52 goEast Resolutions for 52 Weeks of 2020

With the new year approaching, it’s time to start looking ahead and planning our next outdoor adventures. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of our favorite articles from the past year to put together the ultimate outdoor-focused list of New Year’s resolutions. Put these ideas on your to-do list for 2020.

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Winter 2020

  1. Ski the wrong way (or is it the right way?) and go uphill at the resort.
  2. Get a great night’s sleep in Siberian-like weather.
  3. Spark joy by getting organized.
  4. Explore an abandoned ski resort—on skis.
  5. GBA: Granite Backcountry Alliance or Great Backcountry Areas? You decide.
  6. Sharpen your skills on some easy ice climbs.
  7. Brush up on these basics before tackling the Rockpile.
  8. Sleep in the snow like a star.
  9. Ski Tuckerman Ravine like a guide.
  10. Take your hiking above the trees.
  11. Don’t let winter keep your four-legged friends from hiking.
  12. Keep your puffy looking pristine.
  13. Get on New York’s super-highway of skiing.

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Spring 2020

  1. Cook up some haute cuisine on an early season camping trip.
  2. Paddle to a sweet campsite for you and your kayak.
  3. Kick off hiking season on Cape Cod.
  4. Enjoy the ultimate pairing of recreation and relaxation: bikes and brews.
  5. Send in the Gunks like a guide.
  6. Break in your camping gear on these early season overnighters.
  7. Lay low this mud season.
  8. No joking matter, stay safe on April Fools Day.
  9. Don’t dirty the reputation of hikers, play properly in the mud.
  10. Get out of the rock gym and climb outside!
  11. Go on a hike that everyone will enjoy.
  12. Perfect your picture taking and add some action shots to your Insta account.
  13. Get down and dirty trail running.

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Summer 2020

  1. Add a pitch of paddling to your rock climbing.
  2. Take your running off road.
  3. Develop your dirtbag skills and learn how to find free car camping.
  4. Slide into summer on this off-the-beaten-path adventure climb.
  5. Hike the White Mountains’ most historic trail.
  6. Beat the heat and find cool climbing at warm-weather destinations.
  7. Style singletrack this summer.
  8. A trip with “great” in its name is a trip worth taking.
  9. Hunt for history in New Hampshire’s Presidentials.
  10. Take a short paddle on the longest canoe trip in the Northeast.
  11. Go on a multi-sport adventure across the Empire State.
  12. Storm the Adirondacks and hike a hurricane.
  13. Run Rhode Island, along the City by the Sea’s coastline.

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Fall 2020

  1. Visit New England’s neighbor to the north.
  2. Peep these trails and avoid Franconia Notch’s busy parking lots.
  3. Get the beta on building a rack and gear up for Sendtember and Rocktober.
  4. Step up your hiking on Acadia’s legendary ladder trails.
  5. Go fast and light this fall.
  6. Don’t let these simple mistakes keep you from sending.
  7. The only thing frightening about this New Hampshire ghost town is that you haven’t visited.
  8. Find heaven and hell on the Catskill’s most challenging trail.
  9. Step away from the NH48 and hike one of these 4,000-footers that didn’t make the cut.
  10. Break away from the grind on one of these shorter thru-hikes
  11. Or, go for a long paddle
  12. Or, take an even longer long road trip.
  13. Just remember, you’re never too old for adventure.

 

Of course, this list is just a starting point. If you need even more inspiration, you’ll find 52 more adventures on our 2019 list, and 52 more on our 2018 list.


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The book of pow is deep and steep…


10 Tips for Staying Warm While Backcountry Skiing

It gets cold in the Northeast. Unbearably cold, sometimes. But low temps shouldn’t be an excuse for missing that next backcountry powder day. Read on for 10 tips for staying warm this winter while backcountry skiing.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

1. Don’t Dawdle in the Parking Lot

Arrive ready to go—dressed, skins on, and fully packed—so that you can jump right out of the car onto the skin track. Screwing around in the parking lot ensures you’ll start your tour off too cold.

2. Start a Little Cold

Starting overdressed is a certain way to overheat, guaranteeing damp baselayers for the rest of the tour. It also ensures that 10 to 15 minutes into the day, you’ll need to stop and de-layer, starting a cycle of body temperature fluctuations that are difficult to manage.

3. Timely Layering

Everybody knows that layering is key to staying warm in the backcountry. But an underrated aspect of this process is knowing where and when to add or subtract a layer. For example, on the steep climb up a Tuck’s gully, don’t wait until you’re already roasting from the climb to shed that outer layer. Likewise, on something like Mount Moosilauke, which has a lengthy above-tree line segment, pause below treeline to add appropriate gear before venturing into the cold, windy terrain above.

4. Lots of Lightweight Layers

Instead of carrying a few heavy layers, carrying a variety of lightweight layers allow greater adaptability to conditions. For example, carrying two lightweight puffies instead of a single heavy one is a favorite backcountry ski trick, especially if one of those puffies is made with active insulation. On particularly cold days, this allows you to wear a puffy in the skin track or slide it under your shell on the descent, rather than reserving it for transitions.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

5. Pack for Success

Pack the layers you’ll use most often near the top of your bag so the whole group doesn’t have to pause while you dig that critical piece out of the bottom of your pack. Likewise, stash essentials like gels, a hat, and a buff in your pockets—this way you can get an energy boost and warm up on the move, without stopping to take off your pack.

6. Plan Group Breaks

Instead of everybody on the tour taking haphazard breaks, get the group on board with regular group breaks—we like to plan hourly breaks or at obvious transitions (up/down or significant terrain changes). This is a great way to improve group efficiency and keep everybody moving and warm.

7. Fuel Up

It’s difficult to stay properly fueled in the winter—you burn more calories, you don’t realize how much you’re perspiring, and you lose fluid through respiration. Dehydration + hunger is a certain recipe for getting cold, so make sure to eat and drink at every break to keep the furnace burning and the stoke high.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

8. Some Like it Hot 

Water not cutting it or freezing in your bottle? Try a thermos filled with a hot drink—it’s one of our favorite mid-outing pick-me-ups. Store your drink of choice in a Hydro Flask so that it’s hot when you want it. Likewise, a sippable soup in an insulated container is a lot more appealing than a frozen Snickers bar.

9. Do Your Homework

Pick the right tour for the forecast and snowpack, then research your route so you’ll stay on track. (Looking for more ski touring tips? Check out What Guides Think About Before Ski Touring in Tuckerman Ravine.) For example, there’s no need to sit on the couch because it’s freezing in the Presidentials; some great cold-weather options are Mount Cardigan and Granite Backcountry Alliance glades like Maple Villa and Crescent Ridge. They’re all at much lower elevations and minimize wind chills by staying mostly in the trees.

10. Pack a Dry Set of Clothes for the Ride Home

There’s nothing worse than driving home in damp baselayers. Ever so slowly, that dampness sucks out your energy, delaying your recovery for tomorrow’s powder day. Whenever you finish your tour, change into a dry set of clothes right away.

Do you have any tricks for staying warm while ski touring? If so, we want to hear them! Leave them in the comments below, so we can all stay warm this winter.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

A Laborer We Love: The Black Diamond Dirt Bag Glove 

Mark Twain famously said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.” This feels particularly true in winter, when a day of snow is just as likely to be followed by a day of the dreaded “wintry mix” as it is by one well below freezing. While winter weather in the northeast is consistently inconsistent, one thing you can count on is finding us wearing the Black Diamond Dirt Bag Glove on any given adventure. Here are five reasons why the Dirt Bag Glove is a proven performer and ready to go to work for you or your loved ones this winter.

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1. They’re a Great Ski Partner 

A ski-specific upgrade to the classic work glove found at your local hardware store, the Dirt Bag has proven to be an ace partner over the course of numerous winters, equally at home in mid-winter skin tracks on Mount Moosilauke as it is bashing through slushy spring snow in Tucks. Black Diamond designed the Dirt Bag Glove “with the needs of skiers in mind,” which is something we can attest to—from ripping skins and gripping ski poles to cracking après beers in the parking lot, these gloves are remarkably adept. This is because, unlike most ski gloves (which are cut to grip a pole), the Dirt Bag is shaped to fit an open or closed hand.

2. They Play Nice on Ice

Although the Dirt Bag Glove was built for skiers, we find many of the qualities that make it such a valuable companion on the slopes also help it excel in numerous other winter sports. For example, the glove’s dexterity combined with its fleecy lining make it a natural for ice climbing something like Trap Dike or Shoestring Gully—offering just enough warmth to keep the screaming barfies at bay while providing the range of motion necessary for the mechanics of climbing such as swinging tools, placing screws, building anchors, and managing the belay station. As an added bonus, the stretchy fabric cuffs keep snow and ice from sneaking into the gloves while sealing out cold air.

Credit: TIm Peck
Credit: TIm Peck

3. They’re Comfy on Hikes

The Dirt Bag glove provides the perfect amount of warmth for winter hiking in the White Mountains, especially below treeline. From packing in the parking lot to pulling on microspikes, the Dirtbag Glove is a workhorse piece of our hiking kit. We especially love the low profile for holding onto trekking poles and their robust leather construction when gripping trees and boulders while navigating particularly treacherous sections of trail, such as on portions of the Lion Head Winter Route or Franconia Ridge in the winter.

4. They Make Short Work of Chores 

The Dirt Bag Glove was built for the guys and girls bumping lifts, handling sleds, and clearing snow who want one glove to do it all, but aren’t looking to cut into their beer budget by buying new gloves every few weeks. We love that the Dirt Bag glove seamlessly transitions from our skiing/climbing/hiking kit to digging out the driveway for powder days in a GBA Glade and hauling snow-covered logs in for drying out our gear by the fireplace.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

5. They’re Heavy Duty But Light on the Wallet 

Money is better spent on adventures and après than replacing gloves. Made with super-durable goat leather and treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish, the Black Diamond Dirt Bag Glove has stood up to years of abuse. In fact, unlike much of our ski gear, even our oldest pairs of Dirt Bag gloves have escaped the dreaded duct tape. The best part is that they cost under $50, putting them within reach of even the most diehard patrollers, lifties, dishwashers, and dirtbags living their ski and outdoor dreams.


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Mikaela Shiffrin is undefeated in the Killington slalom.


Everything You Need to Know About Uphill Skiing

Uphilling at the resort is one of the fastest-growing winter sports—and early winter, before there’s snow in the backcountry, is the perfect time to try it. Whether you’re looking to learn the skills required for backcountry travel in a lower-consequence setting or just get some early-season elevation in your legs, uphilling should have a place in your quiver this winter.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

Why Uphill?

Like so many alpine activities, uphilling has long been popular in Europe, but is rapidly increasing in popularity in the US. Today, more than half of North American resorts allow uphill skiing. In New England, the reasons to embrace the uphill are numerous.

Reliable Conditions: Let’s face it, the truth is that Northeast snow is unreliable. Some seasons it comes late, some seasons it never comes, and some seasons are interrupted by a mid-winter thaw. Snowmaking and grooming keep the resort a reliable option most winters.

Early Season: It’s the rare (and coveted) year that the backcountry season gets started with a huge November dump. A great thing about uphilling at the resort is that once it’s cold, there’s usually man-made snow on the ground, meaning you can get skinning immediately (subject, of course, to resort-specific restrictions).

Safe Snow: Many of the Northeast’s most coveted backcountry runs, like those in Tucks, are in avalanche terrain. Thus, skiers and riders require specialized gear and knowledge. They also need time for conditions to line up. Conversely, avalanches are not a concern within eastern ski area boundaries, making for one less thing to worry about.

Off Hours: Many of us have ski bum dreams but nine to five realities. Many resorts allow uphill skiing before and after the lifts spin—meaning you can earn pre- or post-work turns during the week and satiate your ski stoke, all with the added bonus of avoiding the lift-serviced crowds.

Fantastic Fitness: Running on the treadmill and sitting on the exercise bike might get you fit, but they’re boring and indoors. Uphilling is a great low-impact workout and allows you to train outside so that you’re in shape for when the conditions are right to venture into the backcountry. Plus, the ski downhill is way more fun than anything you’ll find at the local gym.

Enjoy an Old Favorite: If you live near a small mountain and have grown tired of lapping the same three or four runs, uphill skiing provides a new way to enjoy well-covered terrain. Additionally, that cruiser might feel a bit more challenging on post-ascent legs.

Great for First Timers: Interested in shredding one of Tuckerman Ravine’s iconic runs, surfing the pow at one of the GBA’s glades, or ticking a descent of a four-thousand footer off your bucket list, but uncertain where to begin? Uphilling at the resort is a great way to mimic the backcountry experience while minimizing the risks. Try a couple of uphill days to dial your kit, hone your technique, and get some experience in a lower-consequence setting.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

Best Places to Uphill in New England

More and more ski resorts in New England are embracing uphill skiing; However, uphill policies are unique to each destination. In addition to whether or not a resort allows uphill skiers, some other things you’ll want to know are if the ski area charges for uphilling and if they have a prescribed ascent route. Before heading to the hill, check out the United States Ski Mountaineering Association’s list of uphill policies for US resorts, or stick to these uphill-friendly spots…

Magic Mountain: The gold standard for uphill skiers in the Northeast, Magic welcomes uphillers at all times, with the exception of powder days (when the mountain receives 6+ inches of snow) when they ask that uphillers wait for the lifts to spin before starting to skin. Magic’s “Hike One, Ride One” policy gives uphillers a token for a free one-ride lift ticket if they skin all the way to the top.

Black Mountain: Black Mountain is the epicenter for New Hampshire’s uphill ski scene. Uphillers are permitted from sunrise to 4 pm. It’s also home to a robust rental fleet of alpine touring gear and hosts Friday Night Lights, a ten-week uphill series for skiers of all abilities.

Mount Abram: Want to know what it’s like to have a ski resort all to yourself? Find out just twenty minutes away from gargantuan Sunday River at Mount Abram. This resort allows uphill access to its trails during both operational and non-operational hours—including Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday when the lifts don’t spin at all.

Wachusett Mountain: Skiers in central Massachusetts hoping to sneak in a run before work will want to check out Wachusett, which allows uphill skiing (at no charge) before the lift runs. Not an early riser? Check out Berkshire East, where the terrain is open to uphillers from dusk to dawn provided they’re season ticket holders or purchase a ticket—they sell both day and season uphill passes.

Mohawk Mountain: Proving that you don’t need to be in the mountains of northern New England to earn your turns is Connecticut’s Mohawk Mountain. The mountain is open to all skiers, including those who want to earn their 650-foot descent, during regular operating hours.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

Uphill Ski Gear

In general, your uphill ski kit will closely resemble a backcountry ski kit without the avvy gear. To start, you’ll need an alpine touring, telemark, or splitboard set up with skins (although some mountains permit snowshoes) along with appropriate boots, poles, and layers. Although you’re at the resort, strive for self-sufficiency by packing a small first-aid and repair kit. You’ll also likely want a helmet, goggles, food and water, and a small pack. One of the advantages of skinning at the resort is that the car or base lodge is often close by, letting you pack light and make adjustments to your gear throughout the day. Another benefit of being near the lodge is the ability to sneak in and warm up between laps.

Uphill skiing is still in its early stages and many resorts are tinkering with their policies, so if you enjoy the uphill make sure to adhere to the skier responsibility code and be on your best behavior. Better yet, if a resort offers free uphill access, stop in and grab a beer or snack and show your support for them. Ski ya on the trails!


10 Backcountry Ski Tools for the Tech-Savvy

Whether it’s avalanche airbags, magnetic goggle lenses, or shred-recording apps, technology is revolutionizing backcountry ski gear. With Cyber Monday upon us, here are 10 favorite tech pieces likely to be working their way into your backcountry kit in the near future.

Courtesy: SPOT
Courtesy: SPOT

1. SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger

Whether you’re day tripping in Tuckerman Ravine or on a multi-day tour in the Chic Chocs, the pocket-sized SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger is a standalone device (meaning it works independently of your mobile phone) with its own dedicated phone number that allows you to send messages, post to social media, send out an SOS, along with a host of other neat features.

2. Pieps iProbe II

Every second counts after an avalanche, especially if somebody is buried. The Pieps iProbe II works in coordination with a beacon to speed up searches and find burial victims faster using audio and visual cues. When deployed, the probe automatically turns itself on to narrow down burial sites—beeping and lighting up as you get closer to a buried transceiver.

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Credit: Smith

 

3. Smith I/O Mag Goggles

Awesome optics, huge field of vision, and multiple lens options have made Smith I/O goggles a long-time part of our ski kits. Although interchangeable lenses are nothing new to ski goggles, Smith’s I/O Mag goggles up the ante. Taking advantage of magnetic locking mechanisms on the lens, swapping lenses is easier than ever and fingerprints obstructing your view are a thing of the past.

4. Scott Patrol E1 Avalanche Backpack 

At first sight, the flux capacitor on the Scott Patrol E1 Avalanche Backpack seemed straight out of the future. On closer inspection, it’s a supercapacitor, but that doesn’t make it any less wow-worthy. Unlike traditional and lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors can be taken on planes with no restrictions, are not sensitive to changes in temperature, and last for 500,000 charging cycles. Don’t you wish the rechargeable batteries in your headlamp would last that long?

5. DPS Phantom Wax 

Waxing skis or taking them to the shop to get tuned has long been an annoyance to skiers more interested in nabbing runs than scraping wax. DPS Phantom Wax needs only a single application to deliver a permanent solution for keeping your skis sliding. Unlike traditional ski waxes, Phantom Wax changes the chemical composition of your ski’s base, eliminating the need for regular reapplications.

Courtesy: Black Diamond
Courtesy: Black Diamond

6. Black Diamond Guide BT Avalanche Beacon

Black Diamond’s first foray into avalanche beacons has us thinking that it’s time to upgrade. The Guide BT (the BT stands for Bluetooth) is able to update its software, alter the beacon’s settings, and manage its battery all through an app accessed via your smartphone or tablet.

7. Salomon Shift Bindings 

A binding capable of delivering the performance of an alpine binding with the uphill ability of a backcountry binding has been something that ski-tourers everywhere have been dreaming of for years. Enter the Salomon Shift, which offers a fully certified alpine mode for downhill charging and pin-type toe for touring efficiency. This binding rips on and off piste and is a great option for skiers looking for a “quiver of one” binding.

8. The North Face Futurelight Fabric

Skiers are always on the lookout for layers that will keep them dry when it’s wet, breathe when they’re working hard, and keep them warm when it’s cold. Enter Futurelight, manufactured using a process called nanospinning—in which a fibrous material is extruded and repeatedly layered on itself into an ultra-thin and flexible web-like structure—to create thinner, more breathable, waterproof membranes. Proven to be up to the task of the most serious ski missions, Hilaree Nelson (O’Neill) and Jim Morrison put Futurelight to the test on their first ski descent of Lhotse Couloir.

9. Ski Tracks App

99 cents won’t buy you much at even the most budget-conscious ski resort these days. However, for less than a dollar, the Ski Tracks app will track just how much value you squeezed out of that three-figure lift pass. Working with your smartphone, the Ski Tracks app records metrics such as maximum speed, number of runs, distance skied, and total vertical. Don’t forget to thank us the next time you’re boasting about how much vertical you shredded.

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10. PeakFinder App

After years of arguing over which mountains are in the distance, the PeakFinder app is making it easy to know the answer without having to dig out a map. Using augmented reality, the Peakfinder app turns your phone into a directory of surrounding peaks and quickly displays the names of the mountains and peaks your looking at. Best of all, it even works when you’re offline!

 

Is there a piece of ski tech you’re particularly excited about this season? If so, let us know about it in the comments below.


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