The 5Point Film Festival brings in a slew of outdoor industry insiders and athletes to Backbone’s homebase in Carbondale, Colorado. Among the attendees this year were Damian Quigley, associate publisher of Freeskier magazine and Donny O’Neill, senior editor of Freeskier. On Thursday, before the 5Point festivities started, we took them for an old-fashioned backcountry ski test on Carbondale’s famed Sopris Mountain.
A little backstory here: throughout the year Backbone attends and hosts ski tests to get the equipment of Black Diamond, La Sportiva and other brands on snow, and tested by publications in the ski industry. The only problem with these tests is you rarely get to use a backcountry skiing setup in its full capacity (i.e. the up and down). Donny was hoping to test the new Black Diamond skis in the backcountry all year, and due to adverse snow conditions, we had to wait until the end of April to make it happen.
Sopris was the objective, but testing gear, showing the Freeskier crew Backbone’s backyard and having fun were some of the perks along the way . The crew consisted of Jason Smith, Donny O’Neill and Damian Quigley from Freeskier, and Sam Coffey, Fielding Miller and John DiCuollo from Backbone.
We started our trek at 6:30 a.m. on a clear, April morning. After a quick walk on the frozen mud, we were able to put our skis on and start skinning. 4,000 total feet of climbing later and we reached the summit at 12,966 feet —you could see hints of spring starting to peak through the valley below.
To me, this trip was a perfect example of what sets Backbone apart. Yes, we’re PR and media professionals, but each one of us embodies the lifestyle that is associated with these brands. We’re an enthusiastic group of skiers, runners, bikers and climbers who live for the moments we get to spend outside.
Furthermore, when you take someone on an adventure that the gear is created for, it creates a better understanding of the equipment and its capabilities. There are the details that can’t be gathered from reading the specs in a digital workbook. Similarly, there are aspects to relationships that cannot be made through email and phone calls alone. These in-person experiences help us share the products in a more authentic way.
We skied the most-common Sopris line down the bowl of the eastern side of the peak. We enjoyed cold, Colorado snow on the top, harvested some corn in the middle, hit a funky, breakable crust in the basin, and ended with soft, spring slush: it was ideal to test the skis in a variety of conditions. All in all, a solid day of work.
If you want to read the Freeskier side of the story, check it out here: http://bit.ly/1HVOkoc