Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Black Diamond Verdicts

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 3:12 PM

The Black Diamond Verdicts have been my quiver of one for three years. Since I first clicked into them, I've never coveted anther ski. They've taken me through the white room in the Beaverheads, railed the 'roy at Big Sky, busted through mangy crud in the Swans, and launched a crack or two in Glacier National Park. They've toured the divide in the Great Burn, and traversed from Snowbowl to the Rattlesnake's Main Trailhead. They've shredded 6" of glorious pow atop logging slash at Great Divide, and they've blazed the extraordinary trees at Lost Trail. With perhaps 120 days on the snow, they've more than paid for themselves, and I can't recall a single time that I ever wished for anything else in a ski— except they could be lighter.

Pyramid Peak, Swan Range

Miner Lakes Basin, Beaverhead Mountains

Grant Creek Basin, Rattlesnake Wilderness

Montana/Idaho Divide, Great Burn Wilderness

Bird Woman Glacier, Glacier National Park
  • Chad Harder
  • Bird Woman Glacier huck, Glacier National Park

I scored them from Dave, one of Missoula's most talented boot fitters, with years of experience at Pipestone Mountaineering and now working at the Trailhead. Dave's squeezed untold numbers of feet into hot and maleable boots, customizing each to conform to the corns, bone spurs, ingrown toenails, bunions and various nuances that sprout from feet that spend time crammed into hardshell boots and flying down mountains. He squeezed me into a pair of BD Methods, and when he was done they fit like a glove. They've been durable, and have remained comfortable too.

For a binder, Dave set me up with Fritcshi Freeride Pluses. Like the Verdicts, they've performed admirably—only rarely prereleasing and without any slop, even when ripping groomers. But they too could be lighter, and a lighter setup is definitely in the works!

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