitload, you’re well on your way to the front of the pack. But you’re not done yet.

Skins:
Skins are the biggest sham in the backcountry. They get wet, cold, need to be taken on and off, and weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of a whole pound!  We need only to look to our Nordic brethren to realize that by adding scales to the bases, a simple, and efficient method for going up and downhill can be achieved. Don’t worry, we tried kick wax too, but that adds between 5-10 grams per ski, which is totally inefficient. Scales are also a FREE upgrade.

Step 1: Grab hammer.
Step 2: Grab chisel.
Step 3: Use hammer and chisel to carve notches in the base of your ski in the area underfoot. Be sure to hammer in the right direction, or you won’t slide.
Step 4: There is no right or wrong way to do this. Customize your pattern for weight and snow pack.

Your skis are now dialed. You’ve reduced at least 30% of the weight off of your skis, and dropped the skins and their problems entirely. But unlike your lazy, rich friends, innovation never stops. Crack a beer and move onto your next problem.

Boots:
Ski boot weight has been disappearing like Marty McFly with an Oedipus Complex, but their liners have not. The “lightweight” liners that come stock in most boots weigh over 320 grams when they are soaking wet. The amount of bubble wrap and scotch tape to replace a liner weighs under 20. This much weight savings calls for an Egg McMuffin. Bubble wrap is a superior lining material because it’s light, doesn’t absorb water, and air acts as an insulator. To top it off, bubble wrap makes an incredible firecracker-esque noise when stomping landings.  Bubble wrap can be found in nearly any industrial trash can, making it a FREE upgrade.

Step 1: Remove old liner, toss it.
Step 2: Wrap foot in bubble wrap.
Step 3: Wrap bubble wrap in scotch tape. Neophytes might be tempted to use duct tape, but it’s much heavier.
Step 4: Stomp past your friends in audible awesomeness.

At this point you’ve lost enough weight on your setup to make up for the fact that you’ve been consuming nothing but nachos and beer for the last six months, but your cholesterol clogged heart is going to require one last bit of assistance to keep blood flowing. Those bindings you spent $4-900 on? Pointless.

Bindings:
Whether you have regular alpine boots, or  rubber soled AT boots, the bindings you’ve been using are simply too heavy. They’re too inefficient. They cost too much. You need freedom of motion for free, dammit. Thankfully, a simple cabinet hinge and a mousetrap can be used as an inexpensive solution weighing less than a tech-binding toe piece. If you don’t have any of these parts lying around, visit your local ACE Hardware, where you’ll spend less than $10 for your last upgrade.


Step 1: Acquire cabinet hinge. Door hinges are too wide and too heavy.
Step 2: Attach half of hinge to boot.
Step 3: Attach other half of hinge to ski.
Step 4: Get a mouse trap.
Step 5: Drill trap into ski behind boot so that the killing bar secures the heel lug down for down hill skiing. Trap should be able to rotate out of the way for touring mode.

 

The issue of binding release might come up, but everyone knows that badasses ski with their toes totally locked out and don’t want to release anyways. As far as heel release goes, rat traps, beaver traps, and bear traps are also possible, just slightly heavier.

Now go forth and conquer. With only a few hours of elbow grease and a desire for greatness, you’ve suddenly become the fastest skier in your group. Have yourself a beer and another mountain of nachos with extra cheese, extra beef, and extra sour cream. Fitness is for chumps. With gear this light, you’ll be climbing higher than the price of clean water in Darfur in no time. -Bomb Snow

 

Bomb Snow TV Season 2, Episode 1: In Search of Solstice

The Bomb Snow crew has been getting after it since the first snowfall of the season. Searching for Solstice documents the cold wet storms that hit Montana in December 2013, frequently dropping their loads across most of the state. Although the early season has seen wide ranging temperatures resulting in un-bonded layers and rotten snow near the ground, we’ve been lucky enough to get a pleasant amount of snow fall and we’re still smiling. A friend said it best, “This has been a very emotional winter so far.” Even though we’ve had to constantly be on our toes and heels (rocks are still creeping below the surface) the skiing has still been deep. With the occasional short trip around Bozeman to find new terrain, revisiting some favorite zones and skiing some at the resort, the short days of December have been plenty good to us.

Presenting Sponsor: Tecnica Blizzard

Supporting Sponsors: Dakine, Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, Voke Tab, Caravan Skis, Mystery Ranch, Cast Touring System

Skiers:
Rob Raymond, Kyle Taylor, Randy Evans, Axel Peterson, McKenna Peterson, Henry Worobec, Bill Buchbauer, Colter Brehmer, and Dylan Crossman, Ryan Walters

Video:
Axel Peterson, Drew Stoecklein, Rob Raymond, Randy Evans, Todd Heath

Editing:
Axel Peterson
Bridger Brigade

Special Thanks to: Pure Barre Bozeman, Nedley Dew Chester, Miner Saloon, Bridger Bowl, Mr. Fred Rodgers, Travis Andersen, Jager Palace, Smith Optics, Radbots, where is Steve Popovich?, Bridger Bowl, Erod, Marc Parent, Arcs Ski Tuning

Piste Off: Former Sochi Residents React to Costas.

SOCHI—Unrest continues this week as thousands of recently displaced Sochi residents protest the unfair comments NBC sports announcer Bob Costas made about slopestyle skiing and snowboarding’s introduction to the Olympics.

Costas referred to the new events as “Jackass stuff,” referring to the popular television and movie franchise involving public pranks during an interview with NBC host Matt Lauer. According to sources,  when the news hit the forced relocation communities outside Sochi’s Olympic Village, “all hell broke loose.”

“I just can’t believe the ignorance of mainstream corporate media,” says former Sochi resident Viktor Olikov. “I was so excited to see slopestyle in the Olympics that I let them bulldoze my house. But now I’m thinking Tanner Hall was right when he said that skiing doesn’t belong in the hands of these NBC types.

Olikov previously lived in a two story home with his family for nearly a decade before being tapped for relocation. A removable curling arena now sits atop the site of his former home.

“I had no troubles leaving my home on short notice, I knew it was my part to bring slopestyle into the mainstream. It’s nothing compared to the sacrifices made by the people who pioneered freeskiing and snowboarding to today’s levels. Just think how far the sport has progressed. We don’t need idiots like Costas ruining all of that.”

His new home sits in the middle of a government funded neighborhood of prefabricated homes known as the “undesirable cluster” in Olympic Jargon. The gray homes have blossomed with a rainbow of colors recently, spray-painted with anti-Costas slogans such as “Costas Skis In Jeans,” or “Bulldoze the home of Costas!”

In another part of the Sochi region, just outside the Olympic Village, protesters have massed in makeshift camps, living under tarps and inside of cardboard boxes while protesting the comments made by Costas.

“The government spent $51 billion on the games, but forgot to account for the relocation,” admits former Sochi Resident Sasha Korvina. “Homelessness is a small price to pay when so many people have worked so hard for slopestyle to be here. It’s completely unfair for Costas to dismiss people’s sacrifices on the snow as something out of the juvenile TV show Jackass.”

According to one source, whose identity has been protected due to Russia’s draconian Anti-Gay laws, Russia’s LGBT population is also “incredibly” upset by the comments made by Costas.

“Costas is showcasing his incredibly narrow-minded viewpoint on skiing. It’s still skiing, no matter how you look at it. Aerials, moguls, racing, half pipe; skiing is still skiing. I just wish Costas was more open minded about the way people ski. It’s not a choice, it’s what people are born to do.”

There is a sliver of hope for Sochi though, it’s been announced that long time ski contest announcer Luke Van Valin will be announcing Slope Style events. According to Olikov, Van Valin “truly understands slopestyle and it’s plight for international legitimacy.”

“I know Van Valin will bring some sanity to these Olympics,” says Olikov. “And that’s something we all need.”

**Piste Off is Bomb Snow’s new weekly satire column aimed at poking fun at the sports we all love. Bomb Snow’s “Piste Off” is a fictionalized, satirical publication. Its content should in no way be interpreted as an actual record of events. These stories are also not intended to be, nor should they be construed as, attempts to predict the future course of any individual or entity, but should be viewed only as parody. Piste Off is not associated with any other news service. Names used in “Piste Off” stories, unless those of public figures or entities, are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or entities is coincidental, unintentional, and accidental. Any event described in Bomb Snow’s “Piste Off” that actually comes to pass should also be considered coincidental, unintentional, and accidental.

The Bozeman Ice Tower: A Chat with Conrad Anker

Since Ice Climbing’s introduction to the United States in the late 20th century, Bozeman has been known as a premier destination. Long winters, copious amounts of naturally occurring, top-quality ice routes, and a thriving winter culture all work together to form and foster the future of the rapidly growing sport.

Although popular in Europe, there isn’t a single community in the United States that has a UIAA (“Union Internationale des Associations D’Alpinisme”, or “International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation”) sanctioned structure for athletes to practice and compete on. So, when ice climbing was slated to be a demonstration sport in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, it was only natural for Bozeman’s ice climbing population to react.

In January of 2011, The North Face Ice Climbing’s team captain and Bozeman resident Conrad Anker, along with MSU architecture professor Mike Everts, called on current and former MSU architecture and engineering students to submit design proposals for a multi-use facility featuring a World Cup-level climbing structure to be built at The Gallatin County Fairgrounds.

“I see the fairgrounds as a diamond in the rough within the city,” explains Anker. “We have an opportunity with this ten-or-so acres to really turn it into something special. The center piece of this would be the concert venue and climbing structure that’s made out of side-cycled shipping containers and old Bridger Bowl lift towers.”

Seven different ideas were submitted and considered in the contest. According to Anker the winning design was one that best realized the whole picture. “The winning design—they really did their homework. They looked closely at what the fairgrounds needed. It’s a multi-purpose structure. We can form ice on it when the weather permits, and most of the ice climbing will be on the overhanging section, as will the rock climbing [in the summer]. The other uses in the winter would be a figure skating rink and curling sheet in the mosh pit area of the concert venue, because both ice rinks at the fairgrounds right now are designed and used for hockey. They’re in use from five in the morning until 11 at night. The only place you can do figure skating and things like that is Beall park on the south side, but that’s very weather dependent.”  

The Gallatin County Fairgrounds lie on county property within Bozeman city limits. It’s part of the county budget, the county administrative system, and is staffed by county employees. Being the case, the allocation of public funds and resources in relation to the Bozeman Ice Tower project is obviously a public concern. This isn’t a typical public park proposal, though, and nobody is asking for any public money.

“This is my dream child; I’m the motivator behind it that’s getting it going. Having worked with the county, I’ve realized that there’s no way we’d ever pass a mill levy for this, so it’s going to be a private investment entity.” explains Anker. “For half the price of what we paid for the football stadium seats, which get used six or seven days a year, we have something that’s going to be used for probably 40 concerts throughout the course of the year, climbing that everybody can do year-round, a facility for the search and rescue and fire teams to train on, and it’s going to be accessible to adaptive sports, too. The company that comes in is going to have naming rights for something that is entirely unique to the whole world. No one has anything close to anything like this. In terms of earned media, I’d have to sit down to quantify that.”

Currently the Gallatin County Fairgrounds serves as a venue for ice hockey and the agriculture-based activities and events that originally founded the space. But as Bozeman’s demographic changes, so does the need for different types of recreational facilities in order for the fairgrounds to be economically viable.

“The county wants the fairgrounds to be a stand-alone; to not have it receive county funds. They want it to operate like a business. If you’re in business, you need to market and sell your product or services. So what are we going to do to bring that in there? There’s only so many 4-H type activities that we can do, and they are a smaller group. What will appeal to a larger group is this concert venue”, says Anker.

Right now, classic hurdles are standing in the way of the Bozeman Ice Tower’s construction: money, bureaucracy, and a few difficult citizens, Anker said: “We have two individuals that are actively-anti for sound reasons, but their sound reasons, it turns out, are more about the type of music rather than the decibel of the sound. It’s good, though, we’re learning our weaknesses.”

The Bozeman Ice Tower has 501(c)(3) designation, and everything in the project’s bank account up to this point are the proceeds from Conrad’s various slide shows, though he’s quick to explain that he isn’t a motivational speaker. “Every now and then, I get a speaking gig. Not like a corporate speaker, that’s too gross. I’m not like, ‘Get a grip!’. There are a lot of people that are like, ‘I just climbed Everest, now I’m a corporate speaker!’ They’re just rubber duckies. I’m a full-time climber.”

Besides donating funds to The Bozeman Ice Tower, those who want to support the project can follow the project on Facebook and write letters to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, or if you’re a student, you can talk to MSU’s faculty about helping through academic projects.  

-Alex Buecking
For more information, visit: bozemanicetower.wordpress.com

The Ice Tower will be designed as a multi-purpose facility. Here’s a list of a few benefits that will enrich the community of Bozeman.

1.) Outdoor concerts (Well known bands will actually stop in our town)
2.) Outdoor Events (Ski Movie premieres, non-profit parties)
3.) Rescue Training
4.) Eagle Mount Adaptive Sports
5.) Big Sky Youth Empowerment activities
6.) Figure Skating and Curling
7.) Community Garden Space
8.) Flexible Office Space
9.) Youth Sports (Camps, Events, Retreats)

Public Benefits
1. Iconic Branding Opportunity
2. Reflective of Fairgrounds History
3. FEMA Use
4. Public Observation Deck
5. Telecommunications Rental
6. Community Gardens
7. Promotes Fairgrounds Growth
8. Model of “Best Practices” Building
a. Solar Generation
b. Rain Water Collection
c. Up-Cycle use of Local Resources
d. Bridger Lift Towers
9. Privately Funded
10. Self-Sustaining Business Model

Get Involved and let’s make it official. Stay classy Bozeman. - Bomb Snow

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