Scarpa North America Blog

Monthly Archives: February 2013

Artley Goodhart Splits Time between the booth and ice at Ouray

Feb. 28th 2013

Artley Goodhart works in the warranty department at SCARPA, but every now and then we send him out on the road to help at festivals and demo events. This year, Goodhart attended the Ouray Ice Festival and split time between the SCARPA booth and the ice, where he switched roles and tested his limits as a competitor.

As an employee for SCARPA in the warranty department, my day often includes repairing boots or helping in the distribution center with picking orders. Work often consists of average days, but every now and then I get to break out of the routine as a new project or event becomes available. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Ouray Ice Festival. I worked the SCARPA booth for most of the weekend, and then competed in a speed climbing competition on the last day.

Working this event meant that I had a place to stay in the SCARPA condo, which as any climber knows, is a huge perk. And the town of Ouray had plenty of fun stuff to do while off the clock. Being on the clock entailed hanging out in a big festival type tent setting people up with SCARPA boots to demo in the ice park. This part of the job I really enjoy. Talking about the gear with people who are pumped to try it out is great, and it motivates me.

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Up the Ante: The Powder Keg Backcountry Ski Race’s new Triple Crown

Feb. 26th 2013

In two weeks Brighton Ski Resort will host the 11th annual Powder Keg, a backcountry race fest of speed, strength and endurance. Racers from all over the Wasatch will descend on Brighton for a weekend of uphill ski running glory. With Race, Rec and Heavy Metal (think Volant Spatulas with 1st generation Fritschis) divisions, backcountry types of all creeds are welcome to participate or cheer on their favorite competitors.

New this year is a Triple Crown, three-race format, beginning with a sprint race on Friday, the main event on Saturday, and a technical team race on Sunday. With three full days of sweat, spandex and skin glue, it’s the biggest event of its kind in the US. Race organizer Chad Brackelsberg believes the race has earned the extension. “It’s becoming more European, where some races consist of multi-day events.”

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Will Gadd’s Favorite Ice Festivals: Modern Day Tribal Celebrations

Feb. 21st 2013

I’ve been going to ice climbing festivals for going on 20 years, and I’ve started to notice some themes at these tribal celebrations. Each one is a gathering of the climbing community; I romanticize these gatherings as the modern-day equivalent of the great tribal Pow Wows of centuries past, where the First Nations elders would tell stories, the youngsters would show off their physical prowess through games of skill, and the guy who sold the beer would do very, very well. Today’s festival communal bonfire is the slide show, and the games of skill are represented in the competitions, formal and informal, that always take place. Small sub-groups split off into bars, romances are kindled and broken, children conceived and plans made for hunting the mythical big ice climbs lurking over the horizon like the bison of old. Like I said, it’s a romantic comparison, but I believe in the idea of climbing tribes that are normally spread thin, gathering in celebration of a common idea: climbing icicles.

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Steady As She Goes: Big mountain backcountry skier Kellie Okonek sounds off on injury, engineering and striking that even balance

Feb. 19th 2013

Kellie Okonek

Kellie Okonek is out for the season, thanks to a blown anterior cruciate ligament, but she’s already had a bigger start that most of us, having just returned from a trans-Pacific tour to southern Japan, so she’s not sweating it. The Alaskan engineer turned ski mountaineer is on the recovery, but nevertheless remains in the full stride of life. We were able to get a hold of her post-surgery, and get some insight on the coming year as her knee heals and plans unfold.

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VertFest 2013: a Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle

Feb. 14th 2013

Is cabin fever gettin’ you down? Then break out of your slump and keep the winter stoke going by heading to Alpental, Washington for the 7th annual Vertfest, sponsored in part by SCARPA North America.

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Retailer of the Month Shout Out: Down Wind Sports

Feb. 12th 2013

You wouldn’t think the small town of Marquette, Michigan, which boasts a population of 19,000, would be home to a thriving outdoor store that got its start in the late 70s by selling pre-cut down sewing kits and Hobie Cat sailboats. But then again, why not? Down Wind Sports has become quite the institution, and a central character in the growing adventure community of the U.P.

A stone’s throw from the Canadian border, the modest town of Marquette is located on the south shore of Lake Superior, home to some of the world’s best ice climbing you’ve never heard of. It also has downhill skiing, cross country skiing, mountain biking, climbing, sailing, sea kayaking and, because you can, shipwreck diving. With such impressive natural terrain in the area, locals have thrived here in the last several decades. And Down Wind has been a large reason why that’s happened.

Originally opened by Dennis and Nancy Henderson in 1976, Down Wind Sports was purchased in 1998 by three long-time employees Bill Thompson, Jeff Strasser and Todd King. “Having three partners goes against every business plan I’ve ever read,” says Thompson, “but from our perspective it works.” And it does. There are currently two Down Wind Sports shops: downtown Marquette, and the DWS “North” store, located in Houghton.

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The new Gea RS: It’s not just cosmetic surgery

Feb. 8th 2013

At SCARPA, we believe that plastic reconstructive surgery can have long-term benefits. One good example: the Gea RS, our upgraded top of the line women’s Alpine Touring boot. The RS means “Renn Sport” in German, or racing sport. It’s a way of saying they rule on the downhill. But, ladies, bare in mind they still maintain a 37-degree range of motion for all-out tourability. The new bright colors separate it for sure, but the body of the boot is comprised of Polyamide instead of Pebax, which has a slightly higher strength to weight ratio, giving the RS a 120 flex index (20% advantage) over the original Gea’s 100 flex; yet it only adds 1.4oz (40g) in additional weight—about as much as a gel pack.

Two slight modifications in the Gea RS include the Zeus buckles, which help to increase power and cuff closure, and the Predator RS instep heel retention, providing supreme heel hold and bolstering the tongue stiffness. Like its predecessor, the RS’s progressive flex provides both sensitivity and power transmission to the ski edges in situations when precision turns are paramount. Because backcountry conditions include the worst as much as the best in snow quality, the additional security of the RS is a welcome addition when you’re staring down a snowfield of blower pow—or breakable crust.

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Backcountry Babes

Feb. 6th 2013

Backcountry Babes was founded in 1996, as “Babes in the Backcountry”, by 3x national champion telemark skier, Leslie Ross. At the time, Leslie noticed the lack of women participating in recreational activities, outdoor sports and backcountry excursions. She wanted to create a business that would provide instructional opportunities and adventures specifically for women.

In 2011, Leslie sold the company to one of her alumni, Jenna Boisvert, who renamed the company Backcountry Babes. It still operates with the same philosophy that Leslie believed in: to be mentors and guides for women in the outdoors. There they can learn new skills, develop confidence, have new experiences and share in adventures that build friendships and camaraderie. Backcountry Babes understands that women are naturally more reluctant to try things and have less confidence in their abilities than men. They try to provide communication and the emotional support that women need to gain the confidence to be able to increase their abilities.

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