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.

February 2: Park City, Utah The world is coming to Park City next week in search of Olympic medals and memories to last a lifetime. I wish the athletes much luck but am afraid all the tourists will find are mile long traffic jams and weak Utah beer. For many visitors watching an Olympic event is the dream of a lifetime but my skiing dreams don’t include icy racecourses. They revolve around untracked powder, helicopters, uncrowded runs and the only ice is in my glass at the end of a bluebird day. So when the world arrives in Park City…

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Submitted by guest writer, Tracey Hughes “I’m so over this” said my friend May Eynon, who happened to be skinning next to me in a sub-zero gale wind as we made our way over the endless, wind-blown white swatch of Taylor basin to Taylor pass. I was over it, too. My partner Bart pressed on in front of us, bracing against the gales that pounded us constantly. I found it absurd that a) we were doing this race again b) May, a tough-as-nails diehard girlfriend I had known from various punishing events, was as sick of it as me and…

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We all know the Greatest Snow on Earth lives up Little Cottonwood Canyon outside of Salt Lake City. Little Cottonwood is home to the legendary Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Resort. Both offer the same snow, right? Both offer the same pitches right? Well, not exactly. According to many, Snowbird, with it’s high-speed lifts and the flying dumpster, rules. To others, the moniker “Alta is for Skiers” is tatooed on their very souls. For these two believers, it gets even more personal. Let’s get it on! Counterpoint: Alta is for Skiers We live in the age of logic, when reason…

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The snowpack this year has been, well, unstable to say the least. Anything that can slide already has at least once, if not twice all on it’s own. Many, typically tantalizing slopes are so sketchy it almost makes me sick to my stomach. On New Year’s Day, Kendall Card and I ventured into the South Backcountry just outside of The Canyons Resort. What was a routine trip into the backcountry ended up being a lesson in how dangerous the backcountry can be. 9:00 AM: Saddleback and Toombstone Lifts Kendall and I hooked up with The Canyons photographer, Erik Seo to…

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Ahhhh… Northwest-style skiing. Low passes, heavy precipitation, fir trees galore and sick, coastal terrain. This is home. The Cascade Mountains of Western Washington were my playground; where I learned to snowplow, where I learned to tuck and where I learned to ski–no matter the conditions. Northwest skiers know what it’s like to ski in the rain. And they really know what it’s like to ski on ice… the blue kind that’s more at home in your icebox. Conditions vary in the Cascades from heavy, rainsoaked slop to “light,” deep fluff. On sunny days, the views are spectacular–miles and miles of…

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Salt Lake City, Thanksgiving day, 2001… rain, all day long, then snow… all night long. Park City, Thanksgiving day, 2001… snow, all day and night! Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons, Thanksgiving day, 2001… SNOW… PUKING SNOW, all day long and into the night… continuing into the next day! After all was said and done, the Wasatch Mountains in Utah got pummeled! Enough to go from 0-inch base to 50-inch base in 3 days! Little Cottonwood Canyon, home to Alta and Snowbird ended the storm with 50-inches of new… and it’s still coming down! All-in-all, Utah has been hurting for snow,…

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The mountain bike community eagerly awaited an event that combined the technical advances in the sport of mountain biking and the skill of free riding. Finally, with the help of Global Event Management, Josh Bender, and Bike Zion, Red Bull provided the perfect opportunity for this contingency of 22 free riders. Destination: Virgin “One of the challenges that faces the free ride community is finding the right location”; Wade Simmons, the winner of today’s event, recognizes the difficulty of seeking out an accessible, yet credible event site. Well-known for its pristine parks, its array of ridges, drops and technical lines,…

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As a long-time Marzocchi Bomber fan, I’m anxious to see the new forks from Manitou, the Sherman line with the OnePointFive steerer. Though much debated, the benefits of a larger steerer tube are obvious, yet painful at the same time. Nobody wants an out-dated frame or feel they must upgrade their most expensive piece of bike equipment–their frame! Hopefully both 1.5 and 1 1/8 inch steerers can co-exist… at least for a time! Dual-crown forks truly don’t need a larger steerer, but then again, why not? Some frame manufacturers are already embracing the new 1.5 steerer: Intense, Ellsworth, Cannondale and…

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Of all of the bikes I wanted to test, the Intense Uzzi SLX was on the top of the list. Primarily because it has been nearly impossible to get a hold of — especially fully built up. Intense has arguably the best customer service and warranty in the business with an impeccable reputation for taking the Specialized rear triangle and making it the winningest suspension design on the planet. The M1 is legendary in downhilling. You’ll find more top racers straddling an Intense M1 to the podium than any other frame. The Uzzi SLX replaces and improves upon the monocoque…

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This year, Ellsworth scrapped the Aeon brand for their single-pivot sister bikes: Joker and Isis. Both the Joker and the Isis are now officially Ellsworth bikes. The Joker competes directly with the Santa Cruz Bullit in the big hit, single-pivot market — where it excels is in its stiffness and surprisingly light weight. The single-pivot design uses what’s called Anti-Torsion, Lower forward pivot, Active Suspension or ATLAS. The Anti-Torsion refers to the beefed up swingarm pivot that eliminates any torsional movement. The Lower forward pivot is where the pivot is located, thus finding what Ellsworth feels is the ultimate placement…

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Ellsworth is one of the premier US mountain bike manufacturers. Everyone drools over their aluminum works of art, and on the trail, you just about have to beat away onlookers with the bar-ends you keep in your back pockets for just such an occasion. The Id is a brand new bike, splitting the difference between the super-solid Dare, DH machine, and the Truth, a svelte cross-country racer. Using the same rear triangle technology, the Id accomplishes near-zero bob for efficient climbing, yet remains active enough to help you motor up difficult sections. Going downhill it is just as capable, with…

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Rocky Mountain Bicycles is a mid-sized bike manufacturer out of British Columbia, Canada that has been turning out quality, near-custom rides for over 21 years. At Rocky, they build dependable and durable bikes built to withstand both North Shore abuse and the non-abuse of the average consumer. Something that stands out at Rocky Mountain is that everyone at the company takes deep personal pride in every bike that leaves their factory. So much so, they stamp every frame with the words “Built in Canada.” Rocky Mountain Bicycles are not made or manufactured–they are “Built.” Finishing touches like impeccable powder-coat paint,…

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I have had the Suunto Vector for a little over 2 years and it has become a total part of my skiing and mountain biking adventures. Tracking my total ascent and descent during a ride or a ski day has become a daily challenge to top my buddies or myself. At first I didn’t have such a loving relationship with my watch and I was a bit skeptical because of the watch’s enormous size… it’s HUGE. But, after all the questions die down and comments such as, “What are you wearing a hockey puck on your wrist for?”, stop flooding…

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Backcountry skiing has many inherent dangers, but so does walking down a busy street or commuting in rush hour traffic. Flirting with Mother Nature is never anything you’d want to place bets on. Just when you think you’ve got it dialed, she can let you know who rules this green earth. But, it is possible to travel safely in the backcountry and live a long life of untracked powder. The key to backcountry longevity lies in education, equipment and friends. Every time we hit the backcountry, I feel in awe of nature… its beauty and its unchecked fury. That’s a…

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Email is great. Meg Ryan is in a movie about it, so it’s got to be good. The best part about email is planning ski trips. In a matter of seconds, I can send a message to all my bros and they know exactly what I mean. Our killer day at Snowbasin Ski Resort happened because of one short question in an email I sent out. The message was simple and clear, it read: “The Basin… Saturday?” That’s all I needed to say and everyone knew exactly what to do. Snowbasin Ski Resort is a lesser-known resort about an hour…

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Friends and I actually motivated about three months ahead and planned a mountain bike tour of the Kokopelli Trail. Our crew had three couples; Robin and Heather our team leaders, Kevin and Anne, and my husband Chris and I. Heather volunteered to drive sag wagon, and I can’t say enough how much we all appreciated this generous gesture. Each day at the end of our ride she met us, like an angel, with our tents pitched and a fire burning. We chose to follow the sections as outlined in our guidebook1, and rode 25 to 35 mile sections per day…

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This ski season has been less than stellar for the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. We’ve seen little snowfall and warm temps be the norm… until now! Yes, it’s April, but winter isn’t done yet. Those unfamiliar with Utah winters may not know that April is typically the best month for pow along the Wasatch Front. Deep bases and low crowds ensure short lift-lines and deep, untracked pow when Mother Nature decides to dump five feet of the white fluff. This week was one of those weeks. The sky just kept puking and puking. Day after day, the snow kept piling…

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Twelve-Thirty, as we like to call it, is a long, treeless, open run just outside The Canyons Ski Resort boundaries. Short hikes outside the access gates reward you with killer bowls, natural terrain features, chutes and drops. Two years as a ski instructor at The Canyons, I learned one thing-when there’s no lessons, we go OB (out of bounds). OB at The Canyons opens a new world to an already sizeable and varied inbounds offering. During the winter of 1999, Kendall Card and I spent much of our spare time hiking OB. We hiked and skied lines with untracked pow…

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Canada… home of maple syrup, loonies, high-rise apartment buildings, Frenchies, red, white and beer eh?, and best of all, British Columbia. Whistler-Blackcomb is consistently rated the best ski resort in North America–we went to the Great White North to see why. Oh yeah, the Canadian National Freeskiing Championships happened to take place the same weekend. We left our cozy beds in Seattle around 4 am to make it to Whistler in time to ski a full day. We blazed north through the early Saturday morning mist and fog. We kept telling ourselves, “Only two kinds of people wake up this…

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My only experience with the ringleader of the freeskiing world was pretty darn funny. It was last January in Blackcomb at the Canadian Freeskiing Championships. We were doing laps in the park as the competitors started to assemble for the slopestyle competition. As I was riding up the lift, near the top, I spotted Shane skiing down towards the park. I thought to myself, “That was Shane McConkey!” I was so stoked to be a part of the whole comp and document it for FeedTheHabit. I made my way down to the first table where Brigham and a couple of…

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