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Couloir Magazine, 2000-09

Couloir Magazine, 2000

Spring 2000, p. 9, Letter from John Dittli: "Farewell"

Scott Croll was working as a backcountry ranger in Glacier Bay, Alaska, during the summer of 1999 when the small plane he was flying in disappeared without a trace. The writer met Croll in the Sierra Nevada in 1987. Croll later became a backcountry ranger in the North Cascades. He pioneered ski routes deep in the Sierra and North Cascades backcountry. On p. 17 are photographs of Dittli and Croll carrying skis and big packs through brush and across a river, probably in the North Cascades.

Spring 2000, p. 12, Dostie, Craig, "Paul Ramer: Crazy Like a Fox"

The author interviewed Paul Ramer in 1993. This article was published after Ramer was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, a degenerative brain ailment. In the 1970s, Ramer was laid off from his job as a senior research engineer at Rocky Flats, Colorado, designing robots. With five months' severance pay, he decided to try running his own business. He started Alpine Research, Inc. in 1974. He created the Ramer Model-R binding (later called the Classic) in 1974 to work with a boot he had developed from Scott boot parts. He found that customers were more interested in the binding than the boot. The heel elevator began as an energy recovery device, employing a spring. Other Ramer innovations included Assault Snowshoes, Motiv-aider boot cuffs, Claw pole baskets and grips, and NOTwax base lubricant. Russell Rainey said of Ramer, "The biggest contribution Paul made to backcountry skiing was his promotion of the sport. Second, of course, was all the stuff that he developed."

Dec 2000, p. 10, Kray, Peter, "Slovenian Adventurer Skis Everest"

In October, 2000, Davo Karnicar, a 38-year-old ski instructor, made the first complete, continuous ski descent of Mt Everest, descending from the 29,035-foot summit to his 17,600-foot base camp via the South Col route in under five hours. Everest had been skied before, in 1971 by Yuichiro Miura, in 1992 by Pierre Tardivel, and in 1996 by Hans Kammerlander, but none of these descents were as complete as Karnicar's. He used a pair of specially designed, lightweight, 170 cm Elan skis.

Couloir Magazine, 2001

Oct 2001, p. 16, Portman, Don, "Steve Barnett: An Original Telemaharka"

This fine profile describes Barnett's sometimes blunt personality and his incessant curiosity about free heel skiing techniques. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, disenchanted with the downhill skiing scene, Barnett began exploring off-piste skiing on alpine skis mounted with Marker Rotomat TR bindings. He later moved on to climbing boots and Silvretta bindings. He was constantly dissatisfied with the alpine outfit he was using. When he went to upgrade his gear, he decided to go free heel rather than buy the newly developed Ramer alpine touring binding, because at $80 it was too expensive. He settled for a pair of $15 cross-country boots and three-pin bindings mounted on Fischer Europa 77's instead.

Barnett heard about skiers such as Rick Borkovec using cross-country skis on the alpine slopes of Crested Butte. He read, experimented, and talked to ski instructors, refining the techniques he would write about in his 1978 book, Cross-Country Downhill. This book helped fuel the telemark revival in North America, but it contained many other techniques, including alpine style turns, the old open turn, and a variety of step turns applied to light nordic gear. Barnett traveled across North America teaching ski clinics and he wrote articles for XC Ski, Cross Country Skier, Pacific Search, and Powder. He helped develop heel locators, which helped flimsy cross-country boots stay lined up on the ski during a turn. He starred in John Fuller's 1980 movie, Cross-Country Challenge, about nordic skiing from the summit of Mt Rainier. He skied in mountains throughout the world and in 1987 published his book, The Best Ski Touring in America. In 2001, the ski industry officially recognized Barnett's contributions to nordic skiing, presenting him with the annual Dagfinn Ragg award.

Dec 2001, p. 36, Berwyn, Bob, "Telemark's Revivalist: Rick Borkovec"

Former Crested Butte ski patroller Rick Borkovec is one of a small group of Colorado skiers often credited with starting the telemark revival in the 1970s. Borkovec is quick to point out that he was only part of a region-by-region movement re-discovering the technique during that era. In 1971, after breaking his leg in a downhill ski race, he started cross-country skiing to rehab. A friend said, "There's a way to turn those things. It's called a telemark turn, and I think it looks like this." Borkovec recalls seeing old photos of Stein Eriksen's father telemarking. He experimented with the technique, and with several friends began patrolling Crested Butte's lift-served terrain on skinny skis. He wrote instructional articles about telemark skiing for national ski magazines, worked with ski makers to help refine gear, and in 1977 started a nordic ski school and guide service.

Couloir Magazine, 2002

Spring 2002, p. 16, Stanford, Jim, "Peak Punishment"

Billed by its sponsors as the first race of its kind in the U.S., the first Life-Link/Dynafit Randonnee Rally was held at Jackson Hole, WY, on March 17, 2001. Ski mountaineering races have become very popular in Europe. The Jackson race began with a LeMans-style mass start in which competitors ran to their skis, stepped into their bindings, and started up the hill on skins. The course included several climbs and descents. The racing class climbed 5,100 vertical feet, while recreational class skiers climbed 3,200 feet. The men's race division was won by Brendan O'Neill and the women's by Nancy Johnstone. Organizers hope to have future U.S. races internationally sanctioned and the UIAA is working to have ski mountaineering accepted in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Oct 2002, p. 8, "Randonnee Rally Adds Event, Looks Toward Olympics"

The first randonnee rally in the Northwest was held on March 31, 2002, at Alpental, Washington. Seventy-eight skiers participated. The men's race division was won by Andrew McLean of Utah followed by Lowell Skoog and Andreas Schmidt of Seattle. Petra Pirc of Utah won the women's race division.

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