Soaring Birds | Grand Targhee Resort

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 12.39.51 PM IMG_2823 Screen shot 2014-11-29 at 5.22.23 PM IMG_2609

The Raven is the bird typically found flying around the chairlift at Grand Targhee. Some say that Ravens contain the spirits of people who have lost their lives in the mountains.

Grand Targhee has had great skiing this past week, and I really enjoy watching the ravens that fly around the chairlift, soaring in between chairs full of skiers and seemingly interacting with the people who are catching a ride to the top of the mountain. The birds zoom in and out through the chairlift, and soar around majestically while catching loft from updrafts in the wind. Watching them is really exciting, and seeing them fly with ease while making quick swoops, huge bank turns, and graceful dives all seems like an art in movement, like the birds are performing martial arts, of which they are masters.


A Bald Eagle spotted on the drive up to the Ghee

The ravens at Grand Targhee almost always seem to cruise the drafts in the same area, about halfway up the chairlift just before the ‘lady’s waist’ ski run. I asked the old timers what they know about the birds and I was told they have always hovered there in that place. Since the chairlift was built at Targhee (when the skiers started frequenting the resort) folks have noticed these soaring ravens. They used to refer to one specific bird as ‘Bob the Bomber’. You can see ‘Bob’ and his ‘buddies’ flying around there on almost any given day, so check them out, swooping, zooming and soaring next time your on the lift.

I like to try to translate what I see in these birds into my skiing, and make my skiing into an art where the important part becomes not what I am skiing, but how I am skiing it. Not what trick I am trying, but how I will try this trick.

DOR_5_EDITDoing my own interpretation of a bird, while hitting a jump on the 26th of November at Grand Targhee Ski Resort | Photo: Jeep Chief

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cast Touring: Alpine Touring System | Review


Cast Touring athlete Dorian Densmore spent 45 days this summer skiing and testing the system in Argentina. | Mike Hambone photo

Cast Touring is a company that creates an alpine ski touring system. It is designed to be the highest performing option for both the up and the down.

This year I used the system with look 14 bindings and had my lange xt 130 boots converted to be dynafit compatible and work with the cast system. I probably skied for a total of 45 days on this setup, in the resort and in the backcountry and put in a lot of time skiing long days, in all conditions. I was relitively hard on this gear as well, crashing, hitting rocks, and giving them lots of use. I used this setup throughout one season at the ski resort of Las Lenas, and on a high altitude mountaineering expedition in Cordon Del Plata (ARG). Read about that adventure here:


Dorian at about 17,500 feet dropping into the Supercanaleta on Cerro Rincon with the CAST Touring system. | Lee Lyon photo

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 12.13.11 PM                                          SI&I system for look pivot 14     $275 USD


  • Compatible with Look Pivot and Rossignol FKS 14 DIN alpine bindings
  • Added skiing weight 180g per ski
  • 7mm added stand height makes them among the lowest stand height touring bindings on the market
  • Alpine toe removal reduces touring weight to less than the alpine bindings
  • Forward offset of tech toe provides a better balance point for kick turns and improved traction when skinning
  • Systems come with standard 10° climbing bails. Tall 14° bails are available upon request (rise based on 300mm boot sole length)
  • Rubber tuning bands secure brakes when climbing

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 12.13.31 PM   Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 12.14.00 PM


  • Mount plates are CNC machined to precise tolerances from forged aluminum
  • Slider plates are high precision laser cut aluminum with pressed stainless steel M6 inserts
  • The Mount and Slider plates are anodized for a clean look and improved durability
  • Laser cut stainless steel quick release slide lock mechanism ensures your toe pieces don’t go anywhere while in use
  • CNC high density plastic heel risers bring the heel of your binding to an equal height as the toe assembly
  • Wire formed stainless steel climbing bails are spring loaded for effortless pole activated engagement


Touring towards another coulior somewhere in the windswept mountains of Argentina | Alejo Sanchez photo

The touring system is simple, dependable, and extremely durable yet it also functions very well for efficient hiking. Basically you get the advantages of using a dynafit system for hiking uphill, and for the downhill, just put on your normal alpine bindings and ski. Cast mounts a plate on your ski, allowing you to exchange the toepieces on your bindings between dynafit, and in my case, look 14’s. This makes skinning easy with lightwieght skis, like with dynafits. Then the toepiece is removed and replaced with an alpine binding, that you carry in your backpack.


Hiking up a coulior with Cast toepieces in the backpack, also notice the ski pole-dong pose. | Lee Lyon photo

It is important for me to practice and get used to using any system, so it becomes comfortable and easy. It took about a week for me to become comfortably fast in transitions, but once I became competent at knowing how the system worked, I was actually able to be faster, more efficient, and more comfortable in all situations.        There was a wide variety of conditions, including some very warm days with big temperature differences between the sun and shade. With lots of sticky snow accumulating and turning into ice, I try to learn excactly where the ice normally builds up on the bindings. Then I figure out how to clean the ice off, so the transition goes efficiently. The cast plates are very easy to deal with, usually using an old ski pass to scrape the ice out of the toepiece. On occasion, I would have to use a ski poll to assist with ice-chipping or to lightly hammer the bindings into place.


Doing some mountaineer-guy type of skiing, but faster. | Lee Lyon photo

One of my favorite parts of this cast system is that it enables me able to do everything with only one ski setup. I don’t use different skis anymore for the resort than I do for touring. While skiing the resort, I always carry my skins, and cast-dynafit toepieces. That way, if I decide I want to go hiking, I can just go, and I have all the pieces with me to skin and ski tour. The set up can handle super long ski tours, fit in during mountaineering and multi day trips, ski in the resort, moguls, terrain park, or any kind of skiing, and still be expected to last a long time.


Cruising out into the Argentine desert, but with powder. | Mike Hambone photo

Overall I am extremely impressed with this setup and feel like it can really handle anything you can put in its path. For me its the overall best option, I can have the easiest possible uphill combined with the best downhill ski setup. It’s super exciting to be able to ski that much better because of the high performance system Cast provides, and I would recommend it.


Chilling at base camp below a big mountain. | Lee Lyon photo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lenas 2013: Great and Terrible


Txema skiing from 4000 m. on Cerro Yeseras.

Las Lenas this season was fun, strange, difficult, great and terrible. In general there was not a lot of snow, and some of us became a little unhappy during some of the times with bad weather, or bad snow. One Friend who has unshakable motivation and incredible stoke for all things skiing, Jordi Tenas was happy, and was always the go to guy for best ski partners. We became freinds last season when I met him, Txema Trull, and Adri Millan, the Catalans, some of the best people ever.

During my first few days skiing, we were met with fairly good ski conditions I would say. We found great snow in the shady and cold areas, and soft spring snow in the sunny spots.


Skiing the first day in a cold spot.


Jordi Tenas skiing in a sunny spot.

The mountains and  the skiing in Las Lenas is amazing, and I usually follow Jordi around, because he has the best technique and is one of the best skiers I’ve seen. Highlights of the next 6 weeks included some of these things:

-Skiing Cerro Yeseras in the sunset, turning into full moon with Txema.

-1 Eduardos run with Jordi in amazing snow was really really fun.

-Watching the movie ‘Step Brothers’ with Adri Millan.

-Celebrating YaYa’s birthday, a big event in Las Lenas.

-Going on a long distance camping mission to look at some incredible and

unexplored terrain with the strange young German kid, Moritz.

-Eating medialunas every day.

-Catching some vibes.

-Skiing some with Alejo, and visiting his house in Mendoza.

-Being rich guys in Mendoza with Eike Poppelmier.

-Getting to chill with Adria Perez, YaYa, Alfred, Maru, Mary Jo, Alejo, Matthi, Eike Poppelmier, Lee Lyon, everyone else in the family, and all the new friends.



Surfing some windlips (self portrait).


Riding with Alejo Sanchez.


Looking at some new terrain.

After me and Moritz returned from our expedition, we found it strangly quiet. It was the first time I’ve hung out in Las Lenas without the Catalans, and being alone in the appartment. Me and Moritz chilled out and the next day a big storm rolled through, with super high winds blowing everything over and away. We found it strange that Txema and Jordi hadn’t returned, so the next morning we walked up to the Pisteros (Ski Patrol) office and asked if they had heard anything, and said we were a little concerned about our friends. They hadn’t heard anything, so we decided to hike up to the spot were they were camping.

Txema and Jordi had been camping at a nice ski zone, Torrecillas, and we knew that they should be there. After hiking about an hour and a half, we were able to get our first close up look at the cirque of mountains were they were. It was surprising to see no ski tracks in the whole area, and a really big avalanche was very obvious, covering a big portion of the mountain. Still another hour and a half walk away, we ran as fast as we could toward the avalanche area, feeling really really bad and scared. Upon arrival, we found 2 debris feilds that were fairly big, but saw no signs of anything. At this point, a snowcat with 2 Pisteros showed up, and saying there was more help on the way. After searching through the first debris field, we found nothing and were somewhat hopefull that maybe they just were camping in a different zone. With the arrival of the second snowcat about 8 more Pisteros showed up, a dog, and one guy, Ticiano, who had been with them and seen where they had put they’re tent a few days earlier.

Upon arriving at the next debris field, we saw one of Txema’s skis sticking out of the snow, and it became obvious that they were camped there, and that since they were probably in thier tent, they might not have beacons on. We all immediatly started probing the area, and Ticiano showed us and the Pisteros the spot were he thought the tent was buried. After positive probe strikes the dog jumped in and further confermed that this was the place to dig. We dug about a meter or a meter and a half deep, and then came upon the top of a yellow tent. With a knife, a pistero cut the tent open and we saw Txema, really dark skinned and kind of purple. His hand was sticking out, and surprisingly I saw him move his fingers a little, which was really unreal. He was pulled out of the tent, concious and with his eyes open and immediatly loaded onto the snowcat and removed from the mountains. I tried to wake up Jordi, who was also lying there, but he was not alive. Me and Moritz tried our best to say goodbye to Jordi, and then skied down after the snowcat with Txema inside. It was a really unreal ski down from the scene, and really hard to believe the reality of what was going on, because Jordi was the safest, best skier, and this was the farthest thing away from what I could have pictured happening. They unfortunately put their tent in a bad spot.

Txema recovered quickly and within a day or 2 he was all better, which I am really gratefull for. It turned out the tent was hit by an avalanche in the night, and Txema had been buried for something like 15 hours before he was found.

Jordi was the best ski partner ever, and one of the best people also. Super generous, and huge part of Las Lenas for all the people who went there to ski rad lines. He was for sure the best skier I knew there, with incredibly perfect ski technique, which I immitated a lot and I think lots of others tried to ski like him too. He ate tons of medialunas everyday for breakfast and was more phsyced about skiing than anyone I’ve seen before. Just talking about skiing he would get really excited, and If you watch some of his gopro footage you will understand because he is always yelling and screaming about how stoked he is while skiing. At the end of good runs I’ve never seen anyone so happy and this made skiing with him super special, because he would get so stoked, that you would always remember those lines, and be really happy.





Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Video of the day.

“Brandn n Dorian Traversed the Tetons and put down a new Yosemite ski root on the way. Classic.” -Greg Collins (the guy who skied the north face of the Grand)

Video | Posted on by | Leave a comment

First Descent on Yosemite Peak in GTNP

“Brandn n Dorian Traversed the Tetons and put down a new Yosemite ski root on the way. Classic.” -Greg Collins (the guy who skied the north face of the Grand)


Dorian Densmore entering the first crux on the “Yosemite-Cham” coulior in Grand Teton National Park.  He and Brandon Gust established this new ski route on Yosemite Peak April 12th, 2013.


We Left from Alta, Wy at 9 am and headed out on our way over the Tetons to hit a new coulior we had been looking at. “It looked really skinny, but also like it just might be skiable.”


Brandon ‘B-Dogg’ Gust on the way up.


Cruising the ridge on the way to the drop in.


B-Dogg entering the first crux. Pretty skinny, folks.  After hella side-stepping and some nice pow turns, we were really feeling the extreme J-hole vibe.


The light at the end of the tunnel.




Yosemite Peak.

We skied out Cascade Canyon and to Bradley-Taggart trailhead, arriving at about 11 pm where my mom was waiting patiently for our return.


Stoked to make it back home before the storm rolled in.  Thanks to my friends and family.   Stay tuned for da video

Posted in Tetons skiing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The last week or so (ski edit)

Early Season 2013 Dorian and Brandon ski during the sunsets and beyond!

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Ski/Snowboard Project 2013

b foot

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment