The Pine Mtn. Blog


Q & A with COAA Pro Observer Aaron Hartz

Pine Mountain Sports and our customers are fortunate to have an active and growing avalanche center that’s based right here in Bend, Oregon! We’re one of many local businesses and retailers that work to support our Central Oregon Avalanche Center. We work with our friend and COAA Pro Observer Aaron Hartz in a few different ways… In addition to being an active Pro Observer, Aaron is a guide with Timberline Mountain Guides (aka Oregon Ski Guides). Oregon Ski Guides lead our very popular Begin To Skin: BC 101 Guided Outings. Aaron is also an exceptional Ortovox Brand Ambassador, and we’re stoked to have him always representing Ortovox and giving us feedback on the BC gear that we carry.

Recently Aaron did some Q & A with Central Oregon Avalanche Center on exactly what it is that he does for all of us that venture into the Central Oregon backcountry during the winter…

 

Q & A with Pro Observer Aaron Hartz:

Q: Hometown?
A:
Grew up between Monmouth and Dallas, Oregon in the Willamette Valley.

Q: What is a typical Pro Observer/ski guide day like? 
A: I usually get up early so I can be at my computer by 6am. I check the weather station on Moon Mountain as well as Mt Bachelor for overnight conditions. I also have a couple of other weather models I look at. Following that, I read reports from the COAC website, professional as well as from the community, to get an idea on what is happening in our area. I then put together my own avalanche forecast and trip plan. Next up is the morning meeting with the other guides that will be touring with me. We post our morning meeting notes on InfoX. InfoX is a professional information sharing platform that ski guides, ski areas, and depending on where you live, highway operations use to keep track of what is happening in our region. Next I pack my ski bag and head out to the trailhead with the snowmobiles.

If I’m guiding, I’m not usually performing professional observations for COAC although I’m keeping an eye on conditions, since they can change throughout the day. If I’m on a professional observation tour for COAC I usually make multiple weather observations (wind direction, speed, precipitation, any red flags, etc.), try and find natural avalanche areas, maybe dig a snow pit to see what is happening with the snowpack in my immediate area. When I’m in the pit, I look for suspected weak layers and document what I find so I can post it to the COAC and InfoX websites later that evening.

Once the tour is complete, it’s back to the snowmobiles and parking lot (unless I find some really good snow to ski, in which case I might stay out a little longer!). I’m usually home by 5pm or so. The next task is to write up my notes to share at the end of day meeting and a final post to InfoX/COAC websites to share what I have learned. Some days don’t end until 9pm or so.

Q: How did you get involved in skiing?
A:
 I started skiing when I was 10 years old when my aunt and uncle took my brother and me down to Lassen National Park Ski Area. As a teenager, most weekends were spent at Hoodoo, Mt Hood Ski Bowl, or Mt Bachelor. When I started college, I’d ski at Mt Hood Ski Bowl every weekend. I would crash in my buddy’s dorm room at George Fox University. Night skiing on Tuesday nights was only $5 back in the mid 90s! We would lap the upper bowl over and over again. Mt Hood Ski Bowl has some of the best lift served steep terrain in the NW.

Q: Did you go to college?
A:
 I graduated from Oregon State University in 1998 with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. I earned two Master’s degrees, one in Oceanography in 2003 and one in Biology in 2010.

Q: What is your level of avalanche training?
A:
 I have my Level 3, which I completed through the American Avalanche Institute in Jackson, WY. (Level 3 is no longer available; the Level 3 is essentially a Pro 2 these days).

Q: How and why did you get involved in the backcountry skiing industry?
A:
 I have always loved to ski (I’m obsessed with it really!) and just kept pursuing the education and training that I thought was necessary. My first industry job was with Timberline Mountain Guides. I also guide rock climbing at Smith and Mt. Hood summit climbers in the off season. I enjoy teaching people about travelling in the backcountry. Working as a professional guide allows me to use my interest in science to observe and understand snow characteristics and share that knowledge with others.

Q: Do you have a mentor or someone that inspires you?
A:
I didn’t really have one until I went to work for Timberline Mountain Guides and Pete Keane. Pete has been a fantastic mentor and friend. It seems like in the early days, I was the trip leader as none of my close friends pursued the backcountry like I did.

Aaron is easy to spot as he’s usually rocking the brightest shades on the skin track!

Q: Why do you serve as a professional observer and as a board member for COAC?
A:
 I truly enjoy building and creating something that benefits my community. I also enjoying sharing knowledge about the areas I have skied.

Q: How many days of skiing do you get in a year?
A:
Over 100, easy!

Q: What do you do in the off season for fun?
A:
I rock climb, hike, and do some alpine climbing. I also do some rock and Mt Hood guiding, and I run a scientific fieldwork company called Hartz Science Explorations where I perform contract scientific field work for various organizations. The past three summers I spent 6 weeks in Greenland performing geology and climate research. I also do some rope access work, which includes bridge and dam inspections for various agencies.

Q: What are your must have items in your ski pack?
A: Multi tool, bag of items to repair boots, bindings, etc., and a tarp in case I have to overnight in the snow. I also carry a substantial first aid kit. As for food, it’s salami, cheese, chocolate, AND, I never leave the house without some kind of gummy bears/worms!

Bundles of thanks to Ortovox for sponsoring Aaron as a COAC Pro Observer and ski guide as well as keeping him outfitted in equipment and clothing!

Remember, if there is enough snow to ski, there is enough snow to slide! Make sure you have a beacon, probe and shovel with you and know how to use them. Check out our local course providers, Oregon Ski Guides, Three Sisters Backcountry and COCC for upcoming avalanche course dates. Don’t delay as they fill up quickly!


invisiFRAME Protects Your Investment

Wanna armour and protect your expensive mountain bike frame? Here’s what it looks like when we install invisiFRAME on your new bike.

We strip the frame, including the downtube armour. Clean it. Then use a soapy water solution to carefully place the invisiFRAME decals. A squeegee and some patience gets everything to lay flat and clear. Done right, the whole process can take around 3 or 4 hours. Our invisiFRAME kits are custom made for individual frames and specific sizes so that everything is tight and your frame perfectly protected. Todd recently wrapped this new Hightower for a customer and the results are beautiful and nearly invisible…

We strip the frame, including the downtime armour. If it’s not barnd-spankin-new we take the time to clean and detail it.

invisiFRAME kits are custom made for individual frames and your specific sizes of frame. Yes, there are a LOT of kits!

On a Santa Cruz frame we remove the armour so that the invisiFRAME extends underneath it. Then it goes back on.

A good eye, and the experience from doing it many times helps. But patience is the most important part of the install.

A squeegee and some patience gets everything to lay flat and clear.

invisiFRAME kits are custom and it’s pretty seldom that we ever need to reach for the scissors.

Done right, the whole process can take around 3 or 4 hours. And the results are impressive!

Not how the pieces mate up, and in most cases the invisiFRAME is installed underneath any frame armour.

When fresh, invisiFRAME is nearly invisible. We had to search for the right light to get our photos of the edges.

This Hightower is fully protected and the details of where the pieces wrap and match up is sweet looking!

Pine Mountain Sports is an invisiFRAME dealer and fitter. Kits range in cost from $100-$125 and installation is $180 for a new bike and $210 for a ridden bike. How well does it work? We’ve started fitting most of our high end demo bikes with invisiFRAME at the beginning of the season and after a really long summer of demos and shuttles the frames and bits (invisiFRAME also offers armour kits for specific forks and cranks) stay looking nearly new. The invisiFRAME can start to look a bit ragged, but when you peel it off there’s a near-perfect (save for the biggest rock strikes) frame hiding underneath. Two thumbs up! Ask our service department for details.


12 Days! 12 Sale Specials!

Join us starting Sat Nov 30 for our first day of store specials! We’ll have all Nordic Clothing from Maloja, Salomon & Swix at 20% OFF! Check in every day until Wed Dec 11 for your chance to save 20% on the gear, clothing, and services you need going into the Holidays. In stock items only, please.


Winter Coat & Sleeping Bag Drive

BRING THE HEAT To Our Bethlehem Inn Winter Coat Drive…

We need your gently used winter coats and sleeping bags to give to the Bethlehem Inn ahead of the winter season. During October you can drop off your donations to FootZone, Pine Mountain Sports, or Patagonia @ Bend and (along that that warm, fuzzy feeling) we’ll stoke you out with credits to spend in all three stores. That’s hot! Our Bring The Heat promo ends Oct 31.

Get Some! Give Some.


We (Heart) Trail Ambassadors

Pine Mountain Sports is committed to the Central Oregon outdoor community and is proud of our decade-old Trail Ambassador Program

While most bicycle shops in town sponsor a cycling team, Pine Mountain Sports chooses to empower riders who share our goal of giving back and actively making a difference in our outdoor community.

In place of matching cycling kits and racing bikes, our team of Pine Mountain Sports Trail Ambassadors is supplied with extra tubes, tools, current trail info, 1st aid kits, and trail knowledge that they share with any trail users in need.

Our small army of Trail Ambassadors can be found leading our group MTB rides, spreading Trail Love, teaching riding and maintenance clinics for new riders, and volunteering at trail work events and fundraisers for Central Oregon Trail Alliance and our outdoor community. Yes, some of our ambassadors race as well, but our goal is to assemble an effective team of individuals who are focusing their time (and our resources) on maintaining the trails and other trail users.

Potential ambassadors are largely identified by their peers. They share a commitment to enhancing every trail user’s experience by their long standing commitment to the Central Oregon cycling community, and by their countless hours of volunteer trail work. If you see someone wearing this Trail Ambassador patch, make sure and say hello and give them a high-five.

This is a recent photograph (below) of the pack belonging to Jeff Newman. Jeff is still sporting one of our original Trail Ambassador patches as he’s been doing his part for Central Oregon trail users since the very beginning.

Thanks, Jeff!

The well-used pack and Trail Ambassador patch of Jeff Newman.


Megatower Raffle For CYFC

Pine Mountain Sports is raising money for Cascade Youth & Family Center by raffling off a $10,000 Santa Cruz Megatower mountain bike with Shimano XTR build kit and Reserve carbon wheels! Part of the fundraising efforts of the Pine Mountain Sports Community Ambassador Program, every dollar collected from this raffle will be given directly to CYFC.

What’s radder and badder than giving dollars to Cascade Youth & Family Center? How about giving dollars to Cascade Youth & Family Center AND getting rewarded with a raffle ticket chance to win a $10,000, Megatower built up just for you by Pine Mountain Sports! With 160mm of travel, 29er Reserve wheels, and a full XTR build – this monster Megatower is THE ultimate machine for hitting the gnarliest trails in Oregon. For every $10 raffle ticket you buy, you’ll be entered to win!

Raffle tickets are only $10 each, and can be purchased in person at Pine Mountain Sports. Every dollar goes to Cascade Youth & Family Center!

The winning ticket will be drawn at 8PM at COTA Movie Night @ McMenamins on Thu Oct 17, 2019. The winner receives an XTR Santa Cruz Megatower mountain bike in the size of their choice. Winner need not be present to win, but must take final delivery of their new bike in person at Pine Mountain Sports. No exceptions. Questions? Contact info@pinemountainsports.com


Cycling & Ski Manufacturers Based in Bend…

Ben Farver of Argonaut Cycles…

As a bicycle and ski retailer that’s staffed year-round by around 25 residents of Bend, Oregon we’ve long been proponents of shopping and spending our outdoor recreation dollars locally. We think we’re all aware of the dramatic impact that shopping and spending locally has on our economy and everybody that lives here.

From buying groceries at our local farmers markets and locally-owned grocery stores to giving our local retailers an opportunity to earn our (otherwise) on-line shopping business to moving all of our banking to a local credit union – there are many things we can do to keep our hard earned dollars in Bend.

At Pine Mountain Sports we seek out amazing vendors who provide us with the best bike and ski products from all over the world. And, more and more, we’re incredibly excited at the number of bicycle and ski hard-goods vendors we buy from who are based right here in Bend, Oregon!

When we all buy our new gear from these businesses (and via a local retailer) then we’re greatly magnifying the impact that our cycling and skiing dollars have on our economy.

Here’s a list of cycling and ski companies that we encourage you to consider when making your next purchase. When we support these local manufacturers via our local retailers we are investing in our community on many levels…

Argonaut Cycles

Robert Axle Project

Spurcycle

Abbey Bike Tools

SnoPlanks

Hope Technology USA

Knight Composites

CushCore

Fatback Bikes

Terrain Control Industries

Magic Cycle Werks

Project 321

Know of a Bend based Cycling or Ski manufacturer that we’re missing? Please send your suggestions to Henry@PineMountainSports.com


This Is Our OSO Rear Shock Dyno

This is our OSO rear shock dyno that’s mounted to the wall of the suspension room in our service department. We use this to check that all of the rebound and compression adjustment clickers on your rear shock are functioning properly and giving you the complete and proper range of adjustment. It also helps us cycle your shock, confirm travel and IFP (internal floating piston) clearance, and test for any bleed or parts issues. It’s not an inexpensive tool, and it’s one of the many ways and reasons that we guarantee all of our service.


Let Us Recycle Your Bike Tires!

Bri, Jody & Kyla (one of our summer interns) with worn out tires headed for the recycling center.

 

Bring your old bicycle tires to Pine Mountain Sports and we’ll recycle them for you at no charge!

The service department at Pine Mountain Sports replaces a lot of worn out mountain bike tires on a daily basis. We know that a full service bike shop like ours creates a lot of waste, so we’re always looking at ways to minimize our trash and recycle as many things as possible.

Did you know that most of the Deschutes County disposal and recycling centers will recycle bicycle tires for $1 each? When you get new tires installed on your bike at Pine Mountain Sports we save your worn out treads and we pay to have them recycled for you at the Knott Landfill.

The staff at Pine Mountain Sports is happy to recycle any of your old bicycle tires for you at no charge! It doesn’t matter if you bought your new or old tires from us. Please don’t throw them in the trash! Just rinse and wipe away any sealant that’s still in them and then bring them by the store. Our staff will add them to our tire recycle pile for our next recycling run.

Got tubes? Our friends at REI Bend collect and recycle old inner tubes! You can bring us your tubes and we’ll take them over there for you, or drop them off directly to the bicycle service counter at REI in the Old Mill.

Let’s all do our part to Rethink Waste in Central Oregon!

 


Trek Fuel Raffle For CYFC

Pine Mountain Sports is raising money for Cascade Youth & Family Center by raffling off a 2019 Trek Fuel 9.8 mountain bike with the brand new Shimano XT 1×12 Group! Part of the fundraising efforts of the Pine Mountain Sports Community Ambassador Program, every dollar collected from this raffle will be given directly to CYFC.

What’s radder and badder than donating dollars to Cascade Youth & Family Center? How about donating dollars to Cascade Youth & Family Center AND getting rewarded with a raffle ticket chance to win a $6500, custom Trek EX 9.8 built up just for you by Pine Mountain Sports with the new Shimano XT 1×12 in Volt green. (See the actual bike below and at Pine Mountain Sports!) With 130mm of travel, a carbon frame, and some custom built Bontrager carbon wheels and Shimano hubs this Fuel 29er is THE perfect trail bike for our Central Oregon trails. For every $10 raffle ticket you buy, you’ll be entered to win!

Raffle tickets are only $10 each, and can be purchased in person at Pine Mountain Sports. Every dollar goes to Cascade Youth & Family Center!

The winning ticket will be drawn at 10AM at Pine Mountain Sports on Thu Aug 1, 2019. The winner receives a 2019 Trek Fuel 9.8 carbon 29er mountain bike in the size of their choice. The bike is custom built by Pine Mountain Sports with the new Shimano XT 1×12 group. Winner need not be present to win, but must take final delivery of their new bike in person at Pine Mountain Sports. No exceptions. Questions? Contact info@pinemountainsports.com