Here in Utah La Niña is our favorite word. To us powder-hounds, La Niña is more important to our lives than food or water. When the weather-man says La Niña is coming, we rush to our stash of boards and skis to relive the memories of the 2010-2011 season. La Niña is our favorite drug, because its free, you get an endless supply, and it’s the best feeling you will ever get. Not to mention you are almost instantly addicted to it. When the Pacific Ocean water warms, it creates a La Niña weather pattern and brings record amounts of snow. Like last year, when we had not one, but multiple resorts break 800” of annual snowfall. Allowing us to ski resorts from October to July. That’s 9 months of skiing! With that much skiing you have to be in top condition and have gear that can hold up through 9 months of endless powder runs. So Jensen and I have decided to introduce you to our weapons of choice. The gear that gets us from top to bottom, deep pow to groomers, trees to open bowl moguls. This gear has stuck with us through the worst of times, so we can tear the mountains up on our best of times. Here is the gear we are using for this 2011-2012 La Niña season.
So as stated in earlier blogs, I’m Nathan Jensen. I like pretty much most Spanish words, but the word that has to be my favorite (no it’s not Burrito, although I do love those) is La Niña. This word describes a weather pattern that does some sciencey stuff to the weather, but all we need to know is that it creates some killer snow here in Utah, and most parts around the United States. I would like to describe some of the gear I use to get me on the mountain, and what I use while I’m riding the sweet, sweet snow that La Niña provides for us.
The first, and almost the most important piece of gear I use, has to be my vehicle. It will take me up almost any mountain road, no matter how snow covered or steep. I drive a 2000 Nissan Xterra, with a whopping 175HP! I know what you are all thinking, “Only 175HP? I could run faster than that in a head to head race!”. But before any rash opinions are thought about my car, I don’t drive it for speed, I drive it for its ability to haul gear, and its awesome 4-Wheel Drive (which is a must here in Utah). My stereo system isn’t too bad either. It provides Brandon and I some glorious entertainment when Brandon makes us listen to his music genre of choice, Dubstep. On the rack of my Xterra, I’m rocking a set of Yakima Snowboard/Ski racks with Yakima Mighty Mounts to keep the gear secure while driving on the freeway.
The most important pieces of my gear, has to be my snowboard and bindings. Now before you all laugh at my current setup, understand that as a poor college student, I couldn’t afford the “Best of the Best” gear (which I am now saving up for). I currently ride a Morrow Modem 163cm wide-board, with Morrow Invasion Bindings. Now I know that Morrow isn’t known as the highest quality snow gear on the market, but I have owned this setup for about 3 years now, and I have to say, I am really impressed at how well they hold up. One major benefit of owning cheaper gear, is the knowledge that if something were to happen to my gear (I.e. scratches, chips from rocks, etc.) I wouldn’t be completely devastated, because I am not into my gear an extreme amount of money.
Now comes the expensive gear, my filming/editing equipment. If you haven’t checked out our channel on you tube (menseekingpowder), you need to. We will be posting videos whenever we can, and the equipment we use to film is pretty important if we want good quality videos. For simple filming, I use a Cisco Flip Ultra HD; this little hand-held camera is excellent for vloggin/quick shots on the mountain. The other camera I use is a Panasonic Digital Camcorder, which films in 1080p. I use this camera if I need good quality shots (I.e. filming others in the Terrain Park or hitting up some nice jumps). Now for the editing the video, I use a Apple Macbook White. I edit videos on iMovie ‘09, which is a nice, easy to use program, that can edit some sick videos!
Now for Brandon’s gear. Early season shredding is probably the most risky time for your gear. With hidden rocks, stumps, logs, and other potentially season ending fiends, skiers usually have an assortment of skis. I am no exception to this philosophy. For early season, a pair of rock skis is a must. This ski should be what’s considered an all-mountain ski. It should be able to ski groomers, powder, and everything in between.My rock-ski of choice is the 2009-2010 Rossignol S3 Koopman. This ski is perfect for any condition. It features Rossi’s Amptek Technology which incorporates rocker in the tip and tail with camber underfoot. Also, a reverse side-cut in the tip and tail to allow catch-free skiing and helps you float better in deep powder. With a 98mm waist this ski is big enough to take down deep powder lines, but also small enough to make carving groomers effortless. The cons to this ski are: much to heavy for the size of the ski, and skiing groomers at high speeds can be a little scary because it doesn’t like to hold the tail edge at high speeds. Overall rating 7.5/10 (mounted w/ Rossignol Axial 120)
Since La Niña means lots and lots of powder days, its necessary (for me) to have a powder specific ski. Therefore, I picked up the revolutionary 2009-2010 K2 Hellbent. Now they aren’t exactly a new ski, but I prefer this model over the 2011 or 2012 models for various reasons. At 122 underfoot this ski is a monster. It used to be one of the widest skis on the market. Now there has always been a lot of complaints about the weight of these skis, but compared to the Rossi S3 Koopman, with the right bindings on them these skis are actually the same weight as my Rossi’s even though they are much bigger. This ski features 100% rocker, with a flat spot under the base of the ski. It was designed for the 2 foot snow storms. This ski is also a lot of fun for backcountry kickers. If mounted at +6 you will be practically centered on the ski. But the swing weight will be so equal that you can throw this ski around in any direction. You will never dive the nose of this ski. Making it the ultimate powder tool. The only con to this ski is that it’s a squirrelly ride on the groomers back to the chairlift. Overall 8.5/10 (mounted w/ Marker Griffon)
Now that I will be competing I had to find a ski that would deliver the full package. So here I am introducing, the ski I am most excited about, the 2011-2012 Ramp Peace Pipe. Now I know most of you are saying the what-a-what? Well lets inform you on a brand new company and their headliner ski. Based out of Park City, Utah, Ramp skis is still slowly in the makings. This is only their second year of production and I feel there will be many more to come. The Peace Pipe at 115mm underfoot is their flagship ski. It has a ton of nose rocker, but features camber throughout the waist and tail of the ski. A unique feature of this ski is that the rockered nose is fairly soft while the rest of the ski is pretty stiff. This allows the ski to float in the deepest of snow, but when the snow isn’t great this ski can still charge hard. I would compare this ski to the Dynastar Legend Pro Rider 115. The Ramp Peace Pipe has the performance of the legendary Dynastar Legend Pro Rider 115, but features a weight that compares to the light-weight Atomic Bent Chetler. So if you are looking for one of the best big-mountain, hard-charging skis for your quiver, look into the Ramp Peace Pipe. You won’t be disappointed. I still haven’t found any downsides to this ski except that you can’t ski switch. But when you are just charging down a mountain, you don’t have time to ski switch. Overall rating 9/10 (mounted w/ Rossignol FKS 14.0)
Now obviously skis aren’t the only things packed into my car on a ski trip. So here is a list of the gear that keeps me warm, makes me a better skier and captures all the moments: GoPro HD Hero II camera, Salomon Quest 8 boots, Scott Series 3 poles, Smith Variant Brim helmet, Oakley Seth Morrison Pro Model goggles, Dakine Heli backpack, Dakine Sabre Team Pro Model gloves, Spyder jacket and pants, and lastly Oakley jacket and pants.
So there you have it, our skis and boards in a nutshell. If you have any questions leave a comment. Also, don’t forgot about our you tube channel called menseekingpowder. Tune in for our edits that we will be running throughout the season. We already have one edit up called “New Season, New Snow, Fresh Turns”. Check it out and tell us what you think. We would love to hear some feedback.