Alex Taran’s South American Beacon Project

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Disproving Avalanche Myths and The South American Beacon Project:

House Rider Alex Taran Sets Out to Make a Difference

Avalanches do not affect people in Chile*. “Gringa no tenemos avalanchas en Chile…” a group of my friends told me before they dropped into a path without avalanche gear, but with 50cms of fresh snow. (*Later that year, in that same path, an avalanche closed the road for 3 days and, in a separate incident, killed a young man).  When something like an avalanche happens it may be deceiving. It is actually not an avalanche*. (*One Patagonian avalanche related death was blamed on “glacial movement” while another death outside of a well known ski area was not deemed an avalanche, rather just a “delizamento de nieve (loose snow sliding)”…. wait isn’t that an avalanche?) Avalanches happen but don’t affect us *(*one patroller reassured me not to worry, all the avalanches in their area happen between 2-6 am, no one is around to get caught). PHEW!

The South American Beacon Project548513_260307954062584_1266026143_n is a movement we started in 2010. We identified two things missing in Chile: an atmosphere where the need for avalanche education is recognized and providing rescue tools for workers. The lack of proper equipment is not due to Chileean Resorts being too poor to purchase rescue tools; quite the opposite. Discussions about avalanches are not present anywhere near mainstream culture. It is just not accepted. Avalanches are a myth. That’s where The South American Beacon Project comes in.

The SABP reuses fully functioning beacons after testing for distances (search and send) as well as flux line drift. These beacons go into the hands of workers following an introductory class on basic avalanche mechanics and partner rescue. We also facilitate outreach avalanche education through presentations, as many avalanche centers in North America do, as well as more detailed beacon classes. Since The SABP was founded we have placed over 160 beacons and taught students in 21 communities in Chile and Argentina.

Volcan-VillaricaBut this is only the beginning. This year we are working on launching the closest thing to an avalanche center that Chile has ever seen. We are building a website where people find the majority of classes available, a history of accidents, current snow observations, and weather links. We are trying to change this atmosphere, disproving the myths through outreach and resource distribution.

This is not only our movement. This is a movement for everyone in the ski community. The key is our sense of community and togetherness. Whether you’re a skier in the northern or southern hemisphere, Europe or Asia, a beginner or an expert, we are all human and we all share the love for this sport and lifestyle. If you have an interest in getting involved, disproving these myths, and sharing this love please visit our website: WWW.SOUTHAMERICANBEACONPROJECT.COM. See you in the mountains!

By: Alex Taran

House Rider Alex Taran is enjoying the fresh coat of white in the Southern Hemisphere. Follow her Chilean Ski Adventures on Instagram: @alex_taran and @thehouseboardshop and follow updates on The SABP @southamericanbeaconproject and #southamericanbeaconproject

Sneak Peek 2015 Dynastar Cham Skis

 The phrase “CHAM wow” echoed more frequently at the 2014 SIA Trade Show in Denver, Co., than the reverberated sound of footsteps at the local buffet. No, the blissful oralation didn’t stem from the famous towel that soaks up everything, but rather from the adulation surrounding Dynastar’s award-winning CHAM series.  As like its phonetic twin, The CHAM wowed the crowd after it had soaked-up all the liquid stains [euphemism for competition].

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The CHAM is one of the most versatile freeride skis to hit the freeride market. In fact, Dynastar set-up a specialized R & D lab in Chamonix [hence the CHAM] to ensure the CHAM parallels the demands of freeride skiing. The result: multiple Freeride World Tour podiums and Outside claiming the 97mm “Outside Gear of the Year.” But something’s still missing in the series? It’s sorta like not having a gap wedge in your golf bag. Hmm? Amid all the hype, Nick, Dynastar’s version of Paul Revere, delivers an announcement so groundbreaking that even E.F. Hutton stopped to listen.  “A star is born!”

Dynastar has added the 117mm to the CHAM FAM to bridge the performance gap between the 107 and 127. CHAM’s award-winning technique of fusing rocker and 5-point sidecut with a paulownia wood core allows the 117 to transition seamlessly from playful freeride skis to fall-line crushers. Now that’s versatile! Dynastar has also mellowed the rocker in the tip to increase contact area and to eliminate tip deflection so you can track like a ballistic missile while maintaining predictable control. With the addition of a new rockered pintail design, your 117s will float on deep powder like a ghost on nitrous oxide yet maintain power, stability and speed on all terrains and in all conditions. Ride the revolution! CHAM 2.0 is here.

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Sneak Peek 2015 Rossignol Experience Skis

 

Rossignol Rossignol brought plenty of radical Experiences, literally, to this year’s SIA Trade Show in Denver, CO. The newly super-tech-injected Experience series is Rossignol’s attempt at monopolizing the all-mountain ski market. Proof? The Experience’s SIA booth produced longer lines than at a clinic after the Burning Man festival. For over 100 years, pow junkies have been conditioned to salivate from the mere mention of Rossignol, much like Pavlov’s canine bestie. So whether you prefer the small-waisted 74mm or the hefty-midsection of the 98mm, the Experience will outperform your expectations on-and off-piste or from just resting atop a ski rack.

experience 88“So how can I ski better with this new technology?” Well, this multi-award winning all-mountain ski charges-harder down corduroy, floats much better over deep pow and carves more predictably through off-piste obstacles. It’s kinda like old-school power meticulously integrated with new-school tech. Mouth watering yet?

Nick, Righteous Rossi Rep., shocked and awed powder bombers with the series’ new refinements. The most impressive upgrade is the introduction of Air Tip tech. This revolutionary tech, also available in the 7 series, lightens swing weight, generates faster turn initiation, and maintains tip flotation even in variable snow conditions. With a refined rocker profile, you’ll be able to bash through crud without your skis needlessly flapping like your mother-in-law’s jaw. The AutoTurn Rocker profile allows you to carve snow like a Porsche on hot pavement. The Experience is  hard-charging, nimble and lightweight ski that you can pin it to win it!

Rossignol has been steeped in pedigree for over 100 years, so it’s no surprise Rossignol has once again set the standard for which all other skis are being  judged. Why else would Ski Magazine name the Experience its Ski of the Year, two years running?

 

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2015 Rossignol Air Tip Technology

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Air-TipRossignol’s patented Air Tip floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee  throughout this year’s SIA TradeShow in Denver . Muhammad Ali would be so proud! Imagine a skisperience where tip floatation mimics a butterfly’s graceful flight and every turn stings like a wasp during his last days. For over 100 years, Rossignol has become synonymous with industry-changing technology and has yet again manifested a technology so revolutionary that freeride skiers will metamorphosize their skills far beyond what they thought possible. Welcome to the world of Air Tip.

 New 2015 Rossignol Experience Series

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604b41e7618fece7ff58942ef39cde3e8d66356b34fcd1c2f2bc5705428f1a6d330b65ec4e824bd3f7b5df04b593bb312d925e26b0c010f4d275c17de972688aNick, Rossi’s version of Nostradamus, refutes the notion that Air Tip tech is just some” flashy fishing lure” that simply dangles in front of the powredator, providing no actual value.  So what is Air Tip? It’s a honeycomb pattern device that traps air in the tip of the ski, much like a parachute, to lighten swing weight, increase strength underfoot and maximize torsional rigidity. “What does that do for me?” You ask.  The Air Tip moves your center of mass underfoot so you can get into the turn quicker and maintain tip flotation in variable snow conditions; thus,  eliminating tip flap and dive while enhancing the rocker construction.  The end result:  unprecedented maneuverability and predictability. Your pain points are eliminated! And once you go Air Tip, you’ll never go back.

 

 2015 Rossignol 7 Seriers

 

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“The rocker revolution is here! This isn’t just a profile; it’s now a construction,” says Rossignol.  This tech is available in the 2015 Rossignol’s Temptation, Experience and 7 series (Squad, Super, Soul, Sin). The next revolution of freeride skis is here!

 

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Matix Eli Solid Shirt

Matix Eli Solid Shirt

Matix LogoMatix holds true to it’s Los Angles, California roots by creating lifestyle clothing for individuals who submerge themselves in surf and skate culture.  With true craftsmanship and inspiration from the greatest generation’s workwear styling the Matix Eli Solid Shirt is a piece that you can wear for a lifetime.

Tuck it in or leave it out with a perfect length that accommodates both preferences.  A slim fit falls smoothly from the shoulders and the 100% soft vintage wash cotton gentle hugs the midsection with comfortable room to breath.  Contrasting buttons, hem detailing, and collar finishes will make any man feel like a king.  Know that the garments you wear should be as perfect as you are.  [PURCHASE]

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Sneak Peek at 2015 K2 Fastplant Snowboard

k2 Snowboards and SkisAfter taking a 5-year hiatus, the 2015 K2 Fastplant reemerged at this year’s SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Trade Show in Denver with a wild new look and fresh tech. At first glance of the board’s groovy psychedelic aesthetics, K2 onlookers appeared dazed and confused as if they just came from a Hate-Ashbury festival.  But this freestyle-focused board is more than just a snippet from a Timothy Leary dream; it’s a confidence building machine that’s packed with every modern tech feature. So whether you’re looking to better your butters or shred the piste out of the mountain, the K2 Fastplant is the board that will make every adventure a memorable one.

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Hunter, global brand director at K2, talks about the inspiration behind the Fastplant and how it embodies the mantra of “Seek and Enjoy.” Whatever adventure you seek, feel confident knowing that K2 has loaded this board with more technology than whiskey loaded John Belushi.  The Fastplant has a freestyle baseline, Tweakends, ICG 20 carbon fibers, carbon web, Boombayah core and ollie bar to bring you the most popilicious park board on the market. In fact, the Bambooyah core is so uber-durable that K2 offers a 5-yr warranty on it.  Now that’s confidence! K2 understands that each shredder seeks different adventures, so let the Fastplant be your sherpa and go enjoy whatever terrain moves you.

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K2 Rep Brian shows off the Faceplant at The House.

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SUP Safety Tips

paddleboarding Stand up paddleboarding (check out our selection of SUP here) has become the fastest growing water sport in the world. It’s accessible to most, relatively safe, a good upper body workout, and of course, loads of fun. You can SUP on lakes of all sizes, oceans, rivers and reservoirs. With the rise in popularity, many paddleboarders often forget that being on a paddleboard requires the same safety precautions and vigilance as any other activity in the water. There is never a better time to brush up on some paddleboarding tips and most importantly, water safety practices. First off, every paddle boarder should know that any SUP over 10 feet  in length is considered a vessel when used “beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area.” That means that a paddle  board must follow the same rules as any other size boat, from cruise ship to sail boat, in open waters. Paddle boarders must be prepared, alert and follow the same precautions as all other vessels. The first rule is that all stand up paddle boarders must wear a have a life jacket on board. Check out these other important safety guidelines to practice while paddle boarding. Click here for more information about Stand Up Paddleboard regulations.IMG_6931

  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Carry a whistle that will work when wet so that you can be heard if you get in trouble.
  • Be a competent swimmer. If you’re not comfortable with your swimming skills, paddle board in swimming areas where the water is shallow.
  • Never paddle further away from the shore than you can swim.
  • Know how to self rescue. If you fall off, simply grab the board with both hands and pull your chest over the board. Then swing your legs around and get back up. Almost any person of any size can perform this maneuver, but practice self rescue before heading out too far.
  • Know how to tow another board.
  • Familiarize yourself with local water rules and regulations.
  • Understand the elements and hazards of the water and nearby coast – winds, tidal ranges, current and terrain.
  • Practice defensive paddle boarding. Do not paddle where you aren’t supposed to be and avoid other swimmers, boaters, paddle boards.
  • Use proper blade angle to be the most efficient paddle boarder.

 

Stand Up Paddling – Tips and Techniques

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While it looks easy enough, it’s important that you know how to properly stand on, paddle and turn your stand up paddle board. Dialing in your SUP paddle technique will ensure the best experience possible on the water. The right skills will allow you to be efficient, safe and to soak up all that paddle boarding has to offer. Remember that it takes time to create new habits with the body, so whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned paddler, keep practicing proper technique until it becomes second nature. You don’t want to slip into bad habits that could lead to danger or cause you to tire quicker.

Stance Basics

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s important to maintain proper balance while on the board to maximize your movements and efficiency. You must maintain balance and remain upright on the board.  So always remember to:

  • Keep your head and shoulders steady, relaxed and upright. Shift weight to turn by moving hips.
  • Balance with your hips rather than your upper body
  • Keep your knees bent
  • Don’t look down. Look at the horizon or where you paddling to.
  • Balance becomes easier when the board gains some momentum. It’s like riding a bike. Balancing on a bike that is still or barely moving is extremely challenging.

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 Types of Stances

Parallel Stance – Great for beginner paddle boarders and long hauls in flat water

  • Feet should be parallel to one another, about hip width distance apart.
  • Center your feet between the rails (AKA edges). Distribute your body weight evenly between both feet, try not to put too much on the toes or heels.
  • Always keep toes pointing forward and knees slightly bent.
  • Easy to Paddle on both sides of the board
  • Lacks forward and back control

Surf Stance – Great for surfing and quick pivot turns.  

  • Stagger your feet like you are shredding on a surfboard, skateboard, or snowboard.
  • Great forward and back control which is ideal for staying on a wave.
  • Lacks side to side control

Kung Fu Stance – Great for Whitewater paddle boarding and choppy conditions. 

The Kung Fu or Aikido stance offers you the best of both worlds by providing 360 degrees of stability and control.

  • Like the parallel stance you keep you feet parallel to the board.
  • One foot is positioned in front and the other is positioned behind the center point of the board.
  • Ideal for choppy water, whitewater, and entering a surf zone or any time you need additional balance.
  • It is harder to paddle on both sides of the board.

Paddling Stroke

Now that you have the whole balance thing down, it’s time to put your paddle to good use. Stand up paddling is loads more fun when you know how to paddle properly and efficiently. Let’s get started.

  • When paddling on the left, the left hand will be on the shaft (lower), while the right hand will be gripping the T-bar.
  • Push down on the paddle to grip with your top hand.
  • Twist from your torso while keeping your arms straight. Work on using your core (or entire torso) rather than your arms. Abs are much stronger than arms!
  • Reach for the nose of your board, plant the paddle in the water, and completely push the blade below the surface. Pull it back to your ankle then out of the water.
  • To start, keep your strokes fairly short and close alongside the board. Overpowering when you first start out will more than likely lead to poor technique. Start small to become a stronger paddler.
  • Don’t forget to reverse hand positions when you switch sides!

Paddling Turns

There are three basic SUP turns…

  • Sidestroke or forward stroke– Simply paddle on one side until the nose turns in the direction you want to go. To make a right turn, paddle on the left. Want to turn left? Paddle on the right.
  • Backpaddle – To reverse direction or to make a quick turn, drag the paddle or paddle backwards on either side of the board. You’ll feel some resistance and notice that the board will slow down. Form here, you can paddle to which ever direction is desired.
  • Sea (“c”) stroke or sweep stroke– Plant your paddle towards the front of the board and take a long sweeping stroke towards the tail. This is sometimes called a sweep stroke.

Top Ten Skis for 2015

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Next Years Best Planks Range from Park to Powder

At the close of the 2013/2014 season, as I put skis and boots into storage for their summer slumber, even as I prepare for the river, for hiking and biking trails, for camping and backpacking, I can not help but to look longingly into the future toward the turns that await next ski season. Luckily, I spent a lot of time this season chatting with ski designers and engineers as well as some QT on 2015 skis. Here is my list, in no particular order, of the Top Skis for the 2014/2015 Ski Season.

 

The One to Rule Them AllThe 4FRNT Devastator

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The New Seth Morrison Pro ModelThe K2 Annex 118

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The New JP Auclair Pro ModelArmada JJ  2.0

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The New Wiley Miller Pro ModelThe 4FRNT YLE

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The All New SeriesThe Line Supernaturals

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The Biggest SurpriseThe Nordica Helldarado

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The Weapons Salomon Q Series

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The New F*ckin’ Bobby Brown Pro ModelThe Salomon NFX

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Ongoing DominationRossignol 7 series 

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The New Look for Jossi Wells’ Pro ModelThe Atomic Infamous

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By: Paddy O’Connell

Top 5 Sleeping Bags

Best Sleeping Bag Hero

Top 5 Sleeping Bags

What goes into picking out the Top 5 Sleeping Bags?  A lot of sleep.  This great assortment of bags spans a wide range of needs, designs, and of course budgets.  There’s a lot of hype surrounding camping gear these days and we cut through the mud by selected the Top 5 Sleeping Bags that you’ll want most.  Take your time, snuggle in, and browse through the randomly ordered list.

 

Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15 Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15 Sleeping Bag

The Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15 Sleeping Bag snuggles into Big Agnes‘ classic series of down bags that offer extreme warmth, tight compressibility, and big comfort.  The Lost Ranger 15’s built in pillow pocket holds a fleece perfectly and the integrated full pad sleeve allows for any 20″ rectangular sleeping pad to be slipped into place – imagine staying on your sleeping pad all night and not slipping off! [PURCHASE]

Temperature Rating:  15° F
Weight:  2 lbs. 14 oz.
Insulation Type:  DownTek – Water Repellant Down – 650 Fill – 14.5 oz.

 

 

Eureka Cimarron 15 Sleeping Bag

Eureka Cimarron 15 Sleeping Bag

Fleece Pillow Pocket, yep that’s right – head resting doesn’t get any more comfortable than that.  Eureka‘s ThermaShield synthetic insulation combined with a full zipper draft tube are a few things that attributes to the Cimarron 15’s successful warmth.  The Eureka Cimarron 15 Sleeping Bag is the perfect sleeping bag for under $100.  It weighs slightly more than the rest of the bags on this list, but for the price point it can’t be beat.  [PURCHASE]

Temperature Rating:  15° F
Weight:  4 lbs. 1 oz.
Insulation Type:  ThermaShield Synthetic – 2 lbs. 10 oz.

 

 

 

Kelty SB 35 Sleeping Bag

Kelty SB 35 Sleeping Bag

Simply put the Kelty SB 35 Sleeping Bag is a show stopper.  As an active part of the Kelty TraiLogic Collection the SB 35 Sleeping Bag stays dry 10 times longer, stays warmer by retaining 170% more loft, and dries 33% faster with the incredible 800-fill DriDown insulation.  The Kelty SB 35 Sleeping Bag is one of the lightest sleeping bags on the market – it’s a must have for hiking in to a spot.  [PURCHASE]

Temperature Rating:  32° F
Weight:  1 lbs. 9 oz.
Insulation Type:  DriDown – Hydrophobic Down – 800 Fill – 11 oz.

 

 

 

Marmot Trestles Sleeping Bag

Marmot Trestles 15 Sleeping Bag

With enough room to swim in the Marmot Trestles 15 Sleeping Bag is one of the roomiest of the bunch.  With a trapezodial foot box and large entry (full length zip on one side and 1/4 length zip on the other) this Marmot bag is easy to love.  If the Trestles 15 happens to get damp or wet the SpiraFil Synthetic Down will continue to regulate heat and keep the bag warm.  Although its compression size is a little large than most the price point is tough to beat on just a well rounded bag.  [PURCHASE]

Temperature Rating:  15° F
Weight:  3 lbs. 14.25 oz.
Insulation Type:  SpiraFil – Synthetic Down

 

 

Mountain Harwear Pinole Sleeping Bag

Mountain Hardware – Pinole 20 Sleeping Bag

For a 20° F bag the Mountain Hardware Pinole 20 Sleeping Bag does wonders with warmth because of the offset quilted construction and tailored face gasket.  A trapezoidal footbox, ample shoulder and hip room provides everything you need for a comfortable night’s sleep under the stars.  Every once and a while a sleeping bag fits just right, and the Mountain Hardware Pinole 20 Sleeping Bag is one of them at a price that amazing.   [PURCHASE]

Temperature Rating:  20° F
Weight:  3 lb. 3 oz.
Insulation Type:  Thermal.Q – Synthetic Down