With the holidays and everything going on the last couple weeks of December I had a bit of a "rest" from touring on the 5 day week schedule. It was great to spend some time with family and enjoy the holidays and the handful of days that I did get out were great! To start it off Greg Hansen and I went out to a local zone in search of pow, in which we indeed did find, along with a little extra credit.
On the next tour the sun was out and we were able to enjoy some turns in the alpine.
Then came more pow....
And then my birthday rolled around and along with it a gnartic chill. Of course I had to put in a tour to ring in year 29. So Mike Bannister, Zach Novak, and I headed out and up into the clouds on a 5k ft vert tour to summit and ski a backyard peak in my favorite mountain range. The Gore, of course. A frigid day we had ok visibility from around treeline and below but encountered -25 degree white-out conditions not too far above the trees. And a great birthday tour it was!
And for my last tour of the year Gary and I headed out into the Ten Mile and enjoyed some excellent turns thanks to Vic.
What a great year 2014 was filled with mountains, snow, rivers, great friends and family, and to cap it off I got engaged to the woman I love! Looking forward to the year to come! Cheers to 2015!!!!
So its been a little over a month since I first started riding the OZ Snowboards signature Alpenglow CQ Splitboard design and so I feel like its time to write up a little review. With over 50k vertical feet and many miles already logged on the board I feel as if I can now provide a pretty strong review. Riding an early Colorado snowpack with conditions varying from blower bottomless pow to 45 degree steeps this board has performed fantastically. There is a reason why this splitboard was chosen by Backcountry Magazine as "Top 20" splits of 2014/2015!
So for this review I am not going to get super into depth of dimensions and sidecuts of tri-axial flexes in conjuction with the bi-lateral cut of the radial turn. Im going to keep it simple. How does the split tour and how does the split ride?
Tour Mode: So being that in the backcountry realm of skiing and riding you are spending close to 85% of your day going up-hill, the performance of a splitboard in "Tour Mode" is very important. How does the splitboard skin? How does the splitboard ski? How good of traction is the splitboard going to yield in conjunction with the camber? Is the splitboard going to be too flexible in ski mode? These are all good questions to ask yourself while testing/touring on a board. So now you ask, "how does the OZ holdup with these questions?" The answer is outstandingly! First off how does the OZ splitboard skin. I have had the chance to skin in a multitude of conditions on my OZ from breaking trail in boot deep pow to side-hilling on steep spring-like crust and with the Alpenglow CQ camber design I have been able to hold edges and maintain excellent traction throughout. The micro traditional camber between the bindings is exactly what I feel is needed when skinning in a variety of conditions providing more points of contact and more surface area than say a fully rockered or flat camber board. How does the OZ split ski? Well I can safely say that it has been the best skiing split that I have been on. The carbon fiber reinforcements in the board really keep the split with a stiffer flex without making the board too stiff in Ride Mode. Another reason for this is that they use full wood cores through tip and tail without finger joints which prevents any inconsistent flex patterns and weak points in the board. Also, with the fully wrapped edges of the ski's I feel like I tend to have better edge-control when skiing. Overall, I have been very satisfied with how the Alpenglow CQ performs in Tour Mode.
Then next you have to ask yourself, "how does the splitboard ride?"
Ride Mode: And so as with Tour Mode the performance of a splitboard in Ride Mode is of upmost importance. How is the board going to ride in a variety of conditions? How does the camber and flex affect the ride? How well does the board hold an edge and how well does the board initiate and hold a turn? All of these are very valid questions to ask. First of all, how does the OZ hold up in a variety of conditions? Well, it does great in all the conditions I have had it in. Starting with powder, the camber and flex on the OZ help provide excellent float in soft and deep snow. The early rise rocker on the nose and tail of the splitboard help keep the board lofty and on top of the snow even deep snow and having traditional camber between the bindings. A directional shape with slightly setback inserts also help float in the deeps and helps provide for a more stable landing off cliffs, ect. Then as the snow conditions start to lend to more crust or hard pack the traditional camber between the bindings comes back into play giving you better edging and carving ability. Initiating and holding turns comes very easy with the OZ as again the traditional camber between the bindings really grabs ahold. The medium flex of the board provides a stable and chatter free ride while at the same time feeling a little playful. Its not completely "dead" as some stiffer boards tend to feel. Overall, the OZ Alpenglow CQ split design has in my mind has provided me with an excellent "Ride Mode" feel in a variety of Colorado conditions. If you wanted you can even get a little freestyle going on your OZ splitboard! Here is some more pics of shredding on the OZ Split.
Recap: So hopefully this little review helped highlight some points of this amazing splitboard. A few side-notes; One of the first things I noticed was how light the board felt. Feather-weight carbon fiber construction means less pounds. This in return leads to less fatigue and more time for pow! Another thing worth mentioning is how well the topsheet sheds snow. OZ uses a semi-textured topsheet and I think that it has been doing a great job of again shedding snow. On the flip-side the Dura-surf base has been holding up great to the early season Colorado conditions. All in all, the OZ Alpenglow CQ Splitboard design is the shiz. If you are in the market for a split, just getting into splitboarding, or a seasoned splitter looking for the new best thing then the OZ Alpenglow CQ Split is for YOU! Cheers and thanks for reading
After over two weeks of high pressure winter has finally decided to make its way back to Colorado. The weekend produced upwards of a foot to almost 2 feet in some zones. Yee Haw, time to get out and play!!!!!
From corn skiing the steeps to chillin' in the white room within 48hrs of eachother. Gotta love Colorado.
My brothers birthday is this weekend and so I was planning on taking the weekend off to celebrate down in Colorado Springs. I get a call from Mark Koelker on Friday night asking if I was interested in getting out with him and Mike Hood. In all reality I wasn't leaving for the Springs until early afternoon and so was able to do a quick early mission. Mark mentioned the Y Couloir in the Bighorn Creek drainage and shortly after I was onboard. It was a great morning to get out before the storm front made its way in. An awesome little mini-golf line if I do say so myself! Decent conditions in a quick 3hr and 2200ft tour and I was back at my truck and off to hang out with the family for the weekend! Let it snow, let it snow!!
Taking advantage of our last day of the December stint of high pressure.
NE Couloirs, Pacific Peak
Talk about a stint of high pressure. We haven't seen any snow in a couple of weeks but with the nice weather we have been seeing some stabilizing within the snowpack. Time to get up into the alpine and manage some steeper terrain before more snow comes. I had a line on Buffalo Mountain in mind and the night before Greg Hansen hit me up wanting to get out. Him along with Creston Doverspike joined in on the venture and a tour plan was set into motion.
Creston had a meeting in the morning and so we met up at the Lily Pad TH at 9:30 and set off. We weren't too worried about a later start as we wanted the line to soften up a bit. We worked our way up the Lakeview path towards treeline.
A couple hours later and we found ourselves at our objective for the day. As always the plan was to assess our situation throughout as the day went on. We discussed and dropped our packs to walk down to our line and check out the snow conditions. Worth noting is that although green-lighted through CAIC, you still have to be cautious about slides. Ask yourself 1.) Is there layers in the snowpack? 2.) Is the slope I am on or will be on steep enough to slide? And so although while still being aware about avalanche concern, our primary concern throughout the day was the quality of snow. Were we going to find edge-able softer snow or were we going to encounter bulletproof windslab? Initially I walked out onto the slope to find somewhat variable conditions towards the top of the line with a big windslab but softer snow bypassing on skiers left. From there we kept walking down the line assessing. Softer snow throughout the rest of the line from what I could tell and then a rollover near the bottom. Again we then walked down to check the rollover and assessed from there. This is where group dynamics are key. As always on a tour, everybody needs to know that they have the power to veto. Hopefully, you have partners who are on the same page. This was one of those times when a partner in the group wasn't feeling it, spoke up, and immediately from there there was no argument to go with our alternate planned route. I was thoroughly pleased with our group dynamics on this tour! Its all about the experience.
From there we hiked back up to our packs, grabbed a quick snack, and pushed onward and up to the summit.
These views never get old!
We soaked in the views, snapped a few pics, and then transitioned to ride. From there we dropped ones towards treeline and all experienced some excellent turns.
Back down to treeline we enjoyed some good turns down to the bottom of the Lakeview path. A quick transition into split-ski mode and we were able to ski all the way back to the truck. Another great day in the books. By choosing good partners we had great dynamics today and in return enjoyed a most excellent day in the backyard!
It's been a great few days of touring. Feeling the mileage and vert from the past few days we wanted a little more mellow of a tour today. Ideas were tossed around and we settled on checking out the SKY chutes. I ran into Zack Novak at City Market the night prior who wanted to join in on a mission and then Frank made it a 3rd. Upon taking the 91 exit and scoping our lines we noticed that Gasoline Alley looked to be holding a good amount of snow. As we approached the bridge to hit the S chute we noticed a skin-track and tracks already in the chute and so decided to go for the Alley instead.
We ended up finding pretty decent conditions in the chute. There were 2 other tracks coming down the chute but no skin-track up. Anyways, we skinned up about 1600ft until the snow started to get a bit firm and it started to be a bit of a pain to skin. We then enjoyed 1600ft of nice and mellow turns down the chute all the way back to the trucks! A great mellow tour indeed.
After putting in a pretty big day in the Gore yesterday touring to Bloodshaw I was definitely feeling it this morning. Almost 4000' vert and 15 miles in the Gore will do that to you. Well the weather was calling for a sunny day and so we had to take advantage of it. Frank's friend Kate wanted to get out and they were planning on a Vail Pass to Frisco traverse with their pups and so I jumped on board. It sounded fun and I had a pretty good idea of where to drop into N Tenmile Creek and was stoked on the tour. A beautiful day it was!
2,000' vert. 10 miles. 5hrs
After a couple of hours we made our way down the ridge and to our drop-in point. I was up there a couple of weeks ago and so had a good idea of where to drop from. We had toyed with the idea of dropping into the basin, then re-ascending the ridge where we would then head N, NE down the ridge until we would then finally drop down a North facing line into N Tenmile creek. Then finally out to Frisco. By the time we had made it down our first line the dogs were already pretty tired and so from there we just went down valley to the Tenmile drainage and then out rather than re-ascending the ridge. This worked out pleasantly as we enjoyed some nice soft turns all the way to the creek from the ridge.
From there we skied down the valley until we eventually reached N Tenmile Creek and then all the way out to Frisco. Another great day out in the books!