Julia Van Raalte
Age: 22 | Vitals: 5’6”, 125 lbs. | Years skiing: 20 | Current Residence: Colorado Springs, CO
I grew up splitting my time between New York and Stowe, Vermont, my dedicated parents driving the five hours north every weekend just so I could ski. Although I was plopped on skis at the age of two, I kept things recreational until I was ten and started racing for the Mount Mansfield Ski Club. In order to keep up with the competition and to keep skiing as much as possible, I began attending the local ski academy, the Mount Mansfield Winter Academy in 8th grade. I was lucky enough to live in Stowe during the winter and ski six days a week throughout high school until I graduated in 2009.
I made the decision to move west to Colorado for college and hung up my race skis after a season in the Rockies. I am currently enrolled in Colorado College and spend any spare moment I can exploring in the mountains. After finding the mountains in Summit County too crowded, I started to focus my attention on the backcountry and ski areas on the Western Slope of Colorado.
It has been hard to completely break my racer habits, and I still find myself having a blast ripping groomers. I like to ski pretty much all terrain and ski pretty aggressively. I am always up for a good hike or bootpack, especially if it involves fresh snow. Trees and moguls are fun, but not my favorite, and though I didn’t grow up dropping big cliffs, I have been working my way up to bigger jumps.
Over the last few years I completed my Avalanche I and II, Crevasse Rescue, and WFR certifications. My love of skiing, adventures, and climbing peaks has pushed me to try and ski twelve months a year, and has taken me to Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Washington, British Columbia, Japan, and New Zealand in search of powder. When I can’t strap planks on my feet, I love mountain biking, climbing, backpacking, ridge walking, and extreme botanzing in the beautiful and wild west.
All Content by Julia Van Raalte
Helly Hansen’s Legendary pants are relatively inexpensive and pretty warm, but there are some fabric issues we need to talk about.
Warm, lightweight, durable. For reviewer Julia Van Raalte, those three words pretty much sum up the Verglas Hooded Down Insulator.
The Verglas is a tough hardshell, well suited for colder weather resort and backcountry skiing.
If heavy charger skis aren’t playful enough for you, and “playful” skis aren’t substantial enough, then you should check out the new Nordica Wildfire.
The Rossignol Savory 7 is a fun, lightweight, accessible ski that can still be driven fast and predictably in consistent snow.
Ultimately, all AT boots are built with one of two priorities: the Up or the Down. For those more focused on the down, the Black Diamond Shiva boot is a very good choice.
We recently reviewed the new 178cm Salomon Stella (104mm underfoot), now for the similar but narrower Lumen (96mm underfoot). So what do you give up and what do you gain by going skinnier?
The Salomon Stella is an all-mountain women’s ski that was designed to do everything well. So far, it largely succeeds.
The Scott Explorair Tech Women’s Pant utilizes Gore-Tex Pro Shell for outstanding breathability and water & wind protection. Take a look, especially if you’re earning some of your turns.
The lightweight and comfortable Smith Allure helmet is a good choice for women looking for a helmet with a minimal feel.
The SmartWool Midweight Pattern top and bottoms offer great cold-weather protection, durability, and a stylish look.
The Volkl Nanga is an extremely comfortable pant with a clean, sleek design that will keep you warm on even the coldest days.
The Volkl Shiro is a fully rockered, fat powder ski that still handles incredibly well on groomers.
Unsurprisingly, the Cosmic jacket measures up to the burliness, versatility, and stylishness we’ve come to expect from Trew. So reviewer Julia Van Raalte talks instead about the functionality of specific features and how well the Cosmic works for women.
With a good balance of weight and stability, the 2011-2012 Dynafit Gaia AT boot makes touring a breeze without sacrificing downhill performance.
At 185cm, the women’s-specific Nordica La Niña is extremely versatile considering its size, and enough fun to make Julia Van Raalte finally use the F-word: “Favorite.”
Built for smaller faces, the Smith I/OS goggle still offers impressive peripheral vision, plus an easy-to-change lens system similar to the larger Smith I/O.
The women’s version of the Cochise, the 2012-2013 Blizzard Dakota is one of the burliest big-mountain women’s skis yet.
More than just a really good pow ski, the Line Pandora might actually be one of the most sturdy and fun all-mountain women’s skis available.
The Black Diamond Element is proving in Niseko to be a fantastic pow ski that actually does very well in chopped up snow and crud – assuming you get the mount position right….