Category Archives: Backcountry Skiing

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Review of the High Trail Evotec Skins

by Vince Hempsall, January 15, 2015


Nova Sport AG, the Switzerland-based parent company of the High Trai brand, was founded in 2005 by Yvonne Rochat and since then has tried to perfect climbing skin technology. For years it offered the Classic, which is a glue-based, 100 percent mohair skin, but now the company has ventured into the “glueless” market with its […]

Review of the Mountain Hardwear Compressor Jacket & Pants

by Vince Hempsall, January 4, 2015


There have been very few moments in my lifetime when I wished I had a pair of down pants. The exceptions have been skiing at Mont Tremblant in Quebec during a -30°C spell and snowshoeing in Manitoba in -40°C weather. I suppose if I was scaling Everest or mushing dogs in the Yukon then I’d […]

Why You Should Love the Shoulder Season (and its dog turds)

by Vince Hempsall, December 15, 2014


The south-central BC weathermen are calling for flurries tonight and snow is forecasted to settle in the valley bottoms. This means we should wake up tomorrow to a beautiful world of grey skies and white and black streets bordered by brown yards pebbled with dog turds. On second thought, that doesn’t sound so beautiful. In […]

Review of the Black Diamond Element 60 Backpack

by Vince Hempsall, June 7, 2014


Backpacks are a tricky thing – you don’t want too many bells and whistles because they’ll just increase the weight, but you don’t want a garbage bag either. I tend to prefer those packs that fall into the middle of the road: just enough straps to keep everything in place but without dozens of pockets, external […]

Review of the RAB Neutrino 200 Down Sleeping Bag

by Vince Hempsall, May 9, 2014


I’m a hot guy in bed. That is, my body is like a 6-foot furnace when I’m horizontal for the night. And when I sleep outside, that furnace seems to kick into overdrive. I’ve spent more than one evening lying in a tent wishing I could just tear a hole in the fabric to increase […]

Review of the Atomic Tracker 16 WTR Bindings

by Vince Hempsall, September 24, 2013


“What’s the 16 stand for?” I asked when I was first handed the Atomic Tracker 16 WTR bindings. The reply was that it referred to the Tracker’s DIN setting, which ranges from 7 to 16, and I immediately thought of that scene in Spinal Tap when Nigel describes his new speakers with the volume control […]

Review of the Atomic Charter 186 Skis

by Vince Hempsall, April 18, 2013


This year Atomic got into the backcountry market in a big way with a quiver of offerings that included the Drifter, the Charter, and, their big boy, the Atlas. In this review we take a closer look at the Charter, what Atomic says is their answer to an “all-mountain touring ski,” as well as the […]

Review of the Voilé Charger and Voilé Charger BC Skis

by Vince Hempsall, March 20, 2013


Despite a name that incorporates an accent aigu, Voilé is not from France. In fact, they’re a small company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and they’ve been making backcountry specific hard goods since 1980. Today, they manufacture five different kinds of skis and three splitboards and in this review, we’ll be looking at two […]

Review of the Exped Ultralite 500 Down Sleeping Bag

by Vince Hempsall, December 26, 2012


In 2009 Exped completely changed my backcountry sleeping experience. Until that time I had endured innumerable nights on a well-known brand name sleeping pad, which was like sleeping on a slice of tissue paper. No matter how tiny the rock, root or rodent underneath me, I could feel every poke and prod the second I […]