Ah, gear reviews. Such a suspicion-worthy beast. Read them at your own peril. But read them you will since you're about to drop some serious coin on gear of some sort. We all do it and we often go to the same places in search of information to guide our decisions. Frequency builds trust, whether truly warranted or not. I'm guilty of doing the same and have made purchases based on the information. Ultimately, I don't always agree with the review and this has created a fair amount of sketicisim of late.
I guess it's time to end the silence on these pages. Funny how the blog-scape has changed with the times. It seems that peoples' attention spans have shortened and now folks gravitate toward short hits of adventure and related gear stories. I'm guilty of gravitating to Instagram myself. But ideas continue to percolate in my brain and I'm finally feeling motivated enough to share some thoughts. Hell, it costs me $15/month just to have this site active so I might as well contribute. Hopefully, someone is still reading.
Few would argue that it was a strange winter nearly everywhere in North America. The strangeness was mostly of the warm variety. It was certainly no drought but it looked like it in places like Alaska in the lower elevations. Truth be told, my home town of Anchorage saw very little snow. The Nordic skiers were depressed. But above 2,000 feet, the winter was full-on throughout South Central AK.
Unlike other places I’ve lived in my life, Alaska is not known for consistently fine weather. The windows tend to be short and, if you’re a skier, you need to pounce on opportunities when they present themselves. For the traditionally employed, this can prove to be a problem when good weather materializes during the week and the shit comes back in on the weekend.
Like a lot of essential back country ski gear, pole choice is nearly completely dictated by the popular brands seen at every gear store. In the US, Black Diamond seems to dominate the field with a variety of offerings. All them are adjustable and BD has developed numerous incarnations of the adjustment mechanism because, well, they often suck at some point. More on that later. In Europe, there are more options, some adjustable, some fixed. If you can break the spell of the former, you may be tempted by the latter.