Tag Archives: The North Face

Weekly High-Five Report: Know Boundaries Avalanche Awareness

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The North Face is raising avalanche awareness with their Know Boundaries safety initiative, offering insight into the knowledge, skills and training required to travel safely in the backcountry.

It’s easy to think that avalanches won’t find you, especially when you’ve skied the same line the day before without incident, or the sun is shining, or you’re standing at the top of a pristine line with a large group of friends. With the allure of skiing powder beckoning, tricking yourself into an illusion of safety is easy.

I’ve done it.

The tricky part about staying alive in avalanche terrain is that most of the time it is safe. The snowpack is usually in equilibrium, happily shouldering the burden of accumulated storms, offering the goods to those willing to get after it.

A powdery slope gives very little indication of the avalanche hazard. Let’s face it. Fresh powder always looks inviting. We could convince ourselves it was safe just because we wanted it so badly.

The Know Boundaries initiative provides a series of videos to offset that human tendency. Because the slopes are usually safe makes them that much more dangerous when they aren’t.

Just picture it. You and three of your best friends have hiked to the top of an easily accessed peak. The sun just came out. Below you sits a large north-facing bowl of untouched dreaminess. The temperature is so cold, wisps of ice crystals shimmer in the light. You’re about to drop in, but you know you should dig a pit first. Two feet of snow has fallen since you were last here. But the temps have stayed cold. You don’t know about wind, but the snow on the surface looks pristine and fluffy.

Hell. You’ve got your transceiver on. Your friends have your back. Another group has just crested the peak. It’s now or never.

You drop in and your skis break the mantle of snow, sending shooting cracks across the top of the bowl. A voice tells you to stop, but you can’t. You turn again and hear a whoomph. You notice to your left that one of your friends dropped in beside you; that he didn’t wait to let you get to the bottom. You can tell by his face that he doesn’t realize it yet. The slope is beginning to slide, like a white table cloth slipping off a table, taking cutlery and crystal with it…

Raise your hand if you’ve been there. If you have, then you know why I’m putting The North Face on my weekly high-five list. I applaud the Know Boundaries initiative, where avalanche professionals, mountain guides and pro skiers share their knowledge and experience.

While yes, the slopes are usually safe, all it takes is that one storm to tip it over the edge. If you spend enough time chasing powder in the backcountry, then you will probably get close enough to an avalanche to scare you.

Check out the first episode below. With ski season starting, let’s all respect our boundaries.

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Local Hero POV Video Contest: Bring out the GoPro

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Skiing, local hero contest

We can all dream

I love it when the ski industry hails the little guy. Far too often in this world, only the big guns get the recognition. Sure, pro skiers can rip some big lines. Watching them ski just makes me salivate. But when I watch a local skier or rider take some gnarly run, lay over some sweet turns just for the fun of it–no cameras rolling, no sponsorship stickers seeking product placement on their helmets–that’s the stuff I love.

That’s why I’m excited about this contest. Snowbird Ski Resort, along with Powder Magazine, Snowboarder Magazine, Wasatch Powderbirds and The North Face are giving away some very sweet prizes for the best helmet cam video.

You heard that right.

All that footage you have stored in your GoPro might just get you somewhere. Namely to Snowbird for 5 days and nights of skiing and lodging for two, including one day of early-ups, one day of heli-skiing, a $500 gift certificate to North Face and free subscriptions to Powder and Snowboarder.

That’s a pretty sweet deal. According the their Facebook Page here are the details:

Contest Info

Strap on your gnarness harness, dial in your shrediting and get piste, because it’s about to get personal. Snowbird, The North Face, POWDER, SNOWBOARDER and Wasatch Powderbird Guides want to see just how hard you rip. Whether you’re shredding one plank or two, dropping pillow lines or cheese wedges, your point-of-view footage could make you a hometown hero. Submit your proof of gnar to the 1st Annual Snowbird Local Hero POV Video Contest, and you could score a trip for 2 to Snowbird for 5 days / 4 nights, including a heli-day for 1. Hey, no one said being a hero would be easy.

To enter, submit your best POV video edit (under 3 minutes) to Snowbird’s Facebook page. The top 4 ski finalists and the top 4 snowboard finalists will be chosen by Snowbird’s Facebook fans. One winner from each category will take home the Grand Daddy, picked by the editors of POWDER and SNOWBOARDER. Winners will receive a trip for 2 to Snowbird, Utah for 5 days/4 nights, one day with a pre-public Tram ride, a heli-day for 1 with Wasatch Powderbird Guides, a $500 gift card from The North Face and 2 free subscriptions to POWDER and SNOWBOARDER. Righteous.

Who doesn’t love a contest that tells you to strap on your “gnarness harness?” That’s priceless.