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First Trip West- Extra Gear Advice Needed

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm loosing my virginity, western skiing virginity that is!

So at 44 years old I'm going to finally get to ski out west for the first time! Headed to Utah on the 27th and will ski for four days before coming back East. Plan is to ski Canyons, Alta/Bird (2 days), and either Powder Mountain or Snowbasin. I'm a strong level 7 or low level 8 skier.

I'm all set for ski gear and am just planning on taking my Watea 94's out there. Should I consider also taking a more dedicated hardpack ski like my IM77 or SS Magnums? Also good for helmet, goggles, jacket, pants and the like.

My question is about "extra" gear I could find useful. We will be exclusively inbounds and I have no avi training so I won't be investing in a beacon, shovel, probe for this trip.

I am in need of a low profile pack to carry water, snacks, and extra layers in. Was looking at the Black Diamond Bandit and it looks nice. Anyone have this pack? Also, the Avalung version is only like $40 more, is the integrated Avalung version way overkill for inbounds?

Any other low profile pack suggestions?

Any and all suggestions welcome. Sorry for the multitude of questions

Thanks in advance.

Mike
post #2 of 24
The Watea 94s should work great for just about anything you will encounter. If they happen to get one of those 2 ft.+ storms you can always rent some fatties for a day or two.

As for the pack, it is certainly not a necessity, just a personal choice. Dispite the inbounds avi death at snowbird this year, IMO the avalung feature is definitely overkill. If you plan on lots of future backcountry and/or extreme skiing it might make sense, but not for 99% of Utah inbounds skiing.

Personally I don't like skiing on-area with a pack, unless it is my slim water only camelback under my jacket. I find it a hassle when using chair lifts. I prefer a large jacket with lots of pockets for easy accessability. All of the areas you mentioned have parking lots that are not that hard to get to if you need a major gear change. OTOH, I certainly saw quite a few people skiing with packs when I hit those four areas at Christmas.

Good luck, hope you have great trip and lots of new snow. They don't call it "the greatest snow on earth" for nothing.
post #3 of 24
Skis: I haven't skied any of the boards you have, but the Watea 94's are dimensionally very close to the original Volkl Mantra. If they ski anything like the Mantra, they're all you need to take. Be sure they're tuned and waxed, it makes a difference even on/in soft snow regardless of what your western friends may tell you. They'll also tell you it gets icy out there, but, with rare exception, it's never really icy.

Pack: Can't help much there. I'd say the Avalung is a bit of overkill for inbounds (even though there have been several inbounds fatalities this year). You pretty much have to ski with the mouthpiece in your mouth if you're in avy conditions. You might consider a Camel Back type pack if the water is just for you. Drink lots of water.

One minor thing, small, racer type baskets are sometimes a pain in the butt if you're trying to push along a traverse in lot's of soft snow. Consider changing to a larger snowflake type basket if you can do that with your poles.
post #4 of 24
Bring boot dryers, it's way easier than pulling the liners and stacking gears around the hotel heat source. Nothing like a toasty warm boot in the morning.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
Bring boot dryers, it's way easier than pulling the liners and stacking gears around the hotel heat source. Nothing like a toasty warm boot in the morning.
WR: Thaks. I'm hoping that the friend we are staying with has these since I do not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALTTA View Post
Pack: You might consider a Camel Back type pack if the water is just for you. Drink lots of water.

One minor thing, small, racer type baskets are sometimes a pain in the butt if you're trying to push along a traverse in lot's of soft snow. Consider changing to a larger snowflake type basket if you can do that with your poles.
ALTTA: I'm considering an oversized Camelback pack that would hold a bladder and a few other odds and ends.

Thanks for reminding me about the baskets. I do need to pick up some powder baskets for my poles. Only have the small discs now.

Mike
post #6 of 24
Make sure you put sunscreen on in the morning. Bring lip balm.
post #7 of 24
Mike,

I used the BCA Stash, mostly for hydration & carrying extra crap for my son last year. It wasn't bad riding the lifts with it, and the hose is hidden in the strap, so it never froze.
Have fun. http://backcountryaccess.com/english...acks.php#stash
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
Thanks for reminding me about the baskets. I do need to pick up some powder baskets for my poles. Only have the small discs now.

Mike
You can get those and powder cords when you get there.

Wax for snow about 10-15 degrees colder than you do now, or runouts = unfun.

If you buy a pack, get one you can strap your boots onto, for to have them as carryon luggage.

Beavertail panels are good for this.
post #9 of 24
If you are coming from sea level the single most important thing you can do for yourself is drink ALOT (i mean a LOT) of water. So i 2nd the camelback or other hydration suggestion. especially at ALta which has a considerable amount of inbounds hiking.
post #10 of 24
Mom's right (isn't she always?). Force the water down if you have to...you can't drink enough.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
If you are coming from sea level the single most important thing you can do for yourself is drink ALOT (i mean a LOT) of water. So i 2nd the camelback or other hydration suggestion. especially at ALta which has a considerable amount of inbounds hiking.
to add to this alcohol is bad, very bad at elevation.

If you want to ski better i wouldnt drink at all the first couple days.
post #12 of 24

2nd pair

i'd bring the second (skinny) pair if your bag will accomodate.
i always do this.

alta has had 4 inches since jan 9, so sometimes that happens. also, it might be fun to try the mens/womens downhill courses out at snowbasin.

i have the watea 94s (186) and they are a great ski for the light utat powder. last trip the skiiny skis stayed in the bag as it snowed every day. other trips the skinny skis got use.

2nd pair of gloves is often nice in case you do entire day while it snows, which often happens at alta/bird. if you have them, a high intensity yellow or blue goggle is also very helpful for this type of flat light conditions.

+1 on the powder cords from someone who has spent several hours looking for a ski (found in june by hikers. alta office has a printed form to fill out, so that tells you it does happen quite often)

Vitamin I(buprofen)

camera
post #13 of 24
I brought my Mythic Riders and 8000's this week, and glad I did. Utah is a bit challenged right now, and there's nothing in the forecast until late next week. Bring your skinnies just to be sure, but not the Supershapes - if it's that bad you should stay home.

There been many excellent suggestions so far, and regarding a pack, if you really get an avalung for inbounds, you'll immediately identify yourself as a least coast gaper on his first west trip.

I use a Dakine Quad, which has been superceded, but it a smaller pack with a bladder and enough room for your necessities, which should be a couple of candy bars, extra contacts (if required), powder straps, aspirin, tanning lotion, face mask, etc. Don't get carried away.

Regarding a camera, I use a "Mountainsmith" camera case that fits onto a strap on the pack, and is immediately accessible.

The LCC and BCC thouts are correct, and if you're going to spend a day north, make it at Snowbasin.
post #14 of 24
I'm headed out there (Alta) tomorrow for a week, and with the current conditions, the Watea 94s are staying home. I am bringing my iM82s with a good edge tune. I'd bring something narrower, but the ones I own are too short for big mountain skiing. Unless the weather turns around in a big way by next week, I'd say to skip the Wateas and go with your narrower skis. You won't be doing yourself any favors skiing packed snow on 94mm waist skis all day long (especially not Wateas, which are soft snow skis). I know what you're thinking though; I am actually a bit disappointed I won't get to ski my Wateas on this trip. Maybe next time.

I would advise traveling and skiing light, with as little gear as you can get by with. I have skied with a pack in past years, but don't do it any more. Among other things, it doesn't breathe too well and gives me a sweaty patch on my back (makes the breathable shell irrelevant). Now, I try to be strategic about stashing stuff in pockets.

Drink a lot of water all the time, and be sure to eat well.

Definitely make sure you have a goggle lens you can switch to for flat light. Smith sensor or yellow lenses work well.

Have fun!
post #15 of 24

quiver versatility and your age

If the conditions are wide open, ie: could change from firm to soft and deep, more skis is always better. the age factor is this, IMO, the older you are (traces of arthritus in joints is common) the less tolerance your body will have for skiing 90mm plus on firm conditions. Putting a ski like that up on edge and riding major chatter, or not finding the sweet edge angle anywhere, will put a major hurt on your feet, ankles, up to your knees and by the end of the day: pain all the way up into your head. there, my rant on fat skis for firm snow with older bodies. and taking a major trip, why wouldn't you want your entire quiver to go to, or rent the perfect ski every day.
post #16 of 24
I wouldn't sweat the narrow-width skis. I'm skiing a 90mm waisted ski (Scott Punisher) here on the least coast and finding that I really do like them. Last Tuesday at Gore, I hit every condition from fairly bulletproof (on Fairview, a pretty steep but short run), to hardpack on Lies (a double black diamond, but overrated IMO), to man-made mank on Rumor (another double black), to death cookies on Sagamore (a way overrated black) to untracked 4" fresh in the trees. If you like the Wateas back here, why do you think you wouldn't like them in Utah? Trust me, crappy Utah conditions will be better than great PA/NY conditions unless you hit a dumper day at HoVal.

RE Altitude Sickness, the definitive post on that subject is here: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=34470
Easily the most thorough, easy to understand, and lowest BS-level article I've ever read on the subject. Because you're not going to be altitude-acclimated, you're going to want to take breaks. I would force water on the breaks and not worry about hauling your own unless you're planning to do some touring. Definitely curtail the alcohol intake - I would include the day before you leave. Also, the air on airplanes tends to be quite dry and can push you toward dehydration just sitting there. Buy some water in the airport after you go through security because the airlines won't give you enough. You can bring empty Nalgene bottles through security and fill them at the water fountains once you're through.

Powder cords are invaluable, but worthless if they're in your pack/pocket. You can lose a ski in 6" of fresh snow, so if you're skiing in anything that approaches your boot tops, I'd use the cords.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bojowilly View Post
Mom's right (isn't she always?). Force the water down if you have to...you can't drink enough.
I agree with this for the most part, but........throw in a sports drink from time to time as the increased water may deplete your potassium n such.
post #18 of 24
Can't emphasize the water enough. What I do everytime I travel out west is take 1 aspirin a day for a month or so and drink about a gallon of water a day starting 2 days before my flight. I do cut the water down a little (depending on my energy output) while I am out there but always have at least 1 water for each alcoholic beverage/beer. It works wonders!

I ski with a small Dakine pack, great for sunscreen, water bladder, snacks and extra layers.

As for the ski tuning, I get mine done when I get out there. That way they de-tune them for you. No need for a east coast edge out there. I also bring my own travel iron and wax (do it each night).
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
So, water, sunscreen, powder cords, snowflake baskets, no alcohol (tough one!), and two pairs of skis.

Anything else?

Thanks for the advice!

Mike
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
So, water, sunscreen, powder cords, snowflake baskets, no alcohol (tough one!), and two pairs of skis.

Anything else?

Thanks for the advice!

Mike
Camera, high/low light goggles or lenses, lock, travel iron for waxing, etc. You can stop in at levelninesports close to BCC and get composite poles with small and large interchangeable screw-on baskets for $27
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
Camera, high/low light goggles or lenses, lock, travel iron for waxing, etc. You can stop in at levelninesports close to BCC and get composite poles with small and large interchangeable screw-on baskets for $27
Too much stuff, IMHO. Bring the Wateas, if you need skinnier skis than that, you are not missing anything from your East Coast experience. You can buy the pow cords if they are necessary at the resort, Utah resorts sell the best pow cords anyway;-). Baskets are nice, but really, they won't make or break your skiing experience. Do bring a good sunscreen, that IS important. Pack is really a personal preference, if you don't use it now, don't sweat it. One thing to make sure though, and I don't think it has been mentioned yet- make sure that your boots are fitted well and don't bother you for a full day- if you get a pow day, it would suck to pack it in early if your toes hurt...

Mot important, have a great time, enjoy it, and good luck. Even at its worst western skiing is at least as good as East skiing on a best day. (I used to live in NewEngland before moving to CA).
post #22 of 24
Are the Wateas good in soft bumps and crud? If you miss the pow that's what you'll be skiing, unless you stay on groomer - in which case why are you in Utah.

And just in case this temp inversion holds bring a short sleeve base layer, a non-insulated shell, sunglasses you can ski in, and a helmet with good venting. You could see losts of people baking in the sun today.
post #23 of 24
check out Ortovox packs. I just picked up the Ski Plus over the holidays and am quite pleased with it. the only "flaw" is that when you load your skis up in the A-frame carry the brakes dig into your back. but this is easily solved with ski straps to hold the brakes down.

other'n that, it's a sweet, low-profile pack with two separate compartments and a back protection wad of comfortably padding.

you can pick 'em up under $100 on backcountry if you have a discount code.
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
check out Ortovox packs. I just picked up the Ski Plus over the holidays and am quite pleased with it. the only "flaw" is that when you load your skis up in the A-frame carry the brakes dig into your back. but this is easily solved with ski straps to hold the brakes down.

other'n that, it's a sweet, low-profile pack with two separate compartments and a back protection wad of comfortably padding.

you can pick 'em up under $100 on backcountry if you have a discount code.
Thanks for the advice dookey. Picked up a Ortovox E-Motion 22 this morning from backcountry. Not in love with the color, but the pack looks like it will fill my needs and has some great features, including the price.

http://www.backcountry.com/store/ORT...1342cu-in.html
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