Soul Poles: Locally-made Bamboo Ski Poles

I recently met up with Bryon Friedman and Erik Schlopy, two Park City locals, ex-U.S. Ski Team members, and entrepreneurs. They have set up a little operation here in town with big ambitions to change the ski industry, one pole plant at a time. Here’s an excerpt from a story on the Ski Utah blog:

Have you ever had an idea for something that hit you at the strangest of times, only to persist until you have pursued it many years later? For ex-US Ski Team alpine racers Erik Schlopy and Bryon Friedman, Soul Poles is an idea whose time has come but has been many years in the making to get off the ground.¬†For Schlopy, he had an epiphany while driving through Europe. He was on the homeward bound road, extracting himself from an illustrious World Cup and Olympic ski racing career that he literally retired from while mid-turn in a race in 2009. Perhaps it was thoughts about what comes next in life that filled his head, but for whatever reason, he asked himself “why isn’t anyone making bamboo ski poles?” Good question. Read the full article on the Ski Utah blog site.
Soul Poles are Bamboo ski poles made in Park City, Utah.

Soul Poles are Bamboo ski poles made in Park City, Utah.

You can get Soul Poles at backcountry.com. Here’s the gratuitous affiliate banner:

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Presidents Day Powder In Park City

This past weekend was a wild one here in Park City, Utah. We had the Mountain Trails Round Valley Roundup skate ski race in the worst conditions imaginable. 40 kilometers (2 laps) in blowing wind and driving snow, and the whole time I was thinking I was robbing myself of a powder day. Well that’s not exactly true, it couldn’t have been the whole time, because at least half the time I was delirious and thought I was going to die. I had some serious Jack London moments out there. The following Monday, the observed President’s Day holiday made up for missing that powder day. I got to the mountain early enough to claim front row parking, and my skiing buddy and I were only 5 or 6 chairs back at Crescent. We opted for a quick shot over to the Pioneer lift for a run through 10th Mountain Trees, then we overheard a ski patrol talking into his radio that Pine Cone had just opened up. There were hardly any lines at the Jupiter lift, and we swiftly made our way up to Scott’s Peak, then down the shoulder, then took our places in the line to hike up Pine Cone. We bagged second and third tracks in Full Moon Bowl, which was the highlight of the day. See for yourself:

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Nordic Skids, Park City Style

The nordic ski scene in the Park City area is blowing up, in a good way. Although part of me wishes Round Valley stayed a secret, it’s great to have the trail access and grooming in multiple places, not just the golf course and the Farm. Round Valley, Willow Creek, there are new trails popping up all over the place thanks to great early season snowpack, and the tireless efforts of Basin Recreation folks, Mountain Trails folks, and of course, Isaac and his gang at White Pine Touring. The Utah ski industry is starting to pay nordic a little more attention too. Here is a short video from a recent Ski Utah member ski day, which included track passes, demo equipment and lessons from White Pine staff.

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Voice Your Opinion About Park City’s Winter Trails

Here’s your chance to tell some folks in the city what you think about Park City’s winter trail system. Let’s face it: as recently as 5 or 6 years ago, if you wanted to nordic ski on groomed trails, your options were pretty much Whitepine and Whitepine. The Round Valley network has been getting better and better every season, with new spurs and loops being groomed. Sure, you have to dodge sticks and poop every now and again, but the grooming has regularly been top shelf this season. Take this survey, and let the Park City Municipal folks know that the collective efforts of many folks are appreciated, and we value open space and maintained trails in our community:

Take the Park City Winter Trails Survey

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Powder to End 2010. Powder to Start 2011?

Quite a few days of storminess we have had here in Park City. The Christmas storms were what they like to call “upside down,” coming in light and fluffy, then warming up on the tail end. I heard people complaining in lift lines about how they came for Utah powder, but instead got Sierra cement. But I heard another guy say “hey, at least it’s 30 inches of something.” Now the New Year is upon us, we have had more classic Utah powder. Light, fluffy, and absolutely the Greatest Snow On Earth. I hope you have had a great 2010, and are getting ready for the best year yet.

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Pre-Thanksgiving Pow Pow

Yes, occasionally the Skids crew travels over to the other side of the Wasatch Mountains for some powder turns. After Opening Day at PCMR, I hitched a ride with a few buddies and sampled some Alta powder. This was shot on November 21st.

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Opening Day Video From PCMR

I love Opening Day. Saturday, November 20th was the first day of the ski season here for us Park City folks. I made a few runs with some staffers from the mountain who were happy to get the season rockin’.

It felt good to be back on the snow, and I was amazed how good the conditions were for the first day of the season. The weather was a mixed bag; a little bit of snow, a lot of wind. As the day went on, the cold front moved in, and by evening, we had a full-on blizzard on our hands. Forget about a white Christmas, we’re going to have a white-out Thanksgiving. Looking forward to some powder turns on Thanksgiving day. Be thankful for what we got.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-14

  • Saw an ermine on the trail, white as snow. A sign that a big dump is coming to the Wasatch Back, I think so. #

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Cup Of Joe With The Mayor

This week, I had a business meeting with a former boss. Alright. That’s not true. It wasn’t a business meeting. We were just catching up. He chose Riffs Cafe as the prearranged meeting spot. Never heard of it, I said. Dana’s place, he said. Dana who, I asked? Dana the Mayor, he said. I googled it on my iPhone and found out it is on Ironhorse Drive, right across from Windy Ridge, near all the funky cool wind sculptures and Mercer Automotive. It’s mostly an acoustic guitar store, with a sweet range of Martin, Taylor, Seagull, and Santa Cruz guitars. There is some teaching space in there. There is a big room that holds about 40, says Dana, good for little acoustic shows. The guitar side is run by a guy named Larry Hart, says his business card. Dana mans the Barista station, whipping up Fresh Pots, and casually asking if you need a warm up. This is our Mayor. This is Park City. You Dig?

Park City Mayor Dana Williams at Riffs Cafe

Park City Mayor Dana Williams at Riffs Cafe

Park City Mayor Dana Williams at Riffs Acoustic Music

Of course there are plenty of guitars. He's in a band after all.

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Silver Summit Moose On The Loose

We had a visitor to the Silver Summit and Trailside area this past Sunday. A moose provided a spectacle for neighbors, ate a few bushes, scared a few dogs, then made for the hillside and (hopefully) the Round Valley open space.

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