We picked this book up at Powell’s in the autumn. I think my exclamation upon seeing it on the shelf was “No way! Allen and Mike have made an avalanche book!”
For those not familiar with Allen O’Bannon and Mike Clelland’s telemark and backcountry ski books, they’re informative and well-informed hand-illustrated guides to techniques and skills of use to everyone. All heartily recommended. This new book is up to date and down to earth. Snow science is described in functional detail, and the realities of avalanche terrain are shown in practical and visual detail. As with William Nealy’s “Kayak”, didactic cartoon diagrams can triumph over prose and photos.
For years, my singular recommendation for an introductory avalanche text has been Bruce Tremper’s “Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain”. The quality of that text is timeless; it has a new companion. For new skiers without a scientific bent, or for younger backcountry travelers, “Avalanche Book” may be the more-effective book. A backcountry travel course with which I’m affiliated has chosen to try Allen and Mike’s book this year as the course avy text.
Another holiday gift recommendation from MeasuredMass. A look inside follows…
After a fun demo of a pair of lightweight 120 mm skis at Vertfest, I’d kept an eye out for a sweet deal on a pair of truly fat skis. The Drifter, at 153/128/141 mm, fits that bill.
These skis are used, but in stellar shape. The previous owner posted a review here. These skis are almost certainly from Voile’s “zero-camber” sale of 09/10 skis. Durability-wise, the previous owner claimed 70+ days; the bases are in stellar condition given that much use.
Weights: From the Wayback Machine in April 2010, the 192 claimed weight/ski was 2.11 kg/ski. The skis weighed in at 2231 and 2217 g, yielding 2224±12 grams. That’s 5% high, even with binding holes drilled and some wear; perhaps pre-production weights were overoptimistic.
The ski dimensions are internally consistent at better than 100 microns, comparable to the amount of material removed by sharpening an edge. I haven’t yet made a major effort toward quantifying ski dimensions, but this is the best I’ve seen. Very nice work, Voile. Repeatability at that level hints at quality in other contexts. The ski topsheets claim 153/128/141 mm. My measurements give 155.1/127.3/141.3 mm, with uncertainties < 0.1 mm. The ski shovel is so huge, it’s only barely measureable with a 6″ shop caliper!
A great deal on a pair of Drifts appeared on our local gear swap today, and I couldn’t pass it up. A friend’s pair of 165 cm Kilowatts is nearing the end of its service life, and the Drifts may be a partial replacement.
By hand flex, the Drifts are far softer than the Kilowatts; we’ll have to see how they ski in a month or two. The tails are stiffer than the shovels, but they’re softer everywhere than the Kilowatts.
Weight-wise, the skis aren’t mint. The previous owner has drilled them once for Dynafits, and added tip/tail rescue holes. That said, these skis weighed exactly the same on my scale; we’ll call them 1464±1 grams.
I can’t find an official BD spec from the 11/12 season, Backcountry.com (archive.org) claimed 1561 g/ski, which matches a blem spec at GearX. For the 12/13 model year (different graphics), the claim was 1432 g/ski. These skis are very consistent in weight, and 6% lighter than the original spec, far more than can be explained by the drilled holes.
I’ve been toying with the idea of carbon poles for a while. With a gift card generously donated by Evo to the NSAS raffle burning a hole in my desk drawer, I finally gave in.
My original preference would’ve been the BD poles, on reputation alone, but they weren’t in stock for the season. A friend uses the Dynafit poles with gusto, adding a plus to the Dynafit column. This thread, however, makes me more than a little concerned for durability.
On to the real thing. With the usual concerns about extracting uncertainties from two measurements, the poles themselves weigh 180.9±2.4 g. The baskets are 13.5±0.4 g. In combination, they’re 194.4±2.4 grams. Dynafit’s claimed weight is 190 grams.
The Dynafit pole lowers aren’t round, they’re D-shaped, with notches cut in them to physically block the pole from slipping. The engineering and build quality feels very fine; time will tell if the complicated linkage will hold up to years of use. I’m rather partial to the BD flicklock system (why did BD move to something with more moving parts?!), but this system seems reasonable. Dynafit has a two-year warranty on the poles.
Review/more photos below the bump.
A friend with a taste for lightweight skis brought these by for mounting. Apparently they’re a rarity here in the US. Before getting to the measurements, let me extend a hearty congratulations to Elan. Look at this excerpt from the Elan page:
There’s an errorbar on their mass! Alas, they don’t have masses for each size, but a huzzah nonetheless!
These skis are 1162 and 1145 g. So, the pair weighed (with the usual calibration and 2-point concerns) in at 1153±15 grams. This is easily consistent with their stated uncertainty. Thank you, Elan!
As this is a very light ski, I measured the widths as well.
A friend brought a beater pair of Goode 95s by for a mount on the mill. The skis themselves are in great shape, but they’re on their third or fourth mount. Skis have six inserts/ski for tele, and we added eight inserts/ski for La Sportiva bindings. Skis have had other holes filled (or not) with JB Weld.
Skis are stiff, minimal camber. The contact points are quite close to the ends of the ski. Looks like a very traditional design, and may be less forgiving of technical error than some modern skis. Torsional stiffness is excellent; I’d expect it to hold an edge well.
For these skis, after calibration and unbiasing, I measure 1256 ± 40 grams . Individually, they weighed in at 1279 and 1234 g. While these skis are holey, I’d be surprised if all 45 grams of difference between the skis is due to their post-sale history. 45 grams is a lot – almost two ounces. But, without a pristine pair, we cannot be sure.
New skis would be somewhat lighter, perhaps 20-30 g. Each ski has 17g+ of inserts alone.
Got schooled by the kind and knowledgeable folks at Marmot Mountain on the ins and outs of skate poles. Considering my budget, the mid-grade Swix poles seemed to strike the right balance. These are the ones with the blue hatching. Definitely found the middle ground in stiffness in the Swix line, but seemingly stiffer than the full-carbon Yoko pole of the same size.
Poles weighed in at 261.6 and 263.3 g, so 262.5 ± 1.5 grams (with usual caveats about measuring errorbars off two points). Couldn’t find a Swix spec for the poles’ mass.
The skate gear continues. As a review goes, I’m still calibrating myself as much as the skis for skate gear. No flaws, binding mount went smoothly, skis go fast.
If you’re looking at the photos, the 2000/2006 g calibration factor applies to this scale. One ski weighed in at 700 g, the other at 708 g. With the usual caveats (2 measurements is a poor way to sample a distribution), this comes to 704±7 grams for each ski. I can’t find a spec from Fischer for the 192 cm ski.
Skate gear is starting to cross the MeasuredMass scales. Once these bindings get some snow time, I’ll post a review. What did they say on the scale?
121.0 g and 121.3 g, respectively. Two samples is too small to reliably estimate an uncertainty, but if I do, it’s 121.15±0.27 g. Rossignol quotes 240 g/pr, so these might be less than 1% high, but without an uncertainty from Rossignol (depending on significant digits, that 240 could be 240±5), it’s impossible to tell.
Looking forward to getting some time on them!
I’d been thinking about a serious rescue beacon (PLB) for a long time, perhaps leaning toward the DeLorme InReach, when the ResQLink arrived under our tree. The two-way communication feature was very attractive, but the requirement of a (hardly rugged and heavy) smartphone and the substantial subscription fee kept me from buying in.
We decided not to let the perfect in the way of the good, and I’ve kept the ResQLink. The NOAA registration online was quick and easy.
It’s measuredmass.com though, and weight matters on a device like this. It’s really just dead weight; unless you’re almost dead, then it’s useful. The box and website claim 4.6 ounces / 130 grams. What does it say on the scale?
143.8 grams (or 5.1 oz). That’s 11% high. Without more samples of the device, I can’t comment on product variation. The strap weighs 1.8 grams, so that isn’t the cause. For a product whose weight is an important feature, even 9% is a lot.