Monthly Archives: September 2009

Ski-o-licious 2010 – Dynastar

So Frippe and I went up the Midi yesterday to put together the little video you see above. We were thinking, OK it’s a ski vid so there’s gotta be snow in the background, right? That, and the forecast for a beautiful autumn day was all I needed to pull me away from the computer to go hang out in the sun at the top of the Midi and strut around like a hotshot film producer. “Can everyone on the deck please stay quiet for three minutes while we do this take? Thank you and roll ‘em!”

Anyway, on the way up, we’re checking out climbing routes, as you do, and what do we see but fresh tracks down the Mallory! Ski tracks!! In September!!! I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the season as much as anyone, but whomever made those must have a permanent address on Planet Jones. Respect.

So we go up and do our thing – man, what a gorgeous day: climbers everywhere, paragliders launching from Mont Blanc, Japanese tourists by the truckloads – and on the way down we run into a guy with a pair of prototype skis in his hand and a huuuuuuge grin on his face. Turns out Tom designs the skis himself with recycled wood cores and a hemp top sheet and he’s pressing them here in Chamonix. Right on, Tom. More on his project in an upcoming post.

Anyway, there I was this whole time thinking I’m the only guy in town who’s got the jones, and feeling like there’s no real rush getting my 2010 ski guide up (Snell doesn’t even get their skis in the store until October), when in fact it’s as ubiquitous as the changing colors of the leaves.

So here it comes. A different brand every few days for the next several weeks (except for next week when I’ll be getting in one last blast of warm weather bolt clipping). And of course, I’ll also be throwing out a video teaser every so often ‘cause you all know how much I love the ski porn.

Autumn’s here, nights are getting colder, colors are changing. Breathe deep and smell the stoke.

Dynastar 2009/10

6ht Sense Huge, Big Dump, Pro XXL, Pro Rider

6th Sense Huge - Big Dump - Pro XXL - Pro Rider

Skis2010_Dynastar

Take one look at the Big Dump – a big, stiff ski for guys and gals with tree stumps for legs – and you’ll realize Dynastar’s Legend Series is all about charging hard. The Pro XXL and Pro Rider don’t seem to have changed much since last season when the crew in CHX  skied them and loved them: the XXL for its  all-mountain versatility and the Pro Rider for its performance as a touring and steeps ski for some, and as an all-mountain enduro for a whole lot of others.

I’m also hearing about another big ski called the 6th Sense Huge that, with the big twins, looks a lot more versatile. Frippe’s telling me it’s included in the Freestyle Series for a good reason and if you’re into spinning off big cliffs then the 6th Sense Huge is a ski you’re probably gonna want to look into.

To see Dynastar’s full line check out www.dynastar.com.

Tele Teaser Tuesday – Flakes

I know I’ve been promising and it’s finally here. A long-awaited tele teaser to serve as a reminder that you can’t be slacking this autumn or your skinny thighs are gonna pay in November when it comes time to drop knee. Flakes is the latest from a crew called Powderwhore and with a name like that you know this vid’s going to be good. Good as in how about that amazing line at 2:00.

So here’s what the boys say about the new flick:

So while we were on the road showing “The Pact” we thought we should choose a title before we even start filming and make a movie that has a recurring theme throughout. We decided we liked “Flakes” and thought we could play up the flakiness of these people we ski with, who devote their lives to telemark skiing. We also thought if we fail at showing the flakiness we can always just say we called it flakes because of snow flakes.

When the snow started to fall last winter we reverted back to the days of old where all we want to do is ski. So we didn’t end up capturing too much flakey behavior. What we did manage to capture was by far the most beautiful footage we’ve ever shot. What we thought was going to be a light hearted movie turned into a sort of art flick. Don’t get me wrong the whole movie isn’t that way at all but a few segments are very different. We still have the PW humor that will always make it in our movies.

Go the Powderwhores! And as for me, I’m heading out for a few hundred lunges before dinner. Two months (hopefully) and counting…

www.powderwhore.com

Surfer Poll Awards

Photo of the Year nominee Grant Ellis

Photo of the Year nominee Grant Ellis

OK, if you stare at this photo long enough you might begin to realize that it’s not anywhere near Chamonix and has nothing to do with skiing or climbing and what the heck is it doing on the Insider? Well, gentle reader, as I’ve said before the Insider is by, about and for the Chamonix Massif and as we head into a long snowy winter I thought I’d throw in one last blast of summer. For the Massif, doncha know. And with the recent announcement of the winners of Surfer magazine’s annual awards it seemed like a good opportunity to get a few waves on these pages. Hey, we can always dream, can’t we?

Surfer Poll Awards 2009 winners are:

Surprise Men's Winner Kelly Slater

Surprise Men's Winner Kelly Slater

Wow, now there’s a surprise. Let’s see, the guy just scored his 9th world title and he’s just been voted Greatest Surfer of All Time by his peers in Surfer’s Big Issue. Does anyone else even come close?

Women's Winner Stephanie Gilmore

Women's Winner Stephanie Gilmore

Australian and two-time world champion. That’s about all I know. Go Steph.

Best Film Still Filthy

53 cameramen, two years of filming and the best surf spots on every continent. When Billabong makes a surf film they do it right.

Other nominees:

• One Track Mind
• The Present
• BS!
• 5’5” x 19 1/4” Redux

Best Documentary Waveriders

The story of surfing in Ireland and the Irish big wave scene.

• One Track Mind
• Fly in the Champagne
• Echo Beach
• Musica Surfica

Best Cinematography The Present

• One Track Mind
• There’s No I In Go Ry
• Lost Prophets

Best Male Performance Dusty Payne  BS!

• Dane Reynolds (The Present)
• Nathan Fletcher (Lavese Las Manos)
• Andy Irons (Still Filthy)
• Wade Goodall (Still Filthy)
• Ry Craike (There’s No I In Go Ry)

Best Female Performance Chelsea Hedges  The Present
• Sofia Mulanovich (The Present)
• Kassia Meador (Dear and Yonder)
• Belinda Baggs (Dear and Yonder)
• Rochelle Ballard (Surf Into Yoga)

Best Barrel Cory Lopez  5’5” x 19 1/4” Redux
• Dan Malloy (The Present)
• Danny Fuller (Lavese Las Manos)
• Todd Morcom (Storm Surf)
• Kelly Slater (Days of the Strange)

Best Maneuver Taj Burrow, frontside air  Still Filthy

• Wade Goodall, 360 air (Still Filthy)
• Dusty Payne, Kuston Air Stike air (BS!)
• Mitch Coleborn, double-grab flip (BS!)
• Ry Craike, one-handed rodeo (There’s No I In Go Ry)

Worst Wipeout Ken “Skin Dog” Collins  BS!
• “Chris” (Surfing 50 States)
• Maya Gabeira (Dear and Yonder)

• Unknown (Destination Unknown)

• Dan Malloy (The Present)

Coors Heavy Water Nathan Fletcher  Lavese Las Manos
• Richard Fitzgerald, Gabe Davies, Alstair Mennie, Duncan Scott (Waveriders)
• Dylan Longbottom (Still Filthy)

• Todd Morcom (Storm Surf)

Breakthrough Filmmaker Tiffany Morgan-Campbell  Dear and Yonder

Photo of the Year: Secrets by Todd Glaser

Photo of the Year: Secrets by Todd Glaser

• “Sand Trap” by Clark Little
• “Sea Smoke” by Nick LaVecchia
• “Multitasking” by Brian Conley
• “Perfection” by Trent Mitchell

[Vimeo http://vimeo.com/5223766%5D

Web Clip Jordy Flip

• Dance Off
• Yazzy Arctic Surf Documentary
• Hitler Boat Trip
• Mad Clips
• Shipstern’s
• Jamie O’Brien

Sponsor Me Breakthrough Performer Brett Simpson

Ski Pass 09/10 Pt. 2 – The Best of the Rest

Val di Fassa, a mere drop in the Dolomiti Superski bucket

Val di Fassa, a mere drop in the Dolomiti Superski bucket

Man, as long as I’ve been blogging on WordPress you’d think I’d have a vague idea of how it works by now. Think again. After my initial three hour attempt at getting the below info attached to the bottom of the CHX Season Pass post I’ve given up and started with a new one.

Anyway, here’s the rest of it. Being a true Chamonerd it would take a lot to pull me away from these mountains but if something like a nuclear attack hit us and melted all the snow or all the Swedish girls left town or something equally catastrophic happened then these are a few of the places I’d consider going. For instance, check out the crazy deal on Dolomiti Superski – 460 lifts for €630! And when I saw that Ski Canada magazine awarded Best Powder, Best Trees and Best Steeps to Red Mountain I have to admit that it made me wonder, albeit for the briefest of moments, what life might be like outside the bubble.

SkiPassGryBlu

LaGrave

LaGrave

Arlberg / St Anton

Arlberg / St Anton

Verbier / 4 Vallées / Mont-Fort

Verbier / 4 Vallées / Mont-Fort

Courmayeur / Funivie Monte Bianco

Courmayeur / Funivie Monte Bianco

Granite & Red Mountain

Granite & Red Mountain

Red Mountain's Grey Basin

Red Mountain's Grey Basin

Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole

Kicking Horse

Kicking Horse

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb

The Bird

The Bird

Snowbird Mineral Basin

Snowbird Mineral Basin

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Chamonix Season Pass 09/10

Mont Blanc Unlimited / Chamonix Le Pass

Mont Blanc Unlimited / Chamonix Le Pass

SkiPassCHX
Compagnie du Mont Blanc have announced lift pass prices for the 2010 season. You’ll notice I made a bit of a table to help make sense of the different offerings. I know, I know … time for me to get a life.

Unsurprisingly there’s been a price increase over last year and while there’s dissension among the ranks – especially from local retailers who are concerned that skier visits will drop this season as a result of the financial meltdown – things aren’t as bad as they would have been thanks to the Mairie who evidently stepped in to prevent a whopping 26% increase over last year’s prices. The originally-planned increase would have made a lift ticket in Chamonix the most expensive in France.

In any case, the price issue is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, none of us wants to pay more for a season pass but on the other, higher lift ticket prices will mean fewer people to battle in Chamonix’s notorious, powder day free-for-all that makes most MMA cage fights look tame in comparison. So while it may cost you a few extra euros we can all thank the CMB for filtering out all but the most hardcore CHX junkies.

Early adapters can take advantage of a 35-40% discount by buying your pass before November 30, a preseason discount that’s both more substantial and available much later than many other ski areas (see Ski Pass 09/10 Pt. 2 – The Best of the Rest). And with the dollar at 1.48 against the euro we can forget about having to endure interminable lift rides with Americans talking smack about how hard they rip back in Tahoe. Thank the Lawd.

Good news on the halfpipe front is that when asked to build a pipe in the valley (which would both increase lift ticket sales and perhaps more importantly, support our community’s future generation of X-Games and Olympic hopefuls), the CMB responded by suggesting the €60,000 needed to build and maintain the pipe should be raised with private funding.

And the answer to your next question is … Sales for Compagnie du Mont Blanc in 2008 were €55.692 million.

Anyway, back to the lift ticket thang. For those unfamiliar with the valley and what the different passes mean, check out Chamonix Snow Report’s excellent pass value analysis based on different skier types.

For ski holidays to Chamonix and other ski holidays in France check out Inghams.