Author: Brig Graff

There are a lot of places that are only for “those in the know.” For example if you are visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico all the tourists eat at some restaurant on the Condado strip. But the locals know that a place off the strip called Compostella is THE place. If you are a tourist in Colorado, you know about Vail and Aspen. If you are wiser than a tourist, you go to Silverton. And if you are reading this article, you know about the big-name Utah resorts. If you are a Utah skier worth his salt, you “know” about…

Read More

When the folks at Backcountry Access first came out with a hard-charging ski touring binding for big mountain alpine skiers looking to cross-over to earning their turns, I was stoked. I’ve always loved their backcountry gear and was very anxious to get them on the hill. After all – weren’t they the folks who brought us hard-line alpine skiers our first real alternative, the Alpine Trekker? I spouted to everyone who would listen that BCA’s Naxo binding was the binding to ride – and though the binding hit a few bumps its first year, it seems to have delivered on…

Read More

You know, sometimes I still hear jokes from alpiners about telemark skiers eating granola, hugging trees, and not showering. Such ridicule immediately falls by the wayside, however, once they see a freeheel skier rocking some Garmont Ener-G’s. The old stereotypes just don’t apply and the punchlines fall flat when you see a guy on pins stomp a rodeo over a 60-foot table. When you see something like that happen, in a film or on the mountain, more often than not the pinhead riding away has his feet wrapped in the revolutionary Garmont PEBAX-shelled Ener-G boots. There’s a reason Max Mancini…

Read More

Not long ago I had the chance to ride one of the best alpine touring fat skis for 2006: The Black Diamond Verdict. The Verdict has some great girth, and yet still feels light enough to flip pancakes. While certainly not tuned for in-bounds riding, its skills in backcountry pow are unmatched. My verdict for The Verdict: On all counts of being light and surfy in the pow, guilty as charged. On all counts of laying nice trenches in the groomed, the jury’s still out. The Low-down on Black Diamond’s Verdict The Verdict is Black Diamond’s fattest ski, boasting a…

Read More

More than 600-inches of snow this year fell on the slopes of Snowbird. By May 13th there was still a base of almost 200-inches of snow at mid-mountain. I had to go hit it. The ‘Bird decided to discount its tickets, as it often does when late Spring comes around and the snow is still high and deep in Little Cottonwood. For those wise enough to spend Friday the 13th on the mountain, it was obvious that the unlucky ones were those still sitting in offices down in the valley. I walked into the Snowbird tramdock about 5 minutes after…

Read More

It all started when the liftline at the base of the Sunnyside lift turned into a grandstand. Rich, Ryan and I had arrived a few minutes early and had secured a great spot in line to be on the 7th or 8th lift of the morning, and were patiently waiting for the lift to open. My creepy cell phone ring starts chiming. Kendall’s calling me. “Where is that kid?” I wondered. His voice came breaking over the bad connection. “Leave my *icket at the wind*w. I’ll pi*k it up. I’m *n Flagstaff. Ab*ut two-*hirds of *** way up, and it’s…

Read More

In the past few years I’ve gone through several pairs of Raichle Flexons and a smattering of race boots from Nordica, Tecnica, and Salomon. After finally getting fed-up with blisters from skinning into the backcountry in traditional alpine boots, I decided to swallow my alpine-skier pride and take a look at some touring boots. I ended up finding the best-fitting boot of my life: the Garmont G-ride.The 4-buckle G-ride is not Garmont’s burliest boot – that’s the Adrenalin G-fit. But the G-ride is the next-lighter boot in the lineup, and has plenty of burl to go around. There is a…

Read More

This year Black Diamond released the Havoc – a 120mm fat ski with a twin tip construction. We rode a 183cm pair mounted with some Fritschi Freeride touring bindings, and we dare you to find a better setup anywhere for big mountain skiers crossing over to alpine touring. With only a few small drawbacks and many, many strengths, the Havoc/Freeride combo is a setup you need to consider. A Bit o’ Trivia For a couple years now fat-twins have been at the forefront of every serious rider’s consciousness. The Line Mothership and the Salomon Pocket Rocket christened the fat-twin category,…

Read More

So, finals week is here at the University of Washington. Neck-deep in financial analyses, marketing case studies, and management papers. I thought I could handle it all…until it started dumping. It had been sunny for weeks, and the copious amounts of snow the Cascades were blessed with at the beginning of the quarter were becoming a distant memory. We were even getting excited about waterskiing and the possibility of corn snow and park sessions in hoodies and tees. But when it drops over a foot of blower pow at a resort that’s only an hour from your classroom, you have…

Read More

All right – for over 3 years I’ve wanted a ski like these. Ever since I first saw twintips in movies like Sick Sense and Degenerates, then in the pages of FREEZE, I knew that sooner or later all skis except for race and groomer skis would be twinned. I wanted a twinned fat ski. If you’re living and riding anywhere west of Kansas, you need fat skis. If you’re any good, you want a twin. LINE was the first company to make a step in the right direction with the Ostness Dragon, and I personally don’t think anyone’s quite…

Read More

One afternoon this season I packed my bags, kissed Emily good-bye, and hopped in the ICE Poles truck with Cameron Vigil – pow-seeking Alta boy and compulsive gambler. After watching Cameron lose several hundred dollars at the tables in Reno, he and I focused our minds on the event at Squaw the next day – the X-Qualifier. This wasn’t my first time competing in the event. Last year it rained hard every day, but it was still one of my favorite competitions ever. Tanner, Adam Schrab, Tim McKeever and Skogen Sprang led the pack, throwing some of the most stylie…

Read More

Wednesday afternoon. I’m crapping on the doctor’s orders. I’m lounging in the sun. Ever since I got away from my ski instructor job at The Canyons, UT, and started diving in the Keys, I’ve been plagued with a sun rash, or ocean rash, or some other kind of other “anti-fun” rash. The doctor said that I should stay out of the sun, and I certainly shouldn’t get into the water. “In fact, avoid fishing, barbecues, campfires, and riding your longboard. And don’t give me that look, kid, or the rash will spread to your face, too.” It was obvious that…

Read More

Kyle’s mom didn’t want us taking the Dung Beetle, so we ended up driving my car anyway. After all, the Rodeo was sexier than that old blue mini-van, and Kyle’s stinky feet had gained the van its not-so-sexy nickname. I should have known that Kyle would bring his feet with him on this trip, too. Kyle Dempster of Cottonwood High, our buddy Chris Headquist(Olympus High grad), and I had decided to skip out on a little school and a little work to launch a long weekend road trip to Mt. Hood, Oregon, to pick up a little October skiing. “I’d…

Read More