Author: Jason Mitchell

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

Backcountry Access, a company who made its mark as the purveyor of the “pocket copter”, or what’s commonly known as Alpine Trekkers, also manufacturers some of the most innovative packs in the industry. BCA was the first company to address the freezing hydration tube issue with a real-world solution. Why not zip the tube into the shoulder strap? They’ve stepped it up by introducing the big brother to the original Stash pack with the Stash BC. My initial thought upon seeing the Stash BC was that this could be the perfect pack for day trips into the backcountry. After a…

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When you’re talking backcountry skiing in Utah and slopes worthy of mention, most of the slopes one will think about are found in one of the two Cottonwood Canyons. However, there’s a slope on the East side that can stand up against the rest of the Wasatch. There’s a bit of mystic surrounding Square Top. Perhaps it’s because of the couple who were tragically killed in an avalanche in the winter of 99-00. Perhaps it’s because it’s notorious for sliding. But if you get a chance to hit it when it’s good, well, trust me – it’s good! After receiving…

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Over the past few months and the upcoming winter season, we’ll have our hands on some sweet new pieces of gear. Some are high-tech, while others are purely functional. Here’s an overview of these new products. Look for full reviews of each in the coming months. Granite Gear Sidecut OB Pack This pack is a basic, yet higly functional pack built for day trips in the backcountry. Snowboarders will opt for the Sidecut Ride with snowboard-specific carrying abilities ($95). The Sidecut OB is nicely thought out and priced sensibly at $85. With bomber Cordura© construction, waterproof zippers and great core…

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ASPEN, Colo. – Tanner Hall stole the show with a near-flawless second run to earn his third consecutive gold medal in Ski Slopestyle. But it may have been local Peter Olenick’s second-place finish that was the big story of the day. Hall (Kalispell, Mont.) came from behind to post a 94.00 on his second, and final, run of the day and the number held up through the final six skiers of the competition and helped him become only the fourth athlete in Winter X history to three-peat in one discipline. “Every year I want to do well and stay consistent,”…

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If you have a camera that you care about that you want to take with you on the mountain then look no further than the Burton Zoom. This pack was made for the photographer and videographer to ski or snowboard and stick to your back comfortably, while carrying the backcountry essentials for a day trip. First and foremost the pack provides protection for your expensive gear with dense 1/4″ foam padding lining the entire camera compartment. The pack is made of water resistant nylon, coated on the inside with a water-resistant lining. Camera Compartment When opened, the pack looks very…

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We set out from South Lake Tahoe on highway 89, heading west for what locals say is Tahoe best kept secret. Visions of steep lines, cliffs, chutes and plenty of soul filled our minds. 35 minutes later as we crest the last hill on highway 89, I give a cry to the rest of the car “Thar she blows!! Tis a hump like a snow hill!! It’s Kirkwood!!” when we turned the corner by the Kirkwood Inn , the car was silent, except for Dr. Dre rappin California Love. We had all heard of Kirkwood either from friends, or magazines,…

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Coffee, Red Bull, and Jack’s Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich… the recipe for what was about to be a good day in Cali. The forecast called for cloudy skies clearing mid morning with temps in the mid 30’s. We were just crossing into California from the biggest little city in the world, Reno when we arrived in Truckee, CA. Now it was time to follow directions. “Head south on 89 about 3 miles, then turn right on Cabin Creek Road, and follow the signs to the Landfill” were the directions given to us by one of the Daves. Pacific Crest Snowcats Background…

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Ski towns like Park City, Vail, Telluride and Sun Valley just roll off your tongue. When you think of skiing, numerous Rocky Mountain towns come to mind with visions of deep powder, steep, rugged terrain and high-speed lifts. This is skiing at the many mega-resorts in the snow-privileged Rocky Mountains. But, there’s thousands of Americans who grow up skiing in small, hometown resorts in the heartland or east coast of of the United States. One such place is the growing metropolis of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It’s a great example of an agri-community with a small group of dedicated skiers…

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It seems that Santa brought a huge gift for everyone along the Wasatch Front…over 50 inches in some places. The day after Christmas I woke up, dug out the driveway, and hopped in the wagon with Pink Floyd playing. Some say that Floyd’s “The Wall” is a tribute to isolation. Pretty fitting, seeing as we rarely crossed a track all day Friday and skied some of the most phenomenal pow any of us had seen in Utah in years. It stormed all day and night on Friday, and Saturday at The Canyons was just as amazing — with the sun…

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Crystal Mountain, Washington, like much of the West, has been getting pounded. Base totals are already surpassing those of most of last season. The pow train is lined up in the Pacific. Storm after storm is pounding the Cascades with surprisingly-light, fluffy powder. One of our contributing photographers, Erik Seo headed back to the homeland for some of the best early-season pow on record. Check out the goods… you’ll wish you could call in sick today!

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Tours: Ride With Your Bros What’s better than backcountry powder shared with a couple of good friends? Skiing with your buddies in the trees, sharing a great line on an open slope and watching your mates pop off bumps into the pow is a great way to spend a day. Now, if that makes you smile, think about expanding it to 12 good friends. Think about a day of good powder and good runs shared with the 12 friends you would most like to spend time with. Then expand the thought to three of four days in succession. If it…

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Over the last few years, the term “trailbike” has taken on new meaning for the bike industry. It refers to the 5-6″ travel steed that’s not light enough for XC racing, but not quite burly enough for DH racing. Many of these bikes do a pretty decent job at everything, but I’d like to suggest that there’s really no need for such a bike. As suspension designs are refined and new shock technologies are introduced, 6-8″ travel bikes are becoming more and more efficient every day. And, most importantly, once the trail points downhill, nothing beats 6″ or more of…

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Turner Suspension Bicycles, Inc. has been hard at work refining the already race proven design of the DHR. Racers want two things, less weight and incredible handling. In a word, SPEED. Our frames have always had a great reputation for quality and workmanship, and our DHR is known for its ability to corner like it’s on rails. So our challenge was to take a successful design and make it better. Working with the Maxxis team and a number of riders during the Pre season, we developed the next generation of downhill race bike. Faster and lighter. The results were so…

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Twenty-seven of the world’s most progressive mountain bike free-riders competed at the third annual Red Bull Rampage at the Kolob Reservoir this past weekend. Athletes traveled from as far as Australia, Czechoslovakia and Canada to participate in the two-day downhill free-riding event. Throughout the weekend hundreds of spectators were hypnotized by the skills of these young riders who repeatedly hucked themselves down intimidating 25 foot plus vertical drops – sticking hip jumps, olies and 360’s in the burly terrain, just outside of Zion National Park. The competitors took turns climbing the red colored mountain side and then aggressively charging down…

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At Interbike, the Outdoor Demo is always the best time of the show. You get to ride the latest bikes from every manufacturer and quickly weed out the contenders from the pretenders. Santa Cruz has long been a contender in the high-end bike market. They have also been on the cutting-edge of suspension design since acquiring the rights to the Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension design. First introduced for the DH market in the V10, then pushed to the trailbike market with the Blur–everyone wondered when they would enter the freeride market with a VPP design. Well, for 2004 Santa…

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I have been riding full suspension bikes for 10 years. I have seen all the designs come and go and the problems adherent to the designs. I’ve always been a fan of linkage bikes; they all seem to have more quality travel. When I decided on a new bike for 2003 a few things were needed. It had to be beefy, have plenty of travel, sport a good linkage design and have the ability to run a front dérailleur. There aren’t a lot of choices when trying to build a bike with these specific requirements. While at Interbike 2002, I…

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Dakine, makers of technical and functional ski, snowboard, skate, windsurf and surfing equipment and accessories have unveiled their latest creation in their hydration pack line, the RPM. Having happily used the Dakine Vertex ski pack all season, I was eager to strap the RPM on and head for a ride. Dakine, simply put, just knows how to make durable, functional and great looking packs. I found the Vertex to be the best light backcountry pack… period! After using the RPM hydration pack, I now am convinced that Dakine knows what’s up. The Dakine RPM pack is the ultimate pack for…

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The area around Brian Head, UT is home to some of the finest, relatively unknown, singletrack in Utah. Typically, areas in Southern Utah such as Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Moab are sweltering in the summer months, while temperatures around Brian Head remain relatively cool and rarely reach above 90-degrees. For that reason, this area offers plenty of untapped potential to those seeking relief from the unbearable riding weather that is typical of Southern Utah. My first experience with the trails around Brian Head was nearly 3 years ago. A friend recommended we try the Navajo Lake and Virgin Rim…

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Balfa Cycles is a small Canadian bike manufacturer headquartered in the heart of Montreal. The crew at Balfa is easily some of the most laid back people in the industry. The operation is headed up by a crew of super-cool people who simply know how to make and keep good relationships with suppliers and vendors. In the Western USA, Todd Kerbs reps for Balfa and can’t stop talking about how amazing their bikes are. Since Balfa is a smaller bike company, I had yet to ride any of their bikes until Interbike 2003. It was then that I took the…

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The battle for long-travel single-crown supremacy has begun. OnePointFive has promised to change the way we all think about suspension design, headsets and frame building. The whole idea of changing the “standard” has many people up in arms. “We don’t need a larger head tube!,” cry some., while others sing it’s praise as the greatest new invention to hit mountain biking since suspension was invented. The idea behind OnePointFive is that head tubes and steerer tubes would be stronger and less susceptible to ovalizing, which is typical of most DH race frames over a season of racing. Headsets and bearings…

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