Scarpa North America Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ouray Ice Festival Recap Part 2: Gord McArthur

Jan. 31st 2013

Dangling from a log high above, fingers frost bitten, cheering in the background, screaming voices… distinct and foreign–encouraging the fight to keep pushing, forget the fear, forget the pain, just keep moving.

Competition is a funny thing–it can be your best friend or it can be your worst nightmare… if you let it.  In the past, for me, competition climbing has brought me to my knees… from failure and success. No matter what the result, the scene, the preparation, the sacrifice before, during, and after… the “season” of competition is infinite, in that it’s always with you, around you and inside of you. It’s a battle of a lifetime.  Some say “it’s just climbing”, but until you’re in it, “up there” dangling from that log, well… it’s more than “just” climbing… it’s you, everything about you, all that you are, in the moment that you’ve prepared for– it’s all your hearts’ effort.  

I’m on a plane right now, en route to Geneva, Switzerland, for my first World Cup competition of the season. The “season” is definitely in full swing now. Back in December I began my “journey” at the Bozeman Ice Festival. I climbed fast, fluid, and then fell off a technical hold. Unlucky. I was bummed as my expectations were through the roof for that one. Hmmm… expectations… right. I’ll get back to that in a sec. Moving forward with a determined focus I changed up a few things in preparation for the Ouray Ice Festival Competition, which just took place. I climbed better, with less fear (I’ll explain the fear in a sec too), and more confidence in my ability. That worked out well (except for my fingers getting frost bitten). I’m not sure if I can say I climbed to my fullest potential, but I certainly was a lot happier with how I climbed this round. I took 5th place out of 25–which is a good result.

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Ouray Ice Festival Recap Part 1: Sam Elias

Jan. 30th 2013

The Ouray Ice Festival took place January 10-13 in Ouray, Colorado. SCARPA athlete, Sam Elias, participated in the festival competition this year wearing the SCARPA Phantom Guides. Elias shared a few thoughts on competing and his experience at the festival.

The Ouray Ice Festival is the largest ice climbing event in North America. It is also the busiest few days of the winter for the small mountain town in southwestern Colorado. I love the town, and the festival is one of my favorite climbing events to be a part of. My first experience at the festival was for the difficulty competition, and it has been a source of sweetness and suffering for me ever since. In 2008, it was my second season ice and winter mixed climbing. It was incidentally my first climbing competition ever. I took 16th, and didn’t qualify for the finals. I had no expectations or thoughts about how I should do, and it was fun, but I knew I was strong and could be good at it. In 2009, I was not invited to compete. Unlike 2008, in 2009 there was no qualifier, only a final. So, you were either invited into the final, or not. I was still inexperienced and unaccomplished. I was invited into the final in 2010, and I had a very memorable performance. I ended up topping the route in a diving, buzzer beating finish with only 2 seconds left on the clock.

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Extremely Balanced: SCARPA’s Gina Pedrett on work, family and healthy living

Jan. 22nd 2013

For decades SCARPA has been making products for athletes who reach extremes in the world of mountain adventure. But that’s not all they do, and many of the people who are a part of the international SCARPA family avoid extremes, and focus more on balance, body and a healthy way of life. So is the case for Gina Pedrett, SCARPA’s production designer, who is a central character in the company’s everyday goings on. The active wife, mother of two, and engaged outsdoorswoman has her own goals and her own rewards, which are every bit as valuable to the fabric of the SCARPA lifestyle. Let’s hear what she has to say.

You’ve been in the outdoor industry for a while. Did you always think you’d end up in this kind of work? I moved here from Missouri a week after college graduation, and first and foremost, I needed a way to support myself. After several stints and layoffs with “dot com” start-ups, I began my search for a different industry. I found an ad from Backcountry Access, and got my foot in the door there. I wouldn’t say I sought out this industry in the beginning, but now that I’m here, I’m a bit spoiled and can’t imagine going back to high-tech. It’s definitely more suitable to my lifestyle and attitude.

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Thin Cover Therapy: A photo journal by Ember Photo

Jan. 17th 2013

Brian Mohr and Emily Johson, SCARPA athletes and the folks behind the lens at Ember Photo and, shared a few beautiful shots from last winter with write-ups. Enjoy!

Butter Cream, Gritz…Crystalline Micro-Pow! These were just a few of the names we gave the snow under our skis while enjoying turns in one of our farming neighbor’s pastures last season. The dust-on-crust conditions from earlier that week had evolved into a surface of dense, crystalline powder that was well bonded to a firm 2-3″ base – and we had stumbled upon perfect conditions for ripping lower angle pastures. Someone counted off ten runs during our sunset session. Two thousand vertical. Cool.

Our pasture session was just the latest in a string of skiing adventures shaped by the especially thin-cover conditions prevailing in Northeast US last season. And while the snowpack remained stubbornly thin and the deep stuff was in short supply, it was by so many measures just another wonderful ski season – albeit one that forced us to be more creative than usual, to scramble when even a few snowflakes started to fly, and to slow down and simply enjoy what we had to work with.

Here are a few images to share that illustrate the thin cover therapy we endured:

Late October in Vermont we were enjoying our first sweet turns of the season on little more than a heavy frost.

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Retailer Store Shout Outs: Nordic Barn

Jan. 15th 2013

Nordic Barn

In 1992, Don Allen operated a small hiking guide business at the Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vermont. In winters, the small room was the ski shop for the resort, a spin off from the hotel for guests to rent equipment. When the hotel didn’t want the shop anymore, Don leased the room and the Nordic Barn was born.

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A brief history of the SCARPA T1, heir to the original plastic telemark ski boot

Jan. 10th 2013

When it hit the market in fall 1992, the SCARPA Terminator changed the game in telemark skiing. The world’s first plastic tele boot, the Terminator improved performance, durability and protection from the elements, not to mention changed people’s ideas about how backcountry-skiing gear could and should work.

Davide Parisotto

Direct heir to the Terminator, today’s SCARPA T1 telemark ski boot is still regarded as the vanguard in plastic telemark boots. That’s a distinguished pedigree. And – while there’s been a lot of progression and design upgrades over the years to continue to improve performance in the T1 (keep on reading for what they are) and all of the Terminator-series boots – it’s interesting, and amazing, how much the original Terminator got right more than 20 years ago when it first hit the market.

The current 2013 T1 is still one of the most sought-after performance telemark ski boots in the world. Used by progressive tele skiers like like Jake Sakson and Paul Kimbrough, the T1 sets the bar for all-around performance in four-buckle 75 mm telemark boots. SCARPA has also evolved the T1 into a boot that works for the new Rottefella NTN binding system, the Terminator X Pro.

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Ice Age: The 16th Annual Ouray Ice Festival

Jan. 8th 2013

Photo courtesy of Don Madden, WL Gore

The largest ice climbing park in North America is celebrating its 16th anniversary this coming January 10-13th. Located in the Uncompahgre Gorge, the Ouray Ice Park will welcome thousands of ice climbing aficionados, sponsors, pros and aspiring ice toolers to its frozen blue playground for what is considered the ice fest to end all ice fests.

The brainchild of ice climbing pioneer Jeff Lowe, who made the park a reality in 1996, the Ouray Ice Fest is like nothing else. “What I love about this festival,” says SCARPA Athlete Gord McArthur, “is the energy from everyone there. Whether it’s athletes, vacationing climbers, spectators, vendors, whomever—everyone is just super positive, and vibes like that create an atmosphere that is unmatched.” The Park has been owned and managed by the City of Ouray, the nonprofit Ouray Ice Park, Inc. (OIPI), and a mix of other private and public landowners, and the Ice Festival is held every year to celebrate the park and raise funds for its operation. McArthur, alongside other SCARPA athletes, Markus Beck, Kitty Calhoun and Sam Elias will be on hand teaching a variety of clinics during the festival.

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Sakson State of Mind: The aspiring pro sounds off

Jan. 2nd 2013

Jake Sakson is simply taking it as it comes. The 22-year-old professional Telemarker and SCARPA athlete is currently calling Grand Targhee Resort his home turf, and skiing as much as possible. And he’s doing just fine. The former child actor found mountains more appealing than the stage and screen, and is fully playing the part. Competing in Alpine freeskiing events on pins, he’s proven he can hold his own—making it to the podium in a deep field of talent. He’s also a rising force for the Powderwhore film company, whose irreverent, yet grassroots appeal to ski films is a welcome perspective. We got a hold of the young gun and got some insight into the Sakson state of mind.

Where did you grow up? And who first put skis on your feet? I grew up in Carbondale, Colorado. My mom first strapped skis on my feet at a small mountain called Sunlight that to this day has some of the oldest chairlifts still operating. After straight-lining my first run, my mom bought me a helmet. I guess I liked to ski fast back then too.

You grew up snowboarding and alpine skiing, what caused you make the big switch to Telemark? In the winter 2006-07, I went to high school at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, which has an amazing Telemark program. I was drawn in by my fearless leader, Kayo Ogilby. I fell in love with the turn on my first day on the hill. It reinvigorated my love for skiing.

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