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Spring, summer, and fall tend to blend into each other here in the mountainous desert that is Utah.  But that’s starting to change. Winter is just around the corner and people are pulling out the gear and trying to shore up injured joints. The first drips of wax are falling off the hot iron, so it’s time to go over what kind of weather we’ll be seeing for the majority of the winter. Long-term forecasts like this are based on historical data and certain wind anomalies. We look at current conditions and then at what happened in other years when [...]

Wally’s Weather: Winter 2014-15 Outlook


Backcountry travel has really increased in popularity over the last couple of years, due to heightened emphasis on exercise and major technology improvements making the backcountry more accessible. But there’s hidden danger in this blissful paradise. Areas like these aren’t controlled by ski patrol and don’t have a continuous parade of skiers, snowboarders, or snow groomers consistently rolling over them. It’s up to you and your group to figure out what the mountain will do. If one wrong decision is made, this can happen: Thankfully, you and your group aren’t really alone in the backcountry. Organizations of backcountry scientists are [...]

A Day in the Life of an Avalanche Forecaster


As we all emerge from our post-Halloween sugar comas, we turn from jack-o-lanterns and sticky candy wrappers to what’s coming next: winter and the forecast. Our brains might still be a bit foggy from late-night costume parties, but the forecast, at least, is getting clearer than it was recently. Let’s run down what we’ll see short term, then focus on a more broad time range. EAST Big swings are in focus for the next couple of weeks. A normal temperature pattern will give way to a large high pressure ridge near the end of the next two weeks. We’ll most [...]

Wally’s Weather: November Part 1


Hey folks!  Wally again here, bringing you my update for the next two weeks.  Since I’ll be doing this sort of things more often (every two weeks), I’ll be following a format in which I’ll dedicate a section to each US region and maybe save the end for something that interests me.  Ready? Let’s begin: EAST I know I said in an earlier post that this winter was to bring a bit of a change for all our peeps near the Atlantic, but these next two to four weeks won’t support that.  From the NCEP (Government’s shut down, but weather [...]

Wally’s Weather: October Part 1


4 5

"26", 27.5", 29", starting to feel a bit crowded in the MTB wheel size format." This was my thought when deciding to upgrade my rig before my disposable income goes kaput. I had a Blur LTc and while I loved the feel of the frame and the suspension was the perfect amount, the smaller wheelsize made things a little squirrely for some reason (I'm all legs - 33.5" inseam at 5'11" - might be part of it). When I saw that SC made the Solo (now the 5010, clever) with a very similar geometry as the Blur with the 27.5" wheelsize, it seemed to make enough sense for me.
(-side note- no 29er for me, for a do it all bike I don't like to get that tactical with my descents)

And I was right. This is a very capable do it all bike, especially in this particular build. The rolling resistance of the wheel size feels easy and it takes much less energy to maintain speed. Climbing comes very easily here with the three ring crankset and the fact that the Solo/5010's best quality is the rolling resistance on the small stuff when climbing. Descending feels almost as much at home as it is a harmonious blend of stability and nimbleness due to the Blur's geometry being instilled.

The build is fantastic as well with Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, a RockShox Reverb seat dropper, Fox Float front and back and a nice wide Easton bar. Liked the tires (HighRoller 2s) and don't love the wheels for the weight, but gives me something to upgrade and can't afford that ENVE goodness yet.

Enough with the gushing, time for the down-points. Not many here as it feels like nitpicking, but while there is not much that the Solo/5010 doesn't do, I feel that there is no real bright spots either other than that rolling resistance I mentioned earlier. I also don't see the need for the triple crankset as I'm not using the granny or the biggest gears much.

Overall, a great do everything bike for those who loves the new 27.5 wheel size.


4 5

Was able to score an M-Frame frameset with a broken lens so I decided to hop on a couple of these replacement frames. The vision is the usual better than most Oakley quality while the nose piece is good at hugging the shnoz without cutting off the air. The array of tints is endless (a good thing) and the shape is a good medium between wind protection while remaining low profile.

The lens is a bit strange to put on the frame itself. I'm a bit afraid of breaking the tip corner off of the lens each time I try, but that is the only complaint.


Above Photo By: Re Wikstrom’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right ski, saddle, or pro. From Gearhead Wally Phillips: Hey-o, folks!  This is a fun time of year for us winter aficionados as the drag of summer heat is getting us antsy and the prospect of white stuff falling sooner than before puts a bit more kick in our step and widens the smile on our faces.  I’ve been brushing up on the trends of what the globe is showing me and am going to bring [...]

Wally’s Weather: A Preliminary Winter 2013-14 Forecast


The profile shape of a ski is a primary determinant for how a ski will interact with the snow, making profile an important feature to consider when selecting a pair of skis. But with the seemingly inexhaustible supply of proprietary profile shapes that debut year after year, choosing the right profile can seem like a daunting task. Worry not, the Backcountry video crew caught up with gear guru Wally Phillips so he could cut through the fluff and break down the basic know-how you need to choose the perfect ski profile.   Video Transcription Hey everyone! Wally here from [...]

Rocker Camber Rocker: How to Choose a Ski Profile


If you’re just getting into skiing, the terminology can be confusing. We take a selfish pride in explaining confusing things, so sit back, read on, and learn about ski categories. The Obvious Let’s say you’ve literally never been on skis before in your life, and you’ve just opened a catalog, gear guide, or web page in hopes of figuring out the sport. The ski categories prescribed by retailers and manufacturers stay relatively consistent year to year, and for the most part, the skis themselves do fit into those roles. But what do carving, park and pipe (a.k.a. freestyle), all mountain, [...]

From Carving to Powder: How to Choose the Right Ski