Summer Skiing

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Today the temperature in Denver reached 100 degrees. While the city folk were likely teeing it up at the golf course, or cooling off at neighborhood pools, I was lugging 25 pounds of ski gear up a 14,000 foot peak just 50 miles west of the city. As I climbed the trail, nearly everyone that I passed had something to say.“Where are you going to ski?,” “Now that’s determination!,” and “Don’t you think it’s a little late in the year for that?” were some of the comments that I heard. On this particular day, my goal was to ski a large snowfield off the summit of 14,278 foot Grays Peak, accessed from the south side of the mountain.

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I began my summer skiing adventures at the age of 19, when a friend encouraged me to try to ski every month of the year. My early journeys took me to tiny snow patches that I’d spotted from local 4-wheel drive trails. These patches would usually offer up no more than a few hundred feet of runnelled and suncupped, low-angle slush. I also ventured to some more popular summer skiing spots such as St. Mary’s Glacier, which by late August would hardly qualify as a dirt covered ice cube, let alone a glacier. I knew I could do better than that. As the years went on, I learned where to look to find long-lasting snow patches that held several hundred to several thousand feet of good skiing late into the summer.

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Finding the snow is the easy part, safely venturing to and then skiing down them is more difficult. Summer skiing offers up a long list of hazards, from wet slides, to rockfall, to lightning and hail-laden thunderstorms. As for the snow, the cool nights freeze the nearly isothermal snow, locking it up temporarily. As the strong sun rises and begins heating, the surface the snow eventually transforms into something that resembles a snowcone dropped on a hot asphalt parking lot. The goal of the summer skier is to find the perfect blend of these. Dropping in on a summer line too early or too late can be disastrous.

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Today, my turns are made nearly three miles above sea level. I find almost ideal conditions for the steep pitch that precipitously drops 2000 feet to an emerald blue lake below. I carve turns to the lake and change into my hiking boots. As I pack up my ski gear and set off on the two-mile hike to the car, I begin to think about the flip-flops, shorts and cold beer waiting at the bottom, and the comments that I’ll get from the passersby on the way down.

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By: Doug Evans

Season 2 Episode 1 – Alberta 2015

Our plan was to head to Calgary, Alberta in late November and spend a couple weeks shooting urban rails. Calgary is known for its early season snow and cold temperatures. However, mother nature had a different idea for this November. Temperatures were warm and there was not a trace of snow. We were left with no other option than to keep waiting. Constantly watching the weather we began to lose our minds as the 14 day trend showed nothing but sun and warm temperatures.

In early December, Calgary finally received enough snow to get the trip started. We packed our bags and headed for the land of oil and high unemployment. We set up shop at Zak Mousseau and Cam Duncan’s house. Located across the street from University of Calgary, the house never seemed to quiet down.

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Tanner Gordon in Edmonton

Tanner Gordon, Zak Mousseau, Max Moffatt, and Cam Duncan spent the first couple days exploring the streets of Calgary. They were able to scrape together the leftover snow from the previous storm to hit as many spots as possible. After a few days, the warm weather returned and melted the small trace of snow that was left on the ground. With limited options, the crew made small trips out to Canmore in hopes of more snow and new street rails. Luckily, the small town nestled in the mountains had enough snow to continue the trip.

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Max Moffatt in Banff

After several successful days in Canmore, the team decided to pack up and head North to Edmonton. Edmonton welcomed the team with warm weather and just the right amount of snow. After a couple productive days and some fun nighttime rope tow laps, they headed back home to Calgary.


Max and Tanner were still eager to ski and headed to the Canadian Rockies to test out Sunshine Village Resort. The mountain had just opened the full terrain park and the guys took full advantage of the perfectly maintained features. We ended the trip by skiing at Winsport with Max Moffatt and Brendan Mackay. Make sure to check out the full video recap below.

BlisterGear Review Origin96

The Origin 96’s big brother, the Origin 116, has racked up multiple awards over the past two years from the likes of Skiing Magazine, Powder Magazine, Freeskier Magazine, and Backcountry Magazine. 
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Greta Muxworthy cruising on the new Origin96 | Ph: Tim Dyer


For the 2016-2017 line we’ve engineered the genetics of the Origin 116 into the all new Origin 96 and added carbon fiber for additional snap, pop, and to keep the ski quiet throughout the rockered tip and tail. It’s quicker from edge to edge and better equipped for carving turns on groomers and front-side terrain.  The ’96 has generous camber underfoot for insane rebound from turn to turn, and race ski edge grip on the firm stuff.  What hasn’t changed are the energy and liveliness of Liberty’s bamboo and carbon fiber construction.  The Origin 96 is so special because of its phenomenal hard snow performance as well as great flotation in deeper snow, all from a ski that is mid-90s underfoot.  It’s truly a go anywhere, anytime ski.

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Anton Sponar testing out the Origin96 | Ph: Riley Soderquist

Of course, don’t just take our word on it. We’ve been blessed with great independent reviews, including Blister Gear Review.  Jonathan Ellsworth, founder and reviewer of Blister had this to say about the Origin 96:

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Tanner Gordon smashing pillows on the Origin96 


“I’ve got 5 days now on the Liberty Origin96, and if I had to give a two-word summary review, it would probably be, “Holy S@#$.”  I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever skied anything quite like this.”

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Liberty Origin96, Taos, NM.

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Jonathan Ellsworth finding the goods on the new Origin96


“Liberty calls the Origin96 “a new all-mountain standard.” That’s a big, ballsy claim for sure, but I can say that I haven’t skied anything that feels terribly similar. Five days in, and it feels like I can make this ski do anything I want it to.”

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Jonathan Ellsworth on the Liberty Origin96, Taos, NM

Check out the full review here:

http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/2016-2017-liberty-origin96

 

Keep your eye out for the various buyers guides from Powder, Ski, Skiing, Backcountry, Freeskier, and Mountain Magazines.  We have a sneaking suspicion that this ski will rack up awards for 2016-2017.

Also, the ski is available in limited quantities on our website, but stock is going very fast. Stores will be stocking this new model in September.

http://libertyskis.com/skis/origin-96

Checking In With Joe Schuster

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Name: Joe Schuster

Age: 26

Hometown: Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Home Resort: Whistler

How is it going Joe? What are you up to right now?

I am out in Whistler, BC, currently sitting by the river, drinking a cup of coffee on a day off. It is sunny and feels like it is June. A bit of a warm spell is coming through British Columbia right now.

What happened to X Games Real Ski?

I am not too sure. They didn’t inform me on why it stopped. As far as I know, they wanted to switch it up and showcase the urban side of skiing. I am not sure if they are going to bring back the backcountry side of X Games. I hope they bring back X Games Real Ski because I would love to do it again, as it is always a super fun event to be a part of.

 

What is Seeking Nirvana? How did it start?

Seeking Nirvana is our new TV show created and produced by myself, Riley Leboe, Mike Henitiuk and Matt Margetts. We partnered up with Edge TV to create a four part series. We have been putting it out online all winter. It will be on the Edge TV channel on XBox and Playstation this Fall.  

The idea stemmed from us as a group, trying to start the Kids project a couple years ago. A lot of Whistler, Vernon, and Alberta skiers who grew up riding together wanted to start a project. We wanted to produce content whether it was online, in a movie, or a television show for a long time. Unfortunately the Kids idea did not work out. Henitiuk and I had been talking about the idea of starting something new since last Spring. We also had been shooting with Riley for years, so it was easy to add him to the crew. Matt was also an easy addition because he was fully done with the contest scene and wanted to start skiing pow. Being such close friends, it was easy for everyone to come together and made it happen.

What is the best part about shooting your own web episode?

I would say the best part is how involved we can be with each episode. In years past while filming for PoorBoys, Super Proof, or other film companies, at the end of the day the creator and producer of those movies decides the vibe, the music, and the feel. You ski all winter long and do your best, but in the end you do not have creative control. The best part about Seeking Nirvana is that we have full creative control, make everything look and feel exactly how we want it to.

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Whistler Backcountry | Ph: Seeking Nirvana

What is the hardest part about shooting a web episode?

The hardest part is the timing. We knew what we were capable of producing a web episode series. It has been really hard to produce that much content in that short of a time frame. So far, every trailer and every episode we have put out has been finished and sent over pretty much the night before the videos have to go live online. We are used to producing a segment over the whole year, but now we have to produce basically a segment each month. It is a ton of content and getting that much footage out and released is a lot of work. It is a good thing though, as the pressure and deadlines keep us motivated to be on it every day and work hard and get as much content as we can this winter.

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Joe finding the goods in British Columbia | Ph: Seeking Nirvana

Who is filming and editing Seeking Nirvana?

Taylor Loughran from Squamish is our filmer. He was originally a bike filmer who spent some time shooting snowboarding. It is his first time shooting a ski crew. It has been working really well. He is great to work and travel with.

Leigh Powis has been one of my good friends and has been skiing with us for several years. He took on the editing role at Super Proof the last few years. We are stoked on everything he has put together. It was a dream to put together this with him because he is such an incredible editor. He is able to take the footage we have and take it to the next level with his editing skills.

It has been the most rewarding thing to take the risk and do something creative and different that no one in the ski industry has seen before. Sometimes, taking a risk like that can go well, and sometimes it doesn’t. To see us triple or quadruple our goals is the most rewarding aspect. It makes us super proud of what we are doing.

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Steep and Deep | Ph: Seeking Nirvana

What was your favorite trip of this year?

We went to the interior of British Columbia about a month ago. Riley Leboe’s cousin lent us a canvas wall tent, normally used for hunting. We drove into the bush just outside of Vernon where Riley and I grew up, and we set up the tent with a wood stove and lived in the bush for a week. We had a little bbq, firepit, and sleds. No cell service and no one else was around.  It snowed the whole time we were there. The conditions were amazing, no one to deal with, and we were completely remote in the backcountry.

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Interior of British Columbia | Ph: Joe Schuster

How is the new #SchusterPro ?

To get my own ski was a dream come true. I didn’t know if it would ever happen to me. Being able to work with Dan Chalfant, who, along with Jim Satloff, is one of founders of Liberty Skis, was amazing. The experience of working intensively with Dan, who is also the ski designer of Liberty, to produce something that skied exactly how i wanted it to, was awesome. It is a playful ski that it great for jumping, pillows, and anything I am doing in the backcountry. To work with Dan and see the ski come to life was incredible. It was also amazing to work with our graphic designers and create a graphic that I am stoked on. It was sick to work with Liberty and come up with graphics that get me hyped every time I look down at my feet. It is a dream come true to have my own pro model ski and it’s an opportunity that I am so fortunate to have.

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2016/17 SchusterPro 

What are your plans for the spring / summer?

For Spring, we are going to be around Whistler through April. We are premiering the third episode at the end of the Whistler Festival . We are doing a live premiere in Whistler on April 16th and will donate all the profits to charity. Then we will stick around until the powder season is finished. We’re trying to get as much footage as we can for episode four, which will be dropping in the Fall.

After that, I will head to Mt. Hood for another trip with the Liberty Team to build spring booters with the whole team. It’s so nice to head down to Oregon and enjoy the last little bit of Spring. Once Hood is over I will come back to BC and have two weddings to attend. My brother and Riley Leboe are both getting married (but not to each other).

Then I will be heading up to Whistler for the glacier season. I will be coaching and hanging out all summer at COC. After the glacier, who knows what I’ll be up to?  Hopefully, I will get to spend some time relaxing and skateboarding.

 

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Cork 9 Tail | Mt Hood 2015  | Ph: Ryan Braun

What can we expect from Sleepy Schuster next season?

I would hope we as a group can make another series happen. Whether it is titled “Seeking Nirvana,” I am not sure. As long as we can get the budget together, we are going to do something. It would feel weird going back to a film crew after we have had so much creative control. We might call it something else but we are hoping to keep creating content.

 

Who would you like to thank?

Liberty Skis

Whistler

Shred

MEC

Le Bent

Whistler

Every winter, snow forecasters try to predict what the winter will bring. They form educated guesses about specific areas and the long term forecast. The talk for the Coastal BC Range in Canada was that El Nino would bring another warm winter, leaving skiers to constantly check freeze and rainfall levels in the valley. Some decided to not risk another poor winter and headed north or to the interior mountain ranges. Others waited, crossing their fingers waiting for winter to hit.

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Max Moffatt smashing his way through a pillow field | Ph: Jordan Sullivan

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Max Moffatt scoring some deep turns on the Origin 116 | Ph: Jordan Sullivan

 

Max Moffat and I piled into the truck and started the drive from Calgary, Alberta to Whistler, BC. Our goal was to to spend the week shooting in Whistler with Liberty Skis Athlete Joe Schuster. As we arrived in Vancouver, we were greeted with a heavy rainfall warning. Still optimistic, we continued past Vancouver to Whistler. As we pulled into town, the sky was filled with large, light snowflakes.

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Joe Schuster airing a cliff on the new #SchusterPro Pow Ski | Ph: Jordan Sullivan

The storm cycle from the previous evening had left 15 inches of fresh and dry snow.  Whistler and the Coastal Mountains are not known for super dry snow, but rather large dumps of heavier snow, so we were stoked.   As the morning sun broke through the windows, we quickly packed up the truck and headed to the base of Blackcomb. The lift line was filled with smiles and high fives. Whistler, like many great ski destinations, is not the resort where your friends are willing to wait if the conditions are good. There is a certain feeling on a resort powder day. You feel as if others would do anything to get the good snow before you. The competitive, aggressive atmosphere makes the ski hill feel similar to a battle field, but we just concentrated on all the fresh snow waiting for us.

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Cork 3 Hand Drag | Ph: Jordan Sullivan

Max Moffatt was the rookie on the trip. Being brought up on the East Coast, he had very little opportunity to ski pow. Don’t let this Canadian National Team park skier fool you though, he can ski, and is not afraid of going fast or big. He smashed pillows, dropped cliffs and skied lines without hesitation. He was able to keep up with local legends that had spent their whole lives skiing Whistler.

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Joe Schuster, Max Moffatt, and Colin Sutherland relaxing on the Peak to Peak | Ph: Jordan Sullivan

The storm just never seemed to stop. After four days of deep powder skiing, we had to head home. Sharing stories of tomahawks and face shots, we left Whistler in the rear view mirror.

New Line-Up!

Hello!

Shannon Kennedy- Liberty Skis Creative Director- here!

We just spent a week in Denver at SIA premiering next year’s skis and I’m extremely excited for everyone to see them and even better, ski them! We have 3 new skis this year- Schuster Pro Model, Variant87, and the Genesis (female version of the Origin). We’ve also updated a couple of the classics by adding Carbon Fiber, which increases energy return and reinforces core while reducing weight. Carbon Fiber has been added to the Helix, Double Helix, Transfer, and the Schuster Pro.

We will have posts dedicated to each new ski in the future, but for now I want to talk graphics. This is my first year designing the graphics for the entire line of Liberty Skis and I really hope you like them. I design each ski’s graphic with that particular ski in mind, as well as the type of skier who will be riding it.

After the SIA convention we got to spend 2 days at Copper Mountain for the on snow demo. While the rest of the crew was busy spinning DIN and getting buyers out on the new skis, I was able to sneak out on each pair to snap a few photos. It was definitely amazing to get back out on the snow after spending five straight days in the Denver Convention Center but even more exciting to see the new skis on snow for the first time. I think it might be quite obvious that nature is my number one inspiration when designing the ski graphics so it was really cool to see the skis in the terrain that inspired their individual look.

Let me know what you think!

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