Julia Van Raalte: SKIS
Age: 20 | Vitals: 5’6”, 125 lbs. | Years skiing: 18 | Current Residence: Colorado Springs, CO
Although I have New York license plates, Stowe, Vermont is truly where my heart is.
I started skiing Stowe at the age of two, and now know the mountain like the back of my hand. When I was ten, my family made the commitment to driving the five-and-a-half hours to Stowe each weekend when I joined the Mount Mansfield Ski Club and began racing. We did that drive every weekend until I started 8th grade at the local ski school, the Mount Mansfield Winter Academy. I got to live in Stowe all winter, ski every day, and didn’t have to drive anymore. I attended MMWA for five years and graduated in 2009.
Currently, I am enrolled at Colorado College. I competed in a few races this year on the club team, but spent the majority of winter exploring the new terrain of Summit County. Having never skied out west in the winter, I hadn’t skied “real” powder before. I was instantly hooked. But as icy as the East coast can be, I realized that it molded me to be a tougher skier. I tend to stay out in conditions that send all my friends running for the lodge.
Being a racer, I still love ripping fast turns down groomers, but in the past year I have learned to take my time, too. I like to ski pretty much all terrain and am always up for a good hike. Unfortunately, I never was particularly fond of bumps and tend to ski them much slower. Though I didn’t grow up dropping big cliffs, I have been working up my courage to go off bigger jumps.
While I have been pushing myself to try new things, I have also been working to make sure that I know what I’m doing. I got my Avy 1 certification in Crested Butte this past winter, and I hope get my Avy 2 certification next season. This spring I also got my Wilderness First Responder through WMI in Boulder.
I couldn’t ask for a better place to have grown up skiing, and now I have the opportunity to explore the numerous mountain ranges of the West. Looking forward to skiing on the weekends gets me through the busy school weeks, and fortunately, the season in Colorado is long. There is nothing better than doing what you love most in the most beautiful places.
All Content by Julia Van Raalte
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….
A new addition to MOMENT’s line of women’s skis, the Bella is one of the best all-mountain skis on the market.
Here it is: everything you need to know about the POC Iris X Goggle’s fit, lens technology, and lens options.
Julia Van Raalte gets four days on (and a First Look at) the Rossignol S3 W.
Meet Julia, a racer who was looking for an all mountain ski that rips, floats, and skins. Turns out, she knows how to pick ‘em.