“Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die tomorrow”
December 29, 2020 I just left the place I have called home for my whole life to go off and live out of my 1992 Honda Accord for the next 3 months, spirits are high.
I have decided to call it the IKONic Trip, get it? Cause I am riding at all the Ikon Pass resorts in western America. And this IKONic Trip is about to be the best 3 month of my life, and I don’t even know it yet
This journey begins in Jackson, WY
I arrive in the town of Jackson not knowing anyone or even where I’ll be staying the night. Luckily after finding a local ski shop and asking the local ski bums the let me in on the spots.
It took about the first week to figure out how this whole ski bum thing works. My sleep schedule was off, my eating was off, and I had no idea what to do with myself.
Luckily about a week in I got a random Instagram DM out of the blue
This simple DM got me connecting into the Jackson Hole community and really launched me right into full ski bum mode. I started waking up at 7 am to get those early turns, and even 5:30 one morning to get on first tram.
There are way too many fun moments to recount them all so I’ll share one of my favorite days.
It was the morning of January 6th and my alarm goes off at 5:30 am. I didn’t sleep great given that it was right around 0°F all night, but I know that in a couple hours I won’t regret this early wake up time
I arrive at the trail head of with todays athlete, Sophia Schwatz.
I am scrambling to get all my gear ready to go with my half frozen fingers, but I can’t stop to warm them up because we have a sunrise to catch.
As a photographer power poles are usually my arch nemesis, but in this case they stick out like giants and make a very cool scene.
We keep skinning along until we finally hit the saddle and then I see it, an inversion!
Coming from Montana we don’t get inversions all that much so this was extra special to me. I get my camera out and prepare capture all this moment has to offer.
As quick as the sunrise began, it dissipated into the just a simple morning sun. But somehow the day still wasn’t over! We still had a jump session ahead of us.
With a soft landing and a jump already made for us Sophia absolutely threw it down for the shots!
Now the day was finally wrapping up and I couldn’t wait to get to the computer and start editing!
I had way too many amazing stories to put them all in this single blog so I’ll just let a small photo gallery do the rest of the talking:
What a perfect place to start off my trip!
Number of car malfunctions: 2
Coldest night: -5 °F
Number of nights in my car: 11
Tim Durtchi’s photographed: 1
Cool people met: 9
Picture taken: 1.9k
Hot springs enjoyed: 1
That pretty much wraps up my time in Jackson, WY. I wouldn’t replace it for anything, but I had other places to explore! Stay tuned to hear about Part 2 in Colorado! *Spoiler* It only got colder
Now that I have a couple days on my new pair of G3 Ion 12 bindings I wanted to talk about some of my first impressions.
My biggest concern before using them
The number one concern I had (and most skiers have) about pin bindings in general is if they will actually hold me in when I ski hard.
Now I only have about 3 days on these skis, but I was not holding back on any of those days.
To the left you can see me dropping a 15 ft cliff on these bindings. The snow I landed on was about 3 inches of soft slushy/powdery snow with a rather hard base.
To my enjoyment when I landed, and it wasn’t a gentle landing, the skis stuck around.
Some of the things I was excited for
Before these binding, I was primarily using shift bindings. While they worked just fine for me, they defiantly have some compromise.
Ease of use
I really love how intuitive the Ion bindings are.
I am especially loving the ability to transition at the top of my line from skin mode to downhill without removing my skis. This was not possible with the shift bindings.
Another cool ease of use feature is the boot stopper. Its a small piece of rubber that lines your boot up perfectly with the pins.
A second riser
This is pretty specific to my situation coming from the shift bindings, but having that second riser is a life saver.
While I have taken these bindings on some big missions already, I am sure I still have a lot to learn about them.
So far I would defiantly recommend them to anyone looking to upgrade they backcountry setup without much compromise on the downhill.
A cool feature I discovered on my 3rd day was the ability to clip your poles into your bindings as shown to the right.
Simply open the pins up, make sure the back turret in in downhill mode, and place the poles into place. Then all you got to do is lock the front pins and your poles aren’t going anywhere. Pretty useful for some short walks with skis on the shoulders.
It matters little how much equipment we use; it matters much that we become master of all we do use.
This week I wanted to do another quick gear review on a piece of gear that has stuck with me almost my whole ski career and that is a pair of G3 Via ski poles. NOT SPONSORED
Ski poles are something that we hardly ever think about until something goes wrong with them.
And that is exactly why I love my pair of Via pole so much. I have whacked countless cornices, trees, skis, and rocks with my set of poles and I am still never worried about them breaking any time soon.
I owned and snapped a pair of cheap, standard poles before I bought this pair of G3 Via’s and have never looked back since.
Some of my favorite features include:
Easily adjustable size
3 good grabbing spots if you put duct tape on (which you should be doing anyway)
Quality hand loops (they easily come off too, but never when you don’t want them to)
Nice weight / quality ratio
Good size powder basket
I really don’t know what else a ski pole can offer you other than carrying you up the mountain. (maybe some day)
A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom
Today I wanted to do a quick review on my do it all ski for the last year+
The 2020 edition of Black Crows Atris has been my every day ski for the last year now and in general I have absolutely loved them.
Some quick facts to get out of the way, I am 5′ 10″ and 140lbs. I rock the 178.3 length option on the Atris which is a little short for me, but that is what I was looking for when I got them. And if I had to define my skiing with one word it would be freeride.
Now I am not a technical kind of person so you wont be hearing about reverse camber, turn radius, twin tips, and the best wax combos to use. What I will be talking about is how the actually feel and what they best shred.
I live in South West Montana which means I am blessed with super light cold smoke powder and lots of it. And after skiing these on west coast “powder” I would defiantly say these are more suited for a lighter powder.
But on the other hand I also ski all summer, so they have seen their fair share of icy conditions. Paired with the Salomon Shift binding they have made for a surprisingly light setup for being 108 underfoot.
In the summer I value how light the Atris are for the hike up and the strong edge you can get with them for the ski down.
In the winter I love the 108 underfoot width. I find that to be the perfect width to have a blast on a powder day, but still be able to charge on a good groomer day.
Bringing me to another point, the fantastic ability of these skis to just blast through any conditions. Chowder, a little ice, the Atris don’t care.
Some of the cons I’ve seen
Can tend to be a little flaky if you’re hard on it
The backs of the skis could be a little more attuned to hold onto skin clips
They are on the more expensive side for a pair of sticks
A cool bonus is this cool pattern the snow makes when the sun and snow aligns just right
I have absolutely loves my pair of Black Crow Atris and would highly recommend them for most people. There are defiantly better skis for certain categories, such as lighter skis for backcountry, skinnier skis for icy conditions, wider skis for powder. But the Atris does it all with very little compromise.