Thursday, March 17, 2011

Marquette Backcountry Ski

I know it's a little late in the season to finally get around to posting about a new ski, but here it goes.

Dave Ollila, serial entrepreneur, adrenaline junkie, inventor of the original helmet cam and Marquette, Mich. native has blessed the quiver of snow addicts everywhere with the Marquette Backcountry Ski.

It's short. Fat. Stiff. Sorta ugly, and so much fun I don't know how I lived without it.

Bottom line is, it's a short, wide, affordable ski with big scales on the bottom for climbing. Paired with a three-pin binding and a pair of modern telemark boots it's a useful tool for scrambling around the rolling wooded hills in places like the Upper Peninsula, Northern Minnesota, Ontario, and tons of other places where there's snow and a will to descend it.

Ollila markets it as 70 percent ski, 30 percent snowshoe and 100 percent fun. There's all kinds of argument in the--let's just admit it--snobby ski world, but Dave O is dead-on about the fun part. They are fun, and that's what it's all about, right?

Here's what some other folks have to say about it:

I'll be profiling Ollila in an upcoming issue of Traverse magazine. Stay tuned.

Winter in Montana

We recently returned from our first trip to the Western U.S. in winter. Wow. The Montana landscape is sooo overwhelming visually. But on the other hand, as a photographer it's easy to make great shots because mountains are just so damn sexy.

There are times I wish the Upper Peninsula had real mountains, but then there would be way more people here and we probably wouldn't be able to afford to live the way we do.

So, I guess Montana can keep the mountains and I'll be satisfied with having a brother-in-law who lives and works in them and keeps a couch, a fly rod and a pair of skis with my name on them for when I get a little itch to go West.

Our cabin at Izaak Walton Hotel in Essex, MT.

Izaak Walton Hotel, Essex, MT. Great Nordic trails south of Glacier NP.
Kinda had a Shining feel to it though.

Snow Ghost snow formations on fir trees at the summit of
Big Mountain ski resort, Whitefish, Mt.

On a clear day the peaks of Glacier NP are visible from
Big Mountain in Whitefish, Mt.