Next to the doorway in the Hidden Lake bunker, there's a pair of the original K2 Xplorer. At 70-something underfoot the boards lean unmounted against the door of our gear storage shed. "I remember my first turns on this ski," says Brad "Bubba" Holden of his first powder skis. "I made six turns and when I got to the bottom everyone was freaking out." But today, we brought out next year's powder skis. And Bubba's favorite pair of the day? The G3 Empire 115 at 115cm underfoot.
Brad "Bubba" Holden reminisces about past-time turns on the K2 Xplorer. [Photo] Tyler Cohen
Yesterday's storm blanketed Powder Mountain in more than a half-foot of snow, and proved demanding for most testers. After the annual return to the Shooting Star Saloon and several pitchers of Utah Bud', followed by home-cooked breakfast for dinner, most skier turned in for an early night. "I think it was because the beermingo was broken out too early," says Jaime Krakowiak. "We don't usually go that hard on the first night."
"Your skis have too much rocker," says the cat driver, "I can't get them into the rack." [Photo] Alden Pellett
Griffin Dunne throwing powder everywhere. [Photo] Alden Pellett
Well rested and bright eyed, testers were ready for another snowy day. And everyone was greeted with another blower morning. Another five inches reburied Powder's terrain, and it was time to unleash the bigger artillery. Day three was all about long cat runs and fat skis. With oversized planks on their feet, a dozen testers at a time traversed to the cat and piled in for a quick ride to Lightening Ridge. "Cat rides are always fun," says senior tester Jason Layh. "The anticipation when you get in a cat, mixed in with a little heady smell of diesel is a winning combination—especially during a powder morning."
Backcountry Magazine Editor Adam Howard working hard. [Photo] Alden Pellett
With two solid powder days completed, the team has settled into their groove. Some testers managed to hustled through more than 10 skis today and out of the five truck loads that were brought to the mountain on day one, two have been skied and pulled from the testing line.
Dan Abrams gliding through turns on the Line Influence 115. [Photo] Alden Pellett
For more videos, photos and event antics check the out the Gear Test Week 2014 dispatch page.