July 22, 2015

Canadian Rockies Slideshow

We just got back from 8 days in the Canadian Rockies - Banff, Mt Assiniboine, Lake Louise, Jasper. We flew up to Calgary, rendezvoused with friends who flew in from Atlanta and Buffalo, then rented a car and headed into the mountains for a week of trail running and hiking.

It was a fantastic trip that deserves more documentation and details, but with additional trips on the agenda for the next couple weeks (San Francisco, China?!?, Maine), I won't get around to sorting through pictures and blogging until sometime in August. So for now, here's a brief slideshow:

July 9, 2015

Saucony Nomad TR Shoe Review

Nomad TR - Wasatch tested and approved

Last month one of Saucony's brilliant technical reps told me about the brand's new trail running shoe - the Nomad TR. He said it was so comfortable that he was even wearing it casually throughout the day. I've been wearing the Peregrines for several years, but have tended to just wear my Kinvaras on most non-technical / non-rocky terrain, as I like the comfort and flexibility of the Kinvara over the Peregrine. And let's face it, the trails I like to run are of the smoother variety. I've had a pair for a few weeks, enough to give them my seal of approval.

The Nomad strikes the balance between the Kinvara and a more traditional trail shoe, with a couple of really nice upgrades...

1. The Nomad is built on the Kinvara's last, so you are starting off with exceptional geometry. But look at that toe box width - the oblique shape gives a little more room for the toes to spread out naturally... especially great when running downhill.

2. The PWRTRAC outsole is a new kind of rubber - more traction, and supposedly more durable. The outsole pattern is unique and won't get clogged up with sticky mud/clay.

3. FIT!!! Saucony is killing it in this category lately. The Nomad TR has a one piece upper with high end materials and a sock-like feel. I'm not going to say it has the luxurious feel of the Triumph ISO, but I'd say this is as good as you are going to get in a trail shoe.

I think the Nomad will be great for winter/snow running in addition to being my go-to for trails, dirt roads, and hiking! 

Cosmetics are a definite winner for this model as well for both genders.

July 5, 2015

Pipeline, Mid-Mountain, and Wasatch Crest Trail Runs

Andrea running the Pipeline Trail in Millcreek Canyon

We have been hitting the trails a bit more this summer, as Andrea has been building up her running and I need to quench my overwhelming thirst to be in the mountains as much as possible. Here's a few of the runs we have been loving this summer...

Pipeline Trail - Millcreek Canyon

Proximity to home makes this a great before work option. In our opinion, best done as an out and back from the Burch Hollow trailhead (about 9 miles roundtrip if you run west). It's a flat run. You can make it a bit longer by starting at Elbow Fork, or adding on another out and back to that point. We like running this trail early in the morning, while the rattlesnakes are sleeping.

Mid-Mountain Trail - Park City

We've run Mid-Mountain more than any other trail this summer, because its awesome. We like starting at the Empire Lodge (Montage Deer Valley) and heading north. The trail winds through Aspen forests and across the ski slopes. You could easily do this as a point-to-point and take the free buses back to the start, dropping down to Park City via Jenni's / Spiro / Armstrong, or simply take it all the way to the Canyons Resort.

Despite how much we love this run, we only have one picture!

Wasatch Crest Trail - Big Cottonwood Canyon

Possibly our new favorite run. A nice 10 miler starts at Guardsman's Pass - take Scott's Bypass and then run up Puke Hill to the Crest. The trail, which undulates between 9,500 - 10,000 feet, is very smooth and provides unlimited scenery. At 5 miles you reach an overlook, and the return trip is just as great as the way out.

July 3, 2015


Some photos from a hike up the Pfeifferhorn today. As you can tell from Andrea's attire... it's July 4th weekend!

June 25, 2015

Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain is a quick, short hike with some great views at the top of the Mirror Lake Highway.

And that's all I have to say about that!

June 24, 2015

50 Days of Human Powered Skiing

After our post One Last Main Chute? on June 5th, we actually went up and skied it again a few days later. That was our 50th day of human-powered skiing for the season, and closed the door on the ski season in the Wasatch. A week later we headed up to the Uintas to see if there was anything left to ski up there (nope), and then it started to get really warm and we ran Ragnar (post coming on that)... so long story short - the ski gear is now cleaned and put away for the summer.

Here's a little slideshow with highlights from the best "worst" season ever...

June 16, 2015

Shoe Rotation Update - Cortana 4, Breakthru, Triumph ISO

I haven't done a shoe rotation / review in a while, but my stable has changed a little bit this year so it's time for an update.

I have already praised the Kinvara 5 multiple times. It remains my favorite all-around shoe of all time. I haven't worn the Kinvara 6s yet, but trusted sources have told me they are just as good.

Back in the fall, Andrea suggested that I try the Cortana. I've heard the Cortana 4 described as a "beefed-up Kinvara" and I would say that is an accurate assessment. It features the same fit and geometry (4mm drop) but has a bit more cushioning and protection. I found the Cortana to be my "go-to" shoe over the winter when it was colder outside and I was running on more roads than softer surfaces. I have about 500 miles on my current pair and I'll definitely be keeping this model in my rotation.

A month ago I starting phasing in a pair of the Breakthru. This is a simple, lightweight trainer with an 8mm drop. I think this will make an excellent tempo run / fast long run shoe. I've only put about 40 miles on them, but so far, so good.

Now for the super-duper-star of the group: Triumph ISO. I'll be honest, the $150 price tag is an immediate deterrent. Can you really tell the difference between a "luxury" model like the Triumph and a (more basic) cushioned shoe like the Ride 7/8? In this case, YES!

When I'm heading out of town for a few days and I'm only taking one pair of running shoes with me, I've been grabbing the Triumph ISOs before my Kinvara 5s recently (sorry Kinvara - it's not personal). I've put about 250 miles on my Triumphs so far. The ISO-Fit system is unreal - I've never had a shoe that conforms to the foot so well - it is truly a luxurious feel, especially in the midfoot. Soft, yet supportive. The Triumph is also surprisingly light for how cushioned it is - you really notice the extra cushion in both the heel and forefoot. Flexibility is the other thing that I have noticed - on par with a much more minimalist type of shoe. You should expect all of these things in a high-end shoe, and Saucony definitely delivers with the Triumph ISO.

So my current rotation is: Kinvara / Triumph / Cortana / Breakthru. I'm looking forward to trying the Nomad TR as a possible upgrade to my Peregrines for trail runs.

June 5, 2015

One Last Main Chute?

Looking down Little Cottonwood Canyon - Wednesday June 3rd

We headed up LCC on Wednesday morning for what *could be the final Main Chute outing of the season. We skinned the shoulder of Baldy and then skied the chute, which was actually still is pretty good condition. The bottom 15% was starting to get rocky and a runnel is forming in the middle, as you would expect this time of year. As of Wednesday, you could still get to within about 100 feet of the parking lot on continuous snow, but that is changing quickly.

(*It's not over til it's over)

May 31, 2015

Pipeline Couloir

This is American Fork Twin Peaks (viewed from the Snowbird tram... a photo I took 5 years ago), and the Pipeline Couloir is the obvious route with the red dots that starts near the summit of the West Twin.

This week has been pretty awesome. We skied Main Chute on Monday, Suicide Chute on Friday, and did a couple laps in Wolverine Cirque on Saturday. Our plan was to head up to Bald Mountain Pass and see what the Uintas had to offer today, but a photo posted on Instagram on Saturday night made us re-evaluate. Snowbird was open to hiking from the Gad Valley side, and Andrea suggested we finally take a stab at skiing the Pipeline Couloir. Game on!

We started from Creekside and covered the first 1200' of uphill in running shoes with skis A-framed on our packs. It should be noted that Andrea was out of the gates QUICK this morning and I could barely keep up for the first 30 minutes. We made the switch to skins and headed up into the bowl below the West Twin. At the base of the couloir skis were strapped back on the packs and it was a direct climb up the gut of the Pipeline. Fortunately, a booter was in place from a group that skied it on Saturday, which made the final climb go quickly.

At the top of the couloir we made a sidetrip to tag the summit of the West Twin before getting set the for ski down. The couloir is ~42 degrees... steep, but the snow was soft so it didn't feel that steep. We had fun on the descent through Pipeline and out on the apron below.

Lots of photos below, but first, my favorite Andrea quotes of the day...


"I can eat ice cream as many times as I want today."

"We should ski Coalpit #4 next winter" (this only is funny with context... she was reading The Chuting Gallery while laying by the pool in the afternoon... it's like we have gone back in time 4-5 years)

Starting from Creekside

Light on the West Twin

The bowl below Pipeline

Looking back towards the Cottonwood Ridge

Starting the couloir climb

Perfect steepness

Stunning backdrop

Getting close to the top

Topping out on the West Twin

Timp still has snow

Skiing down

Andrea's view

Andrea skiing the apron below the Pipeline. This gives a good sense of the scale.

Summer-style exit back to the jeep