Paul Forward

Age: 40 | Vitals: 6’0″, 190 lbs. | Years Skiing: 36 | Current Residence: Girdwood, Alaska

Background

I grew up in Eagle River, Alaska and my parents had various kinds of skis on my feet well before I started kindergarten. Even before I was a teenager, my mind was always wandering to wild places and trying to figure out ways to go on adventures so I gravitated very early to backcountry skiing which, at the time (early 90’s), meant that I was spending a lot of time in leather boots and telemark gear. Backcountry skiing was also a lot cheaper than buying lift tickets! Over the years, I started working summer jobs for some extra money and by my later teens I was putting in a lot of time riding lifts as well.

Alaska has always been home and will probably always be my favorite place to ski, but I’ve dragged a ski bag around various corners of the world and have enjoyed many cumulative months of ski adventures throughout North America, India, South America, Japan, and New Zealand. I absolutely love lift-served skiing but exploring wilderness mountain ranges via skis will always be my favorite. I love spending days or weeks living in tents in remote corners of the world chasing good terrain and conditions. In 2012 I was offered a job guiding heli skiing for Chugach Powder Guides (CPG) in Girdwood, AK. Shortly after that, I moved to Girdwood full time and have worked at CPG from February through April every year since. It’s a different kind of backcountry exploration and comes with it’s own challenges and excitement both as a skier and a guide, but I absolutely love showing people the Chugach every winter.

Blister Reviewer Bio: Paul Forward
Paul Forward guiding for Chugach Powder Guides. (photo by Charlie Renfro)

I spend the rest of the year working 7-10 day stints each month as a rural doctor, mostly in the arctic village of Kotzebue, Alaska. In the summer I love whitewater kayaking, which I’ve enjoyed since the mid 90’s. I used to travel around the world pursuing new rivers but these days mostly just hammer out as many laps as I can on my local runs each week.

In the fall I spend as much time as possible living out of a backpack and tent, chasing various Alaskan big-game animals with my wooden longbow in some of the most remote parts of the state. In spring of 2019 my wife, Erin, and I welcomed our son, Ren, who is the most wonderful person I’ve met. We’re looking forward to sharing our love of Alaskan mountains with him!

I started reviewing ski equipment for Blister around 2011 after meeting Jonathan Ellsworth in Las Lenas, Argentina. Jonathan’s recollection is that the first time he ever saw me was when I almost killed him. My memory is that I was skiing fast (okay, maybe a bit too fast) above where he had grouped up with a couple of my buddies when I suddenly had a prerelease of my downhill ski after hitting a funny compression. I careened toward the group on the outside edge of my uphill ski and hip checked into the snow right before colliding with them all. I suspect that Jonathan was impressed that I was so dedicated to gear testing that I risked my life (and his) finding the limits of my bindings and felt that he had to offer me a position reviewing ski gear. It’s been super fun working with him and the Blister crew ever since!

4 comments on “Paul Forward”

  1. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for looking at this.

    I’ve seen that you’ve been to Japan.

    I’ll be going on my first trip there in January and was wondering what an ideal binding set up might be.

    Can I get away with straight alpine bindings or should I have something like a duke of guardian? Trekkers?

    I’ve chosen Pollard Opus’ as the ski.

    I was not thinking of using tech bindings since I love the fit of my full tilts and I like a higher din setting. (5’10″/150#).

    I do like lots of jumps, cliffs, tricks, skiing fast, everything off piste, groomers are only used to get me back to a lift.

    Again, thanks for any insight!

    Talk Soon,

    Marty

    • Hi Marty, I just noticed your message. That’s awesome that you’re headed to Japan this winter. I’m planning to be there myself for a bit again this year.

      There are lots of places in Japan I’ve never skied but for what I’ve done so far it’s been nice to have the ability to skin. I suggest that you get in touch with someone who’s been to the places you’re planning to ski and find out how much touring you’ll be doing. As you’re likely aware, Japan has a lot of complicated, high-avalanche danger terrain and touring there should be approached cautiously especially given the amount of snow they get. All things considered, if you’re planning to ride lifts a lot while you’re there I would probably bring something like a Duke or Guardian.

      Have a great trip, Paul

  2. Hey Paul;

    Just happened on your review of the NTN Freedom binding, and was wondering if you ever got a chance to try a set of the TTS bindings from Olympus Mtn? I have also just run across a TTS/NTN hybrid by a French company called ‘The M Equipment’, which looks like a VERY neat set up. Any thoughts on that one? I also live in Anchorage and spend most of my time on tele, but have recently gone more AT (tech) while touring.

    Anyway, let me know if you have had a try out of any of the TTS systems.

    Thanks,

    Joe

  3. Hi Paul,
    I was looking for info on the Salomon Rocker2 122. I was recently given a pair still in the plastic wrapper, never mounted. I’m not sure which year they are (yellow top sheet). I was wondering where you mounted yours. I know this is a soft snow ski and I have read any and all reviews I could find. There are a couple of youtube videos of Mike Douglas introducing them and warning that the mount line might might be too far back (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLZGhYLgVqA). They are 184’s, I will be mounting Salomon Wardens and using them on Cat / Heli days.
    My current skis are all over the place and I like them all for different things.
    Line Opus w/ Sth2
    Volkl V-Werks w/ Kingpins.
    Volkl Ones w/Wardens
    Moment Underworlds w/Guardians (These are my daily drivers)
    Salomon MTN 95 w/G3 Ions
    RMU Apostles w/ Kingpins (up for Sale)
    G3 Synapse 101w/ Ions
    I’m 5’11 175lbs 58 years young and ski 25-40 days per season.
    My season pass is in Tahoe but I travel to Utah and BC most seasons.
    I assume they will ski most like the Opus, playful and surfy, but not as heavy.
    Thanks for any input.
    Jim

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