March 25, 2015

Marmot Front Range Jacket

Marmot Front Range Jacket

For cold but fair-weather Alpine skiing, I love wearing a windproof fleece jacket. But I’d gotten tired of looking like a fuzzy black puffball in my Patagonia R4. When my old R4’s zipper finally gave up the ghost, I knew it was time to find something new. Yes, over its lifetime the R4 did its job admirably, keeping me warm at GS speeds even on ten-degree Telluride mornings, but I was never at peace with its styling (more…)

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February 26, 2015

The Kabookie Bids Adieu

The Kabookie Bids Adieu

A sad bit of news I unfortunately have to report following the WWSRA demo at Mammoth Mountain is word the Kabookie will not return for the 2015-2016 season. As the metal-free version of Blizzard’s smash-hit Bonafide, the Kabookie’s niche was always precarious: a little too heavy by modern touring standards, yet also a little too light in the eyes of Alpine skiers (more…)

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February 17, 2015

2015 WWSRA Mammoth Mountain

2015 WWSRA Mammoth Mountain

It’s been hard, these past dry years, to think much like a ski buyer, but the makers have continued their work notwithstanding, and, snow or not, they’ve made some fantastic skis. To see what’s coming for 2016, last week I attended the WWSRA (Western Winter Sports Reps Association) demo event at Mammoth Mountain (more…)

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November 13, 2014

Black Diamond Carbon Convert

Black Diamond Carbon Convert

If you ask me, Black Diamond has been victimized, to an extent, by the very same perfect powder that makes Utah skiing so famous. Skis tuned to perform in that incomparable Wasatch snow just don’t tend to translate as well in other, less amenable climates. For that reason, reviewing Black Diamond skis always makes me anxious. They’re a great ski company, no question…but they just don’t seem (more…)

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November 12, 2014

La Sportiva Vapor Nano

La Sportiva Vapor Nano

If you want a ski with lots of surface area and very, very little weight, La Sportiva presents the aptly-named Vapor Nano: 103mm underfoot and 5.29lbs per pair (spec). The Vapor Nano is a carbon fiber ski, and an expensive one at that, featuring what Sportiva calls “Nanotube” construction, a nano-ish technology designed to deliver torsional rigidity at the lowest possible weight (more…)

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November 4, 2014

Lange RS 130: Liner Updates Make a Difference

Lange RS 130: Liner Updates Make a Difference

Lange has been making the RS-130 for so long and for so well it seems almost presumptuous to review it. This is the boot for citizen racing and elite frontside performance. Still, there’s an update for the 2014-2015 season, and while modest, it is consequential. First, the skier: you’re a racer. Lange makes a number of fantastic boots for those who’ve never run a course, but the RS really is a racing boot (more…)

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October 30, 2014

Dynafit Huascaran

Dynafit Huascaran

Dynafit’s Huascaran took me completely by surprise. With the Huascaran we know we’re getting a light ski, but who could have expected how solid it is? Skiing the Huascaran in-bounds at Copper Mountain, I got no sense I was on an underweight touring plank. To the contrary, the ski seemed right at home across a variety of frontside conditions, demonstrating a smooth, playful character (more…)

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October 28, 2014

Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Here are two interesting tents with very different approaches to the challenge of building a viable solo shelter. The overriding ethic of Big Agnes’ Fly Creek Platinum 1 is “make it light!” MSR’s Hubba NX Solo, on the other hand, comes at the problem more from the angle of “make it right!” (more…)

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October 10, 2014

Volkl Reboots the Mantra

Volkl Reboots the Mantra

The Mantra has changed. Yes, there have been minor tweaks to Volkl’s All Mountain masterpiece over the years, including the daring addition of a dash of tip rocker. But this time is different. For the 2014-2015 ski season, Volkl has rebooted the Mantra, giving us a ski that substantially departs from the concept and feel (more…)

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September 11, 2014

Dirty Girl Gaiters

Dirty Girl Gaiters

Of course we all hate scree gaiters, but the darned things tend to be useful—particularly (as is often the case) when we’ve decided not to bring them. Leave the scree gaiters at home, and you can bet that easy trail hike you’re expecting is going to turn into a steep field of calf-deep sand and gravel, where a nannyish voice will continuously snark in your ears if only you’d remembered (more…)

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