Gear that will improve your Hut Trip

With the S.I.A. Snow Show being held in Denver this year, I was able to go and check out some of the latest innovations in skis, boots, clothes and gadgets. My main focus was to find things that would improve a hut trip experience. In terms of changes to skis, there were a few different concepts on how to improve the trudge up the mountain. These ranged from reducing the weight of the skis, creating hybrid skis, or making skis more efficient. Most manufacturers were working on hybrid models that grabbed the best of different technologies and try to wrap them up into a new product.
Goode: The World's Lightest Skis
After a few miles on the trail, as I begin to feel the weight of my skis, I start contemplating what it would be like to skin up on some more traditional skinny telemark skis? I justify the extra weight of my downhill skis because of the control I will have skiing once I get to the hut. So when Dave Goode told me that I can have the best of both worlds, I listened. He mentioned that taking a pound off your skis is the equivalent of fifteen off your back! Goode Skis are 100% Carbon Fiber, cutting the weight in 1/2 (they weight between two and three pounds) while having twice the physical properties of conventional fiberglass / wood skis. What this means is a lot of drag on your way up while having the confidence on traditional downhill skis on the way down - Goode claims to reduce the uphill climbing effort by 50% using the Carbon 95. Of course, this isn't going to make your pack lighter (that is still your responsibility), but such a serious improvement in efficiency is worth the consideration. Because of the strength of the Carbon Fiber, Goode claims a very stable ride down all off-piste terrain as well as performing amazingly well on packed snow conditions, too. As you can expect, these improvements don't come cheap, with a pair of skis starting at $1,000.

Rossignol: Downhill Ski with Positrack Base
Rossignol had an entire section devoted to it's back country line. I was able to see their new BC125 metal edge touring ski. The ski has a cross-country construction, which makes it lightweight, and a Postitrack braking system so no skins are required. The BC125 will be available in a 165 and 165 Soft Camber. While the ski deviates from the shape of the currently available BC 90, 70 or 65, and look like a typical downhill ski, including the edge, the ski does share the same positrack base and the currently available models. From my perspective, for most hut trips, you are going to need skins, even with positrack. However, there are times on each trip where skins are overkill. I have experimented with using nordic waxes on my skis to help ease the friction, but they have never worked out. During the late season hut trips, when gobs of snow collect under your skins creating all that extra friction, this ski was exactly what I was wishing for. There is no doubt they would be beneficial on the road up to Uncle Bud's Hut, the road to Fulford, on the way to Polar Star, most of the terrain hiking between Uncle Bud's and Tenth Mountain. These skis will be available next ski season.