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Gear Review: Osprey Transporter and Snowkit Organizational Duffels

Osprey TransporterNew in Osprey’s line up this year are the Transporter and Gearkit Duffel Series, with a bomb-proof bunch of options.  I had the chance to test two of them out on a circuitous trip to the Andes last month and I’m stoked on these duffels.  I managed to get my rock climbing kit for two weeks of climbing in New Hampshire and ski gear for a week of heli-skiing in Chile inside two of these bags which both weathered a lot of travel well.

 

I used the Transporter 95 for the brunt of my stuff in a checked bag which seemed to have endless room for everything I needed.  Features I appreciated that make this a go-to bag include:  incredibly durable and highly water-resistant construction, wide grab handles in all the right places, a burly U-zipper and opening flap that is unique and different than most duffels making packing easier and attached shoulder straps that stow out of the way inside the U-flap and are easy to deploy.  Little extras like a window for your business card and flaps to protect the few Fastex buckles from luggage conveyers, mules or whatever your means of schlepping may be are also well designed.  Although this duffel will stow far more than I like to carry on my back, it actually carries well as a backpack which is an added bonus for short hauls.  I chose the Sub Lime color which stood out in airport baggage claims and was a bright and cheery part of my kit.  I received lots of complements on it wherever I went.  MSRP: $160

 

Osprey DuffelThe other bag, which I used for carry-on was Osprey’s new Snowkit Organizational Duffel.  This little beauty is a 45L well thought out bag with creative organizing pockets that are uber practical.  It doubles as a backpack and carries comfortably making it super versatile.  I was skeptical of bells and whistles but everything had a purpose with a clean design and super stealth profile.  I wanted to check the Snowkit out specifically for a ski boot bag, plus some.

 

Now granted, I wear a size 23.5 ski boot which isn’t large, there was ample extra room and they stowed easily (with a lot of socks, transceiver, Delorme device, etc shoved in them).  This boot compartment is accessed on the end with a large burly zipper opening and a sleeve of light material isolating it from the main compartment.  This part of the kit is also ventilated so when you put your steamy boots back in at the end of the day they won’t get everything else wet.  There was plenty of room around the boots to stuff clothing and other to fill up the space for flights.  Amazingly there was ample space left in the main compartment to stow even more.

 

The Snowkit has all the features I like on the Transporter Duffel and then some.  The main flap is heavily padded which makes it comfortable to carry as a backpack and it protects the contents inside.  It has a well padded, scratch proof goggle and sunglasses compartment that easily accommodates both with some room to spare.  The side pocket fits a water bottle which if the zip is left open is easily accessible while boot packing.  There are also webbing straps on the same side stowed in the pocket that you could strap a pair of skis on.  There’s a low profile tuck away helmet carry and a padded side handle that makes it easy to tote around in airports or just huck in the back of a truck.  This is a great duffel and will be my go to boot bag, carry on luggage for many an adventure.  Check out the features on Osprey’s video here. MSRP:  $130

What is backcountry and why is it so awesome?

BACKCOUNTRY SKIING Q & A WITH CHICKS GUIDES NORIE KIZAKI AND KAREN BOCKEL

Backcountry SkiingChicks:  Let’s start with the basics:  What is backcountry skiing?

KB:  It’s skiing outside and away from a ski resort, on unmarked, ungroomed, and unpatrolled snow slopes.  It’s my favorite kind of skiing!  Usually, you have to earn your turns by hiking uphill to get to the top of the run.  You need special equipment, including climbing skins that attach to the bottom of your skis, ski boots that have a walk mode, and avalanche rescue gear.  You also need skills to navigate the snow-covered mountains beyond the resort.

Chicks:  Why is backcountry skiing so special?

NK:  Backcountry skiing is special because it can take us to places where we could not go otherwise. Skinning can take us a longer distance in a shorter amount of time than being on foot.  Though there is mechanized skiing in the backcountry these days, if we are talking about human powered skiing, the cost of equipment has become reasonable for most people. It is the oldest, purest and simplest method to enjoy skiing.  It was the only way for me to ski every day in winter growing up.  The very best part of backcountry skiing is the relationships you develop with people you ski with, whether they are clients, friends or your significant other.  When I think of backcountry skiing, the first thing that comes to my mind is the people with whom I have shared joyful moments.

Chicks:   What is your favorite backcountry skiing range?

KB:  The San Juan Mountains!  This is where I learned to ski (and be!) in the mountains, and therefore they are really close to my heart.  It’s where I cut my teeth, and where learned about snow and avalanches.  The high alpine terrain is just beautiful.  There are endless opportunities for big and small ski tours with good access off the high passes such as Red Mountain Pass.  The snowpack can be challenging, but when we get blue skies and powder, it’s dreamy out there.

NK:Japan!  That is where I am from.That is where I speak the language and understand the culture. That is where I do most of my ski guiding.  That is where I share joy and laughter with many of my clients, friends and my husband.  That is where I excel and can provide the best skiing experience to my clients.  I look forward to many more years of skiing and ski guiding in Japan.

Chicks:  Who can go backcountry skiing with Chicks?

KB:   Good question!  If you are an intermediate to advanced alpine skier or snowboarder, you can join Chicks with Stix.  For our Backcountry Skiing clinic on Red Mountain Pass, no prior backcountry experience is required – this course will teach you all about the backcountry!  It’s perfect for someone wanting to explore the backcountry for the first time, or for refreshing basic backcountry skills.  The Bird is also a great way to explore powder skiing in the San Juans – via helicopter!  No backcountry experience is required for this clinic either, but the pace will be a little faster and there is opportunity for lots of vertical.  If you’ve ever thought about trying heliskiing, this is the perfect intro.  By the way, we have a good description of our ski levels on our website.

NK: In terms of our In Deep trip to Japan, you would want to be intermediate resort skiers or rider, and you would want to have a few days of powder skiing experience. If you are an intermediate skier, you can learn to ski in powder quickly.  Guides can instruct you on how to ski in deep powder efficiently.  Besides skiing ability, if you enjoy the experience of a different culture and food, you will have a great time!

Chicks:  When is the best time to go backcountry skiing?

KB:  Each mountain range has their season.  Right now, at the beginning of the December, the snow cover is thin and more dangerous here in the San Juans and in the Tetons.  By January, things begin to fill in, and good skiing can be found in many areas – but always watch the avalanche danger!  In March, the sun begins to warm up the snow, and we transition into spring skiing – the time to go up high, ski big peaks and big lines.  Each part of the season has its challenges.  Make sure you and your partners are prepared.  Going with Chicks is a great way to learn from AMGA/IFMGA guides and get the best training possible!

Chicks:  Tell us about your favorite backcountry skiing day.

NK:Every day I go out is my favorite day.  I enjoy skiing with my husband whether it is a mellow tree skiing day or it is a 50-degree couloir type of day.  We also had awesome days with the Chicks In Deep last year in Hokkaido, Japan, skiing some amazing lines and laughing so hard that my stomach was hurting.   If you know me, I cannot stop smiling when I am skiing.

Chicks Training Tip: Powerful Ski Legs

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 14 installments to get a look at all the great movements, including VIDEOS. This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter.

If you’ve been following the training tips you’ve got some really strong legs for all your alpine climbing. (Newsletter 14#). Ski season is upon us, and although it’s off to a bit of a slow start here in Colorado, it’s going to come on strong and we’ll be skiing into April for sure! So let’s take those kick-ass alpine legs and convert them into ski legs!The biggest difference between our alpine fitness and ski fitness is to add power to the mix for carving turns, skiing bumps, dropping in to ski epic fluffy pillowy powder for days, heliskiing, top to bottom 5,000 vertical runs. So here we go!Once we’ve build strong legs we want to convert that strength to power!

Powerful movements:
  • Squat Jumps
  • Split Jumps
  • Kettle Ball Spike Swings
  • Accelerating Back Squats
  • Box Jumps
  • Bosu Jumps
Here are a few sample workouts for ski leg prep!
All movements have been reviewed in videos so far in the Chicks Newsletters. The new power movements are included below.

Workout #1

Warm-up 10:00 (for videos on all movements, visit our YouTube channel)
2 x 8 shoulder openers
2 x 5 Cuban press
3 x 5 Wall squat
2 x 5 squat jumpThen:
Kettle Ball Spike Swing 1:1 work rest
20x swing, increase weight each round.
5 rounds
kettleballspikeswing
Then:
8x Accelerating Back Squat with chains + 5x Burpees (fast for time minimal rest)
7 Rounds
Cool Down
acceleratingbacksquat

Workout #2

Warm up 10:00 (for videos on all movements, visit our YouTube channel)
2 x 8 Shoulder openers
2 x 5 Cuban press
3×5 Wall squatThen:
5x Split squat per leg, weighted + 8x Box Jump
8 rounds
boxjump
Then:
10x Weighted Sit Up
20x Jumps laterally either over paralette or on off Bosu until rock carry and farmers carry done.
x 5 rounds
bosujump

Workout #3

 

Warm up 10:00 (for videos on all movements, visit our YouTube channel)
2 x 8 Shoulder openers
2 x 5 Cuban press
3 x 5 Wall Squat
2 x 5 Squat jump

squat-jumps
Then:
1 – 10 Squat ladder with partner. Hold a kettle ball or dumbbell in hands at chest, partners bering by holding at the bottom of the squat movement. Player one does one squat then holds at the bottom. Player two then does their first squat. Player one then performs two squats while player two is holding. Then player two does two squats while player one holds at the bottom of the squat. Players alternate  reps and holds up to 10. Don’t cheat and don’t break the hold.Then:

20x Split Jump + 30 sec sprint, running. rest 60 secs
5 rounds.
Finish with:
60 secs mountain climbers + 60 secs sit ups + 60 sec rest
5 rounds
Cool DownThere are videos of all movements in previous Chicks Newsletters, and I’ve added videos of movements that are new in the above workouts, and as always if you are unsure how to perform any of these movements get professional instruction.

If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me via e-mail.

Carolyn Parker