Text & Photos: Klaus Polzer
The greatest aspect of being a ski journalist is that you get to ski during your work time. While even that can be a drag during not so interesting events in shitty conditions, it turns into pure pleasure at occasions like the one I seized last weekend.
Shredding the pow together during the Evoc Press Camp in Lenzerheide.
Evoc, the German manufacturer of backpacks and safety gear, invited a bunch of ski and snowboard media representatives to the beautiful Swiss resort of Lenzerheide to test their new avalanche packs. Of course, the best way to do so is to shred some serious powder in the sidecountry of an enormous ski area. Being the responsible bunch that we are—yes, I am talking about journalists—we didn’t hesitate to take the risk to put the provided products through all available conditions. And I am not joking: one guy broke his hand when he skied into a field of rocks only slightly covered by innocent snow. Luckily, he will be fully recovered in a couple of weeks.
Company founder Holger Feist and team rider Sven Kueenle are ready to drop in.
Due to the solid snowpack that has developed during this rather snow-blessed winter, we didn’t encounter a situation that avalanche packs are actually made for. So what can I tell about the backpack that I had the chance to carry around for two days? It fits very well and is relatively light-weight. Compared to the first generation of avy-packs, the current crop even lets you forget that you are carrying a complex technical tool on your back—hopefully you remember when it is necessary. In short, there is no reason to not carry an avalanche pack these days when freeriding.
Sven Kueenle takes advantage of the huge sidecountry in Lenzerheide.
The big news about the new crop of avalanche packs from Evoc is that they have switched to the RAS systems from Mammut. While I can’t say anything about the key functionality of the RAS system as compared to the ABS system that Evoc formerly used—fortunately I haven’t had to pull the handle of any avalanche pack yet—the Evoc product guys say that the RAS system makes it easier for them to design a good backpack. As an added plus, the Removable Airbag System (RAS) can be switched between compatible backpacks, so you need to buy the expensive technical system only once and can bring it to another bag; be it because you buy a new one next year to match your new jacket in color or because you want to use a different size for alpine touring.
Prime Skiing’s Roman Lachner likes to lay down first tracks.
For me, the most important aspect of the new Line RAS pack by Evoc is that I can open the whole back with a zipper, thus turning it into a great photo pack with a fitting inner compartment. But that’s just me, other people might prefer a different figuration. Ultimately, everyone needs to find out for themselves which product works best for them and their specific needs.
Evoc’s Jan Sallawitz prefers to slam a solid pow turn rather than a marketing slogan.
Therefore, it’s another insight that stands out. As said, Evoc gathered a bunch of different journalists; around 20 people, different indeed: men and women, skiers and snowboarders, young and old, from all over Europe, working for magazines, websites and blogs that can be considered competitors. However, in the end we were all the same. We truly enjoyed our time in the mountains, helped each other along and shared the same experience. Add the great people from Evoc who were far more concerned to shred the pow with us than to hammer home a marketing message. In the end, the best thing about being in the winter sports industry might not be that you get to ski a lot, but rather that you mostly meet friendly and enthusiastic people who share the same passion and are generally fun to be around.